Sunday, August 2, 2009

A mixed bag

I'm so sorry for not updating this thing all month! We've had some trouble trying to get our BT account set up in the new place, and we've still not got Internet yet, so I'm lugging my laptop to the university library in order to get the Net at the moment.

In other words, this is another non-blog. It sucks, really. I think the only times I've really blogged this year are to explain why I haven't been blogging. This last month has been no different. Stuff's been happening, and I've not really had the Internet, or the will, to blog. :(

It's been a mixed bag, as I've said. My maternal grandfather, Kenneth MacLeod, passed away two weeks ago. I'm doing better than I was when my Granda Campbell passed away back in October. I never really knew my Granda MacLeod very well, but it's still very sad. He went peacefully, though, and I'm glad for that. I'm also glad my mum and my gran have been able to stay strong through it.

One of my flatmates is also pissing me off majorly at the moment. I don't want to get started, since she's been giving me a big enough headache already, but basically she seems to be making it her business to be as thoughtless, inconsiderate, and bloody infuriating as she possibly can be. It's just little to medium things, but they are coalescing into a mountain of irritants. My other flatmate feels the same way, though, so I'm glad it's not just me.

In better news, I've passed my exams! So that's me through to Honours. I'll be doing Joint Archaeology and Celtic Studies, and I can't freaking wait! Our field school also begins this month, and tomorrow I'll be away to Forteviot in Perthshire with the uni to spend the next three weeks learning how to excavate properly/survey/etc. The big excavation site seems to be the Neolithic enclosure(s?), but there's also surveying of other archaeological features, so it should be very fun, and very interesting! I hope I can keep you all updated on it, but I have no idea if we'll have Internet access at the place we're staying. If not, I'll give you a full update after I get back on the 23rd. And the Vindolanda report. I haven't forgotten about that, either.

So... see you when I see you, I guess!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just to let you know...

Sorry for my absence. I got back from Vindolanda a couple of weeks ago, but as you can see, I haven't made the report yet. Why not? Well, for a start, I got caught up in the chaos of moving flat, and also, I couldn't find the cable that lets me upload photos from the camera to the computer - and what fun is a post on Roman stuff without pictures of said Roman stuff? As a result, I've not been quite up to speed with blogging and emailing.

Now tonight's the last night in this flat, and I'm burnt out from last minute packing. Apparently about sixty per cent of my stuff is books. I've got more bags stuffed with 'em than anything else. Where did they all come from?!

Anyway, I'll try to update properly at some point this week. I'm hoping Tuesday. Just as soon as I've actually got an even surface to sit on that isn't cluttered with bags.

And I'm absolutely knackered, so it's an early night for me, I think. Bye for now!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

From the front

Greetings, bloggers. Marcus Valerius Laevinus here, writing on behalf of my - er - benevolent author, Kirsten. She wishes it to be known that she's currently on temporary transfer to Vindolanda again. (Jupiter Greatest, you'd think soldiers' barracks were actually interesting, the way she goes on about them!) She's staying the night with a friend near Segedunum, then she'll be heading for her posting in the morning. So she'll be away for a week or so, and you can expect a full report when she returns.

Tch. All right for some, isn't it? Bloody writers. They do nothing at all for ages, occasionally decide to make a living hell for innocent folks like myself just because they can (apparently it's called "conflict" and "plot development"), then they up and grant themselves leave whenever they bloody well feel like it. A bit like tribunes, when you think about it.

She also said something about doing what I was told while she was away, or she'd do something nasty, like "slashing" me with Cathal. I don't know what that means, but I'll wager my last pair of woolly socks it's not pretty.

Valete.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Character meme fun!

This is how I was procrastinating during the exam period. "Post-processual theory? ...After I've cleared out my hard drive, I think... ... ooh! What's this? A daft questionnaire I saved from somewhere on the Internet? I must fill it in."

