Random musings and life

A bit of an experiement really, so come along and take part :) Anyone can post so please take part. To make sure you get the latest post click on the link to the current month's archive on the right hand side of the page.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Which is the best?

I'm struggling to think of which is the best blog entry to link to from various profiles I have. I want people to read one of my better ones but can't work out which would be the best! Ideally (and rather obviously) I want it to be something that entices people to read more.

What do you think? Remember anyone can post comments on here (you do not need to have joined blogger/blogspot/whatever). Also you don't have to leave a name, you can be anonymous. So let me know what you think.

If you can't remember what you liked, have a browse round the archive links on the right hand side of this page. If you're pressed for time why not take a look at one of the following,

Sometimes you just have to laugh
Archaeology Fashion
There's more to archaeology than just digging
Can't see the blog for the trees
Random acts of kindness
Moving, living and the extraordinary
You Give Me Something
Do we need to know where we come from?
About me

Just a selection of posts to help you choose something. You may not choose anything off the above list! Please please comment though.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The world continues spinning

Life goes on as they say.

I finally found out why my new phone doesn't work. Apparently I should have got a digital one because I'm on broadband. Who tells me this? My Mum. When does she remember this pearl of wisdom? The day after I buy the phone and spend a few hours trying to figure out why it won't work. Ah well, at least she solved the mystery.

Today was a pretty exciting day for me. I got to go to a site visit that wasn't round the corner from my house. Progress! We went to a farm and got to stand in this tiny little trailer while we were pulled around by a quad bike. No back to the trailer so it was almost like being in a chariot... well kind of!

Anyway today I got to see prehistoric rock art for the first time ever in person. Not photographs, not diagrams but real rock art. I had to look at some pieces on this farm to assess the best way of preserving it without it being detrimental to wildlife or the farm. So we looked at a known piece which because of the light wasn't particularly spectacular. Then we looked at a new piece a colleague found nearby on a visit a few weeks earlier. Later on we moved onto a different part of the farm to see if we could find a piece on our records. I was the person who found it, and I'd not really seen rock art before today. It was amazing! I found a piece of art carved around 3,500 years B.C., which is like over 5,000 years ago.
It looked a little like this. A row of three cup marks as we call them.

Anyway, after finishing up on the farm, and scrabbling about in a hedgerow on the way home to find a pillbox my boss had seen (it was there, she hadn't started hallucinating archaeological sites), I got back to the office to write things up. It turns out the piece of rock art I spotted was brand new undiscovered rock art :) How spectacular is that?

Apart from that though, my day has been pretty average :)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The blog-market

The world of blogs is a curious one. Blogs are becoming more and more popular. Take for example Google’s recent launch of a blog search engine. You can search for blogs, write a blog, read a blog, and now you can even buy and sell shares in blogs. Ok so these shares have no real monetary value and from what I can gather it’s all just a bit of fun. If you own a blog, you may well find yours listed as I did at blogshares.

A while ago some of you may have read my piece about my blog statistics. Well the really fascinating thing I can do with my free tracking software is find out where people have come from i.e. where they have clicked a link that sends them to my blog. Sometimes I feel sorry for the poor person who initiated the search like the British Museum employee who was looking for websites about the Portable Antiquities scheme. Then there are those I just have to laugh at like the person who put a search in for “keira knightly flat-chested”. Or the person who was looking for blogs by archaeology students (sorry I graduated back in 2004!). Anyway, one day I noticed a link from blogshares so decided to follow it. Imagine my surprise when I found this staring back at me.

So I wrote in and asked a bit more about it. Hey I didn’t want people making money out of my thoughtless ramblings! Especially as I’m not exactly rich. Turns out its all just a bit of fun.

So this weekend I thought I’d delve into the world of blogshares. It’s free to join and they give you some imaginary money to start off with. You even get shares of your own blog for free (if you can prove its yours). Not entirely sure what to do with my ‘free money’ I bought more shares in my own blog and tried to buy one or two from blogs I quite enjoy reading. Shame really that they’re priced so high so I ended up with one from each of the two blogs in question. Well no actually… I’m still waiting for those purchases to go through…

Anyway, I thought that was that. It might be interesting to watch (especially as my blog seems to have increased in value over the few days before I signed up) and that ultimately it was just a passing fad. My blog isn’t popular enough in my humble opinion to rise in value much. After all, about 61% of visitors come from referrals (e.g. links from other sites, search engines or links from e-mail) suggesting that only 39% of people come from bookmarks, meaning that there is not that many regular visitors.

