Friday, October 31, 2008

A hail and farewell

My granda, John Campbell, passed away last night. He went peacefully, surrounded by my gran, my dad and my aunts and uncle. They said he was prepared, and that he spoke to everyone before he went. The parish priests came to the hospital, more as friends than priests, and gave him the last rites, which comforted him so much. He was the most devout man I know. I don't share his faith, but I'm glad they could give him that comfort before he passed.

I still can't quite believe it. My granda has been there all my life, and he was such a solid, strong presence. Like my dad, I thought he was immortal. He was such a good, honest, generous-hearted man, who didn't have an enemy in the world, and who worked so hard for years so his children wouldn't have to. And he was such an unflagging spirit, even till the end. My dad told me that when he went to visit him at the hospital, lying there on the life support, my granda, though he was barely conscious, he lifted off his oxygen mask and said, "Son... what wis the Celtic score?"

It was 3 - 1 to Celtic, so that must have made him happy.

I've been at my gran's house for most of the day with most of the family. She's heartbroken, but bearing up incredibly well. She's a strong woman, but I can't imagine how this is for her. But one of the last things my granda said was that he wanted us to all stick together, so that's what we're going to do. His family meant everything to him.

Goodbye, Granda. I'm sorry I couldn't be there when you passed, but I'll remember you and love you all my life. The Campbell family isn't complete without you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The news:

Thursday's Latin test... did not go well. (shrugs) There wasn't much hope of me passing it, but it's still a bit disappointing.

On the other hand, only one Cicero letter left to do! Woo-hoo! We do, however, have to translate part of his godawful Catiline speech (why God why are we being made to prepare "unseen" translations? Doesn't that render the very word "unseen" moot?). Then, finally, we can move onto Pliny.

I've managed to get my flatmates hooked on Cadfael. Three of us are Hugh Beringar fangirls. We're not odd. At all.

On a similar note, I'm well and truly addicted to historical whodunnits. I got one from Waterstone's the other day which was set in medieval Glasgow. No way I could resist that. :) It's called The Harper's Quine, by Pat McIntosh. I've not started it yet, but I'm all set to dive in tonight! :) Also waiting on Dark North by Gillian Bradshaw to arrive with those books I ordered for uni. It's not a whodunnit, but it is set during the Severan campaigns in northern Britain. :)

Talking of which, Uncle Gaius from the Severan novel has established himself as a main character. So it's Uncle Gaius no longer, rather Gaius Cocceius Marcellus, optio of the century of Gavilius, Legio II Parthica. Put in charge of the century when Gavilius is suddenly killed, helping invade his mother's homeland, and fighting against his nephew, the lad he practically helped his sister raise after her husband died.

Why do they do this to me?!

The Archaeology section in the uni library is also a treasure trove. I was looking - rather unsuccessfully - for some books about Iron Age Hallstatt culture - my essay subject. Most of the books on the Iron Age in Germany and Austria, however, are in German, and since I only did half of Higher German, I don't think they'll be of much help. I did find the Roman Britain section, however, which... er... distracted me from my search. They have books on Roman London! :) As for Hallstatt, I've still got my books and notes from first year Celtic Civ., so I should be okay. And Sara's doing Level 1 Celtic Civ. this year, so I can get links to decent websites from her.

And it's now only six days till NaNo! Woot! I'm dying to get started! I'd better start stocking up on snacks. Chocolate, hot chocolate, lemonade, grapes and tangerines all help me write... :)

Tomorrow night is also the first meet for the Glasgow NaNoers, so I'll be going along. Can't wait.

Also have my Hallowe'en costume to get together. I'm going as one of the Furies of Mona. So I'll need wild hair (well, I already have that, lol!), a black robe, blue face-paint, and a lot of fake blood. >:) Sara's going as a vampire - with plenty of body glitter. And if you don't get the joke - well - you're the lucky one.

Ooh, I love Hallowe'en, as much as Christmas. >:) It's the dookin for apples I like best. Also have to get our Hallowe'en movies together. I've already got Sleepy Hollow - the Tim Burton version - and I want to get Hocus Pocus, too. :D

I should have a proper post up soon, something Hallowe'en/Samhain related. I don't know what, but I've got a few ghoulish ideas. Mwahaha.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Latin, Latin, and more Latin

(Update, 16/10/08: All is not lost! An email from an unnamed student (though I know who, 'cause she told me), has reminded the lecturers that there are noobies. We now have vocab to learn, and apparently the translation will have a glossary, so my phantom state should only be for the next week or so. :D)

That's my current workload for uni. Let's break this down. I have four Latin classes a week: two translating letters, one doing an unseen translation, the other doing grammar. We have three different lecturers, and get work to do from each of them. Usually this is averages out at two letters a week, one passage for unseen, and one grammar worksheet.

