Saturday, December 29, 2007

Librarians - superior humans all around...

It occurs to me that I have been extraordinarily spoiled while growing up. My mother is a librarian. This meant that I could get my hands on just about any book I wanted to read, quickly, and often for as long as I wanted. (Pst, if you are the child of a librarian, you don't have to pay late fines!) Now I thought that this was awesome, but I thought that the awesomeness of it was because she was my mother and loves me. Well, it is true, she is my mother and current research suggests that she loves me, but I did not quite realize the amazing amount of awesomeness that came from her being a librarian.

See, librarians are superior human beings. There is a great amount of evidence to support this.
1) The existence of L-Space and the librarian mastery of it. (Check wikipedia - they know it to be true!)
2) The following conversation I had with the on-line librarian at my university library:

Librarian: Hi!

aimguest50525423: Hi! I am currently doing research in another country. Before I left I had made a photocopy of an article, but seem to have not copied one page. Is there any way I can request that it be scanned and emailed to me?

Librarian: What was the name of the article?

aimguest50525423: "The Mildenhall Treasure: Roald Dahl's ultimate tale of the unexpected" in Antiquity 71 (1977) Issue 271 (Spring) - I need page 72! :-)

Librarian: I'll go get it and scan it. What's your email?

aimguest50525423: xxx@xxx.xxx - You are a saint! Many happy returns and a fantastic holiday to you!!

Librarian: Only a slight exaggeration. As long as it's on the shelf, we'll be all set. Happy holidays!

And low and behold it was done! LIbrarians are made of awesome.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

You know you ought to go to bed when...

you decide that the best part of your dissertation is:

"the fort faced the full fury..."

I am sure I've heard it said that alliteration was for people who can't write. But frankly, I am not going for the Pulitzer here. I just want my damn degree.

See - I just can't help myself.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Italian cooking in Denmark

Did you know that there is a season for mozzarella? Neither did I. But there is. After going to a specialty store to get ricotta cheese (which can ONLY be purchased at specialty stores) I really should have asked if they had some sliced mozzarella - but foolish me, I thought you could get it sliced really easily elsewhere. After all, there are BAGS of pre-grated mozzarella, why not sliced? Thankfully, you can get little soft balls of the stuff in salt water. I just have to figure out how to slice it without crumbling it or slicing off my thumb.

I have come to hate my California Cooking cookbook with a passion. Although my lasagna recipe does not come from there, the author swarmingly insists that *buffalo mozzarella* is the best, and can be purchased at your local cheese specialty shop. My local cheese specialty shop is an hour drive away, you fucking pansy assed cocksucker! I was lucky to find the damn ricotta! The local gourmet store, specializing in wine, has some cheese, but it was these kind folks who informed me about the seasonality of mozzarella. Thankfully they had fennel seeds in a big bag in the back, or I’d have been lost. Cayenne powder and mace powder, however, do not exist anywhere outside of Italy or America.

On the other hand, unlike Israel, Denmark has plenty of pork, so I could make Italian sausage. No, they don’t have it pre-made. Unfortunately, Denmark is so ecologically friendly that the concept of a one-use lasagna dish is anathema. I’ll be using my roasting pan.

Then there was the small matter of tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is my nemesis. I could not find it in Israel. Here in Denmark, there is tomato sauce, but the can I grabbed out of the tomato sauce can basket was not tomato sauce, but peeled tomatoes. Let this be a lesson for cooks everywhere - double check the label. Thank god I have a hand blender! In less than 10 seconds I had sauce-like tomatoes. Then there was the incident where I defrosted the wrong package of meat. I blame the Danish Boy for this one. It is really hard to read his handwriting when the label is frozen into a fold in the object. What I read as “beef” turned out to be “beef and pork.” So this will be a very piggy lasagna.

As for side dishes, don’t make me laugh. I’m lucky to make one dish tonight, let alone another one. “Oh,” I hear you say, “but what about salad? That’s really easy!” Fuck you - there is no salad during winter! I could probably defrost some spinach, but I don’t think that is what was intended when they shredded and froze it. I could also pay exorbitantly for genetically modified salad imported by truck from Spain (frozen, then defrosted in the back room), but apart from tasting disgusting, I’m not so sure that it’s not healthier just to drink more orange juice (also imported and packed full of preservatives). We are pretty much down to root vegetables for the next few months. But I must say, parsley and celery root is very good when sautéed with carrots.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Don't leave me hangin'...

