24 February 2007

How's this for a slice of fried gold?

11 May: Take Amtrak (Pennsylvanian line) from Pittsburgh to New York City.
11 May: Catch taxi/subway from Penn Station to the Nebulas' hotel.
11-13 May: Nebula Awards. Be useful and professional, and have fun.
13 May: Catch taxi/subway from Nebulas' hotel to hostel (such as this one).
13-16 May: Chill in New York City. Write in Central Park. Go to a couple museums. Have some fun.
16 May: Catch taxi/subway from hostel to JFK Airport.
17 May: Arrive in London and catch connecting flight to Frankfurt two hours later.
17 May: Arrive in Frankfurt and catch connecting flight to Larnaka, Cyprus, seven hours later.
17 May: Arrive in Larnaka at 2 am. and get picked up by PKAP car.
17 May-6 June: Work on PKAP (with the inimitable Dr. Moore, my advisor) in Cyprus: archaeological survey, data entry, washing ceramic sherds,* eating Thai and Cypriot food cooked on a Foreman grill, and visiting lots of historical sites on weekends in 90-100 degree weather (perfect).
6 June: Catch 3:15 am. flight to Frankfurt.
6 June: Arrive in Frankfurt and catch connecting flight to London nine hours later.
6 June: Arrive in London and catch connecting flight to New York two hours later.
6 June: Arrive in New York and catch taxi/subway to hostel. Collapse after epic 28-hour day despite local time being 9 pm.
7 June: Catch morning train to Pittsburgh.
7 June: Get picked up at Amtrak station. Collapse again.
8-11 June (approx.): Pack all worldly possessions into moveable boxes and similar.
11-12 June (approx.): Move worldly possessions to new flat/room where I will be living for the next eight months while on semester off.

All for about $2400-$2600, of which I can probably get $2000 in grant money from the RECHC Enhancement Fund for PKAP (which is $1000 by itself without airfare), and my parents have promised to help out with the Nebula costs.


*Not shards. Apparently there is some subtle yet gargantuan difference between a shard and a sherd, and archaeologists get pissed off by people confusing the two.

19 February 2007

The first of the last days of winter

The icicles are melting in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Do you know what that means?

Spring is coming.

The sun is getting brighter. The little grasses are wiggling around under the mounds of slush and ice. The snow is melting enough to reveal the dogshit that people left there in January. Pretty soon I'll be starting the slow process of stripping off layers of necessary clothing, till I can head off to campus in a tank top. I might just make it through the semester.

And weirdly, I think that Dr. Zens' classes help combat the evil of winter. They're informative, useful, fun, relatively easy, and involve random tangent storytime at least once a week. Best classes ever. (And what am I taking now? Environmental history? Why did I think that was a good idea?)

15 February 2007

Gray Matters

This movie looks AMAZING. Like the funniest coming-out movie EVER. Check out the trailer -- brilliantly filmed, cut, perfect musical cues, gorgeous, FUNNY.

23 February. I'm going to ask the Indiana Theater to pick it up.

Link: http://www.graymattersmovie.com/?utm_source=phase1&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=728&utm_campaign=IndieClick

13 February 2007

This Just In:

IUP has declared a SNOW DAY TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!

(this never happens. this is like that year in high school when the new superintendent was from some Carolina or the other. )

World War Z

As some of you know, this semester I'm taking Horror Lit with Dr. Carse. We're studying horror films and fiction through postmodernism,* and we're starting our unit on Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. Films include: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Shaun of the Dead. Books include: The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, both by Max Brooks.

I read our selection from the Survival Guide grinning the whole way through it. Tire irons and crow-bars are the best hand-to-hand weapons. Voodoo zombies are just different. I loved it and I went straight on into WWZ. It's a memoir of a global struggle against a huge zombie outbreak, and it never happened. What, I asked myself, could be more (a) postmodern and (b) hilariously absurd?

