Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Its done, my PhD thesis is in, just got the viva to go and I'm one graduation away from getting my doctorate...

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Busy Busy Busy Part 2

And it really has been, hence the blog silence this last week. There are a few things to catch up on... so here goes:

The conference last weekend went really well, I got quizzed after my paper by some high profile people in the field, who had taken notes throughout my session, and continued to do so while I was trying to eat lunch and explain some of my points in greater detail.

I also got a good look around Cambridge. I saw pretty much the ugliest church I've ever seen. I also got look in the Fitzwilliam Museum, some cool stuff but it has this really strange mix of up-to-date and more antiquarian displays. The Near Eastern (all Babylonian, Assyrian etc) but very little Achaemenid or later material. The Greek pottery was very good, displayed well (you seen both sides of most vases) but was very old fashioned. I guess I was a little surprised but it was good see. Disappointingly I couldn't find any books in the museum shop (or any second book shops while I was there). I did go to the CUP bookshop but everything is so expensive!

The weird thing I saw, of all things, were the hand dryers in the washrooms at John Lewis. Apparently Dyson do hand dryers now. They were very odd, efficient, but odd. Kind of like sticking your hand into a food disposal unit.

I had my last class on wednesday and while I'm glad that its all done (I have enough other stuff to get on with) it has been an interesting (and steep) learning curve.

The class, as a group, have been good - they ask questions, they want to share opinions, pictures, thoughts - we rounded off the last class with a half hour discussion on points that they found interesting throughout the course which seemed to go down a lot better than I had been expecting.

More interestingly, after the first couple of classes they seemed to accept that I did know what I was talking about. Teaching groups of totally mature students when you are only in your mid-twenties is difficult. Especially as they can (and have, in my previous experience) be very dismissive of younger lecturers.

In terms of benefits to me, I learnt how to deal with on the spot questions better (in other words, when they reach the end of the question - I can still remember it), as well as learning how to prep 2 hour lectures in a short as time as possible.

My second year classics group unfortunately, although thankfully they aren't due for another couple of weeks. I feel better about not doing anything with them as the notes for marking only came through a few days ago... despite the fact that these were handed in about 2 weeks ago.

Zoom Zoom!
Hurrah, the F1 season is back on. The race last weekend at Melbourne was dramatic, and the qualifying today was cool, some interesting events (notably the blocking of Heidfeld by the Maclarens whilst he was on his hot lap & the subsequent punishment of the Maclarens)... so I'm looking forward to a good race tomorrow morning... not sure if I'll be up at 6am to watch up - but that is what video recorders are for!

Thankfully I'm on easter break now, so I have plenty of time to get on with things... speaking of which I should probably get back to work... (aka watching CSI New York)....

Sunday, 16 March 2008


... continuing the concept of 'ques' but on a verbal level, I was listening to a conversation on a train trip this friday on my way to a conference:

After a prolonged chat between the three regarding American tourist's reason for being in the UK, they passed very swiftly through politics ('Do black people have the vote in America?')... and moved on to religion...

Northern bloke #1: Are you religious?
American tourist: Yeah, I'm a baptist
Northern bloke #1: Oh yeah, that is like catholic isn't it?
Northern bloke #2: Nah mate, you're getting confused, he's Jewish... [to American tourist] You're Jewish right?
Northern bloke #1: Ahh... I always get those ones confused
American tourist: Urm... no I'm protestant...
Northern blokes #1 & 2: Eh?

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Sometimes you wonder...

... if there is any hope. I'm referring to a sign I saw in chocolate shop window:

Order your easter eggs, and collect them later!... Beat the ques!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Feeling sinful...?

I have to giggle about the new seven deadly sins just announced by the Vatican today. The old ones were so very catchy...

I mean pride, sloth, gluttony, lust, envy, anger and greed are so much better than:

  • Environmental pollution
  • Genetic manipulation
  • Accumulating excessive wealth
  • Inflicting poverty
  • Drug trafficking and consumption
  • Morally debatable experiments
  • Violation of fundamental rights of human nature

Plus you could never imagine these making as successful as film as Se7en.

On the hand, it set me off thinking, although admittedly more along the lines of the ten commandments... after suffering some slightly peculiar lectures and tutorials...I have created my very own seven commandments of undergraduates...

  • Thou shalt spell check
  • Thou shalt not use wikipedia as valid academic resource
  • Thou shalt not stare at the ceiling/wall/window/notes (delete as appropriate) when asked a question
  • Thou shalt understand that the premise of a tutorial is very different to that of a lecture (i.e. tutorial = thou talk)
  • Thou shalt not leave essays until the last minute and then whine that there are no books in the library
  • Thou shalt not address the lecturer/tutor at the first class with an expression of disbelief and the words "You're the tutor?" in a sceptical voice
  • Thou shalt appreciate that we do have better things to with our time, and that thou is more of an annoying disturbance

The list could go on I fear...

