chairman_wow: (Babel fish.)
(via [personal profile] von_geisterhand)

Non-native English celebration fest?

As long as this doesn't happen while I'm still buried under my dissertation, I am definitely up for it. I've already been looking for excuses to write in German occasionally, despite the fact that maybe two of my friends would be able to understand it.

And then we all get to find out how shamefully rusty my written German has become. But I'll probably enjoy it, anyway.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Harmless)
You've probably heard that there's been rioting all over London, as well as some other cities. Just thought I'd post a quick note to say I'm alright. The shopping centre near us was looted (Tim, who stayed up all night watching the news, had a look around earlier and tweeted about the damage) but otherwise it was quiet.

I'm really pissed off, both at the people looting, and at all of the people commenting on this on the news harping on about what "pure, senseless criminality" it all was. No-one is excusing the people burning, stealing, and mugging, but just because it wasn't a political protest doesn't mean there aren't political and social underlying factors. Looking at the reasons doesn't make the things going on any less horrible and stupid, or the people perpetrating them any less at fault, but it means that maybe we can try to make people's lives better and make this less likely in the future. The demonisation of youth, poor people, and ethnic minorities people jump to so quickly make me rage.

Anyway, I'm going in to uni for a bit. I need to go to the library, and I want to visit Gay's the Word to buy a book in support after they had their window smashed in over the weekend. I'm going to head home around lunchtime, though, in case there are any transport disruptions later on.

Links that I've been getting my news from:

[personal profile] cobweb_diamond has some more links, as well.

Obviously be suitably sceptical towards any unconfirmed rumours.

I feel almost guilty about how much attention is being paid to this, when there's war and famine and other worse things elsewhere, and I'm not even affected apart from having to walk to a different grocery shop, but man. This is where I live. Feels weird.
chairman_wow: clock with a creepy face on it's face, screencap from Maria Holic (Maria Holic - Creepy Clock)
First of all, there are some extremely important orders of business to discuss:

Look a this!
Ouran is getting a live-action drama! I am pretty excited about this. They could keep making adaptations of Ouran forever and I'd be happy.

Also this!
You really need to watch this one in HD, trust me. That hair. I am definitely seeing Brave in the cinema when it comes out.

And now for something that's already happened: some friends of mine and I went to see Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus" at the Globe last week. I highly recommend going to see it if you get the chance! The acting was great, especially the two main characters (played by Paul Hilton and Arthur Darvill), and the sets, costumes, props etc were all just right for the atmosphere. (Hurray for eerie hell-creatures!) I was a bit... not wary exactly, but unsure going in, because although I knew the basic story I had no idea if I'd let myself in for a comedy, a tragedy, or a heavy philosophical treatise. In the end, though, it turned out to be the prefect balance of (generally slapstick) humour and dark creepiness and dread.

And walking out of the theatre we all agreed we wanted a BBC TV series of Faustus and Mephistopheles's wacky adventures.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (UR SO GAY)

[Image: an A4 piece of paper taped to a chest-high wall (someone tell me what these are actually called) pointing the way to the SlutWalk meetup.]

I went on the London SlutWalk last Saturday! Which was not, as some coverage would have you believe, an excuse to dress up in sexy clothes, but a protest against rape culture and the notion that only sluts get raped/all people who are raped are sluts, and the way people's clothes, background, and sexual history are used to let their abusers off the hook and I am not feeling very eloquent today GO READ THE WEBSITE. (I also liked this article about it in the Christian Science Monitor. No idea what the exact purview of the Christian Science Monitor is, but this is a really good article.)

Mainly this post is to show off the cool banners I managed to get pictures of:

Read more... )

Also some of my favourites that I didn't get to take a picture of but managed to find on the internet: "I'm a bitch if I say no but I'm a slut if you rape me anyway!", You need permission to Slytherin to my Chamber of Secrets", and "River Song wouldn't stand for this shit!" The rest of the Flickr set is really good, too.

I intended to leave after the walk and get back to my dissertation work, but the speeches in Trafalgar Square, although I disagreed with one or two speakers on one or two points, were so good. I hope some of them end up online, because they were sogood. It's a good feeling to reaffirm that a lot of people who agree with you on things exist, sometimes.

