Wednesday, 03 December 2008

Just. Don't. Mention. It.

Seriously. Don't bring it up. It will result in severe unhappiness. On my part at any rate and I firmly believe in spreading the unhappiness. What should you not mention? My project. Or, worse, the mill. Why not? Because, despite everything I've done, that worthless thing is still leaking. One uninformed person [though, by that stage, he knew what was going on, but he did ask for it] asked if it was still salvageable. My sample? Why yes, my sample is actually okay and probably not too badly contaminated. My project? There are a bunch of uncontaminated samples ready to be sent [or taken] overseas and milled. My two years of wasted time and effort? Not so much.
So don't mention it.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Severe Lack of Work Happening

The Gemstone Party was much fun and very pretty. There are photos somewhere, possibly I will show you someday. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, the red velvet cake was enjoyed by all who had some and the banana bread wasn't too awful, despite 16 times the amount of bicarbonate of soda.

The Sweet Peas are flowering. So far all the flowers have been a bright, pinky purple. I'm hoping that some of the other buds will mature into flowers of different colours, but quite possibly only one plant is actually flowering at the moment. It's hard to tell them apart.

I'm currently not working on the CMP for Klasies River. I've sent in my November invoice and am wondering when the hell I'm going to find time to do 12.5 hours in December. I'm sure I'll manage it, but given that I was planning to start milling this week it's mucking up my schedule something awful. Currently I am attempting to reformat the bibliography in such a way that it still tells me exactly what I need it to and yet makes sense for the other people who need to read it. [For the record, the wikipedia selection of South African archaeologists is severely lacking. Someone should update it, but that someone isn't me.]
So, how does one compile a bibliography that contains every paper that so much as mentions a particular site? You find yourself a database, do a search and download pdfs of the articles. And then, you scan every single one of them for every single mention of the site and make sure that you make a note of the references it uses, so that you can hunt those down too. I'm quite sick of it, to be perfectly honest, and more than ready to move on to the next phase. But as you may have noticed, I still have a little bit to go...

Tonight we'll be at the Book Lounge for the launch of a new book by Phillip Tobias. After that [or, in fact, in the middle of that], we'll be off to the Opera. Hopefully we'll get to see my darling Patsy with the Orchestra again. As a result of going to the opera, we're missing out on Dystopia's birthday sushi. A sad state of affairs, but somewhat mitigated by the fact that I had sushi on Monday, with theOtherAmy.

Friday, 21 November 2008

All of Nothing

So, today is Friday and tomorrow is the night of the Gemstone Party. I am excited. I'm going to be leaving here early in order to go shopping. In addition to medication, I require ingredients for innumerable baking projects. Not all of which will happen. I also have to decorate. Button plans to work all night, so I can be busy doing other stuff without him getting in the way...

I have [unsurprisingly] a number of Gemstones with which to decorate the walls. My plants are mostly looking fantastic, and some of them are even flowering. I'm extremely pleased with the new plant stand and wouldn't mind a few more. Maybe even a couple for inside. My peace lily has four flowers, with more coming. One of the flowers has opened, the other three are still in pristine white bud state. This is very exciting, as it hasn't flowered since it was first given to us, when Button arrived in the country 3 years ago. Of course, that's in the bedroom, so people might not see it, aside from through the balcony door. And if it's as hot and windless tomorrow night as it was yesterday and so far today, the door will be open. My sweet peas are also set to flower, though all there is to show that is a multitude of buds. I can't wait to see what they look like when they're flowering! My sad nasturtium has once more rallied and has yet another flower about to open. Hopefully the olive tree doesn't get blown over again before the plants have a chance to actually grow.

I've done quite a bit of KR work lately, but not enough for this month. So I guess I'll do that before I go shopping and leave the milling till next week.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Stench of Flesh

The THF seems to have done the job. I shall commence freeze-drying later this afternoon, weigh them in the morning and then it'll be back to the milling. The reason that I'm going to start freeze-drying this afternoon, rather than this morning, is that they're going to freeze-dry overnight and I've got to be out of here at around 15:00 today. And there's no reason to have the machine going for quite that length of time. Sadly, the THF doesn't seem to have had much of an effect on Wendell. I suspect he just needs more serious milling.

After the freezer was cleaned out, I seem to have lost what was left of my cow bone. Very sad, particularly since I need some of that cow bone now. So I stopped by PnP yesterday to get some more. I spent the whole of yesterday attempting to deflesh what has turned out to be mostly useless bones, not least because I'm not very good at defleshing. It stinks and the abundance of fat and water resulted in more than a few cuts on my fingers. I guess I should be glad I couldn't find a scalpel and had to use an ordinary knife. Last time I had a femur [a whole one!], this time it's a bit of rib. That's currently defatting. What I need that for, is to test the collagen extraction method we use. When I did my first test of the method [with the original cow bone] the collagen yields were very low, which suggests a need for less severe acid treatment. So I need powder to test that on. So I need to make powder.

In other news, I now have the recipe for Red Velvet Cake, which shall hopefully be made for Saturday. I'm currently in the mood to bake. Probably because I really enjoy doing it and I have space and equipment now. I also have finally taken my recipe book out of my mother's enormous collection and so can actually make more than the few things I have memorised. So, ingredient shopping this afternoon [and tomorrow and Saturday, I suspect].

Why Turnover Rate Matters

Hedges, REM; Clement, JG; Thomas, CDL & O'Connell, TC. 2007. Collagen turnover in the adult femoral mid-shaft: modeled from anthropogenic radiocarbon tracer measurements. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133:808-816.

* Due to the testing of nuclear weapons, the amount of atmospheric 14C almost doubled in the 1960s and then began to decrease slowly.
* Collagen turnover is important in archaeological science because it affects both the precision of 14C dates and the accuracy of dietary reconstructions.
* Terrestrial food sources have the same ratio of 14C to the other carbon isotopes as the atmosphere, though the signal can take as much as a year to appear.
* d13C and d15N were measured as well as 14C. The d-values for males and females were significantly different.
* Between the ages of 20 and 80 years, the turnover rate of collagen decreases from about 4 to 3%/year for females and from 3 to 1.5%/year for males.
* "Human femoral bone collagen isotopically reflects an individual's diet over a much larger period of time than 10 years, including a substantial portion of collagen synthesised during adolesence."

The reason I'm interested in this paper is precisely because the turnover rate is important in palaeodietary studies, which is what I'm doing. Now that last conclusion, the one I quoted directly is particularly important to me. Our current dietary reconstructions are fairly broad and spotting changes that occurred in later life is particularly difficult. Which is the entire point of my project. If we can separate out the different stages, then those dietary changes should be fairly easy to see.

Shin, JY; O'Connell, TC; Black, S & Hedges, REM. 2004. Differentiating bone osteonal turnover rates by density fractionation: validation using the bomb 14C atmospheric pulse. Radiocarbon 46:853-861.

* Using bone density fractionation [bdf] to separate older, denser bone from yougner, lighter bone.
* The method can be used to remove diagenetically altered bone from archaeological samples.
* Adequate milling is essential for the method's success.
* Results show that the lighter fractions have 14C values that correspond wtih more recent parts of the bomb curve.
* The results were less clear in those individuals that were older at the time of the 14C peak, presumably due to already decreased turnover rates.

The importance of this paper lies in the fact that it's another tantalising glimpse of the method at work. The conclusion drawn by the authors is that bdf does in fact separate the bone into older-denser and younger-lighter fractions. It offers a hint at the conclusions of the paper above, with regard to the slow turnover rates after cessation of growth and the long residence times of bone. Adequate milling might be something to consider in the case of Wendell.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


So, it's been a few months since my last post. But that's okay. I had a lot of work to be done and blogging wasn't part of that. And, as you might have guessed, the work is actually moving forward! Exciting stuff.

So, the majority of my samples are still defatting. Which doesn't sound much like progress, I'm sure. But it is, and this is why: they are defatting in a different chemical. I was using a chloroform-methanol-water mix. It's a fairly cheap solution and works pretty well. But after 6 months, there was still fat coming out, even with the help of the sonic bath. So, having a look through previous work on this method, I thought it might be worth trying something stronger. The chemical in question is a lot nastier than the solution I was using. But it works oh so much quicker. Chemical nasty in question: tetrahydrofuran. So, while getting chloroform on the skin is annoying, getting THF on the skin is dangerous. Cue lab coat and gloves. I don't object to the lab coat so much, but the gloves annoy the hell out of me. Also, be careful of spilling THF, because it makes the beakers stick to the fume hood.
The reason why this is progress, is because the fat appears to have disappeared. Now one could possibly make the argument that this is because I wouldn't be able to see the fat if you hit me over the head with it. You could also suggest that it's because the THF evaporates so quickly I'm yet to actually change the solution properly. I prefer to think it's because the fat is finally out. I'm going to check on it later today and hopefully I'll be able to start milling later this week [like tomorrow]!

For the rest of today, I should probably work on other MSc related things. But it's getting close to the end of November and I have done very little work on the Klasies River Conservation Management Project. So, I'll probably get to that, once I see it sieving Wendell with THF makes any difference. Hopefully it doesn't make enormous holes in my sieves.

