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 (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 (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 (My dick)

I fell asleep just as the children's programming was starting on Radio 7, which is around... 5 am? Wow, later than I thought. And I still woke up at 8:30, feeling perfectly awake. Idek.

I'm trying out a self-motivating tactic where you stop doing something when you're having fun and are still really motivated to keep going, so you'll be quicker to start the next day. It's working so far, but it's really hard! XD I can't stop in the middle of a math problem, it's just not right.

News bulletins:

The Evolution of Palaeolithic and Neolithic Societies in the Near East option at UCL isn't cancelled after all! ♥ You guys can't even believe how thrilled I am about this. It's the perfect module.

Oh, speaking of Archaeology stuff, look, an entire free volume of Human Biology! Which is not what it sounds like but actually (in this case) material form a Center for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity conference on demographics and dispersal and cultural evolution and incredibly sexy things like that. I've only read one article so far, though — I don't really like reading long PDFs on screens where I can't underline stuff and take notes in the margins, but whenever I've been at ACS to make use of their abundance in printer ink and paper the computers have been uncooperative.

I went to see Agora with my parents and Tim last week. It was good! Even better than I expected it to be! A lot deeper than your average period drama, with its depictions of religious conflict and doubt vs. certainty and so on. I really want to see it again to form a more detailed opinion (and because I just want to see it again), but it's only showing in the small cinema at Leicester Square, and the tickets are crazy expensive. Maybe I'll rent the DVD when it comes out.

I think the moral of the story was "science is totally hawt", but that might just have been me.

(You will also notice I am using an APPROPRIATE ASTRONOMY ICON.)

We put in an offer on a flat, but then we decided we couldn't really afford it after all so we had to take the offer back. Still lookin'.

Lastly, there's only 3 episodes of Durarara!! left now, and while I don't want it to end, I am so excited for the last few episodes. There is some kind of epic climax building. Seriously, you guys. Watch it. It's free! Legitimately!
chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Default)
[So maybe I'll try cross-posting here? I do quite like DW.]

It's suddenly only a small number of months until I start at UCL! And just when I've just about figured out how not to let myself drown in a sea of ennui and depression when I have nothing to do. What a waste.

I got an email from the Institute of Archaeology (IoA?) this week asking me to tell them what options I'd like to do with my MA, so they can gauge interest. Unfortunately these two, which I really wanted to take, aren't running next year, so I spent forever deciding which of the alternatives to pick. I ended up with these:

The Near East from Later Prehistory to the End of the Iron Age
The Archaeology of Early Egypt and Sudan, c.10,000 to 2500 BC
Archaeology of Late Pleistocene and Holocene Hunter-Gatherers

And as second choices in case any of those are cancelled, The Mediterranean world in the Iron Age, Anthropological and Archaeological Genetics, and The Aegean from first farmers to Minoan states.

I wasn't sure whether I should put one of the Mediterranean ones in my preferred options list instead of the hunter-gatherers one, but in the end I went with hunter-gatherers because the professor co-ordinating it has the more interesting research interests. I think that's a legit reason.

Ffff guys, I am so excited.

Speaking of Archaeology, I've been reading about the MASS Project today. I heard about it vaguely just before I left Durham, but then I completely forgot about it until recently. It's a super-badass project that involves modelling prehistoric settlements to see how they interact with, affect, and react to their environments. I've not finished reading all the stuff on the website yet, but like I said, it sounds super badass.

In other news, my parents and I went to see Robin Hood yesterday, and it was... really, really lame. Magna Carta out of nowhere )

It doesn't feel right somehow to make a post without a single picture or drawing in it, so here's an animated gif of a cat that I found on the internets:


chairman_wow: picture of my faaaace (Default)
Mx. Macaronic

October 2012

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