Sad, eh? But I just love these things. Ideal for the procrastinating writer. You can put your MCs in stupid situations and claim it's "character development". ;) So, while I run around some more to sort out Honours/flat/summer stuff, here's one I did earlier. For best results, put names in a hat and number them at random! :D (I know, I know, technically three of them aren't characters I made up, but just go with it.)


Choose ten of your OCs, then answer the questions.

1) Aedán mac Fionn - Gairea's cousin, a novice Druid

2) Sargaid ní Illan - Chief Druidess of the Epidii tribe; Gairea's mentor

3) Gaius Decius Crassus - Marcus' tentmate and best friend

4) Marcus Valerius Laevinus - a legionary of Legio XX Valeria Victrix

5) Garnat son of Talan - sister-son and heir of Calgach of the Caledones

6) Gairea ní Machar - novice Druidess and seer

7) Cathal mac Comgall - champion of the Epidii tribe

8) Calgach son of Brude - King of the Caledones tribe

9) Gnaeus Julius Agricola - Governor of Britannia

10) Tuathal mac Fiacha - an exiled prince from Eriu


1. 4 invites 3 and 8 to dinner at their house. What happens?

Ouch! That would be awkward! It'd be fine if it were just Marcus and Decius - they're best mates, after all - but throw Calgach into the mix, and a heated argument à la "What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us?" is in full swing before the starter is even cleared away. I definitely don't see Calgach staying for pudding. He disapproves when the Romans make a dessert. Har har.


2. 9 tries to get 5 to go to a strip club. What happens?

*snort* Well, I'm sure Garnat likes the boobies as much as any other (straight) guy, but I don't think he'd go with Agricola - on principle. Might suspect some sort of devious Roman trap. An attempt to lull him into a false sense of security. Or something. ;)


3. You need to stay at a friend's house for a night. Who do you choose: 1 or 6?

Er... I think I'll stay with Aedán at his mentor's house. Wouldn't fancy staying at Gairea's place, truth be told. You could cut the atmosphere in that house with a knife. When people aren't arguing with each other, they're glaring silently at each other across the room.


4. 2 and 7 are making out. 10 walks in. What is their reaction?

"MY EYES! THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING!" Or some first-century variation thereof.

(Actually, that would probably be my reaction, too. Cathal/Sargaid?! Do you realise I'll be stuck with that image for the rest of my life now?)


5. 3 falls in love with 6. 8 is jealous. What happens?

Well, that would depend on who he was jealous of: Decius, or Gairea. ;) Some sort of divide and conquer strategy would have to be implemented, as well as Calgach's much-vaunted gift of the gab if he is to win the object of his affections away from the other one, in the style of Cyrano de Bergerac. ;)


6. 4 jumps you in a dark alleyway. Who comes to your rescue: 10, 2, or 7?

Marcus? Why are you jumping people in dark alleyways? Does the army not pay you enough? *shrug* Well, I guess in this situation, Cathal would be the one to rescue me. He's always looking for an excuse to lay the smackdown on Marcus. And I think he'd relish being some sort of Marvel superhero. :)


7. 1 decides to start a cooking show. Fifteen minutes later, what is happening?

Anarchy. Aedán can't even make porridge without burning it. Stick to learning genealogies, okay, Aedán?


8. 3 has to marry either 8, 4, or 9. Whom do they choose?

Well, I'm sure Decius loves Marcus, just not sure he loves him that much! Who'll be the best man, then? Lol! Anyway, Decius is always looking for advancement, so Calgach and Agricola are the better options. Agricola's already married, so by process of elimination, that brings us to Calgach (who must have succeeded after all in wresting him away from Gairea in question five!) OMG a Caledonian king marrying a Roman legionary in a civil ceremony? And here I thought Marcus and Gairea were supposed to be the epic, star-crossed lovers in this book!


9. 7 kidnaps 2 and demands something from 5 for 2's release. What is it?

