Thursday, 22 November 2007

Things To Do [in no particular order]:

  1. Never ever forget glasses ever again. Ever.
  2. Ensure the presence of headache medication just in case.
  3. Read GC's MA thesis.
  4. Type up relevant material from [3].
  5. Keep list of SAM-AP numbers from [3]. (That way I am doing both my MSc and my museum work at the same time. Sneaky.)
  6. Speak to JS about sieving/milling/defatting/samples/etc.
  7. Write up LARP stuff.
  8. Write up anything relevant from JS 1986.
  9. Do museum inventory stuff for JS 1986.
  10. Sieve, sieve, sieve.

So, in order to make some of these more doable:
  • there's nothing particularly relevant in JS 1986.
  • Any museum stuff has to wait until next Wednesday [they kicked us out of our offices today so that they could replace the flooring].
  • Having read bits and pieces here and there of GCMA over the past year, I'm pretty sure I don't need to know all the background information. I just need the relevant stuff. Which is Chapters 5-9. 5 = 30 pages. 6 = 17 pages. 7 = 9 pages. 8 = 62 pages. 9 = 10 pages. I should probably have a look at the appendices as well. So, I think that today I should get Chapter 5 read. Tomorrow I should write up anything relevant from it and read chapters 6 & 7. I want to finish reading it over the weekend and finish any associated writing on Monday, at the latest.
  • Sieving must happen as often as possible. More = better.
  • Talking to JS will happen whenever I happen to catch her in her office [or the passage, or the lab or ... anywhere, really].
  • The LARP stuff needs to be typed up and sent off to [insert name here] before I see her. Hopefully I'll not only get that done this weekend, but I'll also do more.
So, this list should get me through to Monday. At which time I can see how far I've gotten and whether or not this list was too challenging. In which case I know for next time. Theoretically.

Under the Covers

So, yesterday was a bad day generally, which got progressively worse. This is not to say that the whole day was utterly horrendous, just most of it. I broke my phone yesterday and I'm not entirely sure how. So Button and I spent the morning trying to get it fixed. After going to the Waterfront, we found that we had to either send it to head office and only get it back on Saturday, or go to Canal Walk. So we went to Canal Walk, found the right person and it was done in 15 minutes. And then [seeing as how he's the guy who fixes things, not the salesperson] he nearly forgot that we were supposed to pay for this. Then we had breakfast.

Now, I am at varsity, trying to do some work. This is difficult for two reasons. One I need to talk to my supervisor and say "in the past couple of months I've sieved some of the powder, but really I haven't gotten anywhere with this bloody project" and I don't particularly want to do that. The other reason is that of all the things I could have forgotten this morning, I forgot my glasses. God forbid I forget something I don't actually need.

In other news: today is Thanksgiving in the US [Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October]. So, Button is attempting to make his first ever Thanksgiving dinner. And we've invited my mother...

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Windy Wednesday

So, it is Wednesday morning in Cape Town and it is even more windy than usual. I didn't blow away, however, which I always feel is a good thing. Even better, it's stopped raining. Having said that, I wouldn't particularly object to it starting again seeing as I am now inside and not likely to be going outside for a while yet.

Many among you will have noticed that I have twice mentioned that today is Wednesday [three times now], which means that yesterday was Tuesday. Which can mean only one thing. The 5th Annual PAST Keynote Lecture! PAST used to be the PalaeoAnthropological Scientific Trust, but has decided that it's not only human origins that are important, so it's changed its name [but not its acronym] to the Palaeontological Scientific Trust. And last night was the first time that these annual lectures came to Cape Town [previously they've all happened in Joburg] and the speaker was Paul Sereno. He was speaking about African Dinosaurs, from Sarcosuchus [technically a crocodile, not a dinosaur] to Nigersaurus [only just announced, and we saw a cast] and so on. Unfortunately I had to leave early [a mere hour and a half after the talk started], so that I could make the game.

