katycat: (Default)
2012-05-05 09:35 pm
Entry tags:

Dominica photos

I finally got some photos from Dominica posted - they are up on Flickr here!

Now I gotta tackle Iceland and Greenland ...
katycat: (Default)
2012-03-20 05:51 pm

Man, I could go for some cassava bread right now.

Daniel's cassava bread stand in the Kalinago Territory, Dominica

Cassava root, a little coconut, a tiny bit of sugar, mixed with a handful of water, shaped into the size and thickness of a frisbee and slapped on a 300-year-old chunk from a cast-iron sugar boiler to cook. SO YUMMY.

If you haven't been glued to it for the past two weeks, you should go read our Dominica posts at the Fiske Center blog!

In other news, it is ridiculously hot in Boston this week, and I still have to finish my taxes.
katycat: (Default)
2012-02-26 12:34 pm
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Exciting news!

I got into Northwestern! I found out on Thursday and have had very little time to digest this because I've also been packing for fieldwork in Dominica - a joint NU/UMB/USC project that will take me to the Caribbean for the next three weeks. We're taking all of our remote sensing equipment and hoping to locate and describe slave quarters at a couple of different plantation sites.

I'm used to packing for fieldwork in the Arctic, so my suitcase - only about half full of clothes (t-shirts, light cotton long sleeved shirts and similarly light cargo pants) - is slightly bizarre to me. I really feel like I've forgotten something important!

To switch gears again, I had a great time at my interview at Northwestern last weekend. I wish they could accept all the prospective students who were there - I felt like we really began to come together as a cohort. I think this kind of joint interview weekend is a great idea and I think more schools should do the same!

I'll probably be leaving MA in early July, then doing some more fieldwork and moving up to the Evanston vicinity in late August or early September.

Does anyone have suggestions for fieldwork in the tropics, or good Chicago neighborhoods for graduate students?
katycat: (xkcd - science)
2012-02-12 05:24 pm

Earliest Sound Recordings

I've been following the news reports on this for a while now, and this afternoon I finally spent some time on their website: FirstSounds.org. This group has been working for the last several years to virtually play back phonautograms (sound waves scratched on a sheet of coated paper by a needle - kind of like a seismograph) from the 1860s and later. You might have seen this 2008 NYT story. Everything is up on their site, with several more accurate renditions of that first recording of "Au Clair de la Lune." Just a couple months ago they put up some recordings from the earliest disks intended for playback, made in the 1880s - including the first recorded f-bomb.

And when you're done there (none of the recordings are more than few minutes - most are only seconds), you can listen to William Jennings Bryan talk about imperialism during the election of '08 - 1908, that is.
katycat: (Bones - in training)
2012-02-08 10:52 pm
Entry tags:

(more) graduate school

As some of you may know, I've applied to PhD programs in anthropology for Fall 2012. I found out today that UNC-Chapel Hill turned me down. This is not entirely unexpected, but it's still a little disappointing.

I also applied to Northwestern, and they've invited me up for an interview next weekend. I already have what I hope is a fairly good relationship with a couple of the professors there, so I think I have a reasonably good chance of getting in. I really like the program a lot, and I think it may be the best possible program for me -- I'm very much hoping for this!

Anyway, fingers crossed! I'll keep you posted.
katycat: (Default)
2012-02-05 03:48 pm
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Rosemary Joyce tackles marriage:

"The main difficulty in refuting people who make the claim that "marriage" has "existed since the beginning of human history" for "men and women [to] come together...for the purposes of having children" is actually that there is too much historical fact that refutes it to easily summarize.

As an anthropologist, the temptation is to cite other cultures ...

But I think those responses, while valid, miss the point.

Santorum and others like him don't mean to include the practices of men and women in Native American, South East Asian, or African traditional societies when they say marriage has existed unchanged since "human history" began, and they don't care if primate studies suggest our species might not actually be quite so naturally straight as they imagine. They mean the history that they claim as their own: the one sanctioned by God as continuing "civilization".

But they are still wrong about those historical facts."

