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Back!

Right, it’s about time I posted something on here, so I’ll start with another apology. For the lack of posts. I may or may not have mentioned I’m currently finishing up a Masters degree in archaeology and am super-busy working on my dissertation. 20,000 words, no biggie, just a helluva lot to get done. But nothing to panic about right?

Well just had a meeting with my supervisor (who is stupidly excited about my project which means I know that (a) I’ve chosen good and (b) it’s a lot harder than it appears) and things were going well.

Up until the point he casually dropped it into the coversation that he wants to send it to a man named Ian Hodder.

Ian Hodder is a *huge* name in the archaeology world. Not only is he the director of the site I’m basing my work on, but he practically single-handedly pioneered postprocessional theory in archaeology. He got a first-class degree from a London university, and then a phd from freaking Cambridge (where he was also a lecturer for a while) and now he’s a Professor of Archaeology at Stanford University. Yep, theAmerican Stanford University.

*gulp*

So… no pressure then?

*panic*

It will all be fine. I’m sure.

am sure…

(As an amusing aside, someone who studied under him and who’s work I’ve been reading is an archaeologist called Michael Shanks. I laughed a lot when I saw that. Sadly, he didn’t do any work with the Eqyptians… Geeky moments!)

What’s New Pussycat?

Long time no write I know, I know. Had a hectic Easter break working in Spain and then surfing in Portugal (which, by the way, was a.maze.ing!) and then came back to wet and rainy UK to find my laptop broken and my dissertation proposal due in… Complete rewrite in less than 24 hours was stressful to say the least!

I’ve finally started working on my 3D university project that will form the base model for my dissertation. If you want to check out my academic work (which *should* be updated far more regularly now I’m actually working on something) the link is on the side of my profile. BUT you can see a first render of my model here. It’s blocky and awful at the moment, but it will improve. Hopefully. I’ll let you know when further progress has been made.

So what else is new with me? Well, I’ve just been offered my first paid job redesigning a website, which is very exciting. And I’m down to compete for my university surf club in the Varsity competition we’re having next weekend against a nearby university. Only in the beginners section I should point out. I’m hoping they have a prize for best wipe out. Because I could totally win that.

I may also get around to writing the ‘About Me’ section of this blog today. It’s only taken me, oh, four months or so to get my arse in gear and fill it in. Keep your eyes peeled!

And finally I have a brand new laptop – a teeny tiny (11.6) Samsung which’ll be purrrrfect for taking to Cyprus with me this summer to write my dissertation on while I’m working. Woop woop.

Red Head

Thought I should quickly counteract the sadness of my last post with a happier one: In other life news I dyed my hair. Red. So red. I love it! Just take a look at this:

Image

So red!

It was a last-minute decision on Monday night. It’s not quite as red as I was thinking, but I chickened out last minute. I’ve never dyed my hair anything nearly this vivid before but figured I’m in my last (definitely last) year of Uni now so when the hell am I going to get a chance to do this without worrying about work/job/appearance etc. etc. Plus it was one of my New Year’s Resolutions… not that I really made any! 😀

The result is brilliant though.

An Empty Cage

On the 11th January 2011 I welcomed in to my home a lovely little tan-and-white hamster I named Mindy. As in the girl from Kick Ass, not Mork and Mindy! She was this tiny, very very frightened little thing who instantly wiggled her way into my heart.

Mindy when I first got her.

Over the next few weeks I spent time getting her accustomed to humans, taming her and encouraging her to sit in my hand. It wasn’t an easy process. Many hamster chocolate drops were required. She also had to learn my fingers were not food! Read More…

Pillow Fort

I have ended up with an absolutely horrific cold which has been making me feel miserable. I confess, I am a real wuss about being sick. I hate that it stops me doing all the fun things, like exercise, but yet it’s not bad enough to stop me doing the important stuff, like work >.< Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t put my life on hold or anything, and it only stops me doing the ‘fun stuff’ because I let it. I’ve learnt the hard way that trying to force myself to keep on exercising and training while sick only makes things far far worse (a Boxing Day trip to hospital a few years back with pneumonia was a lesson learned – trust me!). But I can still grumble about it.

So to cheer myself up today I reverted to being a small child and did something I haven’t done in years.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give to you, my pillow fort!