A lot of great-sounding organisations were involved which I must find out more about the future, like Women Against Rape and GAPS.

I am 100% sure I will find a lot of spelling mistakes and weird sentences in this tomorrow, but I'm going to bed now.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Holy Shit)
I went to the health centre today to get a new pill prescription, and I took a short-cut (or at least a nicer route) through Russia Dock Woodland. And I found this awesome thing, which made my geeky heart sing:

[Image description: a large metal compass rose is embedded into a concrete square in the middle of a path. It is divided into 16 sections labelled with the cardinal directions (N, NNE, NE, ENE, and so on). In the centre is an engraving of a bird, possibly a sparrow, but I don't know anything about birds. Overlaying the rest are a number of lines radiating out from the centre, each labelled with a location, the distance to it, and a list of commodities. The subsequent images show smaller sections of the compass.]

Read more... )
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Default)
I have a couple of proper posts in the works (as usual), and when I've given the presentation about my dissertation plan on Friday (nervousnervousnervous) I might actually post some of them! There are ones about my love-hate relationship with the Fantasy genre, and stuff I have learned so far in my degree, and my plans for the future etc.

But for now, I'm going to show you (well, at least those of you that understand German. Sorry, the rest of you.) my new favourite poem. I caught up on Bücherwelt on the tube today, and one of the episodes contained this:

klos )

It's even better read out loud.

I like English poetry, too, but German poetry is always my favourite. I think I'll add that to my post-graduation plans: learn more about German poetry.

...Ich weiss nicht, warum ich den Rest dieses Eintrags nicht einfach auch auf Deutsch geschrieben habe. Na ja, whatever.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (G00 - Nee)
This would be me: "Ooh, can we go to Ugarit? And Uruk, and I want to see what's actually going on with the cemetery at Ur. Oh, oh, and then I want to find some people who are related to me. Do you have a way of finding everyone I'm related to in a particular time? How many ancestors would I even have, say, 4000 years ago? How many generations is that? I think I read somewhere that a human generation is considered to be 70 years, but that seems kind of long for this kind of calculation, I bet I can find an equation to use on the internet, let me see... what do you mean, saving the world? I'm not done with the past, and I haven't even started on bits of the future I want to see yet. Oh, and other planets..."

I just need a TARDIS and a chauffeur, to be honest.

P.S: I've been looking into charities that are active in Japan at the moment, and I found ShelterBox. They put a tent and a bunch of necessities in a box and give it to people. How cool is that? High five, ShelterBox! And 頑張れ、日本!
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Model)
Didn't do hourly comics today. I was too busy reading about Bronze Age trade, something I could probably do all day long. ♥ Oh yeah, too cool for school.

I made a LibraryThing accont last month to keep track of the (pitifully small number of) books I read this year. Are any of you guys on there? We should be friends!

At the moment I'm reading The Knife of Never Letting Go which is incredibly addictive, holy shit. I had to leave it at home today because yesterday I took it with me to read on the tube and got absolutely no work done all day.

I have a 9am lecture tomorrow, so it's probably about time I went to bed. I still have a bunch of draft posts I haven't finished (I predict my thoughts on Tron: Legacy will be posted around the time it comes out on DVD.) but this will have to do for now. Slightly more alive on the Twitter, as usual. See you guys later.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Default)
Gutes Neues Jahr


The pig is there for luck. Apparently pigs don't symbolise good luck in England, as I learned yesterday when Tim asked me why it was there. This is weird and interesting and makes me want to do a survey! I’m pretty sure four-leaved clovers, chimney sweepers, and possibly horseshoes (with the legs pointing up so they look like a bull’s horns, according to my grandmother) are shared, as well as all the unlucky stuff like walking under ladders and breaking mirrors and so on. (I suspect those were popularised by films and cartoons.) My mum brought me bread, salt, and a penny when I moved into the flat -- for plentiful food, wealth, and good luck, respectively, though we had to look that up -- and when you find a penny on the street you’re meant to (pretend) spit on it three times and keep it in your pocket for luck. That’s all the folkloric traditions and superstitions I can think of off the top of my head. Do you have any?

I think pigs are pretty cool animals, regardless.