Sorry about the delay - threw out my back and have been laying in pain on soft surfaces for a few days.

So, the Danish Boy got an internship at Jyllands-Posten! Yes, that *would* be the newspaper that published the Muhammed cartoons. Apart from its amazing lack of tack, it is a good newspaper and, most importantly, means that I don't have to move to Copenhagen.

Yeah, well, that's where my priorities were. I love where I live, and yes, I would have gone to Copenhagen if I'd had to, but I like it so much better here in Ebeltoft (where the trees have turned wonderful colours - and then lost almost all their leaves to the amazingly strong wind). I get to stay in my nice apartment and we don't have to try and find an affordable closet in which to live.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Its always the weather...

One of everyone's favorite topics here in Denmark is the weather. Danes love to complain about it. Of course, if a non-Danes says something like, "the weather here sucks!" Danes will point out the glorious summers. When the non-Dane then says, "well, yeah, except for the glorious summers" the Danes retort, "except sometimes summer is only three days long."

You can't win a weather conversation with a Dane.

I find that the best I can do in a conversation about the weather is to say, "Danish weather is pretty bad, but it is a d@mn site better than Rhode Island weather." Rhode Islanders will be quick to point out that they have a very pretty fall, lots of colours on the leaves and a pleasant spring. But 4 weeks of habitable weather per year is HORRIFIC people! Admit it, RI, your weather sucks!

Denmark, on the other hand, more often than not, has lovely weather. The rainy summer of a few years ago aside. Summers, if not raining heavily, are heavenly, with crazy amounts of sun (18 hours or something) that lets you BBQ and enjoy the outdoors for weeks on end. (Yes, unless it's raining. I hear you, I hear you.)

Fall is fantastic (at the moment, but yes, I do know it could start raining at any time), crunchy leaves on the ground and wood smoke in the air and apple pies to be made. I wish the Danes didn't start setting up for Christmas already, but what can you do.

The build up to Christmas is actually fine, because Christmas around here is quite magical in my opinion. And as possibly my favorite holiday, I really enjoy all the traditions that make up Danish Christmas.

The time of the year that I hate, truly hate, is the three months after New Years. It's dark, it's cold, it's wet (either freezing snow or bone numbing rain) and there are no holidays to break up the horror of it all. Danes retreat inside their homes during this period and attempt to hibernate. This is the time of year that you can tell the Danes that their weather sucks and they will not object.

But then comes spring and we all breathe a sigh of relief.

So while I am enjoying the weather, the wood smoke and the apple pie, I am still a bit flumoxed. It's cold out. Really cold. And yet there are HUGE MOSQUITOS all over the place. I was pretty sure that mosquitos would go away when it's cold. I mean, all the birds flew south, the sun is barely up over the horizon, and I'm getting out my eggnog recipe and yet I still have mosquito bites!! They get in the house and then I have to chase them around and around before I go to bed. What's up with this?

On a different note, the Danish Boy has his "Panic Day" tomorrow. This is the day that all the newspapers/media organizations (that will be taking interns) begin the selection process. They start at 8 am and it's usually wrapped up by 11 am. I have one very stressed fiance on my hands. But by tomorrow it will be over, finally. We will know for sure if we have to move to Copenhagen or not (the odds are in favor of us moving, sigh).

Fingers crossed that he gets a good one!

Monday, October 22, 2007

So this is Sweden...

Last week the Danish Boy and I drove to Sweden. One of the best parts about doing this is *saying* "I drove to Sweden". But of course, if you know your Nordic current events, you happen to know that Denmark and Sweden built a bridge connecting them. And this is the bridge we drove across to get to the third nordic country I've been to. Finland, watch out!

So how is Sweden? Remarkably like Denmark, except where it's not.

Well, duh, you say. It is a different country.

Yes, but I expected it to be different. In the way that France is different from Germany. And Norway is VASTLY different from Denmark. Fjords, people, *fjords*!