I wasn't even the last to arrive. As is usual we spent a fair amount of time sitting around chatting about completely unrelated matters [I sometimes feel very sorry for Confluence - it must be like herding cats] and I didn't feel remotely awkward, uncomfortable or self-conscious at any point. The game started with Kamenosuke hunting down Ishie, who seemed to have recovered from the ill-effects of a powerful air spell that she could only manage with the assistance of Yashamaru's void spell. Well, she could have done it without the assistance, but it was important that she manage it first time, every time and it's a tricky spell. They meditated for a while before being summoned by Doji Yumiko, the recent widow. She informed us of her decision regarding Doji Seitaro [Kazushi's youngest adopted son, who he reportedly duelled to the death, but actually banished such that he was actually a ronin (Ichiro), who had been impersonating Doji Tsurumatsu the famous war-hero at winter court]. And she invited us to Masazumi's wake. We decided to continue our investigations by having a brief chat with a servant, Bayushi Yutaka, some more servants, Masazumi's second son [I can never remember his name but he's the one that's particularly close to Daichi] and Yutaka again, before heading into town. It became clear that someone attempted to poison Masazumi with a poison that easily mimics natural causes [and therefore is unlikely to have been the person behind the assassin], the old woman had died because the other servants gave her Masazumi's leftovers and that tempers had been running high prior to the evening meeting.

We started our town-based investigation at the Running Fox, the Inn where Keiko had spent some hours pointlessly waiting for no-one and happened to see a Daidoji guard go past. So we questioned the Innkeeper and were reintroduced to the ronin Hiroji. Who was executed. Who is now a hungry ghost [also known as Gaki. Essentially they are undead who may be horribly mutated and are doomed to wander the world searching for something and never finding it]. He gave us some useful information and followed the smell of the blood that walked past. This lead us down to an abandoned warehouse near the river. Yashamaru and Hideo attacked Hiroji when they believed he was about to attack Kamenosuke - perfectly sensible and most apreciated. Of course, since Kamenosuke seems to like Gaki-Hiroji, Ishie's not particularly bothered by him. The rest of us [Kamenosuke included] were distracted by some tracks, which seemed to lead into the warehouse. Hideo, Nagataka and Ishie headed into the warehouse while Yashamaru did his water-spell-to-see-what-happened and Kamenosuke kept an eye on Hiroji. At least, until his Ishie-senses started tingling.

In the warehouse, Hideo examined the front door [we came in through a hole in the back of the warehouse, following the tracks], Ishie went upstairs, accompanied by Nagataka. There we found a decapitated body. Yashamaru could have told us this as he saw it through his water spell. It was while looking for the missing head [in order to identify the person] that Kamenosuke's Ishie-senses began to tingle and he swiftly abandoned Hiroji to the unappreciated care of Yashamaru and went into the warehouse. Just in time to see Ishie very nearly fall from the second floor to the ground. Unfortunately the damage to the side of the warehouse had extended to the inner supports. Ishie managed to keep her balance and not fall. Nagataka, however, who rushed to her aid, fell over the edge and hurt his ankle rather nastily. Rather him than her, however, as he can regenerate himself.

All gathering in the warehouse now, we decided that the dead man was most likely the assassin who killed Doji Masazumi. So who killed him? Hiroji mentioned that one of the other people he could smell, smelt really bad. Does this suggest 'tainted person' to anyone? We secured the warehouse, arranged for people to guard it and so on. We then followed Hiroji back through town on the scent of the really-awful-smelling-person. Who did not spend much time on the ground. Enough for Hiroji to track him to the walls of the estate. It was then time to go to the wake, so we left Hiroji on the side of the road [a rarely used road, pretty much only used by peasants and people travelling to and from the secret passageway]. And there we left it.

There's not much other news, except that it is in fact raining again, there's another lecture this afternoon and for the non-squeamish females among you: menstrual cups are so, so much better than traditional items.