Kidnapping Sargaid? Good luck with that, Cathal. Anyway, he'll probably demand something outrageous off Garnat. Maybe that they switch places so Cathal can be Calgach's heir and nephew instead.


10. Everyone gangs up on 3. Does 3 have a chance in hell?

About the same odds as a snowball, I reckon. And that's when he is sober.


11. Everyone is invited to 2 and 10's wedding except for 8. How do they react?

Wow, Sargaid! Your ability to pull younger men in this meme is unprecedented! Ahem. Anyway, Calgach would probably feel a bit snubbed. Surely the King of the Caledones merits an invitation to the wedding of a Chief Druidess and a prince. He'll probably show up anyway, just to make a point of it.


12. Why is 6 afraid of 7?

'Cause he ate Agricola! ('Cause 7 ate 9 - geddit?? Oh, never mind...)


13. 1 arrives late for 2 and 10's wedding. What happens, and why were they late?

Oh, Aedán could get lost in his own bedplace. Probably got lost on the way to the wedding. And no doubt his lateness would hold up the whole damn thing - he's likely one of the novices needed to help out with the wedding sacrifice!


14. 5 and 9 get roaring drunk and end up at your house. What happens?

Hm? What was that? I thought I heard someone buzzing the doorbell.... No, must just have been my imagination. *turns up volume on iPod* Heheheh. Suckers.


15. 9 murders 2's best friend. What does 2 do to get back at them?

She'd do it the good old-fashioned Druid way: she'd curse the hell out of him!


16. 6 and 1 are in mortal peril and only one of them can survive. Does 6 save themself or 1?

Oh, Gairea would do the noble thing and sacrifice herself for Aedán. She is the heroine, after all. Not to mention she'd probably end up getting done for something tantamount to kin-slaying, anyway, even if she did survive.


17. 8 and 3 go camping. For some reason they forgot to bring along any food. What do they do?

Find some local farm to raid. Decius has plenty experience of nabbing food from conquered farms, and hey, Calgach's the king, right? They'd just end up giving it to him later as tribute, anyway. ;)


18. 5 is in a car chariot crash and is critically injured. What does 9 do?

Agricola would save him himself and get him to the finest Roman physicians - then, when Garnat is recovered, use his gratitude to make an alliance and take over the Caledones that way! Mwahaha!


19. The quiz is over. Tag someone.

I'm not going to bother tagging. I'll just let this meme run free in the wild...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Checking in...

Well, that's the exams over. They went from "meh" to not that bad.

And second year's over too, come to that. All in all, it's been a pretty crappy year. The holidays are a bit of a relief. Anyway, I've got a couple of new books to read, and Fawlty Towers DVDs to watch, so I can relax now.

Anyway, not been up to much else. Went to see Star Trek the other week: my God, that was a good film, and I don't even much like Star Trek. I think we're probably going to end up seeing it again, as well. :)

Oh! And we've got a new flat! The lease doesn't start till the end of June, but we're looking forward to it. It's nicer than our current one, and it's not on a main road this time. Still just a short walk from the uni. And we've got a living room this time! It's only a three bedroom flat this time: we're losing a member. Marion's moving in with some friends she's doing courses with. That's why we ended up flat-hunting again. We can't afford to pay the rent with only the three of us. But it's all good. Looking forward to the new place!

And Alyson's now vice president of the Classics society at the uni. I foresee many lols next year. :D

And that's it from me tonight. I'm away to enjoy being exam-free. Back soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A hiatus

Yeah, you've probably figured already. Just to let any and all readers of my 'umble blog know that I'll be on hiatus over the next couple of weeks for the exam period. My first one is tomorrow. :( Last one is on May 21, so I'll be back then.