So, in the time since I last blogged I’ve been having really nice Christmas and birthday/New Years times. Hung out with my family, baked cookies, ate delicious food, and played card and board games (everyone seems to be coming around to my point of view that board games are for cool kids. My dad even enjoyed Settlers of Catan, after initial scepticism – “You can’t kill anyone?”). Everyone seemed to like the presents I got them, too.  :D (Paintings for my parents & brother, and a pair of Hello Kitty headphones for Tim.) My parents got me a new keyboard and screen, which I asked for intending to attach to my laptop, but then Tim got me the parts of a computer to go with them. :O! I am coming to you at this very moment from my super sexy new desktop PC. I got some other really great stuff, too )

On New Year’s Eve, Tim and I went out to see the London fireworks. The travel guidelines said the viewing areas start filling up around 8, so we went out for dinner and ended up on Westminster Bridge around 7. And then we sat and read books for five hours while Radio 1 played really lame music. It was totally worth it, though: the fireworks were spectacular. I adore fireworks. Pretty bright colours and loud noises are just viscerally satisfying. Fuck yeah, watch us light up the sky! I didn’t want to waste any of that feeling on trying to take photos, because photos of fireworks are never as good anyway, but I did tear myself away for a couple of seconds because the sea of cameras and phones that went up in front of me when it started was too amusing not to document.

Everyone on the internet already knows what fireworks look like, guys.

I was thinking yesterday about whether I should make a resolution this year. I usually don’t, because I think about my goals and how to achieve them pretty frequently anyway, so I don’t feel the need to do it at new year’s specifically. My life has been going really well in the last few months. Everything feels like it’s rolling in the right direction. I like where I live, my relationship is really good, I’ve been making some cool friends at uni and being social, and I got my first essay back before the holiday and got the best grade of my academic career so far holy shit. Of course this is a dangerous moment and I can’t rest on my laurels and stop pushing to keep rolling in that direction, so I’ve decided that my resolution for 2011 is: “Take all necessary steps to ensure the continuation of awesome good times”.

chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Model)
I handed in my last essay of the term yesterday. It feels nice not to have things to do for a bit.

I'll post more in a bit, but first: last Sunday was the SFF Soc Chirstmas party. Do you want to see my costume? Why am I even phrasing that as a question, I am showing you my costume:

Look )

I left early for essay purposes, but it was a really rocking party. You have not lived until you've danced in a conga line to 'They're Taking The Hobbits to Isengard'.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Harmless)
Do you know how much I love you?

I've had a post with half a review of volume 1 of Ōoku sitting in my drafts since the halcyon days of December 4th. It's a little end of term crunch-time-y around here at the moment, so I'll finish and post it when I've handed in my essay on the 16th. Short version: OMG I AM IN LOVE WITH EVERYTHING. Why are my copies of volume 2 - 4 not here yet, Amazon?

I also took the JLPT N4 on the 5th. It was pretty easy, actually, considering that I haven't studied that much in the last month. Unless of course I did terribly and don't realise it. :P

Oh, and the government hates students. Great. I considered going to the demo, but decided in favour of essay work and tutor meetings in the end. At least I didn't get hit in the head with a horse this way. :/
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Harmless)
I went to the Science Library at one point today to get a book out of the Anthropology section, and I found this written inside it:

Anonymous library book graffitier, I know your pain.

If you believe some of theorists you need to be a trained philosopher to make any kind of valid archaeological conclusions. Not that there's much concern with actually making conclusions in most of the things I've read, they're too busy calling each other stupid. It's like a flamewar collided with an introductory philosophy course. Serves me right for choosing the essay topic on polemics, really.

A thought I've been meaning to write down, courtesy of things I read for my essay that end up being only tangentially related:

It seems to me that people who emphasise environmental determinism put humans in a weird place where they react to ecology, but are not actually part of it, either for other humans or for the environment in general. Of course culture is an adaptation, but the environment someone is adapting to also includes all the other humans and all of the other humans from previous generations, and their culture and the things they made and made up. AND groups of people shape the environment around them, so there's a loop there. {And just because something is adaptive doesn't mean that it's 100% the optimal solution or that it can't survive past the time when it was useful.)

And those on the other side of the spectrum, who are more into particularism also sometimes separate humans out, in a weird free-will emphasising way that can smack slightly of religion. But I do agree with them about past people not being too stupid to understand why they do what they do to an extent and negotiating and altering the system and stuff.

