hawkwing_lb: (DA2 isabela facepalm)
Did I mention I saw a tortoise yesterday? Two tortoises, actually: one sitting in his shell in the middle of one of the gravel paths up Lykavittos hill, and the other, somewhat larger, trundling along through long grass in the underbrush. He (or she) was making a good clip, too: I'm always surprised that tortoises aren't, in fact, all that slow.

(Tortoises are cool. I never get past that sudden shock of cool, it's a living fossil! when I see one. They have armour.)

I spent today working on a required Plan Of Work For Academic Year 2012-2013 for my mandatory progress review. I finished it, too. It only took me six hours to write not quite the thousand mandatory words. (Actually, I have something like 850. I doubt they will count individually.)

I have a review to write for Strange Horizons, on Juliet E. McKenna's Dangerous Waters and Darkening Skies. My resounding feeling about these books is meh, why should I care?

Also, I am tired. Lonely. Feeling very isolated. I've burned through my fun paperback reading in the last three weeks, and what's left is either work or the next best thing. And ebooks, pleasant as they are, just aren't so comfortable for reading on the couch when one's laptop is one's ereader.

I want to whine. So tell me something good?
hawkwing_lb: (In Vain)
There are ripe oranges on the trees that line the streets. I have discovered why no one harvests them: they're bitterer than sin. Probably they would make a good marmalade, or with the application of copious amounts of honey, juice. But they are not for snacking on, sadly.

(Yes, I tried. Thick peel, gorgeous scent, what is this, sour lemon?!)

I walked up Lykavittos hill again today, this time with my camera. I took pictures. Perhaps I will even upload them, eventually. It was about an hour and a half's walk, maybe two, and on the way back down Kallidromou, towards Alexandras, my calf-muscles started to complain. ("Didn't we walk across the world yesterday? Huh? Didn't we? What's with all these hills?") So I think more walking is indicated. Up more hills.

So, I think I said a while back that I'd been watching Rizzoli and Isles, the copshow springboarding off Tess Gerritsen's characters of the same name, Det. Jane Rizzoli and Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Maura Isles.

Mainlined it, actually, the first weekend I was here. See, here's the thing: it's a fairly standard buddy-cop show: the plots aren't incredibly innovative, and while the dialogue and character background is witty and well-done, and the acting is solidly, understatedly good, it shouldn't be anything out of the ordinary.

But both of the buddies are women.

And that makes a difference. Not only are Rizzoli and Isles women who talk to each other, and argue, and stay friends through disagreements, but there are other women, too - most notably Rizzoli's mother, but also Isles'. Rizzoli is part of large and loud family - mother, father, two brothers - while Isles is an adopted only child from old money with distant parents. This works. This works really well, as copshows go.

So yeah. You find other things like this? Please point me at them.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
In terms of exercise, I am so fucked.

I've been walking a lot, but my bad ankle has a constant ache now (thanks to wrenching it several times on the paths here), and running on concrete makes it not only ache but whine. I am thinking I will go out to Aegina over the weekend and see if I can cycle around - but I'm chary of going anywhere that costs money, due to never having quite enough of it.

Also due to being tired all the time. Why am I tired all the time, again?

So, what have I done lately? Read books, which I will write about soon. Spent yesterday exhausted and slightly ill. Spent today mostly filing and making databases for the internship thingy - five full hours of work, and maybe another half hour in there as well.

Tomorrow, I must go to the library. And stay there until my chapter is done - or at least, until it meets wordcount requirements.

Next Tuesday I will have been here for three weeks. After that, I have five weeks left. Busy times.
hawkwing_lb: (Anders blue flare)
The internet here kept dropping off yesterday and the day before. I hope it's better now - it seems to be working, at least.

So, yesterday. I spent the late morning and early afternoon in the library of the Ecole Francais, making my thesis grow some more. Making the thesis grow is tiring. It takes much concentration.

Then there was dinner with several Irish archaeologists. An evening that went on for six hours and culminated in an orange-fight between the road and our hosts' balcony as we were leaving. I haven't laughed so much or had so much fun in a donkey's age, I swear. I'm still slightly breathless from it.

I should try to get back into an exercise regime. Which means going for a walk, at the very least. (I cannot simply sit inside all day.)
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
I spent today not feeling well. Actually I feel pretty head-fuzzy and unpleasant, which may have to do with diet or exercise or stress or some combination of all three.