And that's why Winsome Celtic Lady in my photo space has been replaced by Studious Pompeii Lady. She fits the occasion more. ;)

See you soon!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Books for Summer

Forgive me, fellow bloggers, I have been somewhat remiss in my own blogging this month. I've had a bit of a writing spurt this spring. Hopefully it'll last through summer. :)

Anyway, in... er... honour of that image of "Pictish" warpaint in my last post, I've prepared a post on Pictish body art, but I don't want to put it up till I'm back at the flat with my books and have some reliable quotations. ;)

But I just had to share the booky goodness I've found whilst looking for historical fiction. Here's a selection of titles coming out over the next couple of months. Looks like there's some good summer reading to be had here!

Claudius by Douglas Jackson is, according to Amazon.co.uk, being released on July 16. Set during the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43, its protagonist is Rufus, keeper of the emperor's elephant. Quite like the look of this one! Jackson has already released one Roman historical novel, titled Caligula.


Warrior Daughter by Janet Paisley is to be released on June 4. The product description has this to say: "Illuminated by the great Celtic fire festivals, Warrior Daughter is inspired by the historical Scathach, a fierce warrior woman of the first century AD and forerunner to the equally ferocious Boudicca." Hmm. I'm not sure I believe that Scáthach was a real person, or that she had any particular link with Boudicca, but I'm looking forward to this one nonetheless. I love mythology-inspired novels, and it's always fun to explore when the characters might have existed. And Scáthach is pretty cool! (Though is it just me, or does that spear on the cover look more like a Roman pilum than anything else?)


Also being released on June 4 is The Silver Eagle by Ben Kane, the second in his Forgotten Legion Chronicles set in the first century BC, detailing the parallel adventures of a brother and sister. I've not read the first one yet, but I think I'll keep an eye out for it. I'm easily tempted by atmospheric covers with Roman soldiers on them. :)


Moving out of this blog's typical sphere of interest is Margaret Elphinstone's The Gathering Night, set, according to this page on her website, in Mesolithic Scotland and will be released on May 21. Regular readers of this blog know that my obsession is for all things Roman and Celtic, but I've got a passing interest in this time period, and since our knowledge of the early hunter-gatherers who inhabited Scotland is so slight, it sounds like the perfect time and place to let the imagination take flight! I expect shell middens will show up. ;)


And, yes! Ruth Downie's third Medicus mystery, Persona Non Grata, is coming out some time in July (July 7 on Amazon.com, and July 16 on Amazon.co.uk, which is remaining pretty tight-lipped about it). I really enjoyed the first two, featuring army doctor/reluctant detective Ruso, and looking forward to getting my hands on the next one (whenever that does happen).

And speaking of Roman whodunnits, I seriously need to get back up to speed with Lindsey Davis' Falco books. I leant my copy of The Silver Pigs to my mum, and she got hooked immediately. And when my mum likes a series, she will just plough through it (she read all of the Aubrey-Maturin books in a month). Now she's further on with the series that I am, and Mum likes to talk about the books she reads. So I need to catch up before she gives away any major spoilers! :)

Well, those are the books. Now I just need the cash to buy 'em with. *cries*

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A mini rant

Hello, bloggers! My God, but it's been a long time since I've been online. Let's not even go into why I've been away. All I'll say is that uni assignments were involved. A lot.

Anyway, the Easter holidays have started, so now I can get back to doing important things, like writing and blogging, and... er... revising. Yeah. And what better way to announce my triumphal return than with a good ranty post? Be warned, I'm not in a particularly good mood today, so that might leak into this post... All right, it's not really a rant, just a minor eruption of frustration...

You may - or then again, you may not - have heard of the film being made by Neil Marshall right now: Centurion, apparently an action/adventure set in AD 117, based on the legend of the Ninth Legion. I've not heard much more than that, but there is one screencap circulating on the Net, featuring recent Bond girl Olga Kurylenko as Pictish warrior woman, Etain:



I could roll my eyes at the zomg!Pictish warrior babe cliché (Keira Knightley has apparently started a trend), or headdesk over the name blatantly picked at random from a Celtic mythology book, or even the panda mascara effect (I'm pretty sure the women of second century Caledonia weren't acquainted with Max Factor). But actually what had me gnashing my pedantic teeth was the blue face-paint in this still. Seriously? Seriously?