Monday, 3 March 2008


I like snow... even if it does start to melt immediately...

Now its blue skies and sunny... go figure.

Who would play Tiberius?

I came across this blog entry by Mary Beard comparing the problems of Prince Harry fighting in Afghanistan with Imperial Sons in the Roman Empire... and I have to say, while I'm not big on news, I rather liked this.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

The Cows are Chasing Me... (Part 2)

Our replacement fridge freezer (our third in this apartment) just made a mooing noise.

For some reason fridge freezers don't seem to like us, our previous two both decided to give up and defrost everything.

But mooing fridges are new... maybe we should take it out to graze.

Trash TV - You Gotta Love It

So Saturday night and I'm watching the telly, on E4 tonight is the 100 greatest sex symbols of the last century. Apparently these were voted for by members of the viewing public, critics and miscellaneous other persons. After watching a whole 12 and half minutes I'm feeling slightly traumatised and need to share the pain. So in the interest of making you suffer, here are my views on a selection of the top 100.

100. Alan Titchmarch - Apparently people like gardeners.

97. Richard Madeley - Urm? Apparently he talks like a woman, which and I quote "women like". Note, by the time we reach No. 95 I have already run across a number of people I've never even heard of...

94. Justin Trousersnake, Timberlake... whatever - descriptions include "sexual resonance" and "12 year old boy".

93 or was it 92 or 91? Kirsty and Phil from Location, Location, Location - as voted for in a secret crush poll... secrecy may have been advised (especially after the hot tub clip they showed).

89. Farah Fawcett - Then: flicky hair ahoy! Now: bloody hell!

88. Julio Iglesias - Fun facts include "Julio has claimed to have slept with 3000 women."

87. Jessica Rabbit - Cartoons count...class!

84. Diana Dors - In an Adam and the Ants music video... no, really.

82. Joanna Lumley - The 'avenging' posh totty because she could lift her leg to a 90 degree angle.

80. Woody Allan - Hmm...apparently a man who resembles the character from the Mr Muscle cleaning product adverts is a sex symbol.

78. David Walliams - As my partner burst out at this point 'Are you taking the piss?!'

77. Rachel Stevens - She who warbles about an airport... though why anyone would sing about Los Angeles International (LAX) puzzles me.

76. Wonder Woman - A drag queens' costume inspiration.

73. Jeremy Paxman - One of the interviewees' stated that she "would like to be on the end of a Paxo-probe"... now that is scary.

70 or 69...ish? (I lost count). Abi Titmuss - Another interviewee quote "you can imagine her at home, walking around naked", unfortunately after this he smirked and we can tell exactly what he is thinking.

65. Vivien Leigh - What is memorable about this entry is the author of 'Sex lives of the Hollywood goddesses' and his seedy moustache.

59. Patrick Stewart - Sexiest in the 'Star Trek: New Generation' series by default (on the basis that he isn't an odd colour or has webbing on his head).

Somewhere in the 50s. Helen Mirren - A girl with 'balls bigger than beach balls'.

42. Jordan - Apparently inbuilt airbags are sexy.

39. Jenna Jameson - There had to be a porn star in there somewhere.

38. John Travolta - Actor, dancer, Quantas airline pilot.

35. Bree from Desperate Housewives - The sex symbol of the series.

33. Antonio Baderas - Yes, Puss from Shrek is sexy. Although the M&S Christmas ad from 2007 is rather fun.

I got distracted between about 30 to 19, but nevertheless we saw Colin Firth, Colin Farrell and Debbie Harry, and rejoined with a joint entry on Vigo Mortensen and Orland Bloom (19-18).

14. Alan Rickman - Voice, tone and language - enough said.

13. Madonna - Sex symbol but the edge was lost a few years ago.

And the top ten, and these are some of the snippets describing the stars:

10. Scarlett Johansson - Sophisticated with old school glamour and new school sexuality.

9. Johnny Depp - Sex appeal while referencing Keith Richards.

8. Kylie Minogue - Isn't it a shame Danni was left behind?

7. George Clooney - Supposedly the new Cary Grant (no offense but I just can't see it).

6. Lara Croft - The virtual vixen...the nemesis of female archaeologists (especially those who deal with tombs or other funerary rituals) with boobs everywhere.

5. Brad Pitt - One of those people that "people want to sleep with" according to this programme.

4. Beyonce - Best description "Beyonce is like watching a bag of cobras wriggle around", in the sense that you can't take your eyes of it.

3. Marilyn Monroe - Sexual but perhaps in a photographic rather than a film sense, though still one of the best sex symbols. Interestingly the emphasis they place is on her being a triumph, a sensation, and they show a clip of her last, unfinished, movie.

2. Elvis Presley - Again another sex symbol I just don't get. Others would suggest him "King of male totty".

And finally...
1. Angeline Jolie... Messed up but that is all part of the charm, despite her role as Lara Croft (I wonder if that was how the LC got into this chart at No.6?).