In short, I have far too much bloody Latin work to do, and it's impacting the rest of my subjects, because I don't have the time to do extra studying for them.

Then there's the problem with the class. Last year, there were two Level One classes: one for absolute beginners, like me, and another, for people who had already done Latin at A Level or whatever. Those continuing into Level Two - from both classes - have been put in the same class, and it's made the whole thing very uneven, because we have the noobies and the advanced students doing the same work, the latter having at least two more years of Latin. What's more, the lecturers seem to have forgotten that there are noobies in the class at all, so we're sort of left floundering.

And what's more, our first test is next Thursday. It's worth twenty per cent of the overall grade. We're not allowed dictionaries. While I understand the logic behind this, it's put the noobies at a bit of a disadvantage, because the course we were on last year focused mostly on the grammar with little variation in vocabulary, and left us overly dependent on the dictionaries in that regard. In other words, while the advanced students have their three or so years' worth of vocab, us noobies are screwed. Because last year's course book sucked big time - and I hear this year's first years are using a different textbook.

Even that I could've dealt with, if we hadn't just been told this yesterday. The test in in a week's time. In other words, I've got about a week to learn at least a year's worth of vocab.

Worse, they're still giving us this massive amount of homework, so I'm barely able to find the time to learn any. If they'd just cut down on the amount of work they're giving us - like, for instance, not having us prepare the unseen translation, 'cause it's supposed to be - y'know - unseen.

So, I've so much work to do for Latin, I can't do the studying I need to do to pass this test, which is going to drag my overall score down. And that, in turn, is going to drag my grade point average down, and I'll need to get a good one to get into Honours.

To compensate for a bad Latin mark, of course, I have to get good ones in Archaeology and Celtic. But I don't have time to study for them, because I have all that sodding Latin work to do, and no sodding time to study the other two.

Did I mention I'm hoping to do a Joint Honours in Archaeology and Celtic Civilisation? Y'know, the two subjects I don't have time to study for. They're putting all these links and recommended reading lists online, and I have no. bloody. time.

Now let's add the essays onto that. I have the test next week, so I'll be trying to study for that this week. I have a Celtic essay due November 6, a Latin one due November 10, and an Archaeology one due November 11. Then there's this mysterious assessed worksheet we have to do for Archaeology, which was allegedly supposed to be given out during our first tutorial (three weeks ago). It's due in the end of October. We were given a worksheet to do during that tutorial, but I have a very vivid memory of my tutor saying that it wasn't an assessed piece. So I need to find out just what the hell is going on there.

The best one was one of my flatmates, who also ranted at length with me about the Latin situation, and about having no time to do any work... then promptly announced she was going out for the evening.

Uh-huh.

So it looks like I'm pretty much going to be a phantom online from now until November, if I'm to have half a chance of scraping a pass from my subjects.

How long is it till December? Seriously, I'm glad I only have to do Latin this term. I have the feeling I'll be dropping it after Christmas. Which sucks, because I love learning it, only the department is a complete fucking shambles.

See yous when I resurface.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Atchoo.

Yeah, I have a cold. It sucks. My head feels like fluff, and I can't just curl up in bed 'cause I have work to do. Uni's keeping me busy, so I haven't been online as much as I'd like. :(

It's official: Cicero was a prat. I'm not surprised they had him murdered. Anything to shut him up. In the first letter we were set to translate, he spends half of it in high dudgeon because one of the consuls didn't ask him his opinion in the Senate first. He was only second. Shock bloody horror. And what with him having saved the republic single-handedly. Wash, rinse, repeat. Honestly, I was reaching the point (and I don't think I was the only one) where I was biting back a cry of, "Oh, just get over yourself, will you?!"

Seriously, I can't wait till we're done with Cicero and onto the letters of Pliny the Younger. At least he acknowledged that there were other people in the world apart from him. ;)

And NaNo's less than a month away now! Eep - I can't wait! Got a few bits of research to do before November starts - mostly about London, since a few chapters take place there, and other minutiae. And I think I need to start compiling a serious family tree. (sighs)

It's - what? - only October 4. Aargh, I can't wait! Bring it on, November!

See you later. I'm away to peruse various blogs and websites... then I think I'll go to bed. I'm feeling seriously crap. Night!