Imagine my surprise when a random benefactor gifted me some shares from another blog. His reasoning was the spreading of good karma. Someone helped him when he got started and so he wanted to help other new people. So I decided to gift him a few shares of my blog. Imagine my surprise when about half an hour ago I discovered he’d gone back and bought up the rest of the shares in my blog. Wow! Not bad going. I’ve now had to add more shares for my blog.
As you can see I’m pretty excited. Maybe it’s a good thing I’ve joined and ‘claimed’ my blog. You should all claim your blogs (if you own one) and you should all consider playing and buying shares in this blog J You never know, it might be fun.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The phones of the world have united against me

Ok so given the title of my post you're probably thinking I'm suffering a bout of paranoia (a bit like suffering a bout of flu only it never actually goes away it just flares up every so often). The truth of the matter is I don't really see that I'm being all that paranoid!

As regular readers know, my phone died yet again on Wednesday night. I'm talking about my cordless landline thingy not a mobile. In the last month it has decided not to have any dial tone for no apparent reason and didn't want to make or receive phonecalls. The fact the internet has continued working suggests that the phone was having a fit rather than the phoneline. Anyway, given that it was the third time the phone had done this *and* I'd had the police round about that mysterious 999 call (see my last post) I decided to buy a new phone.

So off I toddled to Newcastle today with high hopes. I explained to the nice shop assistant in John Lewis (the only shop that seemed to sell analogue rather than cordless phones) what my problem was. After a certain amount of disbelief, finally convinced the assistant my current phone was indeed a child of the devil and I really wanted to try analogue instead (as in old fashioned phones that are still attached to the base unit with a cord). The phone I wanted was out of stock so had to settle for the cheaper model. Perhaps alarms bells should have rung at that point?

Whilst out in Newcastle I also did a bit of clothes shopping. Have somehow managed to loose some of my university flab and so shouldn't have been shocked when the trousers I was trying on didn't fit. Wahey! I'm not a size 14 anymore! Anyway although I have slimed down a trouser/skirt size I have yet to grow any taller, so even the petite ranges are slightly too long. Nevermind, at least I find clothes I would willing wear which is quite unusual for me! Perhaps I should have seen this as a sign that things were about to go down hill?

Anyway, I tried wasting some time by going to the Hancock Museum which I haven't visited since we moved away from Newcastle 12 years ago. Bit depressing really. Nostalgia aint what its cracked up to be. I eventually decided to go home, apparently at the same time as everyone else, so ended up squashed on the bus. Its a mystery to me why they feel on a Saturday at half past 4 they'll have enough room to fit everyone on a single decker bus. What a joy the four Saturdays leading up to Christmas are going to be.

Once back at home I revived myself with coffee and chicken liver pate on toast (yes I have strange tastes). Once that was over with I tried setting up the phone. The instructions make it sound so simple. There is in fact only one step to get your phone working, plug it into the phone socket. As I'm sure you've guessed (if you've got this far) this didn't work. It's not like it was going to was it? Hey it is me we're talking about after all.

So I tried the damned thing in every phone socket in the house, with every phone cable I have and nothing... nothing works. My Dad has suggested I ask my neighbor if I can try my phone at hers, just to make sure it isn't just my phone line being excessively strange.

There you have it though. The phones of the world are really beginning to unite against me. Even my mobile has started. It doesn't seem to recognise any swear words (damn this predictive texting) so I'm having to teach them to it again.

Does anyone else want to live my life for me?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sometimes you have to laugh

There are some days you just have to laugh otherwise you really would cry. To be honest the last 24 hours seem to have been pretty much like that.

Yesterday evening I finally plucked up the courage to finally test the waters with that rather good-looking archaeology student (not undergraduate but PhD). Just started by asking a simple question (that I happened to want to know the answer to) so we kind of got chatting by e-mail. Only I got a bit careless and decided to be a bit like myself and cracked a couple of jokes. Having got no reply it seems rather obvious that I’ve scared the poor dear and he’s run a mile. Am quite relived and it’s meant I’ve finally been able to get on with work today. He's a nice enough person but it seems he isn't for me.

This evening I went to my cake decorating class. I am not artistic by nature, not artistic at all! I managed to forget half of what I needed, made the bags badly for the icing so one of them fell apart before I even got icing into it and managed to get one bad to squirt icing out of the wrong end. My poor teacher insisted on grabbing her icing bag rather than use mine! I am definitely not the most able pupil! It was a good laugh though so will keep going.

When I got home, I’d hardly been back 10 minutes when there was a knock at the door. Was shocked to find two policewomen at my door. Apparently I’d made a 999 call that had cut off. Seeing as I hadn’t been able to get the blasted thing to work since yesterday evening and had been out at my class for the past 2 hours we were all at a loss as to what was going on. They checked the phone, took my details and left. I have vowed to buy a more expensive phone on Saturday. Until then my current one is unplugged from the phone line to prevent any more embarrassing visits from the police.