Yesterday, I was at the museum, attempting to find canids for a researcher from the US. She's doing ancient DNA stuff, and is hoping to look at samples from Nelson Bay Cave (NBC) and Boomplaas (BPA). I've pulled out the NBC samples, but I couldn't find the BPA stuff in the store. There were only three boxes of identifiable bone. So, being the bright spark that I am, I hung around and waited for Tyler to get to his office. He did, indeed have the BPA boxes. He was not particularly thrilled to find out that he'd missed three boxes. He's going through and measuring and doing whatever else faunal analysts do to the BPA material. So once he's had a look at the canids, I can prepare them for shipping to the US.

And now, back to work.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Boring Week

So, Button came home. This was both exciting and weird. I'd gotten used to living alone and now there's a giant man in my house. But we're adjusting nicely. And doing house shopping. This is exciting. Finally we have a mirror in the bedroom [now if only there were a way to attach it to the wall], among other essentials. Some [many] things must still be obtained. Gardening continues apace, with plans to rival our most extravagant house ideas. Though I was most disappointed to discover that one of my plant labels is lying.

On Friday, there was a LARP, Last Days of Winter. It was far more fun than the second [or third or fourth, for that matter] LARP I play around Dragonfire usually is. I tend to get LARPed out, occasionally. Luckily this LARP was saved, presumably due to the fact that I was completely preoccupied with something else when I arrived and we did not stand around waiting for hours. For whatever reason, the LARP was most enjoyable while being of a serious nature. I completely failed at attending Dragonfire however. On the upside, I presume that roleplaying will start up again on Wednesday!

On Saturday, we did house shopping, attempted to do blood tests [just because it's a public holiday it doesn't meant that the medical places should (a) be closed or (b) close early], bought pots and things, went out for sushi and watched a movie. We watched the new X-Files movie. There were a lot of things wrong with it, but I really enjoyed it and it made the shipper in me very happy. I'm not really sure why though, as that's about the only fandom I've cared about where I've never been a shipper.

Not much else has happened, it has been a boring week.

Saturday, 02 August 2008

Fountain of Youth

The LARP happened. It was most enjoyable and people should play it. Once again I was playing a character in love with Verolin's character. I shall attempt to restrain myself from details, as I'll get into trouble for that [and then you won't be able to play and you must!] The point is that is was most enjoyable, far more enjoyable than I was expecting it to be. That sounds like a very nasty thing to say, but it's true. My general experience with LARPs is that few of them live up to the expectation and many are marred by long waiting times prior to playing. This was plagued by a long period of waiting, but for a change the LARP actually made up for it. There are a few problems that need to be fixed, but I'm sure they will be.

This morning I spend working on costuming for next Friday's LARP, Last Days of Winter. All the Chinese-style dresses were too big [at least, all the ones in the right colour that I'd actually consider wearing]. But eventually I found something that was the right colour and could be made to work. I never thought I'd say this, but it would fit better if my chest were flatter. But it fits very nicely, though the plan of two underdresses will not work. I have other ideas though... Particularly considering the character's mixed heritage.

And now I'm going home to cuddle up on the couch with a blanket and watch movies while eating strawberries and chocolate :)

Friday, 01 August 2008


So, movies with theOtherAmy happened. We went to see the new Batman. Unfortunately they were almost completely sold out, so we decided to see something else. We ended up watching Lust, Caution. I am quite sure I enjoyed it far more than I would've enjoyed Batman. It was a very good movie in that it was (a) a war movie (b) a spy movie (c) a love story. Also, it was directed by Ang Lee. You should go see it. Yoga with theOtherAmy also happened. Though it did involve a few complaints ["you never said it was going to be hard"], she has since come back and this is good.

Also: more repotting, communication and other things.

This evening, there is a LARP. I wasn't looking forward to it this morning [and my enthusiasm for next week's LARP has also waned drastically, unfortunately], but I'm feeling better about it now. Not feeling so good about tomorrow's much needed shopping, though. Sunday night's trip to the airport, however, is a high spot.

Monday, 28 July 2008


There has recently been a shortage of one of my medications. For the past few months I've been getting as close to a month's supply of whatever alternative the pharmacy could get their hands on. Sometimes they had nothing for the month. Sometimes they only had enough for a week. Once or twice they had a full month's supply. Now it seems that the shortage is over. This is good because every time they change the stuff they're giving me, I'm like a zombie for most of a week. It's annoying.

In other news, repotting has happened. But I need bigger pots - I miscalculated the size of some of my plants and they are in need of bigger pots. So I shall obtain those on my way home. I have also set up a nursery on the bedroom windowsill, as it seems to get the most sun. I shall soon need more potting soil, but I'm okay for now. Also, I have identified some of my plants in one of my books [though I'm not really bothering about the cacti/succulents - those are Button's], which is exciting. Now I need more books with more plants so that I know what all my plants are. I shall also try google for the ones that have been identified, but do not appear in my books.
For those of you who care: I have a plant to be given away. I have a plant which is very pretty with light green leaves and occasionally has purple flowers [I'm not good with flowers, so I haven't seen them since I bought the plant, but you never know!]. A short while ago, a new one started growing in a pot that was next to it. I don't really need two of the same plant, so if someone wants it, let me know [it comes in a bright blue plastic pot].

Aside from gardening, the weekend saw meeting up with CP, a girl I haven't properly seen since she left for boarding school in 1995 [I'm assuming I saw her for some sort of farewell before the term started, but I may be wrong]. We had great plans when we were younger. She would be a beautician and I would be a hairdresser. We designed our salon [is that the right word?] down to the minutest details and put the plans away for safekeeping. I probably still have them somewhere. On Saturday she asked me why I didn't become an architect. Well.

I spent the rest of Saturday with my parents. There was a possibility of movies with theOtherAmy, but that didn't happen. Though it appears that it will be happening tonight...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


I was wrong, and I can admit it. I discovered, when I arrived home last evening, that I was actually on Chapter 22 of Seven Pillars. I don't know where I am now though, as I didn't read very much last night. I spent most of the evening at yoga, which was lovely, though rather difficult. Sadly theOtherAmy didn't make it. But there's always Thursday.

Anyway, due to yoga being so very exhausting, I didn't do much reading because I went to sleep very quickly. Why was yoga so very exhausting? I suspect it was because it was her last class with us - the regular teacher is back next week. I'm not sure how I feel about that, as I liked Riva. But we'll see how it goes. She could be a bit too spiritual about everything for my liking, but she was a good teacher [instructor?] and I liked her.

There's not much else to say, except that in order to get LARP communication going you just need to express doubt about it and then the very next day you will be emailed about said LARP. Once more, I am the Queen.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Bring forth the LARPs

So, it's been a while since I've posted. This is due to the lack of roleplaying. This is due to the LARPwriting by Confluence and Hodgestar. I'm quite happy to give up roleplaying for a couple of weeks so as to play in a LARP. Particularly this LARP. There is also another LARP, being written by BT [everytime I see that I think of the Giles cartoon of the chimpanzees drinking tea and working for British Rail (I think)], which may or may not be playtested this weekend. It's very exciting. I like LARPs [most of the time, however I reserve the right to completely loathe your LARP if I happen to feel like it at any time].

In other news... The past weekend was spent with the family. The memorial was on the 20th. There were lots of people I didn't know. There were some I wished I didn't know. There were some relatives that I can't recall meeting [it doesn't count if I was half the size I am now]. It was a lovely afternoon, and eventually I will put up the picture of the twenty black label irises - sadly phil hasn't put hers up yet so I can't steal it. I guess this means that I have to find my camera cable.

I had other stuff I wanted to say [I always do, don't I] and yet, it's not important. I can't imagine that anyone reading this really cares. I wouldn't if I was reading this. Maybe I'll say anything I can think of and see what happens?

A while ago [I think it was last Wednesday, it's hard to keep track of time sometimes] I went out for sushi with theOtherAmy [as opposed to LittleAmy (who may be technically larger than theOtherAmy, but I've never taken a tape measure to either of them), who has a quantifiable older sister]. This caused some upset in the Wombat quarters, but I think we've been forgiven, on the grounds that we said only nice things about him. That was fun. Then, when she took me home, she very kindly didn't throw me off the balcony in a jealous rage. We also decided that she was going to come to yoga with me. This was supposed to start today, but apparently the EvilBossOfEvilness is attempting to prevent this. I was also disappointed to learn that she and theCareTaker were not having some sort of clandestine relationship. I guess they could still be doing it, but just not telling me [but what's the point if nobody knows?].

Yesterday, while waiting for water to boil, instead of sitting around aimlessly looking at the ceiling, or watering the plants or something, I picked up a book. Was it the book Confluence lent me months ago, which I haven't even reached the halfway point of? No, of course not. Though I have no idea why I'm having so much trouble reading that one. Button tells me [or, at least, he did before he wandered off to the land of humourous hominid mugs] that it's because I don't like science fiction and that I should stop trying to convince myself that I do. Possibly he is correct. Anyway, the book I picked up is one of AK's, which Button borrowed before AK buggered off to Germany. Button has never got past the first chapter. I, however, made it to halfway through book two [I think I'm on chapter 11, but I'm not sure, it's so hard to keep track in books that have separate 'books' in them] last night. Why is The Seven Pillars of Wisdom so much easier for me to read than the Martian Chronicles? I don't know, do you? Though, to be fair, I originally picked up the book to see if it had any pretty pictures in it [it doesn't] and then started reading it because Button made a comment about something in the first couple of pages that I couldn't remember.