Monday, 19 November 2007

pretty hair

So, I have cut my hair and it is pretty. At the very least, I'm happy with it and it's no longer so long that it annoys me intensely.

I have spent most of this morning learning about menstrual cups, thanks to a wonderful post by Confluence. I suggest all females read it.

In other news, work continues much as ever. I was at Kirstenbosch yesterday, in celebration of my 25th birthday with many people coming to visit and say hello. It was lovely. In the evening, Button and I watched Rear Window. On Saturday we watched Lawrence of Arabia. Both were brilliant movies, though I think I liked LoA better than RW. If nothing else the male lead was less annoying.

Apparently I have nothing to say.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Cintsa

So, there was yummy unagi on Thursday. It was good. There should be more. Perhaps Button and I shall obtain some in honour of my oldness.

We woke up horrendously early on Friday morning [though not quite so much as Philly and Whatsit] and then I slept until we got to Riviersonderend. And we drove and we drove and we drove. And then, approximately 12 hours after we started, we stopped. We had arrived in the middle of nowhere, in the Eastern Cape. The Eastern Cape is very pretty and now I've seen Port Elizabeth, East London and Port Alfred. We saw monkeys on the drive up and on the drive down. There was lots of livestock. We also saw some buck and ostriches and so on.

Anyway, Cintsa is a lovely place, on the sea and a lagoon. It was very windy, but quite lovely. I went swimming on Monday, which was a bit of an experience. Usually sea-swimming involves being at Miller's. It does not involve a sandy beach with waves. It was fun, though, and not particularly cold except for the getting in and out. The house we stayed in was enormous and had a lovely view.

Yesterday, we drove home. We left at a reasonable hour, which meant that we got home fairly late. In fact, after all was said and done and moved from car to car and so on, Button and I got home - exhausted - just after nine. So no game for me. Hopefully nothing dire happened to Ishie in my absence... It's unlikely, but you never know with Confluence.

And now, it's back to the grindstone, with nothing but work before me for the next few days. And then it's weekend. And, on Sunday, it's my birthday party, very exciting. I hope the weather's nice - it's pouring with rain at the moment...

Thursday, 08 November 2007

ready to go

So, Button and I spent a rather stressful evening last night packing for the trip. We won't be going home again until Tuesday. As a result a number of things didn't happen - I did not phone my grandfather for his birthday [by the time I got time to do it, it was too late], I did not organise photos for uploading [though Button's computer is going with us and there are some on there...] and we did not go to yoga.

Anyway, I hear that two new people have been sent this way. MF, my father's cousin [I think] and AB, who is not related but may as well be. Hopefully they won't be too discouraged by all the meaningless gibberish that seems to be scattered over my blog [at least, meaningless from the point of view of people who don't understand it] and will learn to just skip over any paragraphs that contain the word 'game', which is what my mother assures me she does. At least, when she actually reads my blog and doesn't just have TheOldMan tell her what I said.

Now, since I meant to phone MF and tell her about it [but didn't because I don't have her phone number and am just really bad when it comes to phoning people], I shall now give you an account of my second visit to the OT. She examined me fairly thoroughly [she skipped over some things as I'd just seen the rheumatologist the day before] and declared that I have full range of movement in everything and have no need of any more assistive devices. Her greatest concern is the fatigue and she gave us a number of suggestions of things to do to combat that. Even going so far as to say "and if you feel you need to, just take a nap". Yes. Something to do in the middle of my roleplaying game, certainly, we wouldn't wish to deprive That Cat of another chance to eat me. Although, the only time I've ever fallen asleep at their house [I don't know what you're talking about, I was reading the whole time, I swear!] the cat in question did not attempt to eat me, but to cuddle up to me. Though I suspect she was more interested in the heating pad than in me.

So, important things to remember are sushi tonight [unagi for meeeeeeeeeeeee!], and waking up at some horrendous hour to head off to the eastern cape tomorrow. I'm so excited!