I feel all kinds of odd and deeply lonely, which is strange, because I am in more constant contact with people than is usual for me. Oh, well. Suck it up and deal.
hawkwing_lb: (Aveline is not amused)
Today I went to the library of the École Francais and made my thesis grow by a thousand words. The nice boy who mans the desk helped sort things so that I could go look at the archives, too. Although I didn't get permission to see them until about 1500, and by that point I was brain-dead and starving, and had to make my excuses to the archivist at 1530. I do have permission to come back tomorrow, though.

Carbon paper from excavation reports in 1941. The EFA was running excavations while Europe was at war and Vichy France was appointing the School's director. I am not sure whether this is extraordinarily cool or somewhat disturbing. Maybe both. I am this excited about having been allowed to read them. Really. I was too excited to talk when the nice archivist handed me the folder. I was afraid if I said the wrong thing, she would take them away.

I'm weird, aren't I?

Anyway, I did some shopping, staggered out for a run, translated some ancient Greek, and all in all, feel that this has been quite a productive day.
hawkwing_lb: (Bear CM beyond limit the of their bond a)
So, the state of me: slightly homesick for my cat, missing the convenience of a gym, stressed about my thesis chapter, unable to maintain work-work-work-life headspace separation due to sleeping right beside the Institute's office, and annoyed that my instructions as an intern are more along the ah-we'll-see axis than the here-is-a-list-of-your-responsibilities axis of the graph.

But apart from that, I'm doing just panicky I mean peachy, of course. Fine. Completely shiny.

Ah, hell. Who'm I kidding?
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Athens is chilly. The Institute building is lovely and airy, which is great for the summer. Right now, though, I'm finding it ironic that I'm huddling by a radiator in my jumper when in the same outside temperature at home I'd be wandering around the house in my shirtsleeves.

The embassy party last night, as I believe I mentioned, was weird. There were two quite bad musicians who only knew one reel, singing (off-key) nuns from Argentina, and many many people whom I did not know. Although I did manage to get introduced to several other archaeologists who were there for the free drink and food, and they were lovely people, but I ended up mostly hiding behind a couple of them, including a nice Bulgarian called Chavdar. (And talking to a Hungarian First Secretary called Zoltan, and trying not to talk to a strange man from the Mexican embassy who was admiring my jacket.)

I hate strange people. They are exhausting.

On the plus side, breakfast comprised lovely strawberries and Greek yoghurt and the maple syrup I brought from an Irish supermarket at great expense. All yoghurt should have maple syrup in it. Well, unless it's already flavoured.
hawkwing_lb: (DA 2 scaring the piss)
I'm heading off very very early tomorrow morning to Greece.

There are a number of things I'm worried about, and a number of things I have to do while I'm there. For my own research, I'm trying to get permission to look at archives from the EFA, and from the Archaeological Society as well. (Advice, dear internets, on convincing the nice Greek people to let me look at their archaeological reports?)

The other thing I absolutely must do is accomplish what my postgrad handbook instructs me to do by mid-April:

1. A draft chapter of between 8,000 and 10,000 words. This chapter should display the
levels of research, critical analysis and originality commensurate with research at
doctoral level. It should not merely be a general account of the topic, nor an

2. A detailed plan of work for the following year. This research plan should be
approximately 1,000 words long.

#1 rather terrifies me. Critical analysis! Originality! Eeeep!

(Yes, I knew coming in I need to accomplish this. It doesn't make it any less terrifying in practice.)

Also, by Wednesday night, I need to revise my FAoD yet again.

So. If I am screamy and scattered? Be a little patient with me.

Now, I'm going to spend the next four hours playing Skyrim, since it's the last chance I'll get.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Gave a paper at a very badly organised student conference (rule one for organisers: do not look hungover and half-asleep), despite headache and fuzz.

Came home and nappedslept until 2030.

Now I am staring at walls and trying to convince myself that I should file things. Or something.
hawkwing_lb: (DA 2 scaring the piss)
The optician tells me I'm no blinder now than I was two years ago.

Welcome to the future: Say goodbye to the social contract. The state only cares about the desires of big capital.

It took me two hours and more to write my modern Greek composition homework. On the one hand, I am improving. On the other hand, it's still slow going. On the gripping hand, maybe I should compose more about "What I need in the pharmacy."

I have some thoughts on stress.