In other news, the semester has started again. Campus is crawling with undergrads. Thankfully I was prepared and remembered to bring food wtih me, so as to prevent my spending large amounts of time surrounded by the creatures. I'm sure they weren't this whiny in my day. Or, at least, we whined about interesting things such as the loss of the CLAWroom, we didn't sit around moaning that it was too cold or we had to walk too far to our lectures. Although, I imagine some of us weren't even aware of where our lectures were, never mind how far away that was from wherever we happened to be. Not that I ever missed a lecture. [I can be both cantankerous and sanctimonious if I want and there's nothing you can do about it ... though I suspect I'm mostly annoyed because I keep making typos 'cause my fingers are cold and therefore stiff. Where did I put my gloves...]

Thursday, 10 July 2008


So, stuff has happened. The wake will be taking place on the 20th and most of the family will be here then [excluding extraneous family members who are family-but-not-quite ... it's rather complicated I think].

In other news, there was a weekend, which involved actually spending time with real people [a rare occurrence] and shopping with mom, who had nothing to do. This was good as it involved the purchasing of clothing, though much bemoaning of the fact that people don't make clothes for short people. In the evening, I joined the actual real people for dinner and movie-watching. The movie in question was In the Mouth of Madness. It was very scary, though more for reasons to do with me than to do with the fact that it was supposed to be scary [although, I personally didn't find the cthuloid creatures scary]. The fire was pretty and warm. Sometime between then and now I rewatched Four Weddings and a Funeral. Mmm... John Hannah.

In other news, I have humourous hominid mugs. And less than a month till I have a button. So, in case you've forgotten who that is [let's hope I haven't], here's a picture. I had other stuff to say, but I don't remember what it was now.

There was a game night before last, which involved the moving of the game to Wednesdays. We started by returning to the night of the poetry evening. After my final encounter with Shigeri [we can hope, after all, that something bad happens and she never comes back] Sedami brought me the box of dried, treated cherries and the unfolded document acompanying them. Having read said document, Ishie is now eager to try the cherries on actual test subjects. It's all for science after all. The next morning there was the duel between Nadeshko and Chizuko [and how do you spell their names, exactly?]. The only surprising part of this event, was that it took so long for them to actually do it - we've been at winter court how long now? Anyway, it's a miserable morning, the duel is about to start, cue mysterious happenings. When the magistrates have finally managed to stop the spirits inhabiting Nadeshko and Chizuko's bodies from indiscriminately killing (a) each other (b) all Lion present (c) anyone who seems to be disagreeing with them or getting in their way, we manage to determine the following. The two spirits are the respective grandmothers of the two duellists. They died in an avalanche, while attempting to duel each other in Dragon lands about 30 years ago. They are likely to have been inhabiting their swords since that time, awaiting the time when these particular swords would meet. Ishie was disappointed that Sedami does not appear to understand science [or, rather the need for scientific experimentation]. The only solution seems to be to let them try to kill each other, but we'll see how 'getting the Lion to apologise' goes.

Thursday, 03 July 2008

End of an Era

Gummy died yesterday, at 9:55am, less than an hour after I arrived. 30 September 1924 - 02 July 2008.

Description of Death following:
When I first arrived, his breathing was somewhat wheezy, but you could hear it and there was no doubt. His pulse, however, was weak. The nurses washed him, during which he stopped breathing and then started again. We all rushed back into his room, as that is apparently a sign of near-death. It took another twenty minutes or so for him to actually die. When we came back, his eyes were wide open [rather disconcerting, actually] and his breathing was much softer and slower. We sat with him, watching for every breath. His pulse got weaker and fainter and slower. Eventually he spasmed a couple of times - his face scrunched up and his shoulder twisted in a rather strange manner and that was it. He swallowed a few times, there were one or two more breaths, but his pulse had stopped and he was gone.

My personal opinion is that since his rapid deterioration took place only after Marga had left for Namibia, a fact that he seemed to understand when she told him about it, he simply gave up. While we weren't expecting him to last much longer, we were thinking it would be on the order of weeks to months, rather than days.
For an account of what he was like and so on, you can read Phil's post. I am currently having a little trouble getting past the bit where he looked like he'd been mummified, rather than anything like what he's supposed to look like. And for reference, here is one of the family pictures that my sister insists on every single Christmas. As you can probably imagine, Gummy is the old man in the middle.

So, I spent most of yesterday with my parents and Bandie. Bandie and Mom went to clear out his room and then Bandie went home to Riebeeck West. Mom and I took Retta's chair [my favourite chair, which is now mine] over to my place and waited for someone to come help us carry it up the stairs. I had contacted 3 people, in the hopes of getting someone to come and visit me. Lucas had specifically volunteered to help with the chair, but TheCareTaker got there first and carried it up 3 flights of stairs unaided. He and Lucas both hung around for a while, as did Mom. Then she left, then Wombat popped in briefly and then Lucas and Wombat left. TheCareTaker had managed to talk me into joining him for movies at the DMHiveMind. Somehow he managed to get me to eat as well. We watched a very silly movie, which was most enjoyable and then he took me home.

This morning, waking up very nearly didn't happen [why would I want to wake up after very little sleep on a morning like this?]. I did, however, eventually make it out of the house and head to campus. After passing some guy on the street, I heard my name called. Turns out the guy was Evhen, who I haven't seen in years. I've given up trying to work out who people are, as if I stopped for every skinny guy with long dark hair on the supposition that I must know them, I'd never get anything done. Evhen, however, had decided that based on my height and my chin, I must be me and he figured it wouldn't hurt to just yell my name and see what happened. Once I finally got to Hiddingh who should I see there but Sedge! Most bizarre, turns out she will be seeing Evhen later today, which makes it an even stranger coincidence.

In other news, there has been no game for the last couple of weeks, as Confluence was sick and Wombat was eaten by work. Wombat is now talking about a make-up session and the possibility of moving the game. Of course, it would be better if he spoke to Confluence about it rather than me, but there's nothing I can do about that.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Cute smugness!

For those of you wondering [I know I would be], the title is for the express purposes of keeping the Wombat happy. The reason that I am feeling particularly smug today is because the problem of teleporting samples seems to be solved. The [very helpful] overseas people told me that they would do some tests, but that they thought it likely that the tape was cracking due to manipulation while still frozen. What could be manipulating the tape during the milling process? Unsecured end plugs. So, a slightly different taping method seems to have solved the problem. And I am properly smug, until it turns out that [once again] I am wrong. Now, I can't mill more as the LN appears to have run out, but there will be more next week [I hope]. In the meantime: defatting solution for my other samples, so that I actually have some reasonably fat-free samples to mill.

In other news, I have been attempting to write up the notes that I made while discuss LARPstuff with Beth. This is apparently a good plan, as I spent quite a lot of time going "how was [character] involved with [particular plotline]?" and I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to remember after Dragonfire. And, importantly, I found it just as amusing as when we were discussing it, so that's good.

I made it to yoga last night, but not this morning. I don't think I'm quite up to going to classes two days in a row though, they're much more strenuous than doing it at home by myself. Perhaps I shall make tomorrow morning's class...

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Catch the breeze and the Winter chills

So, roleplaying was very nearly cancelled yesterday, for which I blame the Wombat. But, it happened anyway, so he's forgiven.
We started off with our rather late return from hill cleansing. Ishie wandered off to the bathhouse, to check that the fish was alive and happy [it was, thank you Taniko]. While there, she was ambushed by Yogo Shigeri, who made some rather unpleasant insinuations that Ishie didn't totally understand, but comprehended that what she was saying was generally along the lines of "Your grandmother would approve. I might approve. But Kamenosuke? Such an honourable young man..." While that's probably not what she actually had in mind, it's what Ishie heard and it had the desired effect. She offered to help a little with Ishie's investigation into the elixir, in exchange for some information. Water kami are treacherous. However, it doesn't seem to have told her anything too damaging. Kamenosuke had been asked to try to smooth over a little bit of hostility between the Crane and Lion, in view of the fact that two of them are supposed to be getting married at some point. Ishie dutifully went and questioned Daichi, though without bothering to try and be tactful about it. Ishie knows where her strengths lie. Daichi knew who it was who really wanted the information and supplied it, in a resigned manner. Ishie and Kamenosuke then had tea with Sedami, who informed them that the scroll drying and unfolding was proceeding well. Kamenosuke then questioned her about what exactly the problem was, and how to best go about fixing it. He then spent the rest of the afternoon ensuring that there would be no problems. After Kamenosuke ensured that the rest of the magistrates [and Nagataka's students] were properly and appropriately dressed, the poetry evening commenced. Kamenosuke's attempts at fixing things seemed to work. Ishie particularly enjoyed Taniko's contribution, a poem about Koi. She suggested that the water kami might appreciate it, even if Taniko's father didn't. Apparently fish are very good conversationalists. After the poetry evening, Ishie met Shigeri in the bathhouse, where she related the acquired information and received some helpful hints in return... And the threat of Shigeri's continued acquaintance... This is why you should never help ronin.
Next week: an early morning duel!

Otherwise, not much has happened since yesterday. I woke up very early this morning, but didn't make it in to the seminar, due to some rather painful joints suggesting I needed more sleep. That didn't help, sadly. Ah well, yoga tonight.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Beware! Excessive use of Parentheses!

So, I'm sure I have something to say ... listen and I'll tell it twice.