Film people, have you even opened a book on Pictish artwork? Considering the most enduring legacy of their civilisation is that self-same artwork, don't you think their body art might possibly have been of a similar calibre? Considering that their entire bloody civilisation is named after their custom of painting themselves (we assume). What do you call that? Really? Are we to infer that the Picts employed three-year-olds to design their battle paint? Gah.

I'm hoping the overall film will be better than its make-up artists suggest, but I'm already looking forward more to Kevin Macdonald's proposed Eagle of the Ninth adaptation. Apparently Jamie Bell is going to be Esca. I think he could play it well. I'll be interested in seeing who they get to play Marcus. And Uncle Aquila. :)

Will be back in the next couple of days, perhaps even with a post on Pictish art. ;)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Filial impiety?

I realised something the other day. A whole bunch of my characters have Dad issues. Quickly now:

Marcus Valerius Senior was an alcoholic whose gambling addiction and subsequent debts effectively destroyed his family, all of which culminated in a confrontation between Marcus and his father, and the consequences still weigh with Marcus throughout the book. Gairea's father Machar, meanwhile, is an uncompromising traditionalist who believes that daughters from good warrior families don't hang around in groves performing rituals, and they certainly don't go around having prophesying in public - so you can imagine there's some friction there (for friction, read: eventual disowning). Tuathal has a hard time keeping the lid on the fear that when he does get back to Eriu, he'll never be as great a king as everyone says his father was. And I'm pretty sure that Domitian, though his ebul influence is only felt from afar and never appears in the book itself, has some inferiority issues regarding his dad.

In book two, Aneirin resents his father for surrendering to Lollius Urbicus and allowing the Damnonii to become a puppet kingdom, leaving him to inherit, not only his crown, but the mess Ceretic made during his reign. Eilwen's father is conspicuous by his absence, which compromises her honour-value. Aurelia is torn between struggling to respect her father as the paterfamilias demands, and resenting him for not only marrying her to a man he knew was a bad lot, but also refusing to sue for a divorce on her behalf when her husband's abuses became unbearable.

In book three, there's Caracalla, who, y'know, tried to assassinate his dad in front of two armies. Gaius is worried that he'll never be as good a soldier as his father was. And as the youngest of three brothers, Cairpre was overshadowed by the older two and was... well... never his father's favourite, as Conaire died before he was really old enough to prove himself as a warrior, which has a big impact on his life as a warrior now.

Erk. What does that say about me? The classic tenet of writing is to write what you know, right?

Only I don't have any proper issues with my dad. Really, if I was writing what I know, the only Dad issues my characters would have would be his insistence on singing the most terrible songs ever written (mostly godawful '70s-'80s fare)! In fact, I'm happy to say that I get on very well with my dad and we're very close. So why is this theme so prevalent in my books?

The only thing I can really think of is the emphasis on genealogy in both Roman and Celtic culture. In Roman culture, most obviously, you've got the authority of the paterfamilias, and in both cultures, especially Celtic, people were identified by a patronymic, so you could say that their father formed a fundamental part of their identity. I've also realised that a recurring theme throughout the trilogy is ancestry - how people view/identify with/react to their ancestors, which is, as far as I can see, a strong thread in both cultures, so is this just a more immediate version of that theme? Since it's such a strong part of the culture - is that what makes it such a rich mine for psychological drama?

Maybe that "write what you know" thing is a load of rubbish, after all. Let's face it, it's not like I really know what Caledonia in the early centuries AD was like. :P

Or maybe I should talk to a therapist. One that isn't my dad. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tortured protagonists

I shouldn't make those promises. Something always comes up and stops me. Anyway, here's another wordy and barely coherent... er... treatise on the art of writing. :P

First: a confession. I'm a sucker for tortured protagonists. The more personal demons they have to grapple with, the better. The hero of my first novel, Finn, was one of those tortured, brooding types. Even now, in my historical trilogy, there are two main characters who seem to have arrived in Britain with more emotional baggage than any other sort: Marcus from book one, and Aurelia from book two, and these two are going to be my main case studies for this post.

