Monday, 28 April 2008

The Joys of GIS

I've had an extraordinarily busy first quarter of this year. After spending 6 years chained to my desk for my PhD I have, since January, travelled to Rome, Vancouver, Amsterdam and Bern (and I'm not counting numerous UK trips as well). I might moan about my job but at least I get to see the world!

This last trip was to Switzerland where I gave a paper about the work I did for my thesis - all about modelling Roman agricultural systems using GIS. It's funny, sometimes I love archaeology and sometimes I hate it. I mostly hated it in the last few months of my thesis (understandably). I would far rather be tinkering with GIS models or out and about on fieldwork than reading and writing about it.

It's funny how I was attracted to GIS - I think it is purely on an aesthetic level. After having given up art and music formally after A-Level it's arguably the closest thing archaeology can get to being creative on a practical level. There's a famous quote (I forget who by) about GIS which argues that GIS is more than just pretty pictures. Whilst this is absolutely true, I think that when you can create images like these, it certainly makes the interpretation that much more interesting when there's something nice to look at!

Friday, 18 April 2008

He say ugg

I've just read about new computer simulations of Neanderthal speech based on their differing vocal tracts as compared to modern humans. (Hear it here, and read the article here).

That audio file confirms all my stereotypes about pre-modern man...

Thursday, 17 April 2008

My first Weave-It squares

Well after geting my Weave-It loom the other day I was desperate to try it out and here are the results! (Many of these patterns are gratuitously stolen from eLoomanator, and the rest from the scanned manuals on the eLoomanation website, for which I am very grateful). Click the pics for a closer look...

Plain weave

Seven diagonal stripes (front and back)

Wide Wale Corduroy (one colour plus front and back 2-colour)

Wide Wale Corduroy with a twist (front and back)

Unknown from manual (front and back)

I have had some rather excellent ideas about making my own shaped loom for hat making and I reckon this weekend should see some developments on that front!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Ice Magic

I have seen lots of 80s nostalgia online, but none has struck a chord with me quite so much as fond memories of Ice Magic. That conical squeezy container, the lid that looked like a frozen mountain cap, and the nastily fake chocolate flavour that hardened so beautifully on ice cream. My favourite was most definitely the mint flavour.

Well, I've not seen it for years so I assumed they stopped making it (probably due to the high numbers of additives which are now illegal... I assume) but I got a link today leading me to a recipe by Naomi Poe to make your own. I guess I know what I'll be trying out this weekend. Yum :op

Monday, 14 April 2008

Vancouver Museum of Anthropology

Considering I am an archaeologist, there has been a distinct lack of archaeology-related postings on my blog. I even manged to turn my only archaeologically-related event into talking about crafting. The reason I was in Vancouver was not for a holiday (as some have assumed having seen my snaps), but to man a booth at the annual Society for American Archaeology conference. Here is proof:

Despite spending most days coercing unsuspecting students into studying in the UK, we did at least have a chance to see *some* things, and one of them was the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Being a Mediterranean archaeologist I know aboslutely zilch about North American cultures but despite my lack of knowledge I was amazed by some of the artefacts they have there. If it's not Roman I'm clueless. (Saying that, if it *is* Roman I'm usually clueless too!) . Anyhoo, here are some of my favourites:


My descent into crafting madness has hit an all time low. My addiction is getting so great that there is no craft I will not try. The newest whimsy is this, which arrived in the post today fresh from eBay. I am actually annoyed I'm going out tonight as it means I can't try it out till tomorrow. Curses! I shall have to wait another day before I can make my own tweed...

Thursday, 3 April 2008


I've just got back from a trip to Vancouver. It was my first visit to the North American continent and it was marvellous and I bizarrely didn't seem to suffer from jet lag at all on the way home. What I am most pleased about though, is that I managed to restrain myself and stick to my Wardrobe Refashion Challenge. I didn't buy any clothes at all, which I am amazed at.

Whilst I can't see myself living the high-rise urban chic lifestyle, I fell in love with the houses just outside the city, lining the sides of the nearby Grouse mountain. I could quite happily live in one of those wooden blue houses with verandahs. With the VC passion for arts and crafts I think I'd fit in perfectly. Now... to get a job and the vast amounts of cash to afford one...

Andre the Giant

I have a new bike. He is black and shiny and I love him. He is called Andre after my favourite Princess Bride rhyming giant (Giant *is* the bike's make after all...). I have a terrible habit of giving things ridiculous names based on terrible puns (cf. my car - Rolf Yaris). I can only apologise.

I haven't cycled since I tore my knee ligament a few years ago playing rugby (I was never any good - hence the injury!) so it was a bit of a shock to the system to make my first commute today. I've been feeling guilty about driving to work every day for ages so now I'm planning on making it my new regime, and I'm hoping I can keep it up. Trouble is, after only two half hour rides I am utterly saddle-sore in places that are unmentionable on the Internet. I am planning on using my sewing skills to create some sort of hilarious cushioned fun-fur saddle cover to make me feel like I'm riding on my sofa. It's the only way forward - being Green*and* indulging in my craft addiction.

The other problem is the fact that I cycle on a canal. Getting on and off is not exactly easy and I feel like I'm taking part in a triathlon when I heave Andre onto my shoulders and run up and down the steps. It's not really me, I am far too weak and pathetic, so a non-step-related route is required. Along with a body that functions ...