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Why I am an Atheist

PZ Myers on his wonderful Pharyngula blog has been asking for essays on why people are atheists, so I thought I’d write my own. Below is what I wrote originally, but it went on a fair bit so I’ve submitted a heavily edited version to him. If it gets put up on his blog I shall let you all know! Apologies in advance for the length of this post!

Why I am an Atheist 

I realise that I am incredibly lucky. I am a college-educated, very well-travelled Western woman from a nominally middle-class family, born into a society where religion is rarely mentioned in polite (or even impolite) company. My parents didn’t go in for religion in a big way, but did try and thrust some Christian beliefs onto me. I have vague memories of Sunday schools, of being Mary in a Nativity and of attending services as Brownie where they let me ring the church bells (while being carefully watched to make sure I didn’t disappear up into the belfry), but I don’t recall having any strong religious convictions. To me, God was just the nice man in the sky who you sent your wishes to. A bit like Santa Claus, but at least you got presents from him at Christmas; God never seemed to grant my wishes (and if Santa couldn’t get me a pony then what hope did God have?!).

I had a minor ‘crisis of faith’ when I was nine and my beloved hamster Shadow fell sick. I spent a worried night praying that she would be ok, but alas in the morning she was dead and I was heartbroken. I thought it unfair that God had ignored my prayers and had taken something precious from me. I didn’t understand what I’d done to deserve her death, falling in to the (rather arrogant) trap that somehow it was my fault she had died. I clearly hadn’t been religious enough to warrant God saving her. But as children do I bounced back and forgot my little waver of faith.

From a young age I was a voracious reader and one of my most treasured books (which I still have to this day) was an encyclopaedia of Gods, Goddesses and Heroes from around the world – from the Classical Mediterranean and the Norse, to the exotic; Central American, African, Asian… complete with their myths and legends. Already I was aware that not everyone had always believed in ‘my’ God, and some people in the world still didn’t.

When I was ten my father’s job took us to Cyprus, which is a fascinating country for those that know anything about its history, and a perfect place to visit the nearby Middle East from. My parents were very keen on encouraging us to travel and two trips in particular changed the way I viewed the world. Read More…

Dating

So I’ve had a productive morning so far. I’ve submitted an assignment for uni, opened the door to a plumber in my towel (amusing aside – I was in the shower, thought the door was my housemate so jumped out to answer it, turned out to be a young, cute and rather flustered young man. Oops.) and I’ve arranged a date.

Well, it’s sort of a date. In the, I’m not entirely sure, those exact words weren’t used, it’s more a catch up with an old friend with the hint there may be something more. I haven’t seen this guy in about four years – we were in a university club together and then he went off sailing and I went off travelling. A while ago via the medium of Facebook he asked if I’d like to go out sometime. I said yes, and then nothing really came of it. Many months, a few Facebook chats and lots of ‘pokes’ later, we’ve finally set a day.

Tomorrow. Talk about last minute.

This not-really-a-date-possibly-a-date got me thinking about the notion of ‘dating’ itself. My last real date was three years and two boyfriends ago, so it’s been a while. Not that I haven’t met guys or anything; I just haven’t done the meet for a drink or go to the cinema with someone with possible romantic connotations for some time. And to be honest, I’ve never really been on many outings that could fall into the ‘date’ category.

And I don’t think it’s just me (though who knows, it might be!)

For us in England the whole dating thing is a little strange. We don’t really do it. Not the way our American friends across the pond do. I was amazed in California how many times complete strangers stopped me in the street and asked me to go for a coffee or lunch with them, how the guy in Madam Tussauds in Hollywood gave me his phone number (he wasn’t the only one) or how the man at Immigration just tried to chat me up instead of giving me the nth degree on why I wanted to enter his country. I don’t mean this to sound like I’m bragging, “oh look how awesome I am, all these guys after me”. I know I’m not ugly, but I’m not model gorgeous either, sort of average really. And I’m happy (mostly, depending on my mood) with how I look. But I know I’m not the sort of girl that guys stop dead in the street to stare at. What I’m trying to say was how alien I found all this. Never in England. None of this has ever happened to me, nor any of my friends as far as I’m aware in my home country. The most you get is wolf-whistles and lewd comments made by builders, but only while they’re in front of their mates. And as for being ‘chatted up’ in a bar, pick up lines such as “get your coat, you’ve pulled” seem to be used more to illicit a laugh than seriously. At least, I hope no one uses them seriously!

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