Wednesday, 07 November 2007

Goodbye Mountain

I can usually see the mountain [well, signal hill] through my [very small] window at the museum. Most of it is obscured by a rather low raincloud today, which is kind of depressing, even though I like rainy weather. For some reason I don't feel like working today and yet am getting what seems like enormous amounts of the stuff done [not right at this minute, of course, but one does need breaks every now and then].

I'm quite excited. Button and I are having sushi at the Sake House with mom and dad tomorrow night [which reminds me, I must phone mom - why she insists on calling on Tuesday evenings is beyond me], then we're going to sleep at their house. Briefly. We leave early Friday morning for the Eastern Cape. It's very exciting. We're going to meet Phillydilly and Whatsit at some place near a beach. And we're only coming back on Tuesday... hmm... that might be problematic. Anyway, regardless of whether or not it affects next week's game, it's exciting!

Speaking of games, there was one last night. It was very exciting, as we were beginning the investigation of Doji Masazumi's murder. I'm sorry to say that Ishie was rather useless ... though I suspect that was more due to the fact that I was exhausted and having trouble focusing rather than Ishie actually being useless. She and Yashamaru did interrogate some Tsumae guards. Well, Yashamaru questioned them, while Ishie made sure they weren't lying or omitting important information. She mentally bonded with whatever the female guard's name was. Otherwise, the game was quite fun as it involved examining the crime scene, discovering secret passages, interrogating people and generally splitting up the party for most of the evening. And for a change, Ishie and Yashamaru were left alone and didn't spend the whole time insulting each other. In fact, Yashamaru even helped Ishie to cast the spell in question, which shows that all shugenja can get along, no matter what, as long as only shugenja are around. Or something.

Yesterday was the 6th of November. Something [that was] important [at the time] happened on the 6th of November. And I got an sms from an unknown number saying "happy 6th november" which confused me greatly. I eventually worked out that it was from Tiina Napoleon, through the simple method of examining my address book for rarely used numbers that aren't stored in my phone. And then I sat there and stared at my phone, confused. What could she mean? And then it hit me and I spent the entire drive to the game laughing. It was most amusing to me, particularly given the length of time it took me to work out what it was...

And now I've run out of things to say, which is a pity as it means I must go back to work.

Monday, 05 November 2007

some people are morons

So, my sister is the most religious of my family [though she may object to that, it's what I believe at this moment] - that doesn't make her very religious at all though. And for a long time now she's had a tagline on her blog that says "I believe in one god less than the christians". Obviously, someone that I'm not going to name ['cause that would just be meaner] felt she needed to be shown the 'true path' and sent her the following email:

Hello [akika's big sister],
You might remember me from [that high school that you went to]… I was in [very old ex-boyfriend]’s year. I think we might have met once or twice? I bumped into your blog via [very old ex-boyfriend]’s page…..and then I stumbled across your mail address on the [that high school that you went to] page. I was going to comment on your page but thought it better to mail you..
I see you believe in one less God than Christians… I believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit… which 2 do you believe in? Just kidding!!
Anyway on a serious note when I read that under your profile I felt the Lord say that although you don’t believe in Him, He believes in you, that He has purpose and plans for you beyond anything you could hope or dream of, that the sense of awe you get when in His creation is same sense you will get as you see your destiny in Him unfold.
It’s up to you. He is waiting. You need to choose Him. You have thought about and understood the gospel (an intimate relationship with Jesus as He washes away your sin and gives you His right standing with God) in the past but I believe He wants to drop it into your heart and then you will really know it.
I also feel God saying that people have always recognized your intellect and academic ability but He sees you heart and your longing for purpose and meaning beyond the “rat race”. He has that for you.
Ok. That’s my bit. Feel free not to reply. Hope the whole house thing works out for you!
Cheers!