I have [re]discovered extemporanea, which makes me happy for some reason. She's always fascinating and has a bit of Dorothy Parker up there. I'm rather fond of Dorothy Parker, though [one of] my [many] favourite[s] would have to be:
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

In other news, the long weekend passed with only minor fits of boredom and a rather alarming amount of raging girliness. I embarrass myself sometimes. Thankfully, I didn't quite reach the point where I was painting my toenails sparkly pink. Of course, that would require leaving the house to obtain sparkly pink nail polish and so was never very likely anyway.

My cousins called, desperately seeking dice [I'm so proud] to give to my uncle for father's day. He was quite taken with our paper lamps at the family housewarming [trying to explain to his children that it was an icosahedron where each side was made up of five parts], so I showed him my dice and he was overjoyed and declared that he wanted some and wanted to know where I got them and so on. So after some rather detailed explanations, I presume my cousins made it to Outer Limits and obtained them, though I haven't actually bothered to enquire.

Yesterday, I read three books [Lullaby Town, Something to do with Monkeys and Raincoats and Something Else that possibly has to do with Stealing Angels]. They were light-hearted fluff and very enjoyable. Also, the sort of horribly twisted murder/crime/some-sort-of-investigation-required intricate 'plot' that is very silly and I seem to be extraordinarily fond of.

In other news, my supervisor is off [this weekend] for a month of excavation at Robberg, then she's back for about six weeks and then she's off to Germany [for a conference] and Cambridge [for a visiting fellowship thing]. She'll be back at the beginning of next year. On the other hand, having my supervisor be on sabbatical for the next year means that she might actually get around to reading that chapter I sent her a month or so ago... Also, having to communicate with her by email might result in actual communication, rather than just hoping she might wander by her office sometime today and have a few minutes to spend with me.
Related topic: Does anyone have one of those very large, very heavy hammer-things? Or one of those big pick things? Presumably they exist somewhere in the department because I've used them with some degree of success on a couple of digs [where success = not hitting other people/damaging the site]. Let's hope these international people are more prompt than the others... Also, liquid nitrogen balls are very pretty, even when they're covered in my sample.

Now that I've started updating again, my sister [who is apparently indefinitely offline] has removed me from her list of links. Ninja blogging! Game tonight, which is exciting. Even more exciting if I manage to get home in time to wake up in time to make the seminar that starts before 9am tomorrow. Oh the joys! But, since my supervisor seems to think it would be "worth coming to", I'd best be there. On the other hand [and why, can the spaces not keep up with the rest of my typing?], it's the poetry contest, so I expect there will be lots of politics going on and it will be likely to run late and be most entertaining.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Too much for one Post

Note to self: it's winter now, walking home in the dark is not fun. Seriously.

So, last night I made it to yoga, finally. It's been a while since I've managed to make a class, rather than just doing it by myself. It was nice. I liked the instructor, I liked the studio and I liked the class, even if some parts were just not possible for me. Lucas and I went to some place on Kloof Street, which was very nice. We gossiped horrendously about everyone we know and some people we don't. It was fun.

On with the enormous updating:
I have done the work update. I have done the [enormous] game update. What's left?
So, Button and I have moved, had a housewarming, bought plants, etc. It's a lovely place, someday there might be pictures. It could happen. Then Button buggered off to Kenya for two and a half months [he'll be back in August, theoretically]. I had a family housewarming, which was also fun. I have finished tutoring [thankfully] and invigilated two exams [it's a good thing I get paid for that 'cause OMG]. Socially, I'm quite sure more stuff has happened than I remember, but I don't remember it.
LD had a [very] early birthday party, which was fun. We went there after JL's farewell [she left for Kenya the week before Button did]. BT got a better job, so we went out to celebrate. A celebration that was far too coupley for my liking in light of the abscence of Button. As we were leaving, I bumped into Penguin and AV, two of my ex-boyfriends/friends from high school. [I don't actually remember why we called him penguin, though from what I remember of the rest of the nickname, it was not exactly complimentary]. I hung out with them for the rest of the night, just catching up and so on, which was fun. We were later joined by DS's little brother, which was greatly amusing to me.
In other news, BT and I are still writing that LARP. Theoretically we'll actually get around to writing some of it one day. Like, Sunday, for example.
I'm sure there's other stuff, but I don't remember it, so it can't be important.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Been a While

Goodness, it has been a long time. But, now I'm here again. Isn't that exciting.

So ... massive catch-up since March.

The sieves were made [Wendell still won't go through], foreigners were contacted and [eventually] told me that they'd never had a problem with the mill leaking, but why don't I try this stuff? The stuff [that would be the cryo-tape, for those of you poor souls who actually dare to ask about this] arrived and seems to survive LN temperatures. Unfortunately, Wendell has learnt to teleport. I really hope that he was badly treated because I can't go back and make him suffer... Though it's entirely possible that he's not the problem. I presume that the teleportation is caused by small holes in the cryo-tape and masking tape [which also seems to be able to mostly cope with LN temperatures, who would've thought?] allowing him to get through. Anyway, we're hoping that they'll cope better with shorter time spent in the LN... Results indicate that they don't. I think I shall spend the rest of the day sulking. Either that or throw myself out of a window.

In game news... We hunted down Agasha Sosuke, including spending plenty of time underwater with a bunch of fishmen and lobsterwomen. We discovered him trying to locate a box he'd left there a very long time ago, before he turned into an evil tainted git. Yashamaru came along in the void and, after we'd killed everyone [though we hadn't yet got around to decapitating Sosuke], Sosuke came back to life, started some spell and was attacked by Yashamaru, we all ran away, while there was a huge explosion behind us. The explosion shook down some jasper, which Ishie stopped to collect. At least, she tried to, Kamenosuke felt she should keep running away from the exploding mass of fish remains. After the explosion, Ishie and Kamenosuke gathered some jasper to add to her gypsum previously obtained from an obliging cave. Nagataka had spotted Sosuke's box and picked it up and off we went, back to the world outside of the lake. Yashamaru and Sosuke had completely disappeared. Waynnnnnnne was eaten by work, and so Hideo had some family business to attend to and disappeared. Kitsu Sedami joined the magistrates, however we are still looking for a fourth player. We opened Sosuke's box, and discovered dried cherries with a distinctly metallic smell. Ishie has them, is completely convinced they've been treated with some sort of alchemical process and is just waiting for Sedami to dry out and open the accompanying piece of paper in the hopes that it will provide some clue. The fact that it's written in a script that Ishie technically shouldn't be able to read is completely irrelevant [that's what grandmothers are for, after all]. Work on the elixir progresses reasonably well. Ishie has made friends with the water kami in the ladies bathhouse, picked up a bunch of tiny earth kami from the underwater adventure and had a contained made to keep them in check and is using the two to reveal what's in the elixir. She knows there are 7 ingredients. She knows what 5 of them are. One of Yumiko's grandchildren went missing. We found him stuck in an old, abandoned cellar, that had been completely sealed in except for one small child-sized hole. With the help of an eta child, we rescued the kid, removed the other children's skeletons, including the one that was luring the children in there. We later found the woman he'd been with dead in the maze. She was one of the servants from Three Herons and they'd disappeared on the day that the Three Herons people went home. Though Kamenosuke insists on corresponding with Yeiji, it's probably not an entirely bad thing since she wants him to get her married to some guy the other magistrates met in Toshi Ranbo. Also, she's keeping us informed of any dubioud goings-on that we need to know about. Particularly important considering Hanchero's mother [see later] told us that they kept an oni there and that Doji Akitaka [Yeiji's father] was part of her group. So, the remaining magistrates joined Isawa Hanchero and his yojimbo [she's a Shiba, I can never remember her name - though technically they're both ronin] in attacking his mother's oni. We defeated it, resulting in an infected hill. After giving us a chance to talk to what seemed to essentially be his mother's spirit Hanchero was too far gone for anything and chose to kill himself. We burned both him and the oni [though separately] and went back to town. A couple of days later, a jade magistrate [Yogo Shigeri] arrived. She gave us the jade tea that the Kuni had sent for us, interrogated us about what's been going on around here and, yesterday, went with us to see about the cleansing of the now tainted hill. She's very good with horses and really likes pickles. We know about the last one, thanks to the water kami in the ladies bathhouse. You see, it decided that it was lonely and that it would like a fish. So I asked Taniko to see about finding a suitable fish. She stole one from the koi pond at her father's inn. It was a rather large fish and was too big to fit in one of the bathhouse's washbasins. So Ishie went to the kitchens in search of something to put the fish in. The servants there suggested a rather large barrel, that happened to be full of pickles. So, the next day, the fish was happily swimming in its barrel in the bathhouse and the castle was dining on pickles. Though Harumi did suggest that she'd see about finding the fish a more aesthetically pleasing home for the fish. Hopefully this means that the water kami will be both happy and helpful. Anwyay, we went off to the hill with Shigeri, where we found a half-eaten dead goat. We tracked the insectoid tracks, where we found a very large cockroach. After some deliberation we decided to draw out and kill the cockroach, though this was not without its hazards for Ishie. Kamenosuke was injured and, while trying to heal him, Ishie was once again tempted by kansen and very nearly tainted. She managed to resist, however and also managed to resist experimenting with the elixir on Kamenosuke. He wasn't particularly badly injured, so it wasn't terribly necessary. Besides, if she used it on him, he'd want details about it and while Ishie might try lying about it to other people, she wouldn't [couldn't] lie to Kamenosuke. And he would not be happy if she used it on him and he knew what was in it.
Next week: poetry contest and elixir back-engineering.