I think I like the tortured protagonist because I enjoy watching them having to overcome these mental obstacles before they can get down to the business of saving the world/fighting the Romans/whatever. Protagonists might get burdened with these demons as the story progresses - for example, Luke Skywalker finds out that Darth Vader is his father in The Empire Strikes Back, which gives him something to struggle with for the rest of that film and Return of the Jedi. Other authors, and this is something which seems to be occurring more and more frequently in modern fiction, will introduce a character who is already burdened with prior angst. It's a fairly effective way to produce a main character who's more mysterious and compelling than ordinary John Doe living an ordinary life in an ordinary suburb.

The main pitfall with the pre-afflicted protagonist, however, is that it can slow the story down. Personally, I've got a fair tolerance for this, but I think I'm probably in a minority. So often an author gets so busy establishing that yes, this character is troubled, that they bog the beginning (or even the whole) of the book in angst. I did the same thing in the old fantasy series. The protagonist, Finn, liked to brood. And I do mean brood. Almost every page of that book was choked with his italicised emo thoughts. And that is the common problem, when the author overdoes it in their attempt to engage the reader's curiosity and keep them on tenterhooks. This results in laborious, undefined angst that more often than not tests the reader's patience, especially if the angst is pretty clichéd and they can see where the hints are pointing a mile away. So, how to deal with this?

One obvious solution is to explain the reason for the angst from the get-go. I did this in the fantasy book, with a prologue which showed the event which so affected Finn, so from chapter one, the reader was able to understand why he was so tormented and brooding. Considering the amount of time he brooded over it, I think this was probably the best approach, as the reader could understand just why he thought and acted the way he did. This approach is also probably a good one if the reason for a character's angsting is fairly predictable. It's an approach I'm trying with Aurelia, for example. In the first few chapters it's hinted that she's scared of men, especially in terms of strength and sexuality. Not terribly hard to work out what's happened there, I don't think, so I can get it out in the open quite early on. In Aurelia's case it seems to be working okay: it's an easy way for the reader to sympathise with her (though more on this later), and by understanding what form her demon takes, they can better appreciate her courage when she enters the decidedly macho-male environment of the Wall; not only that, but takes it in her stride. It also allows her other secrets and "issues" (for want of a less contemporary term), all linked to her ordeal, to be unravelled gradually.

But let's assume you want to keep all your cards to your chest, and keep the reader guessing all the way up to the Big Revelation, as I do with Marcus. Well, first, it's probably best to have angst that isn't immediately obvious, so you can drop subtle hints here and keep the reader guessing. The key word here, of course, is "subtle". If the angst is too obvious, or the hints are too heavy-handed, then that might result in skipping on the reader's part, or, in the worst-case scenario, wall-hitting.

The best way, I've found, is to break up the angst, or keep it to a minimum. It was harder with Finn, since brooding was very much a part of his character, but with Marcus and Aurelia, it's somewhat easier. Although they're both troubled, they're also looking ahead to their new lives, Marcus to the honour of helping to conquer the rest of Britain, Aurelia to use her tribune husband's tenure abroad as a way to find her footing again and clear the air of scandal that surrounded her in Rome. (Or more accurately, perhaps, now that they've run all the way to the very edge of the world, there's no choice but to turn round and face their demons face-on.) Wallowing in self-pity isn't very Roman, after all, so both they, as well as I, are very determined not to brood. Focusing more on the fact that they're both looking forward and wanting to overcome their personal demons is probably a more effective way to garner reader sympathy, and (hopefully) lend their setbacks and lapses more emotional impact, especially when the stakes raise and it becomes vital for them to overcome their demons in order for them to fulfil their roles in the story.