This is degenerating into waffle because I am le tired. Here, have a Gundam Unicorn screenshot, I'm going to bed:

Maybe-Char, why have you got a pillow stuffed down the front of your coat.

Gundam Unicorn is so good.
I should start doing screenshot anime recaps again.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (longcat)
Back in the mists of time before uni started, I decided I should try to (re)learn how to do watercolour painting. At some point I did one of a Pokémon, and I thought "I bet the internet would love this". So I made a few more, and in the last week I finally got around to putting them on Etsy. :D

I have an Etsy shop now, check it out!

This is the first time I've made an attempt to actively sell things I have made on the internet, so if someone's desperate lack of Pokémon fanart watercolours ever comes up in conversation, I would be super appreciative if you pointed them my way.

Or you could buy one yourself, obviously, if you are so inclined. <3

OH BY THE WAY SPEAKING OF POKÉMON. Tim got us copies of Pokémon Black and White in Japanese. They were meant to be Christmas presents, but we are both people with absolutely no patience, so we started playing them when they got here last week. HATERS GONNA HATE, but I think most of the new Pokémon look pretty cool, and I can mostly understand what's going on, though I do have to play it with a dictionary. It totally counts as practice.

This is my party atm:

Munna and Dangoro are my favourites so far. Floral pink blobs and weird polygons all the way, apparently.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Holy Shit)
Why aren't you guys watching Star Driver? You should really be watching Star Driver.

This is a test of the Dreamwidth/LiveJournal crossposting system. LJ is getting annoying lately.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Layton)
First things first; my new number one game I am looking forward to:

Level 5/Capcom OTP FOREVER.

Change of topic: UCL continues to be the best place in the world. Next week Shahina Farid, the site director of Çatalhöyük, is coming to our "Issues in the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East" seminar. Yeah you know you're jealous. I don't actually know that much detailed info about Çatalhöyük, though, so I'm going to have to do some reading up.

Last week I went to the first of a series of Seminars at the Institute of Classical Studies on the theme of "Religion and Cross-cultural Trade in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East". ♥__♥ I'd been looking forward to it all week, and it did not disappoint; it was really interesting and exciting. That sounds sycophantic, because my professor gave it, but it genuinely was. It's the kind of topic I want to study. I've always liked the intersections of different cultures and how they work, which I'm sure I can at least partly blame on my international/third culture kid* adolescence.

I've been hanging out with the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Soc and techSoc, and I'm thoroughly enjoying not being a recluse anymore. Social interaction: it's pretty great. Social interaction with geeks is even better. I may end up joining the Japan Society, as well. They have language lessons, you see, and I desperately need some speaking practice. I was talking to a girl at the last SFF Soc movie night, and it came up in conversation that I was learning Japanese, so she started talking to me in it. I could understand what she was saying pretty well, but I immediately forgot all words and my mouth wouldn't open. ぜんぜんできなかった。;_; もっと練習しなくちゃいけない。

Apart from that I've spent most of my time reading and slowly getting into a working routine. I'm going to start writing my first essay, soon, too. I get to cram the uses of the concept of 'objectivity' by processualists and post-processualists into a meagre 2000 words. I bet you all envy me for that, too. :| I've squeezed in a little bit of drawing (and I have a fair amount of art from the last few months that I haven't posted online yet), but scanning and editing is time consuming and frustrating, and I just can't be bothered. ¬__¬ I am plotting ways to get access to high-quality scanners, though (none of the UCl libraries/computer rooms have any, as far as I've been able to find out, but I do have access to a range of other London universities...), so it may yet happen.

*I feel slightly weird calling myself a third culture kid, even though I do identify with at least some of the things in that article, because after all I only grew up in three counties, as opposed to six or seven. (I get the feeling that very thought is an indicator of my third-culture-kid-itude.)

It also seems to be associated more with US-Americans of the previous generation, and all I know about it I learned from that wikipedia article, so there's that, too.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Harmless)
So, this is an interesting story. (I don't even want to think about the articles tabloids will print about it, though.)