Hopefully, I won't remember anything else, since I'm going home now, in the attempt to actually be on time for yoga.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


Currently, most people are off in Green Point for the mid-conference excursion. I am sitting here doing some much needed email catch-up, as well as just generally getting some actual work done [and by work, I mean ordering of new vials]. The conference has been going reasonably well. Yesterday we ended up running an hour late, but we kept to time today. A number of papers were very interesting, surprisingly, this included one on rock art. Generally I'm not overly fond of rock art as it's not really useful [it doesn't tell us anything, except that at some point someone painted pictures on the rock - we can't tie it to anything, it annoys me intensely].
JG & JW gave a very interesting paper on rock art digitisation that was well put together and full of pretty pictures. Of course, it didn't go into any sort of interpretation of rock art, it was talking about ways of using digitisations to study and possibly restore rock art sites.
JS gave a very interesting paper on isotopic stuff, looking at herders in the southern Cape. Also on isotopes, was MM's paper involving reconstructed diet of people from the Kalahari [specifically looking at the difference between people buried very close to the Okavango River and people buried further away].
It was, however, LR & TM's paper at the very end of the day [or the conference, that is, there was another, public lecture afterwards] that I found most interesting, for two reasons. They were talking about the formation of the African Forensic Anthropology Team , why it's important and what they're doing. They were also looking for more people with more diverse skills to get involved. Button and I have both spoken to them about this [my sister is very excited]. The other reason that their talk was so fascniating to me is because it involved a picture of a freezer mill. Apparently it's the same model as ours, but about 8-10 years younger. The freezer mill is at UWC, but I'll be getting in touch with them about getting access to it soonish.
Today, there were two very interesting talks about radiocarbon dating. TR's was in relation to finding proxies to use for the dating of rock art [which if we could do it, would make rock art actually useful]. SP & GD were talking about whether or not there needs to be calibration in the Late Holocene [there does] and how to do it [more data - we need more data].
WB's talk about teeth was interesting - I thought she did very well. Even though I don't know too much about teeth.

And then, of course, there was the most important talk of all. Mine. Apparently it went very well. Considering that the exact same talk [give or take a couple of words] took 7 minutes on Monday evening, I was a little worried. Button tells me that I made 11 minutes. This surprises me, as I didn't see the '5 minutes' sign go up, but perhaps she was just so enthralled by what I was saying she lost track of time. Everyone seems to be fascinated and I've had a number of people telling me that they want to talk to me in more detail about it. It's very exciting.

Afterwards, while chatting to various people, DM came up to me and informed me that we were distantly related. I have discussed the matter with my sister, who is more aware of all that genealogical stuff than I am. It was most curious, especially since TC has been talking about him for ages. Button was also talking to him because he's very knowledgeable and important.

There's not much other news, since I missed my game in favour of the conference [and it sounds as if Yaeji is very lucky - although, I imagine Kamenosuke is too clever to go around hugging untrustworthy women when Ishie's around]. The only other thing going on is packing. There was a rather monumental 'discard'. A whole bunch of jewellery I don't like and never wear is being given away [along with other things I've been given that I detest] and a large amount of clothes are boxed, to go sit in my cupboard at my parents' house for 6 months before someone quietly gets rid of them without me noticing. On that - why do people give other people such horrendous things? I have friends who, having known me a couple of years, give me nice jewellery that I actually like and have worn fairly regularly. Then I have friends I've known for a very long time, who give me absolutely hideous stuff that I will never ever wear and prefer to pretend I don't own. Why is this? Why do people who profess to be my best friend [I'm sorry, isn't that my choice?] completely fail to understand the kind of person I am and the sort of jewellery, etc, that I'd like?
On a similar note, why do people keep giving me hand cream? I don't use it and I have enough to last me for several years. So, seriously, stop with the hand cream already.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

I thought we were going to have a good day.

So, the past week has happened and I'm sure there's information that's vaguely interesting. Like the fact that first-year's are incapable of reading course outlines.

Last night there was a game. We didn't kill anyone this week. Ishie got to try out her grandmother's elixir. It was fascinating. I really need to find out what's in it and make some more. Very useful stuff when people are dying. And, even better, no one asked what was in it. Not that Ishie's even aware of all the ingredients, only the one that she provided. Yashamaru departed, in search of his uncle. The rest of us headed back to Breeze Through The Long Grass to see if we could get any information on the place we're trying to find. Hideo, or rather Waynnnnnnnnnnnnnne, put a very bad idea into my head - what would the elixir do if administered to a person already dead? This is why I need to make more - I already used a drop on a ronin, I'm not wasting the little I have on experimentation unless I can make more. Poor Kamenosuke, who has to try and stop me from turning into my grandmother. In other news, we had a meeting with Yumiko and will be having another meeting with Hiroshi and Sata to discuss important stuff, etc.

This morning I arrived to discover that my mesh was here and JL fixed the mill [apparently simply by being stronger than me, which I don't think is fair]. Of course, I still need to make the sieves. There's also the problem that Wendell is currently at the bottom of the mill, which is something I was hoping to avoid. We did a run-through of presentations for next week's conference. Well, me KK, PH and WB did. KK's is very straightforward, old-school archaeological stuff. I'm kind of jealous. PH's is just a shortened version of his earlier departmental presentation on his thesis [though he seemed to get almost all the same information across, possibly I was just filling in the blanks as a result of

Thursday, 13 March 2008


So, I appear to have forgotten about this. That's not entirely true, I just can't be bothered to post 'cause I have too many other things to do. So.... stuff has happened.

Button and I watched Ronin, it's a very good movie that doesn't involve any actual ronin at all. I enjoyed it, you should watch it. Except, of course, you probably already have since it's probably about as old as I am [or older, possibly, or younger, more likely].

There was a game, that was not a game. The four of us who were there ended up playing Fluxx and Zombie Fluxx for most of the evening.

There was also dinner with my parents. Mom and I had sushi. It was yummy. I think I ate more than I usually do, though it's hard to be sure.

Apparently I really have nothing to say. Mostly I've been working. There have been lots of tutorials and practicals that I've needed to prepare for, as well as preparing my presentation for ASAPA. On top of that there's actual work that needs doing.

Wednesday, 05 March 2008

Sneak Attack

I am at my parent's house, with puppies [but no glasses]. I was going to be very sneaky and not tell them that I was here, but then I phoned my mother...

Last night, there was a game. First there was a discussion about group communication [or lack thereof] and then we started playing. Nagataka and Yashamaru managed to discover a body 'buried' in the outhouse. The old lady admitted to murdering her husband and depositing him there. She had to be executed. Neko ["she's just a little girl"], who is not-like-people and may be some sort of spirit type, did not appreciate the bit where the old lady had to die. Unsurprisingly, Kamenosuke managed to talk her into acceptance. After the execution [and sending Sachio off with a report and to fetch someone to deal with the other dead body], we headed south, in pursuit of the evil-tainted-people. It was a short game.

This morning, I went to the rheumatologist. I was late, but only a little. Everything is better, except for a bit of inflammation in my left knee. Some things are a lot better, some are only a little better.

Now, food.

Monday, 03 March 2008

Block Application

Why do I still have a facebook account? Because I'm too lazy to delete it. Because this way I can still see people's photos. It's the only way I find out about who's died lately. Currently I'm fighting the temptation to just hit the 'ignore all' bit on the invites and requests and what have you. Why? Because I'm going through and blocking every application I've been invited to add. I have no interest in the stupid things and I don't want them cluttering up my life. So I'm taking the time [while I do other, more important stuff, of course] to block as many of them as I can. I must admit to gaining some sort of rather sadistic pleasure out of it, but I don't really understand the how or the why of that.

Okay, the weekend happened. Friday morning was another horrendous early morning all in the name of teaching the tutlings. That went reasonably well, except for the fact that there are some things they don't understand. Like - if you don't ask us what something is and just assume you know, you might be wrong and you will get no marks when you have to identify something similar. But don't feel that you're under any obligation to admit any sort of ignorance. Later in the day [and far more important than some idiot tutlings] I discovered the air compressor. I knew it was there somewhere, and now I know exactly where and how it works and so on. So I can clean Wendell out of the mill completely. It's exciting.

On Saturday, I started the day by gardening. I like to garden and I like plants. I particularly like my plants. They were ruthlessly pruned and the ones not responding to the pesticide were sadly sent away. They were all half dead anyway and so infested that they couldn't be saved. It was very depressing. Now all I need are new pots and new plants. But I'm not allowed any until after we've moved. One of the plants got another spraying of poison as it was only by pruning away the dead bits that I discovered some of the evil plant-killing bugs on it. So it got sprayed. In the midst of some much-needed filing, Mom arrived with Gummy, for tea in the garden. It was fun. Later on, I seem to have brushed up against the recently-poisoned-plant and transferred said poison from the plant to the biscuit I was eating. That was not a happy half hour, particularly since we were supposed to be leaving the house right about then. Thankfully I am my mother's daughter and off we went to watch the rest of Ergo Proxy with Confluence et al. We also watched Samurai Fiction, one of my most favourite movies ever. And then, someone unleashed the blinky lights [I blame the combined efforts of Button and H*. Button just had to mention the crystal-dragon-block and H* just had to say that there was a silver stand and then they just had to find it and plug it in]. Hours passed and eventually someone [though I forget who] found the willpower to switch on the actual light and release the rest of us.