The answer is: dead grandmothers. Because the book is absurd, there's no denying that, but it's not funny. It's the most depressing, gruesome, realistic novel I've read in a while. It's horrible; remember the opening sequences of Dawn of the Dead, with the army trying to clear buildings room by room? It's like that, only there are so many zombies that it's more like block by block, and eventually, the humans close themselves off into safe zones and just try to survive. The book is a series of interviews with survivors who never existed, a lot of them important people (the Vice-Prez of the US, the guy who came up with The Plan to Save Humanity, etc.). Most of them, however, are just people, like a girl whose mother tried to strangle her before the zombies got them, a Russian soldier whose entire base was decimated (in the Roman sense, with rocks, by each other, at gunpoint) for trying to abandon their station to reach their families, a girl whose family fled north to the Canadian wilderness where the zombies would freeze in winter, the guy who invented and marketed a placebo vaccine (Brooks' zombies are viral) that he knew did not work, and even the doctor brought to treat Patient Zero.

I do not read war memoirs, and now I remember why. This book is genius -- twisted, soul-crushing genius. Part of its brilliance (and its horror) is that it is so perfectly contemporary. If there were a viral pandemic now, this is how it would happen, how people and the world and various governments would react. When evidence of the zombie virus gets out, Israel quarantines itself instantly, while China (the source of the outbreak) tries to cover up its existence, and the States skeptically deploys a token force to protect against it. The entire world is totally depopulated, especially large population centers like India and the Chinese coasts.

This book is fucking me up, but it's good. Really good. If you don't mind -- or hell, if you enjoy -- war memoirs, read it. It's a piece of dark, depressing, horrible, zombie-filled reality, and it's worth your time.

*I <3 postmodernism. A lot of it is pretentious nonsense, I'll grant you, but it's so playful! So cute, like a kitten with a ball of string theory! Gotta love it.

12 February 2007

O Frabjous Day!

Today is one of those days.

1. Joseph is out of surgery! And making jokes on morphine! YAYAY! W00t!

2. At 10:30 this morning while I was washing dishes* the DHL man came to my door, bringing me computational joy! I am writing this entry on my Brand New, Sweet-Ass, Fucking Gorgeous, Utterly Unexpected MACBOOK! It's a Macbook! I was expecting this instead. It's name is Peter Pan because it gets along with everyone (except pirates who trying to hurt it first) and knows its way around cyberspace, which is much like a forest, and it will never get old and die. Because Macs live for fucking ever. I'm going to put Ubuntu on it. It will be happy and white and brown.

3. Hung out with Arabic!John for about...Jesus, five hours. Playing with Peter Pan and the Intarveb.**

4. Just read my stupid homework and I'm going to have time for it tonight (assuming I don't fall asleep).

So it's been a pretty good day. I spent an hour in shock after I pulled Peter Pan out of the box. And Joseph, I had a good drink for you tonight -- whoohoo!

*THE HORROR. EUUUGGGHHH, I wish we weren't such dirty kids.

**Sounds like innuendo, and yet it's not.

01 February 2007


I. Hate. Science Core. It is stupid and evil and I don't fucking care about writing about biology. Jesus, people, who wants to write a bajillion journals a week on biology?* If I cared about biology enough to write a bajillion journals, I'd be a biologist. What am I instead? An historian. History is not biology. I can't stand talking about the scientific method. The Core question is "Why does science matter?" which is at least as stupid as "How do we understand art?" which had been my previous most hated question. How the hell do you address why science matters in a bio class? I could totally see it in a history class, following the rise of science as the accepted avenue to objective knowledge about the world in Western tradition and how that rise affected stuff -- but in a bio class? Even my cool prof (Dr. Hinrichson; this is his first unit of Core), who's a dirty hippie scientist and pretty good at doing this whole discussion of science thing, eventually comes down to "Well, science is useful. Obviously, as a biologist, I feel that science is really useful. So, uh, yeah. There's the question."

WTF, HC. WTF. "The Dynamic Earth" wouldn't require me to think or do work, you know, and it would fulfill the same goddamn requirement. Get it straight.

*3-4 journals a week. Each journal is 1-2 pages -- single-spaced. Who the fuck asks for single-spaced papers? What the fuck twilight zone academia am I in now?