The BBC World Service had a short radio interview with someone from the museum earlier this morning (probably the spokesperson; I was still half asleep at the time so I didn't catch her name), and the interviewer kept pushing her to say something about how many people in modern New Zealand actually believe in these spirits. She brushed the question off in the end, but is it really important, anyway? Churches don't care if you're Catholic or not, they still won't let you in if you're wearing shorts or a sleeveless top (always the ladies :/). Museums are institutions of learning, and banning a certain group from learning is 100% a dick move, but it's not an outright ban, just a warning. (Excluding those women from the behind-the-scenes-tour does seem like a dick move to me, especially since they were museum staff, so this is their career.) On the radio, it sounded like they were doing it at the request, or at least on behalf of the Maori whose objects they are, so what else is the museum going to do? It is the Maori's stuff.

What do you guys think?

In tangentally related news, did you hear about Druids getting Real Proper Grown Up Religion status? I like it, I just wish people would stop touting Druidism as the oldest religion in Britain, because that is a complete lie and a twisting of historical fact.

I should start my archaeology blogging up again. My theory courses so far (the three lectures/seminars I have had, that is) have been about 200% as interesting and mind-bending as any I've had before. Did I tell you how I have only just now realised the significance and influence of imperialism (on EVERYTHING)? .__. The reading is also pretty depressing on a regular basis. What is the point of anything if we cannot even agree on basic principles akadhskjf;shdfkjhumans are so difficult. But then I'll read something else that is so right and I totally agree with (except for the bits I don't). STOP PLAYING WITH MY HEART ARCHAEOLOGICAL THEORY.

Breakfast time now, I think.
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Harmless)

Wednesday was enrolment day at UCL. I got what I'm pretty sure was superhumanly early (I shot out of bed the second my first alarm sounded at 7am because I was excited), and had registered, collected my ID card and picked up my email username and password by 9:30, leaving me with two hours to kill until anything was going on at the Institute of Archaeology. I am just ~*extra keen*~.

Read more... )

I've also registered my final module choices*:

Themes, Thought and Theory in World Archaeology: Foundations
Themes and Issues in the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East
Evolution of Palaeolithic and Neolithic Societies in the Near East
The Near East from Later Prehistory to the End of the Iron Age
Topics in Chinese Art and Archaeology

I'm pretty sure that China one was not in the booklet I had when I was looking at modules before, but I'm excited for it! :D I'm going to sit in on some undergrad modules on Chinese archaeology, as well, to get a bit of background knowledge.

My first lecture/seminar is tomorrow, in Themes, Thought, and Theory. Kinda wish I could take the contemporary issues version instead of the history of theory again, but I have become a lot fonder of theory since I figured out how and why it's actually relevant and important, so I'm still looking forward to it.

*Online! An awesome thing about UCL: they seem to be about 10 times more IT-savvy than Durham ever was. POP/IMAP aren't blocked on the email service, I can change all of my personal details online, and most importantly most of the required reading for the courses is available in pdf format!
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (longcat)
I've come across some neat things on the internet in the last couple of days, and since you guys are my favourites I thought I would share them with you.

I found this album via Kinokofry (an excellent collection of webcomics, by the way), and I strongly advise you to download it, as well!

Sound Club Sweet by Patrick Alexander (パッチ)

Cute and cheerful chiptunes-esque music. I listened to it all day yesterday and it filled my heart with nothing but peace and joy.*

On that note.


While the Pope is in the country, you can download Tim Minchin's Pope Song free from his website. (Tim Minchin's website, not the Pope's.) (Obviously.) It pretty much expresses my opinions on this topic.

Also, audiobooks! Audible is giving away free books in the Guardian, which is crazy cool, and people have posted all of the links in this forum. (If you go through the pages, there's direct links to Audible, as well, instead of through the Guardian website). I think it's a one-week only thing, so the earlier ones may not work anymore, but at least some of them should.

I've been listening to Down and Out in Paris and London on my way to and from the library (while getting ground into dust over and over again by Karen from the Elite Four). I'd never heard of it before so I had no real expectations, but it's really interesting so far. Also the reader does brilliant voices and accents verging on the silly, which makes it twice as good.

*So much so that I decided to show my appreciation via the medium of PayPal. Which you should totally do to, if you want and can! Paying people for rad stuff they make is the way to go.
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