Sunday saw grocery shopping. This was important as events had conspired against it the week before and we'd had no food in the house for a very long time. We went off to fruit and veg and then headed to the Pick'n'Pay nearest our new house. It was exciting. And, I have a watering can now. I'm sure other stuff happened yesterday, but I don't remember it.

Today will involve cleaning the mill, marking and two seminars. Then, there will be dinner with archaeologists.

Thursday, 28 February 2008


So, this week has [mostly] happened. Tutorials began very early on Tuesday morning. Aside from the fact that the tutlings took forever to arrive and continued to arrive until the tutorial was nearly finished, it was all good. Of course, I've had to mark those, and be careful with the marking as the lecturer [who is otherwise very cool] seems to be under the impression that we must be super-nice to them and not hurt their little feelings. Everyone who handed in something reasonable will be getting full-marks for this assignment, even the ones who didn't really answer the question fully. The practical on Tuesday afternoon was better, at the very least, JS shares my opinions on marking.

In the evening, there was the game. Despite living around the corner, Lucas managed to be late. He did have a reason, though I'm yet to have an opinion on how reasonable it is. We defeated the undead horse, though there was still a bit of arguing as we tried to work out how to work the new combat system we made up. After that, the horse was eliminated, Yashamaru and Ishie set things alight and we argued a bit over where to go and what to do. Having decided what to do [and hence where to go] we set off. We managed to find a light as it began to get dark and we headed off in search of shelter. The crazy old lady and the cat/monkey child were very nice. Things went mostly well for the night. Hideo left Kamenosuke vulnerable and unprotected, but Ishie managed to get to him before anything untoward happened. Watches took place, which involved Nagataka sensing something, Ishie having a visitor and not much else.

Yesterday morning saw disaster strike. On arriving at the car, Button and I discovered that the one tyre was completely flat and the other partially flat. We tried to change the tyre, but the lift-car-up thingie wasn't very good and kept moving about. So, the nice man from the AA came and did it for us and then we took the car to get the tyres fixed. Apparently there was a nail in the one and absolutely nothing wrong with the other. I did make it to the tutor's meeting on time though. In the evening, there was roleplaying sushi. Or, there would have been if Wombat and Waynnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnne had showed up. As it was, it was vaguely roleplaying sushi. Regardless of anybody else, I had fun. I think everyone else did too. And the sushi was good.

Today, there has been a surprising lack of work. The freezer mill is finally dry, however, so hopefully there will be work tomorrow. On the plus side, all my first year tuts are marked. This morning was another disaster for poor Button. As we ran to catch the shuttle his glasses were dislodged and something crushed them so now he has no glasses :(

Monday, 25 February 2008

Dragon Weekend

This morning, we eventually left the house and headed off to UCT. Now that Pig's rib has finished defatting, it's time to move on to other parts of the preparation process. Today, PigR is freeze-drying, tomorrow the milling will begin. Nova, the Swedish exchange student came along to watch. Apparently their department is almost completely theoretical and they don't do any of this practical stuff, so she likes to see what's happening, how things get done and she even occasionally lends a hand where necessary. She's very cool, we all like her and want to keep her.

Yesterday, I stopped by the Waterfront to do some shopping with Button. We have no food in the house. We didn't end up doing any shopping, but we did see my cousin Meggles Dragonboating. We arrived at the start of a race and, by virtue of some guy screaming 'DSK', were able to work out that we had arrived to see Meggles actually racing. We were at the bridge when she passed underneath and got to see her in action. It was very cool and we got to chat to her for a little bit afterwards. They are a junior team [18 years and under] and compete with senior teams [over 18s]. Apparently there was only one team there that they couldn't beat. Sadly, I forgot my camera, so no pictures. After that, we had surprise sushi, so named because not only was I not expecting it, I didn't even know I was hungry. Then, there was no time for shopping before Button's meeting, so we headed home.

On Saturday, I was at the Tutor Training Workshop. The food was good and the Workshop less boring and more fun and useful than I was expecting. Button got home while I was busy. There was supposed to be Jane Austen movie watching, but I was tired and cranky and wanted to be with Button. We later ended up watching anime with Confluence, H* and others. We watched the next 5 episodes of Ergo Proxy. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Then we watched two first episodes that were very pink, involved heart-shaped petals falling all over the place and ... well, certain other things that one should expect from certain types of anime. We did watch the beginning of a different first episode that doesn't fall into any of those categories. It was bad. It was truly awful. The only good part was the sparkly-blue-butterfly-things. There was an awful lot of exposition that blatantly contradicted itself, badly depicted people and horrendous attempts at what I can only presume was meant to be acting.

On Friday, there was Meggles birthday lunch at Rhodes Memorial. She turned 16.

In other news, I have just agreed to tutor a fourth course. Luckily this one doesn't require marking.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

This morning I discovered #claws, thanks to prodding by Confluence and links that work on my antiquated UCT computer from H*. I'm still getting used to it.

In other news, the rock-bashing is completed to the satisfaction of the senior rock-bashing guy, assuming that we're right about what's supposed to happen to the samples now. I have sent a query to Button.

The game happened on Tuesday. We started by setting off to question our friendly neighbourhood Tainted guy. We wanted to know just what exactly his ritual would entail. So we went to the village, to find the ronin who knew where he was. The ronin was pleasurably occupied, much to Kamenosuke's disappointment. He agreed to lead us to the friendly-Tainted-guy and so the next morning, we set off with horses and headed north. We got snowed on, the ronin was cranky and Kamenosuke and Ishie chatted about Keiko. When we reached our destination [after a brief kata-stop in the snow], we discovered that the cabin was lacking in horses. Then we discovered that the cabin was covered in blood. The kami didn't want to talk, though the others did. Evidence suggests that the two people with horses left at some point. 3 people with a prisoner [for lack of a better word] arrived, did nasty things to him [hence the blood, etc] and then left. And an undead horse was wandering around. Some hair indicates that the prisoner was a Crane who had redyed his hair. And we know that the thing that left the strange tracks is an undead horse because we are currently watching it approach us.

Tomorrow there is birthday celebrations, a tutor's meeting and an examination of MSA material for a different tut. This weekend there is silly-tutor's-workshop, JA movie-watching and the Return of the Button [we hope].

Monday, 18 February 2008

Stuff. And Things.

I am annoyed. I am annoyed because I had to wake up this morning, when all I wanted to do was sleep. I am annoyed because there were people on campus this morning, making my life difficult. I am annoyed because I'm supposed to be working and just can't bring myself to do it. I am annoyed because I'm pretty sure I've forgotten something important and I don't know what it is.

Button is of the impression that I'm suffering an overdose of ennui. Nothing is quite as captivating as it used to be, which is causing some problems. I keep hoping it'll go away, but that doesn't seem to be working. Currently, I'm hoping that since I'm about to get 300 times busier than I have been, it won't be a problem because there won't be time for it.

In other news, I missed the O-Week Party. I've never really been one for the O-Week Party, though I'm sure I've been once or twice. It would have been nice to go this year, I think. However, I was at my mother's party, which was lots of fun and involved actual food. And very nice food at that. There was dancing [and singing, though it was neither drunken nor for the general populace's amusement]. The dancing was both drunken and amusing. Particularly the Seagull [and the Mashed Potato? No other songs will do]. I had fun, and more importantly, I had Button, who came in from the field especially. Sunday saw a tea party with the family and much present opening. Of course, she has to wait for her actual birthday for some of her presents. Philly and Whatsit were down from Joburg for the celebrations and even stopped by to visit me yesterday evening.

Hmm... I also appear to be cranky. I'm currently attempting to not be offended by a number of things, but specifically:
Something H* said last week sometime, that was not offensive at the time and shouldn't be offensive now because I know exactly what he meant and why he said what he said.
The fact that Wombat keeps talking about things I don't understand [because that's an unusual occurrence].
Something Button said yesterday or Saturday, or whenever, which gets the same qualification as what H* said.
The fact that I have to work, which I don't want to do. This involves, photocopying an article for my supervisor, checking the fat content of Pig, rock-bashing and so on. None of which are what I want to be doing this morning. So now I'm going to go do them and see if I stop being cranky.

Friday, 15 February 2008

In a Name

Apparently yesterday was Valentine's Day, and I missed it. Oh the tragedy!

In other news, I discovered the identity of the unidentified landline. I did this through the simple expedient of waiting for him to phone me again. And he did. And I knew that voice immediately. It's funny how that happens. Some of my friends [and possibly even some family] can phone me and I won't recognise their voices. But a guy I haven't heard from in about 4 years calls me and I know instantly. Possibly it had something to do with the squeaky knife noises in the background. It was DEM, my psycho ex-boyfriend [everyone has one, right?]. We [by which I mean Tiina Napoleon and myself] first called him SEC, then we got to know him a lot better and we started calling him Psycho-boy.