I don't deal with it well. I have this tendency to hide in corners and eat all the things and think stabby thoughts about knives.

This is the month of all the stress. Surprisingly, I'm dealing with it - not brilliantly, and not without moments of needing to hide in corners. But I'm getting things done. I may finally have started to get a hang of this idea that taking care of myself is permissible.

I do want to freak out. (I really want to freak out.) And not freaking out over everything that has to be taken care of is taking up a lot of my emotional and intellectual processing cycles right now.

I feel stupid and afraid, but I am dealing.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Came up in conversation today: the part that luck plays in our teachers, and our experience of learning.

Two people, same school, three years apart. One feeling that her education pushed in the direction of being "little wifey," sufficiently well-rounded to complement a man, at least one of whose teachers found her intimidating. The other did not find her education universally challenging, but never felt that it diminished her.

Also, I have made a fool of myself for the internet's entertainment on the Skiffy and Fanty Show podcast. Go forth and throw rotten fruit.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
The problem with screwed-up brain chemistry is the temptation to use it as an excuse.

Or rather, the constant uncertainty over what's a reasonable accommodation to make, and what's letting my screwed-up brain chemistry serve as justification for the worse angels of my nature. It doesn't help that it varies by the day. For the last few days, for example, I've had social anxiety and social fatigue so deep as to be almost crippling. This isn't fun when I have a presentation to give today, and an evening lecture to attend tomorrow: the tightness in my throat and nauseous gut and across my shoulderblades is the precursor of full-blown jittering shakes.

I haven't had the shakes for a while. Not since I was travelling in Greece. There I could breathe through them, in the knowledge that however I fucked up, I had to deal with it. And because I had to, because my options were deal or be stranded by the roadside, I could. Here, the quality of necessity is different: I could scurry back to my comfort zone. It would be the wrong choice, but the option's there. That makes carrying through all the harder.

There've been other presentations where I didn't feel like this. Other days where I rose from my sickbed to travel to another city, even, and felt reasonably confident, even slightly enthusiastic. Where it didn't feel like one more damn thing breaking me open and letting all the soft parts out. Breathe through it. Tomorrow, if the sickening sensation is still here, I can ditch the evening lecture and go get therapeutically beaten up instead.

There's only so much I can handle. I hear it's called being human. The worst part, the most self-destroying thing, is never being able to count on the amount of cope available for any given task. There are walls inside my head, some days, and some days they choke me.

I'm not saying this because I want pity, or advice, or anything else. I'm saying this because I need to remember: like my bad ankle, with its weak tendons and ligaments that sometimes takes rough ground in its stride and others gives me bright flashes of pain on the flat, my screwed-up brain chemistry is an unpredictable weakness to work around. To strengthen by exercise, yes, but also to remember the blurred line between pushing the limits of tolerance and expecting no consequences when I cross the line.

This is my life. There's no percentage in resenting it for what it is.
hawkwing_lb: (Aveline is not amused)
Last night I dreamed I put on my old school uniform and went to school. Protective colouring: but in the dream I was me-as-I-am-now, not me-as-I-was-then.

I can still taste hot humiliation and the madness of wanting/not wanting to go back.
hawkwing_lb: (DA 2 scaring the piss)
Today's total of accomplished things stands at: two Greek classes attended, one modern, one ancient. Soon I will go to the gym for a short run and some climbing.

Then tonight and tomorrow the plan is to finish a draft of my seminar paper, finish a review, prep both sets of Greek for Friday, meet someone for coffee, and go to jujutsu. I may have to accept the fact that the Greek will not happen until Wednesday. Which is also supposed to have climbing. Thursday is scheduled Friend Geek Time, and Friday is for classes and making the seminar to have a presentation with pictures, because otherwise my words will make little sense.

This is all I am doing this week. It doesn't seem like a lot.

I refuse to worry about more. (Although, dear universe, it would be nice if I were to be paid this week? It would be very pleasant indeed?)

(Universe: *resounding silence*)

Things to do next week:

Give seminar paper.
Write more conference paper.
Evening talk to attend.
Travel funding form.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
This week has been an exercise in stepping on all my defensive reactions in public. There are people who say that learning self-restraint is good for the soul. I've never really believed them.

That was two, two, slapfights in the space of a week.

I'm tired. I've developed, sometime in the last couple of weeks (thanks largely, I believe, to my funding application), aches in both my hands. I am staring at my to-do list in mounting panic.

Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death...

Sigh. If only all the things to do were so easily conquered.

I'd like my brain to come back now, please? If that's too much to ask, I'd settle for some motivation.
hawkwing_lb: (DA2 isabela facepalm)
ObDisclaimer: I'm writing this post from a position of relative privilege and I know it. /ObDisclaimer.

Yesterday, riding the train to town, I noticed something that perhaps should be obvious. It is this: body-language and culture are linked on a very basic level. I noticed this because Ireland is still mostly made of pale people, and yesterday three nice code-switching bilingual melanin-rich teenagers in headscarves, together with a child of about ten, got on the train and sat opposite me.

The town I live in is 40% non-native Irish, some of whom have been here long enough to be naturalised citizens. But the nice Polish people and the nice various different African people have various different body-language cues and cues of facial expression that my lizard-brain reacts to as not from around here, and I have to consciously step on the instinctive suspicion of those funny foreigners. (It does this with people from certain cultural areas of Dublin, i.e. the wealthy parts, and Americans, too. Non-archaeologist Americans, at least. The lizard-brain is a suspicious organ.)

I hadn't realised it was subliminal body-language and facial expression more than phenotypal difference (yes, there are differences of phenotype among pale Europeans, which such insular parochial sorts as we Irish notice) until these nice teenagers got on, codeswitching between (I think) a dialect of French and Hiberno-English, and my lizard-brain said My people! They come from here!

Which got me thinking about body-language cues and their relationship to culture. Which is something I should have noticed before, because I have friends from all over. But the body-language of geeky emotional intimacy among my history-and-otherwise-geek peers - philia, not eros - is a lot more tactile than Irish culture at large, it seems to me. So when I went to Greece, where people touch your arm all the time to get your attention, and where there is hugging of all kinds between men and so on and so forth, I didn't really parse it properly as cultural rather than individual difference.

Anyway. It was an interesting realisation.

An intriguing paper on why tornados and hailstorms are less frequent on weekends in the US tornado belt via jlake.

Worth a look.

I think I am going to go see Ghost Protocol tonight, because I want to watch some shit blow up. Also, my brain is growing back, but it's still not up to actual work. Foolish meatpuppet. Needing rest, of all things!
hawkwing_lb: (CM JJ What you had to do)
Today, despite feeling as though possessed of an alcohol-free hangover, I went to town and saw people whom I haven't seen for months. My people. They are geeky and wonderful and I miss them much.

I also have preliminary weekly aims for the first part of the year. They are:

1. Write 1K-1.5K thesis words
2. Write one book review of 500-800 words
3. Translate 1 Perseus section of either Homer or set text
4. Translate 1-2 pages of the modern Greek children's book
5. Translate 1 page of Italian excavation report
6. (Most optional:) Write 1K-1.5K fiction words

1 x jujutsu
2 x karate
1 x Escrima
1-2 x climbing
2 x 2-2.5 miles running intervals (30 minutes).

We will try this, and see how things go.


Jan. 5th, 2012 08:18 pm
hawkwing_lb: (CM JJ What you had to do)
Funding Application of DOOM is drafted and sent to supervisor.

All 2,600 words of pain and 22.5 hours of work of it.

I go make the thud and play videogames for a while now.
hawkwing_lb: (DA2 isabela facepalm)
The days after December 25th are doldrum days, of a kind: the still calm sameness of year's ending. Days filled up with thoughts of all the things I haven't done, all the things I'm still to do, and time runs out in a hand of days like sand in the glass.

How time can be still and calm and yet fleeting, I don't know. Yet it is.

2011 has been a strange year. You'd think we'd have more time, but this is all the time we have.

The prospect of the new year makes me consider my thesis, and the fact that I still don't know what the hell I'm doing with it. I like learning, but writing it up seems like marking time. I still don't understand half of what I need to know, and the words are scratches in the dark.

The pain is why we do it, as climbers of my acquaintance have been known to say.

Even if I've no idea what I might be able to do afterwards.

I discovered today that I am lonely.

It ought to be harder for an introvert to be lonely. You'd think so, or at least I would. But it struck me today how many of the people I care about live so very far away. Most of them, by now. So, dear friends: take care of yourselves, k?

(And maybe some of you will go to WFC Brighton in 2013, and I can look forward to seeing people again? Chance would, as they say, be a fine thing.)


hawkwing_lb: (Default)

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