So how is Sweden different ('cause you don't really want to know how it was the same - same is boring, different is cool)?
1) It costs about $50 to drive there and $50 to drive back. (For the bridge fee.)
2) There is a Swedish Kroner (they don't use the Euro) and it is worth less than a Danish Kroner and so it looks like you are spending a *fortune* on coffee, when really you are just spending *a lot*.
3) They took the idea of "city planning" to a whole new level. In a creepy good way.

Okay, that last one needs some explanation, but in a creepy good way. No, really.

So, in southern Sweden they are being overrun by ex-pat Danes who find living across the bridge cheaper than living in Copenghagen and all of those foreigners they keep letting in (Sweden has let in more Iraqis than any other non-Middle Eastern country and also are very flexable with their immigration laws). And they have to go somewhere. Enter the city planners. Sweden has a GREAT transportation system (and if the Danes don't agree, that's because you have a FANTASTIC transportation system too... take it from the Americans, we haven't yet figured out public transportation) - so instead of building ever expanding suburbia, they go a bit farther away from the town and set up a villiage. Connected by GREAT transportation. This villiage includes not only cute streets with the best sub-division tract-houses I've ever seen (each slightly different with YARDS) but centered around a SCHOOL and a COMMUNITY CENTER and, get this, a LIBRARY!

Now, I hate development. I hate tract-homes. I hate suburbia. But if I had money, I would move to one of these villiages in a heart beat.

Damn, I should have taken Swedish language classes when I had a chance.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Updates and things

The date is set for my wedding. I'm a little hesitant to post too much however since I got a rather creepy email from my ex, who seems to be cyber stalking me. However, after I realized that he had a facebook account, which meant that he might be able to view my facebook account, I blocked him and strangely he has not emailed since. Could be a strange coincidence.

However, let it be said that if I tell you: don't contact me, I'll contact you. And then a few weeks later you say: hey, I know I said I wouldn't contact you, but... AND THEN PROCEED TO EMAIL ME ONCE A WEEK FOR THE NEXT FOUR MONTHS, don't be all pissy because I don't email you back. And if you then at the end of this, email me that you googled me and have decided that there are not enough pictures of me online, and how are you supposed tosee me or keep up with my life now that I'm not emailing you information about it DON'T BE SURPRISED IF I BLOCK YOU FROM MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT AND GET REALLY CREEPED OUT.

Good lord.

Anyway, we have a date and a location that includes food and housing for 70 people. And it occurred to me that as far as my American friends and family are concerned, this means that I am having a destination wedding. So I googled that, to see what was what in regards to destination weddings, but all I got was a lot of sites about getting married on a beach in the carribean. Which I am not doing. Oh well, this wasn't going to be a normal wedding anyway, half of the guests will have never met the other half and that includes the families of the bride and groom.

The dissertation goes as one would expect. Painfully, slowly and with the odd bit of bad excitement (oh, my god, the Risley Park lanx in the British Museum is a FAKE? Sh!t, I have to rewrite that bit now!). I printed it out the other day, so that I could read what I had written (bad plan) and it was rather substatial in it's single-spaced-ness. This is good. The more I write, the more room I have to edit and POSSIBLY the less I have to rewrite.

Cooking has come to an abrupt stop now that the computer is fixed and the dissertation awaits. The Danish Boy is distressed. He knew it wouldn't last forever, but he sure appreciated it while it did.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Cooking and other stuff

Having returned from the Near East, I can tell you not much has happened in the way of wedding plans. We did finally chose a date as well as *GASP* a time. We have a location, a minister, an organist and a saint (who achieved her sainthood upon agreeing to assist in all paperwork matters). That wraps up the ceremony. But the reception... ah, the reception. Then you have to start thinking about guest lists (very easy on my end) and location and food and location and drink and location. And at the end of it, it occurs to you that it would be cheaper to buy a house and hold a BYOB bar-b-que in the backyard.

Meanwhile, certain security elements in certain countries with which the US of A is VERY good friends with and I occasionally excavate in, broke the screen of my laptop, thus rendering it to a very advanced container of data which I cannot see. Which includes my dissertation. BUT, gentle reader(s), BEFORE YOU PANIC, of COURSE I backed up my data on various other media devices before going into that black night (known as Blank Blank Airport). No data has been lost. But a true companion of many a year has been unceremoniously shipped off to befuddle a Mac expert.

Which leads me to the actual title of my post: cooking. As I eagerly await the return of my Mac (or some semblance of said object), I have some time on my hands and I have spent it all cooking.