And I'll also quote the last sentence, which is I think the real take-away from the article:

It is inhumane as well as ahistorical, and it ignores the one real universal about our species: we are human, and humans evolve to fit their times and circumstances.

Original blog post here

Interesting meta about writing such a post is here
katycat: (Default)
2012-02-04 06:35 pm

BPL sale

Books I got at the Boston Public Library book sale this morning:


And then I got a haircut! It's super short again - and at the moment, it's lying flat and really cute, but that will only last until the next time I wash it. I'd planned to get it cut before the summer field season, but I suddenly have some fieldwork in Dominica coming up next month, so I went ahead and did it now. I'd psyched myself up for a $50 haircut, but it turned out I had ten inches to spare, so I've got a ponytail (currently drying) to be sent to Locks of Love on Monday -- and a free haircut! (I left a pretty good tip.)
katycat: (iceland - coring)
2012-02-01 10:32 pm


I did something last week that I did not think I would ever do.

That's right, I JOINED A GYM.

Admittedly the main draw was yoga classes two nights a week. I've been somewhat keeping up with doing yoga DVDs at home, but it's much nicer to have a real live instructor with some variety, and a place to do yoga that is fully carpeted.

(Oh man, this floor. I'm fairly sure my basement apartment is cinderblocks under minimal insulation under hard, shiny tile - 3 mm of yoga mat, even 3 mm of yoga mat plus a towel, is not enough to make it stop destroying my wrists and toes. It has already literally decimated the glass objects I owned when I moved in.)

So, back to the gym - it's clear from my immediate impressions that the only gym-like structures I've entered for the last, oh, seven years have been Icelandic swimming pools. What? Shoes allowed in the locker room?? What, I have to bring my own lock?? Individual shower stalls? Changing rooms?? It's like I'm living in a repressed society with unhealthy body image issues that paradoxically glorifies self-centered autonomy! Or something.

Anyway, this is all a prelude to: I CAN almost DO PUSH-UPS NOW! \o/!
katycat: (Default)
2012-01-21 08:48 pm

Questions! Answers!

It has been brought to my attention that I've been completely remiss in my promise to post here about archaeology and Iceland. Yeah, yeah, mea culpa. There are a few reasons for this which can be summarized as (a) busy and (b) inertia and (c) some things that have been troubling me wrt one's right to privacy and oversharing on the internet - but mostly (d) increasing awareness of my own intellectual inadequacy (which I hear is something that happens when you learn more, go figure).

But I have an MA in archaeology now (have had since June, didn't post, oops?), which means I Know Things And Have The Documentation To Prove It.

Far too much has happened, and has led to what is happening, for me to summarize here. Also, I am hungry, and have been too distracted to eat most of the afternoon (because I have just finished a really outstanding novel called Eifelheim by Michael Flynn).

So if there's something you want to know and/or talk about, why don't you ask it here? I will possibly expound in comments.
katycat: (Default)
2010-08-29 01:18 pm


Hi! I'm back from Greenland (and basically moved in to my new apartment)!

Here's a link to the Greenland blog (entries for Aug. 1-17, 2010) that we tried our best to keep updated. (I wrote a lot of it.)

Not many photos yet, because the first few days' worth are on someone else's computer, and then my camera died about 5 days from the end. But here's a teaser!

9 Greenland Photos )

In September I hope to be working at Faneuil Hall. Classes start soon, and I also have a thesis to write!
katycat: (Misc - iceland scene)
2010-02-15 10:38 pm
Entry tags:

Ninth Biennial Open Forum for Graduate Students Conference at Boston University

This weekend I will be presenting the early stages of my research on Icelandic tephrochronology and sedimentation at the Ninth Biennial Open Forum for Graduate Students Conference at Boston University: (Un)Known Spaces: Perceived and Intangible Landscapes.

Paper titles and conference details are under here )

Follow the link at top for directions. All of the papers look fascinating; it should be a great day! If you stop by, come find me and say hi. (Also, I have it on good authority that there will be free bagels to go with the free knowledge.)
katycat: (VA - mrs davis)
2010-01-09 05:38 pm

Cross stitch

I finally finished Sally's Christmas present!