It couldn't happen to anyone else...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Archaeology fashion

I’ve always found it quite disturbing that archaeologists are painted as these super cool beings that travel the world, a cross between a hippie and a student (although you can’t always tell the difference). Yet here I am and I’m about as uber-cool as that age-old sandal and sock combination. Its probably part of the reason I get the odd looks when I say I’m an archaeologist. I’m not wearing boots, jeans, t-shirt and Indiana Jones style hat, but rather boots, black trousers, a smart/casual v-neck t-shirt and no hat (at least I wear my boots!). I look more at home in an office than a 6ft deep muddy hole.

One of my fellow archaeologists at University just oozed that archaeology-cool look. He was tall, slim and had spent most of his gap year back-packing round the world. He’d picked up a bead necklace in Peru (or somewhere like that) and wore it constantly. He had a beard and cultivated a generally, slightly scruffy but sexy, cool archaeology look. He was a great guy, and I enjoyed spending time with him but boy was I jealous he just looked every inch the archaeologist! What was quite amusing (on reflection) was that when I said what course I was doing at the college induction session I’d get all these girls go ‘oooh have you seen that gorgeous guy whose doing archaeology yet?!’. Yes it seems the cool-archaeology look is a great way of impressing the ladies (if you’re a bloke).

The thing is, does that uber-cool archaeology stereotype really exist? I have a colleague at work that wears t-shirt, baggy trousers (or shorts) and trainers and again just seems to cultivate that male archaeologist look. He’s not adverse to a good drink (it’s a truth universally acknowledged that archaeologists drink vast amounts of alcohol. If I had a penny for every time someone exclaimed I couldn’t be an archaeologist because I don’t drink enough I’d be well on the way to earning my second million). What I find somewhat reassuring, is that despite this outward ‘cool’ look, the poor love seems to be a fan of buses. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, old fashioned buses and trams etc. He also enjoys the odd spot of gardening. Hardly the uber-cool image of the archaeologist J

Next week I’m going to my first regional meeting of archaeologists. I have high hopes of plenty of ties/smart clothing and generally middle-aged men and women looking distinctly average. At least that way there is no competition to look uber-cool.

I was chatting to a friend of mine about my observations. Their reaction was, ‘I didn’t think archaeologists looked like that’. Either the poor love has spent too much time around me and has seen how I dress or he’s imagining an archaeologist six inches deep in mud J. I guess my portrayal of the uber-cool travelling archaeologist is kind of what guys would wear rather than gals anyway.

I decided to take an impromptu quiz in a chat room as to what people expect archaeologists to look like. Basically the guys look like Indiana Jones and the girls look like the lead in Relic Hunter (thanks Iggy & welshfungirl36). Someone even said they thought it would involve a boob job to be a female archaeologist (a Lara Croft reference perhaps?). At least no one thinks I swan round trenches in a ball gown (if you’ve ever seen my picky on yahoo you’ll know what I mean!).
What I’m trying to say in a strange and round about way is that looks can be deceiving. So next time you see someone out on the street looking garish or frightening the chances are they’re a great person J. And that really cool dude at the end of the street might have all the personality of an empty crisp packet! Looks aren’t everything.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Archaeologist or Secretary?

What a day! I felt like I was being pulled in every direction imaginable! I'm tired and hungry so I'm going to make this post quick :)

I'm sure all of you have days where there is just too much today. You start the day with a pile of stuff to do and end up not completing any of them, but doing all the other 'urgent' stuff that's passed onto you and still manage to add things to your original pile of things to do!

I got into work this morning and was the first in as always. I live the nearest so perhaps this isn't surprising. I also don't have any pets or children to sort out before I get to work! My biggest problem outside of work is my stupid crush on that good looking PhD student.

Anyway, I got into work and spent my first hour fielding the phones and running after people to get answers to a really difficult question I'd been posed by one of the people on the phone. Tried to contact them with some help but they haven't replied to my message yet. The worst bit is they're never going to know you ditched the work you *should* have been doing to run round the building asking questions and they wouldn't appreciate it. I'm not entirely sure why I bother.

I had my usual e-mails and bits of post regarding this sort of society that the team runs to go through as well this morning. As part of this I had over 200 letters and flyers to sign and send out to the members, once I'd tracked my line manager down to get him to proof read it! He started criticising it and I just asked if he could possibly write it instead. Amazingly he agreed!
So once they were all printed off, signed and stuffed in envelopes (at least I managed to get some help from the work experience student we have in!) I had to manage to take them all downstairs to the pigeon holes so that they would get posted. Within days I'll start getting frantic phonecalls/e-mails/letters trying to book on a walk.

Added to this I had to juggle the work experience student, a visitor, organising sending out magazines, books etc not to mention somehow fit half an hour lunch break in. On top of that I needed to answer some general enquiries. I'm tired, a little narked I've actually added to rather than reduced my pile of work, and hungry. Maybe I should be grateful all this work distracts me from any worries I might have about my non-existent love life?

At the end of the day I have one question. What happened to the archaeology?