If you know what is good for you, you will NOT make any jokes about domesticity at this time. I don't clean floors, windows, clothes, I know how to butcher a human being and I bet I can hide what's left somewhere where no archaeologist will ever find it. Okay?

I am not attempting any great cooking plan, other than, "well, that sounds good, I'll try to make that" and then try it out on my ever patient DB. But this has led to some fantastic moments in cooking. I especially like salads. The presentation can be truly stunning and there is something wonderful about fresh veg. I am not yet giving up archaeology for the spoon, but if I ever need another career, I would not mind chef-ing. :-)

Monday, July 16, 2007

A different type of bravery

Ever wondered what would happen if you just let a hairdresser do what they wanted to with your hair? Okay, maybe not if you are a guy, but I bet the girls out there know what I'm talking about. Especially when you are feeling like you need something new, but aren't particularly brave enough to just say: cut it!

And then there is, are you brave enough to walk into a hairdresser in a foreign country where you don't actually know the language...

Weeeell, if you are brave enough to do the second, you have, by default, just done the first. Because if you don't know enough of said foreign language to do more than wave your hands helplessly at your hair and say "ugh" you have just given the hairdresser carte blanch.

And I now have very short hair.

At the end of this very entertaining experience, the hairdresser stepped back and said, happily, "Funky!" And I would have to concure. I look way cooler than I am.

If you are wondering what it looks like... all I'm going to say on the matter is... if I had a bit of pixie dust, I could prove the existence of faeries.

Now if you excuse me, I have hair up my nose...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Something to blog about

Well, despite the title of this blog, very little archaeology has been mentioned. This will probably continue because, well, intellectual property laws are tricky things and I don't want to blab about something only to discover A) I'm wrong and B) I've gone and spoiled the fun.

So what is there for me to blog about?

Well, everything else not related to archaeology, obviously, which is what I've been doing sporatically from the very beginning. I'm a dreadful blogger, as you've noticed, and if you are one of my friends you probably aren't surprised since I blog only slightly less frequently than I email and with more regularity than I call.

Enough already! I now have something to blog about and I hope that I'll keep up with it for a little while. (Excepting the month of August when I'll yet again be on excavation and nowhere near a computer.)

What is this? My impending nuptuals.

Again? Yes, again. See for those of you not in the know, I'm divorced and you think I'd have learned my lesson having "eloped" (long story there, not worth repeating) and having a second so-called "real" wedding. So again you would think, "well now, she's done it once, so this time should be easy, right?"

Ask people who have had several children. Is it really that much easier to squeeze out the second one? I doubt it.

But, unlike the last time, I'm actually looking forward to this one and am quite comfortable to let everyone know about how it is going. Hope this will interest some of my friends or any other random person who happens to be reading this.

The first hurtle to leap is the date. "What?" you say. "You have no date?" Well, duh, no. See we are carefree individuals who aren't tied down to conventions, like location, for very long. We perfer to see where the wind blows us, we lead facinating lives of... Okay, we are two people who can't plan very well long term. We're students, sue us. Since my fiance is an up and coming journalist, we will probably not know where we'll be for YEARS to come. And damn it we're not going to wait for the best moment because we'll be old and grey first.

So we need a date. Oh, and we need a budget. The fiance has mentioned that we can take a loan. This is not helpful. This leads one to start getting out of hand with cost, because once you dig a hole, what's to keep you from going deeper?

Conventional wisdom has it that the reception should be 50% of your budget. But it is really hard to nail one down without a date. And as more conventional wisdom has it, the cost of a venue and vendors will vary based on day. Grrrr.

Sigh, the first two big things we need to do seem to be the hardest.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Another overheard conversation...

Oh boy, you'd think that a book store would be a great place to overhear people talking about books and that learned conversations would dominate over idiocy, but that was a terrible assumption on my part.

Woman: What does GMT stand for?

Boy 1: I think Greenwich mean time.

Woman: So if it's noon GMT, what time is it in London?

(Some chatter about time zones and how they work. Best guess on time in London: 5 hours earlier. Though in their defense, I think they got confused and were trying to figure out what time it was here if the GMT was noon. In which case it would be correct. But the woman wanted to know what time it was in LONDON.)