[religious moron]

So, naturally my sister responded, and since I saw that too, all I'm going to say is - wow! She's a lot politer than I would've been. Of course, there was the amusing incident with the Lying Pilot. An ex-boyfriend of hers who left her because of, among other things, her sister's inferior height. That would be my height, if you're wondering [between 4'11" and 5' - 1.5m]. And then he went off and married some other girl he'd been cultivating, who had a lot of money. She's much happier without him, though sometimes it's hard to tell, since she lives in Joburg. Anyway, Button and I were at the waterfront once and saw him, since he looked straight at me, seemed to know who I was and then pretended not to see me I proceeded to say very loudly "That's my sister's ex-boyfriend, the one who left her 'cause he didn't want kids as short as me. He ran off and married some girl with lots of money. That must be his new wife."
I'm sure at least some of you are shocked. He blithely ignored me, I don't think his wife understood, though it was very clear I was talking about him as I was glaring at him the whole time [and I may have pointed ... I'm not exactly nice about some things]. Button was horrified and so were my family when he told them.

Anyway, my point before I got distracted by the story of the Lying Pilot, is that if you're going to be religious, go be religious. If you want to convert people, convert them by the power of example, not by worthless platitudes that are only relevant because you know absolutely nothing about the person in question. And for god's sake, if 'the Lord' is saying things to you, I suggest you seek psychological help!
[Edit: for the record, I meant to mention that the gentleman in question ... I think I'll name him Religious Moron, was reasonably well known at school and not for his religious beliefs.]

On to actual posting - I seem to be missing the post where I said "'character creation happened at the end of October and we started playing in the first week of November" ... possibly it exists only in my head. It wouldn't surprise me.

Anyway, Friday happened. Button and I went to Andiamo in the Cape Quarter for supper, it was very yummy. We then watched a very silly movie from the 70s, Murder by Death it was a most enjoyable send-up of the murder-mystery genre. Saturday morning saw blood tests - which I hate, but it's important to be sure that my liver is not taking horrendous strain due to my medication. It was okay, clearly the people who staff Pathcare in Sea Point are qualified and know how to do it so that it doesn't cause tremendous pain. I know where I'm getting my blood tests done in future! We then went to New York Bagel for breakfast - it was a bit odd for me [why they hid the syrup, I don't understand], but delightful.

On our walk back to the car, we saw a branch of Cafda, who I adore, so in we went. And what do you know, we came out with books! Most of which are already finished. There were four volumes of the Agatha Christie Crime Collection, containing 3 novels each and a copy of Little Men. Then we investigated the Chinese grocery in Sea Point, to find out if it was really worth the drive out to Paarden Eiland. The Sea Point one is just as good. In the evening we watched a delightfully slow movie from Korea, called Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter ... and Spring.

This morning I went to see my rheumatologist. Things are looking good, though he's upped my medication ever so slightly. And now I'm trying not to face the fact that the mill needs to be cleaned.

Thursday, 01 November 2007

at last or already?

So, it is November. It is November and I haven't gotten anything done - where has the year gone? It is finally November and I can concentrate on my actual, real work. Some things are funny like that.
More excitingly, it is November which means that my birthday is coming up [always exciting, regardless of how uninterested I happen to be] and so is that trip to the eastern cape that we've been planning.

And you know, I just realised, our game has been running for over a year now. Waynne didn't join us until this year, but the rest of us were playing at the end of last year... I can't remember when we started though. It certainly doesn't feel like we've been playing for so long. In fact, it feels like we barely ever play - you could argue that this means I need another game, but you'd be wrong. I'm busy virtually every other evening [though not really] and there just isn't time for another game. Besides which, there aren't really any others that interest me.

Now, the smart ones among you will be saying 'didn't she write an exam today?' And yes, I did. Chemistry is officially over and something that I don't have to worry about anymore. And, strangely enough, I bumped into the current CLAWthing in the exam venue. Well, I think she's the current CLAWthing... Although, I saw the previous CLAWthing [from 2007] on Tuesday.

And now I've completely run out of things to say, other than: I need food.