The second way is to have things happen. Angst can make for good drama; Shakespeare managed to turn Hamlet's angst into one of the greatest dramas of all time, after all. But I'm not Shakespeare, and I'm prepared to bet that you aren't, either. A good novel needs a balance of angst and action. I'm proud to realise with hindsight that this was something I got right with Finn: no matter how much of his spare time he might have spent brooding in the corner, he was also the first one to take up his trusty sword when there were baddies to dispatch. The same applies to every protagonist, I think: there's a time and a place for brooding over whatever's gnawing away at your soul, and a time for action. Marcus knows he has to put his angst on hold while he's fighting the Caledonians, and Aurelia knows that hers can wait till she's solved the mystery of her husband's disappearance.

Another way is simply to introduce some humour to lighten up the situation. Marcus and Aurelia both have their senses of humour intact, to varying degrees, no matter how scarred they may be, and I think this is true to life. Marcus, for instance, retains a fairly dry, self-deprecating brand of humour, and Aurelia can still make the odd quip when the occasion calls for it. Character-wise, it adds another dimension to them, acting sometimes as a ward against the angst, and narrative-wise, it breaks down the chunks of angst into easily digestible, bite-sized pieces. ;)

Another point is that the angst shouldn't be arbitrary, and though it can lend itself to reader sympathy, that's not the main reason it should be there. I've read too many books where the author seemed to think that simply assigning their MC a tragic past and thus making the reader go, "Aaaw, poor baby" that was somehow all they needed to do to maintain the reader's sympathy. Well, a dark and mysterious backstory might be good for engaging initial interest, but there's no substitute for strong characterisation. If a main character does have an angsty/unhappy/dark past, it should be pertinent to the story and the character, should affect their perceptions, both of themselves and everything/everyone else out there, and it should act as any external conflict does: to test the character to their limit and show their strength. This is something I've come to see more and more with Aurelia and Marcus. Their problems all serve to affect their relationships with other characters, their perceptions of themselves, and provide an internal obstacle for them to surmount before they can realise their true strength. Angsty pasts and personal demons are fine with me, but I'd personally rather read about a character who has the strength to overcome those demons in order to do what they have to: rather than a character I pity, I'd rather have a character I can respect.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It lives (again)

Geez, it's been a while since I've posted on here. Hopefully I can get a proper post up this weekend. I'm thinking something about either prophecies, or characters with heavy emotional baggage.

Anyway, where've I been? Settling back into uni, mostly. I finally dropped Latin (yaaay!) and transferred to Classical Civilisation. This semester it's Imperial Rome, and looking good so far. It was also a flimsy excuse to buy a shiny new copy of the Annals. (Tacitus fangirl - how sad can you get?)

I've also been crashing out before nine o'clock at night, which is totally weird for me, since I'm the sort of person who can usually stay up pretty much all night. So I've not really been getting much apart from uni work done. D'oh.

In other news: I've volunteered to help school kids at an ancient technology workshop that the Hunterian Museum is organising. Which is fine... except for the fact I'm terrified of small children. Yeah... this is going to go well...

And in Archaeology we've actually started doing practical work! This week it was an introduction to topographical survey, which meant we spent up to two and a half hours outside, in the freezing cold, trying to do a plane table survey of the grassy area outside the Archaeology building. Can you say, "Brass monkeys?" Not fun. I couldn't feel my fingers by the end. I suppose I should consider that my proper introduction to archaeological practice. ;)

And isn't it encouraging to know that there's at least one archaeology student in my class who doesn't realise that a dead body isn't an artefact? What are we in - second year?

What time's that? After 2 am. Wow, that's the first time in over a week I've seen that time on the clock. We in the flat have just had a fun evening taking the mickey out of Braveheart, so I think it's bedtime for me. :)

Will be back at some point this weekend with something more substantial. Promise.