It's a cross-stitched trivet based on the pattern from some of the Williamsburg Pottery mugs. (She collects Williamsburg pottery.) I started a couple days before Christmas and worked on it for a few hours every few days since.

Here's the pattern:

Blow it up to 800x in MS Paint or your favorite drawing program, turn on the grid, hit Print Screen, paste, crop, print, viola.

a few more pictures for documentary purposes )
katycat: (Cats - chessie)
2009-12-19 05:43 pm



But first, have some pictures from Cambridge:

Cambridge pics )

But the important thing is, THERE IS A BLIZZARD OUTSIDE!


And now we are watching Doctor Who on BBCA. :D
katycat: (Default)
2009-09-03 04:51 pm
Entry tags:


I'm all moved in to my new apartment in Cambridge! It's a really cute, small place in an old building. The layout is sort of twisty, which I think makes it feel a lot bigger than it actually is. The kitties are settled in, too - there are lots of windows, which they love - and I am really proud of what good girls they were on the drive up, and how well they've taken this whole moving thing! My awesome roomie has been showing me around Cambridge, but it's going to take me a while to figure out where everything is and how to get there.

Speaking of which, I decided to send my car home with my mom and sister. There's parking, but it's aggravating parking, and there's really no place to just leave a car while I figure out if I can do without it. If I decide I really want it, I'll bring it back with me for next semester.

Classes start next week! I'm taking four plus an assistantship - which will be a lot. But without a job, I think I can handle it. I can't wait to get started!
katycat: (Default)
2009-08-24 03:53 am



America is also too flashy and dirty and there is too MUCH of everything and I miss the London Underground. London runs smoothly in a way that NYC just does not.


Rainbow on descent to Keflavik:

(Oh, Iceland.)

Sunset over Long Island:

Looks a bit apocalyptic from the ground (or else I haven't seen enough sunsets recently):

Also, megabus has internets. But my battery is very low and I have two Bugles waiting for me on my iPod. I'll catch ya'll later.

I'll be back in MD in a few hours and then real life (ie, BOSTON) starts up again ...

(Mom's had some troubles with the airlines. She's supposed to be back well before I am .. hopefully that still happens!)
katycat: (Misc - give me a bin!)
2009-08-16 11:08 pm
Entry tags:

In London

Just checking in! I've been floating pollen samples for most of the week and never had a chance to update with Reykjavik photos or anything about the end of the season. There is internet at the hostel, so I may do that some time this week -- or next week, after I get home.

I can't believe my summer in Iceland is over ... it was one of the most incredible things I've ever done, and I miss everyone already!

Mom and I are in London and we've checked into our hostel, and for the next week we'll be Doing London. There's a British phone booth across the street. England is awesome so far. I had a Starbucks at Heathrow! I'm back in civilization! (Oh, Iceland.)
katycat: (Misc - me with cows)
2009-08-06 09:42 pm
Entry tags:


[The following was mostly written yesterday evening.]

This morning I clung to the side of a cliff like Spider-Man and troweled away at an exposed tephra sequence. After lunch I sat in a pit that was overrun with tiny, annoyed flies. This afternoon I dug a hole in a bog, and helped take samples from the side wall before the whole thing filled with water.

Iceland is still awesome.

And I've been ill with the Ox Flu, the dread disease that has decimated our entire house over the last week. It is named for the huge (probably not ox) bones that have come out of our main site. Luckily, the Ox presents only as a rather bad head cold. Yesterday I stayed home and learned how to float, and last night the NyQuil Fairy paid me a visit (it works so much better than the Sudafed I brought). In another day or so I should have completely kicked the Ox.

I'm sorry I haven't posted recently; I haven't been to the lab much, and when I have, I've mostly been entering data. Since the last time I posted we've been joined by two more people from UMass - the pollen people, who I'll probably be working with in the fall. So we've switched from systematically coring lots of fields in search of cultural markers, to coring two specific fields in search of good tephra so we can dig 1x1s at the right place for well-dated pollen sample extraction. We should be finished with that by Monday - and then there's only a few more days left till we fly out! I can't believe the summer has gone by so fast.