Boy 2: It's like how my friend in Argentina is always like one hour ahead, even though it's on the west coast.

Boy 3: No... I don't think that's right. (Long pause) Isn't Argentina on the east coast? The west coast is Peru. Yeah?

(By the way, Argentina is 2 hours ahead, currently.)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Religious upheaval

Religious upheaval is not always a bad thing. Yeah, there was the Spanish Inquisition and we can blame our Puritan roots for "voluntary overtime" but right now, as you read this, there is a schism happening, and I think it's a good thing. The first link may not work because it's the New York Times, but the link from Slate will eventually take you there. Having been raised Episcopalian, liberal, and American, I must say I'm damn proud.

Quick recap in case you don't want to put the effort into reading the article or don't know the back story: the US Episcopalian Church (part of the world-wide Anglican Communion - sort of a religious federation) voted to put a woman in as Archbishop and also instated an openly gay bishop. The conservatives freaked out and whole churches turned from their diocees to Anglican diocees abroad for help. The British, who started the whole Anglican thing way back under Henry the VIII, try to use their influence to keep the other branches in line, but obviously that's not going to fly right now.

The big question is: will the Episcopalian church break off from the Anglican church? Hm.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Snow where?

Well, here in New England, they pride themselves on the amount of snow they get. Which is stupid if you talk to a person from the mid-West, where they get REAL snow or people from the warmer, sunnier states (like yours truely), who point out that the weather everywhere else is just better. But lately New Englanders have been a bit vexed because there has been no snow. Yeah, there was some last week that then melted and froze, turning the entire state of Rhode Island into a skating rink. (A bumpy skating rink.) So the question has been WHERE IS THE SNOW?

The answer is Denmark!

For everyone who doesn't actually read Danish, they've gotten 16-20 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. With drifts up to 3 feet (although in that picture I'm thinking 6 feet, but maybe its the house of a midget). And if you scroll down a bit to the box "Se også" (see also) and pick the gallery Sne over Danmark you get great pictures of snow over Denmark. Hey! Look you read Danish!

Anyway the point is, Denmark never gets that kind of snow. New England does. Thus, obviously, Denmark stole New Englands snow.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Six words or less, count 'em!

Okay, I'm an obsessed person. I loved the Wired article about a bunch of writers being asked to submit and entire story in 6 words or less. I keep telling people to read the stories... READ THEM! They're great! And as of course things go, I had to give it a try....

Suicide? No, my wife killed me.

Run! The end is here! The...

Apocalypse delayed: War is busy.
(alternative endings to the above story)
Pestilence has a cold.
Famine stopped for lunch.
Death took a holiday.

Go on, try it. You know you want to...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I thought it was funny...

Next time someone tells you to stick it "where the sun don't shine," you can reply, "Wasn't that in the Alps somewhere?"

Between mid-November and mid-February, Viganella, Italy was that little corner of the world where the sun just didn't shine. Until now.

For those of you who read Terry Pratchett, you already know that the other place the sun don't shine is a valley in Slice over near Lancre.

Does it count as irony if...

Strom Thurmond Jr. is handling the James Brown will?

The important quote from this article:
"An attorney handling Brown's will, Strom Thurmond Jr., asked the Aiken County judge for a restraining order against the children, saying they have interfered with the administration of the estate."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Oh...

Overheard in the dinning hall:

Boy: "Her parents totally couldn't accept me for the person I am."

Girl: "No, they didn't accept you because you're black."

Boy: "Oh, I just thought they didn't like me."

This odd conversation continued in which the following jems were overheard:

Boy: "Just tell me the name of the guy she's dating now."

Girl: "You should just think of it like a one-night stand and move on."

Friday, February 02, 2007

Google bombing

In case you don't know what it is, it's getting a whole lot of web-pages to link to each other through a specific name or phrase that is then missunderstood by the Google program and cause that name and web-page to bounce to the top of the google search engine. Or something like that. Google "google-bomb" if you want a better definition, I only tell it like I see it and I see the complexities of the internets about as good as a bat in a vaccuum. (Sonar needs air to work and a vaccuum ... nevermind.) So, that being said: Penn Jillette.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Well that's a GREAT reason!

"I want to have a baby, 'cause I get lonely. I get bored."

Overheard on the way home this evening. Providence, RI