It's funny, how you think you leave some things behind with high school and then discover that you really haven't. Like renaming people with secret names such that people who don't know can't identify them. If we go through the names from high school... Well, there's clearly Tiina Napoleon and myself, Panda Mussolini. We had names that were much longer, as we constantly added to our list of nicknames [she had Vanessa, I had Felicity. She was the Crazy-Milk-Girl, I somehow ended up with Mr. Min and Andrew. One of us had Cinnamon, but I don't remember who... I could go on for a long time. Or I could find one of the letters that used all the names]. And we named other people, DSB, Cowboy Al, Padam, Peachy, Salamander Baghdad, the list goes on. I don't even remember half of them, though I know there were names for all of them, sometimes multiple names. And now, I do almost exactly the same thing.

Thursday, 14 February 2008


So last night, there was thunder and lightning and it was very exciting. I love thunderstorms. Sadly, it was also hot and instead of proper rain, there was just occasional drizzling. But, it was exciting nonetheless. Especially when I looked out of my window, noticed the lightning and went 'but where are the clouds?' I decided that they must be behind the building and sure enough, there they were.

I had Wombat to visit me last night, which was much fun and involved lots of talking, though more than I actually remember this morning. I also got to talk to Button twice, very exciting. The other thing that happened yesterday, was phone calls. First, my mother phoned me. This is not a surprising thing in any way. Then, MD phoned me, which was very surprising. I had to decline his offer due to social reservations. Then, an unidentified landline called me. I don't know who this person is and for some reason, I'm curious.

On Tuesday, there was rock-bashing and role-playing. The rock-bashing was not particularly exciting. The roleplaying is always exciting, even if I was finding it a little difficult to focus. We started, at the end of the duel, with Jirobei reacting in a less-than-useful manner. And then he decided to kill himself and we made no effort to stop him. Nagataka ensured that the body was properly disposed of, without any incident. The rest of us went to examine Jirobei's room. The only thing we found that was really of interest, was some more jade tea. We spoke to the servant, who provided us with interesting information.

And now, some defatting and then some rock-bashing.

Friday, 08 February 2008


Why, simply because parliament is being opened, does the government feel it's necessary to completely shut down access to town? Why do they feel the need to have police cars blocking every entrance and exit to UCT? And why, why, do they have to do it on the morning I have an appointment? So, my mother spent an hour in traffic, to get from Bergvliet to Newlands Avenue, where she was kicked off the highway. Having walked to this point from UCT, I could tell her that the quickest way to get where we were going, was to turn around immediately. When we were halfway to our destination, the receptionist called - could we come back in the [late] afternoon, as they were running so late due to the government's decision to force everyone travelling towards town onto the Main Road. So, I am now at my mother's house - missing my glasses and other belongings foolishly left behind at UCT. So much for spending a morning in the lab and getting home early. And why, do I not have a swimming costume that fits me at my parents house?

There's not much else to say beyond ranting about how the government has ruined my day. So I won't.

Wednesday, 06 February 2008


So, time for a proper update, while I attempt to organise the first meeting of the Jane Austen Movie Club with AB.

Last Friday Button and I started our day off in a bit of a flutter. We were due to find out whether or not Button had been shortlisted for a Fulbright. And... he was. Needless to say, I was unsurprised. In the evening we went to A&A's wedding reception. It was cool. A insisted on doing all the food [he's a chef], it was yummy. Luckily it was all done before the power decided to switch off. I was the only female present who wasn't working [there were two others but they were helping with the food, etc]. I chatted to many interesting people and discovered many things. I spent a good long while talking to a [fairly young] guy who has metabolic arthritis [it's a really nasty form of gout].

Saturday started off mostly boring, with blood tests and a visit to the Optometrist. In the evening we joined a couple of other people at H* and Confluence's for anime watching. We started off by playing Zombie Fluxx. It was more fun than ordinary Fluxx, except for the bit where you had to make Zombie noises. I managed to get out of it everytime. I think that the people who noticed were kind enough to not point it out. We then watched what they believed to be the final 6 episodes of Ergo Proxy. Unfortunately it turned out that there were another 10 episodes after those. It was rather confusing at first [what isn't when you start in the middle?], but once I figured stuff out, it was quite fun. I particularly liked the girl with the purple eyes. She did remind me of NekoNinja a little.

I spent most of Sunday reading, something I haven't done for a long time. I finished the Black Magician Trilogy, which I borrowed from Lucas. I keep meaning to borrow a book from H*, but every time I've seen him since, I've forgotten to mention it.

On Monday I went to the rheumatologist, got new medication, had lunch with Button and attempted to write my abstract. We discovered that Button had been awarded a grant from PAST [the Palaeontological Scientific Trust]. Yesterday I spent most of my time in a drug-induced haze. Thankfully my body seems to have adjusted to the new medication and I can actually focus on things today.

Yesterday evening, there was a game. The magistrates met, to discuss the interrogation of Jirobei and their next step. We decided to have Kamenosuke testify on our behalf, that Jirobei had concealed his knowledge of maho, his taint and the death of the assassin from us. Before doing this, we needed to convey information to an irate Isawa Saigo and meet with Doji Hiroshi and Tonbo Sata. Unsurprisingly, the session ended with a duel between Kamenosuke and Jirobei. Kamenosuke won and Jirobei reacted badly...

Tonight, sushi!

Tuesday, 05 February 2008


My sister has tagged me and I am now supposed to make a list of 50 things you may or may not know about me. Or care about. But it's my blog, it's about me - I don't care if you care.
  1. I have arthritis. It makes me cranky sometimes. If you've ever met me, you've probably experienced this.
  2. I am cute when stoned. I know this because Button told me last night [I have new medication, I'm still getting used to it. Hopefully I'll be back to normal in time for the game tonight].
  3. I like roleplaying. Provided, of course, that it involves people I both like and am able to tolerate for long periods of time.
  4. I am currently attempting to write a Jane Austen LARP with BT.
  5. I've been known to tolerate morons [I mean really, it's not their fault that they're stupid. Ignorance is annoying and can be cured, but if you're stupid, it's for life. They deserve your sympathy].
  6. I have amazing amounts of patience for people I don't actually like. I'm yet to work out the reasoning for this.
  7. I like my hair. It's pretty.
  8. I like most animals, with a few exceptions [like most insects].
  9. I adore garlic. Muchly.
  10. Sometimes, I crave milk. Just plain, ordinary milk. I don't even like milk. I blame the arthritis.
  11. Sometimes, I enjoy watching movies/tv shows/anime. Most of the time I'm just not that interested. And I'm almost never interested enough to go to the cinema. Poor Button.
  12. I adore the Symphony - there's nothing better than sitting in a concert hall while an orchestra plays. Or whatever happens to be going on in the concert hall, as long as it involves people with instruments. I'm fond of Theatre too, but I prefer the Symphony. Opera falls somewhere inbetween.
  13. My sister taught me to read, when I was 3 or 4 years old. She claims that she's regretted it ever since because I would never play with her, as I was too busy reading.
  14. My mother wasn't supposed to have children at all. The doctors told her that after my sister, she'd never have another. Well, yes. Clearly they know all about reproduction. Clearly.
  15. I'm continually surprised by how nice I am [and how much of a doormat] - it simply doesn't fit with my self-image.
  16. I like dead people. Preferably not the freshly dead though - I don't want to deal with them until they're either totally dried out, or just skeletons. Of course, when I say dried out, I meant no longer have any squishy bits or bodily fluids. I don't mind wet or muddy bones. Dirt is one of the hazards of the jobs.
  17. I have some very odd phobias.
  18. I like to play games. Sometimes, though, I find it difficult to focus...
  19. I'm not very competitive, except occasionally.
  20. I despise misspellings and certain grammatical errors. And all those smses and other messages I get that are full of stupid misspellings that are done on purpose just annoy the crap out of me. It makes me want to throw things. Preferably at the person that sent the message. It certainly does not lead to polite, friendly or even favourable answers. I don't care if it's easier for you, or if you think it's cute, or whatever you're aiming for. It makes me think you're an idiot and directs a considerable well of anger and resentment in your general direction.
  21. Stationery makes me happy :)
  22. I like plants. The more plants I have, the happier I am. Give me plants, now.
  23. I like drums. There's something primal about that kind of music that just gets right up inside you and makes you feel. I was discussing this with AD the other day as we twittered on excitedly about tribal belly dancing. Of course, it's the same thing that makes me enjoy the Symphony so much. Or certain Japanese rock music, for that matter.
  24. I didn't realise how much I enjoyed belly-dancing until I had to give it up. I still dance, occasionally, just for myself.
  25. I like water. I need to be near water. Well, preferably moving water, but I'm not always fussy about it. I like to swim, provided there aren't too many strangers around and it's a place I'm comfortable in.
  26. I like to read fan-fiction and webcomics. But I'm not telling you which.
  27. Currently, my head is spinning [yay for new medication!], I don't want to know how I'm going to manage standing up just now.
  28. Sometimes I'm easily distracted. Sometimes I'm extremely tenacious. There's simply no way to know.
I've run out of things to say, so 28 will just have to do.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Still full of fat.