At one of our sites, our cars are regularly licked by a herd of cows. They bit one of the bumpers. We've had to ask if our insurance covers bovine intervention. One of the cows in the field next door leapt halfway over the barbed-wire fence trying to get to the bull in our field. It was awful. She was just sort of ... hanging there, with the bull licking all over her face, until finally she managed to back off the fence. It was very Pyramus and Thisby. The farm where I was this morning has two wonderful dogs that like to come visit us. The border collie is so desperate to play fetch that he'll bring us rocks, hoping we'll throw them for him. And Buckets the cats has still been visiting regularly - a couple people went to see his family, and they seem nice, so we hope he won't be too sad and lonely when we leave him behind!

I'm not too informed about what's been happening at the other sites. At the main site, they've finally gotten through the medieval barn that's sitting on top of the Viking-age stuff we're more interested in (this involved moving lots of gigantic rocks), and a couple of churchyards have been excavated. There's been some exciting GPR going on at a few places, and at the site with the cows they've found a whole lot of really cool textiles (fairly recent, but still awesome).

I've also had a lot of fun side trips, and there are two more left (well, three, if you count England). This weekend we're going to Reykjavik - I'll do the Golden Circle (Thingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss, etc) and some museums, and it's also Pride weekend, so I might check out some of that. Also I think Friday we might be taking a field trip to climb to the top of Drengey, the huge, flat island with puffins on that we can see from town. I'm not sure how that will work with Reykjavik, since I'm in the car that's planning to leave Friday evening, so I might have to skip Drengey. That would make me sad, but Reykjavik will be fun too.

The summer's almost over. It's starting to get dark at night now. There are school supplies on display at the KS. The chalkboard says our trip is 77.08% over. It's so sad.

[Written tonight: Today I took the place of someone with worse Ox than mine, and worked on one of our midden excavations. It was the first real down-in-the-dirt trowel-and-screening that I've done all summer, so that was great. Lots of bones and iron slag, one thing that could be a nail, and we exposed a whole lot of turf.

The weather has been pretty crappy for the last few weeks, but yesterday and today it's started to turn nice again. Horribly windy, but warm. So windy that I used my dust goggles for the first time ... and so windy that my plumb bob wouldn't hang straight.]

Now let's catch up with side trips and pictures ...

(Very image heavy, because I can't not.)

Akureyri, Siglufjodur, Blonduos, and lots of scenery )

There are (or will soon be) even more photos on Facebook, and also I sent out a second batch of postcards on Sunday, so if you haven't got one yet, watch the mail!

That's all for now! I'll be back before you know it! Time to go hang some more laundry! I'll be posting this (and the pictures) tomorrow night! [Which is now tonight. Anyway.]
katycat: (Default)
2009-07-25 09:01 pm
Entry tags:

Raindrops keep falling on my head ..

... literally. It's been very sprinkly around here!


1) I have a roommate and a place to stay for next year! I'm a little nervous about it, because it's a tiny, tiny place, but at least I don't have to worry any more about finding somewhere! And my cats are coming.

2) I might be taking a 3 AM train from Penn Station on 8/23. I don't think I can make it there from JFK in time for the 9 PM one. Hmm. Also there's a megabus at 10 that might work, and it's cheaper ...

3) I have so far forgotten to mention that I now have a fishing knife and it is awesome.

4) I have more pictures, but I don't feel like uploading them now so maybe you'll get to see them tomorrow.
katycat: (Default)
2009-07-21 08:06 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

1. My tooth is fixed! Yay! It was quick and easy, and the dentist is right across from our lab. He came over and looked at our stuff after he fixed my tooth. And it was impressively inexpensive, too!

2. They're filming a movie in Sauðarkrokur! I think they made it snow this afternoon one street over from our dinner place. It might be The Cliff, which sounds awesome, one way or another.

3. You haven't seen Harry Potter till you've seen it with Icelandic subtitles and a 15-minute intermission.