So, there was a game on Tuesday. First, however, there was a lengthy discussion on changes to just how everything is going to work. I think everything was sorted out and it's going to be quite fun [though very complicated for a while]. Then the game happened. In the evening, Kamenosuke had a chat with Ishie, in which she told him that Bayushi Yutaka [the Emerald Magistrate] and the previously Doji Sakue, are both honourless and evil. Well, maybe not evil, but certainly not to be trusted and not overly fond of Kamenosuke [which shows very poor judgement on their parts]. Before he wandered off in a dejected state, she showed him a small brown stone and asked for his assistance in curbing her curiousity. At least, the curiosity that may result in unnecessary practical trials. Particularly since [which she didn't mention] she'd be most tempted to try it out on someone else. She's lived with the rather annoying side-effect for a very long time now and would not like a double dose of it. Although, that may result in more useful information than the current side-effect is willing to give... Which is why Kamenosuke will be keeping an eye on her. While it's possible that his offer to safeguard it for [and from] her is a good idea, she is unwilling to contemplate what her grandmother would say if she found out that Kamenosuke knew of its existence [though no actual details about what it's for], never mind if she found out he was the one keeping it.
In the morning, Kamenosuke sent the rest of the magistrates a message, indicating that they should meet up at around lunchtime, and not disturbh im before then. This made Ishie very happy, as she wanted to go see the messenger, and she'd prefer to do it alone. Unfortunately, she met Nagataka on her way down to the village. He decided to accompany her to the Inn, but chose to instruct the peasants rather than listen to her conversation with the messenger. In the afternoon, the magistrates [excluding Yashamaru, who appeared to be wandering the void] had a meeting with Doji Jirobei, Akitaka and Yumiko. They being the guy we think is responsible for everything going on, his father and the woman currently in charge of the village. Jirobei denies everything, though with some obvious lies. Isawa Daichi was kind enough to testify, though he accused her of lying, which was very rude, since he's most untrustworthy. Now, we need to decide if we're going to accuse him or not... Either way, there is likely to be a duel between him and Kamenosuke - which could result in injury.

Aside from that... Not much has happened. Button and I watched the latest adaptation of Persuasion last night. It was most enjoyable, despite large changes from the book and being rather short. I did enjoy it, however. Also, I asked JS what she thought about all the fat still coming off Pig's ribs and she agreed it was an obscene amount [that's what you get for dealing with fresh bone!] and made some reccomendations. On the plus side, she's now aware of why I'm not milling.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008


Last night I had a most disturbing dream. The most disturbing thing about it is that it was so incredibly realistic. I'm not going to go into details about the dream, as it was very upsetting. The simple fact is that I was quite surprised to wake up and find myself in bed, as opposed to sitting with H* on the floor, in his kitchen, while attempting to calm my hysterical sister. In fact, I was so convinced that it was real, I was still talking to her, while my brain processed 'lying down in darkened room'.

There is no other news [unless you desperately want to know that yes, Pig's ribs are still exuding fat at an alarming rate], except that there is a game tonight. We have changed many things, I am excited by this even though half of them don't apply to me and most of it confuses me horribly.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Drowning in a sea of Fat.

My current sample is a cow, named Pig. This is not to say that I am finished with Wendell. Quite the opposite, in fact. But I am currently defatting Pig. I have been defatting Pig since before Christmas. Today, I put in some of Pig's femur to defat. Why? Because his [or her] rib is still full of fat. It just keeps dissolving out of the bone. I must admit myself surprised - I did not think that a rib would be so fatty. Otherwise, my trials continue. The mesh people have not responded, so I am unable to continue the attempted sieving of Wendell.

In other news... the weekend happened. I did indeed finish watching Kill Bill. It was not as good as the first movie [the decided lack of Lucy Liu was not an improvement], but it was still enjoyable and revealed much information. And the little girl was gorgeous. I did join Lucas et al. for the watching of FotR, or at least parts of it. Lucas had a theory on the information-extraction matter, though I forget what it was. It's not my fault, I was distracted by the NekoNinja, who is far more conventionally pretty than I was expecting. She's very nice, despite this fatal flaw. Button also had a theory on the matter, which has to do with the content of the information that one is attempting to extract. Essentially, if it's about me, I'm not going to tell you. If it's about anything else, then I will. However, since H* was managing to extract personal information, I'm not entirely sure how that applies.

Now that I've confused myself, on with the inventory. I abandoned my assessment of the NekoNinja, to go braai with a bunch of Button's friends. The puppies were gorgeous, the people not entirely unknown to me and some of them much fun to be with [or amusing, at any rate]. On Sunday, Button and I went shopping. This is partly because we are smart and know that the mall has air-conditioning, and partly because there was no food in the house. We also bought me a new swimming costume, as the clasp on my bikini top had snapped and was now useless. I managed reasonably well with an old bikini, but since the top is a little on the small side [or, really, far too small] it did not make for comfortable swimming and a new one was required. As this is not a bikini, it will enable me to do things like swim at the gym, as per the OT's instructions.

And, there was watermelon. I like watermelon.

Friday, 25 January 2008

I amaze me.

Three posts in two days. You should be amazed too. Of course, the main reason for this post, is that I am bored and have nothing to do. There is nothing online with which to entertain myself [well, I'm sure there is, but it's not making itself obvious and I don't feel like looking] and there is no work to be done [well, there could be, but for some reason Pig is still very fatty].

So, yesterday happened. I chatted to H* quite a bit about game-related stuff. All I have to say on the matter is [what I managed to restrain myself from saying yesterday] It wasn't meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! And then, because he is a non-threatening type, he managed to extract all sorts of information from me without making the slightest bit of effort. Wombat tells me that this is not a particularly difficult feat, as I apparently try to hide things from people by waving them about in front of their faces. How exactly this combines with his [and Button's, for that matter] equally certain opinion that getting information out of me is about as easy as blood from a stone is beyond me. There was other talking to people and [as I'm sure Wombat will not hesitate to remind me, frequently] the mention of cake. More specifically, the mention of cake, made by me, for the purposes of being eaten by the Wombat.

Then I went home, and did even less. Today, however, will involve acupressure. I enjoy that. I'm not sure whether or not it makes any difference [though usually when he says "this may make your [insert body part] a little achy", after a couple of weeks he's usually right], it's good for my mental health. The other things that this weekend will include: hopefully the rest of Kill Bill, a braai with a bunch of Button's friends, the possibility of watching all LotREE dvds with Lucas and [presumably] some other people [like the girl - will she be there???] or at the very least, the second half of TT... and hopefully not too much else.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

taller than the universe

I'm in a surprisingly good mood this morning, though I think it could use some coke. On the other hand, being more awake is quite possibly going to lead to a less-than-happy mood. A very small amount of research tells me I'm updating less than once a week, but since I have very few things of interest to say, it doesn't matter. So, in this weeks news: Confluence's birthday; Nad's farewell; game stuff and, in that order too.

Confluence's birthday happened on Saturday. Well, it actually happened on Friday, but the celebrations were on Saturday. We were expecting to arrive late, but in fact were relatively early, as things go. I can't say I'm surprised, I can't even manage to be late when I'm actively trying. There were lots of people there and lots of food, though I don't think I ate very much. Overall it was fun, though by the time we left I was so tired I could barely stand up properly. And, just so you know, H* says I'm taller than the universe.

Nad's farewell was fun. Particularly since I did manage to be late for that [he didn't get around to smsing me the address until an hour or so before the event, by which time I'd managed to forget it was happening]. There were, again, lots of people there and I had great fun chatting with Amy1 about Jane Austen stuff and Amy2 about belly-dancing stuff. And then I spent a very long time talking to Confluence, H* and Wombat about a variety of things, mostly roleplaying. And I got to practice my deer-in-headlights look when Wombat asked for my opinion. At the party, I discovered that an unnamed someone has a blog that I'm not allowed to tell anyone about. So far I've managed that, but I'm not always very good with secrets.

Then there was the game, which was fun. Prior to our all arriving, H* had a nice long time-slice by himself, which had to do with a Crane meeting. Kamenosuke got lots of important stuff done and made Ishie very happy. Assuming of course that he told her that... it's hard to keep track, sometimes. There was a snowstorm, during which Ishie wrote a letter to her grandmother. Then the magistrates reconvened, discussed the possibility of there being more than one man hidden by the kami and generally arguing amongst themselves. Then Ishie's father arrived, which always upsets her. He gave her only partial information about something important, which always upsets her. While she was trying to work out how to say "I have to go find someone I don't know, and I'm not sure where to start looking", some Matsu knocked on the door with useful information. Everyone dressed as warmly as they could [except for Nagataka, which turned out to be a good idea on his part] and headed off to the inn, to obtain some more information. While the others dallied about generally annoying Ishie, she obtained the only useful information from the innkeeper and headed out to find the messenger. Once Hideo's uncle, Matsu Chizoku and Doji Harumi were located, the man was easy to find. Nagataka was attacked by his crazy sensei and then dove into the snow to locate the messenger. Once he was pulled out of the snowdrift [or had the snowdrift melted around him, as the case may be] he proceeded to taunt Ishie mercilessly. To be fair, he wasn't actually taunting her, she just wasn't being very rational or keeping track of what was actually going on very well. Then she read her message and hid the contents of the package and attempted to communicate as little as possible to Kamenosuke. One of the important pieces of information in the message related to Agasha Sosuke and the need for extra care to be taken by Ishie and as a result, by Kamenosuke. And then she spent a good long time debating what else she should tell him, or could tell him, without him deciding to kill her. She's probably overreacting, but she's not having a good day any more.

I nearly forgot, Button and I watched Kill Bill last night. I was very disappointed. I was cheated. Someone should've told me it was only half the movie. I know it's technically 'volume 1', but that didn't register, obviously. Aside from the fact that I was cheated out of half the movie, it was lots of fun.