Archive | October, 2011

Iron Maiden Monday: NUMBER OF THE BEAST!!!!!

31 Oct

Happy Hallowe’en! Iron Maiden Monday is posted from home today as I attempt to get through mountains of washing up and laundry. Thank Hell for IRON MAIDEN!!!!1!



28 Oct

As regular readers of the blog will know, the afternoon slump is something that has plagued our office for many a year now. It goes back to days beyond my own time here, perhaps even to a time before Sue. Todays afternoon slump got completely out of hand when we started to chat to the Hawk over skype before eventually going to Topshop. Now Mel was serious about trying on a beautiful dress which did indeed massively suit her and which we all enjoyed. I however have no money and therefore I did what I do best in Topshop – try on all the most ridiculous things that I can never ever afford. If I were to try on nice things I might actually buy them. This method saves money and increases hilarity. Louise tried on some smashing velvet slut dress, BriBri tried on her first ever mustard outfit (it made her look like she had an illness), Sophie and Mel were sensible.

I started off with this gem of a slut dress. It is backless and pretty special. The chances of my flashing people whilst wearing it are super high. But it would be perfect for the next Geordie Shore night out!


Following this first excursion we moved on to some beautiful sequinned hot pants selected by Louise I think. They are short, they are itchy, they are something I would never wear, But But BUT I have to say I was tempted by their hilariousness. Louise did suggest I could wear them to lunchtime seminars….. They are teamed with a super mustard shirt, which of course was somewhat lacking in slut, so they had to make it see-through


Time wasted on this slump: Well over 2 hours, probably actually 3 hours, but who cares I am going on holiday for a week tomorrow!

(Yeah that is right, expect some holiday fashion updates, I am thinking a tweed and bikini photoshoot fresh from a Lanzarote bathroom mirror! What academic wouldn’t want advice on how to combine tweed with bikinis for conferences in hot places?!?!?!)

Time wasted writing this post: 15mins.

A guide to free drinks

26 Oct

PhD students are phenomenally poor. 7 years at uni doesn’t come cheap: loans, fees, sinners virginity, rent, dignity are all lost in the process. Even for those of us lucky enough to have funding aren’t exactly rolling in cash. This means it is important to continue the great undergrad tradition of going to things in order to get free stuff. Whether it is flyers, pens, curries, pizzas, or just 10% off some-clothes-you-really-shouldn’t- be- buying-because-you-don’t-have-the-money it is important to keep claiming the free stuff.

One such free thing is of course drinks. But there is an etiquette, a protocol, a cost-benefit model that needs to be considered in this situation.

Departmental events and the drunkenness scale:

Any kind of departmental mixer is the ideal event to attend, you can stand with your friends, chat normally and drink as much as is humanly possible in the allotted 2 hour period. Now obviously as the drinking increases you need to assure your friends stay close, you need to keep your eyes peeled, you have to get ready to duck out or take an ‘unexpected call’ when your supervisor/some other academic you owe work to/ the boss in charge of everything nears your drunken perimeter. You are clearly drunk. You don’t want to give this away.

There is one exception to this rule. If said ‘authority figure’ has been downing the drinks even quicker than you then it is ok to talk to them. In fact this is an ideal opportunity to mention work you haven’t had time for, funding issues etc. They won’t remember when morning comes that they said it was ok for you to move away from Newcastle/go on holiday/submit another conference paper/hand in a chapter late, but nor will they want to admit they were drunk. This results in them acting as if they remember the conversation and remember approving your misdemeanour. You are drunk, your supervisor is more drunk, your misdemeanour is excused. Triple win.

[A quadruple win is possible here – there is left over wine, you take it home, you are drunk enough to drink bad wine – the Shangri La]

Drink quality versus loss of own time:

Now there is a corollary on this triple win. You have had to drink enough departmental wine to get drunk. Departmental wine is cheap, it is corner shop wine, bought in bulk. About 20years ago someone in the office got drunk on a bottle of it and decided that the particular brand they buy for every event was ‘deliciously drinkable and reasonably priced’ and now it seems we may drink nothing else. The reality is the white is always warm, the red is always super cold and both taste a bit like vinegar and the rotting of your insides. So a decision must be made, is it worth sitting through paper X if the only think you are going to get out of it is bad wine. Maybe you have had a bad day and an hour in silence next to the wine will be a good thing. Or maybe the Roman period brings you out in such a significant rash that it will never be worth sitting through the paper in return for a few glasses of really bad wine. One has to model need for wine, lack of cash, hatred of event/paper one must sit through and loss of own time against each other in some form of Venn diagram and see which combination of circles means an hour listening to the Romans is worth the free wine versus which combination just is not. Ever.

Need to not see supervisor versus need to get freely drunk:

Sometimes you really need to not see your supervisor. Maybe you had a fight, maybe they were mean, maybe they gave you too much work, maybe they moved the goalposts once too often, OR maybe you moved the goalposts, maybe you spent all your money, maybe you didn’t finish your chapter again, maybe you were mean about them in front of other people. All of these situations inter-lock with a need for free drink. You are angry, they are angry, you probably both need a drink. But almost certainly you don’t need that drink together. Do you risk the free drink? It is quite the conundrum.

When the wine quality is raised the event quality if almost always lowered or made more serious:

Now, big events often have better wine. Graduations, probably have better wine. Retirement dos, better wine. Inaugural lectures, better wine.  I would guess that HASS probably has quite good wine (then again the coffee situation suggests otherwise). HOWEVER often there is a sense that these events might be things you don’t actually want to go to. Or that you know nothing about. Or you aren’t really invited to. Risk it, risk it for the better quality wine!

Two notorious members of this blog went to an inaugural lecture where they felt they knew no one, and didn’t really know the subject of the lecture either. The only response to the social awkwardness of this event was to keep drinking, indeed eventually they captured a bottle in a corner by themselves. When the drink was over and the lecture began they were wasted. They had to sit through the lecture, which they wouldn’t have understood anyway, trying to stop themselves falling asleep. When the lecture ended they went on to drink more. Now in many ways this was a success, both of them avoided social awkwardness by being drunk and didn’t even try to understand the lecture, however their wine fumed breath may have been a mistake in front of so many other eminent archaeologists. There is a fine line to tread here kids, and it is not one you will always get right.

The one exception to this rule is HASS, I will never know if it has better wine because I won’t ever be there.

Time wasted from PhD: 30mins

Time usefully spent on ‘research’: days, and then the days lost with the hangover induced by bad free wine.

How do you find Will Smith in the snow?

26 Oct

You follow his fresh prints.







That is all.

Louise’s Guide to Wasting Time on Youtube Part One: Air Crash Investigation

24 Oct

As many of you will know, I don’t do a lot of work. The bare minimum, if you will. Instead I spend much of my day on Youtube, becoming an expert in various things (see my first post). So I have decided to let you all benefit from my Guide to Wasting Time, for those moments when you just can’t be arsed to work.
Part One is one of my favourite ways to waste time: Air Crash Investigation (also known as Mayday).
Awesome ‘docutainment’ series featuring epic reconstruction movies. Every episode features the same format (hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!);

Beginning: Dramatisation showing the crash (THE BEST PART!!!!!)
Middle: The investigation (more reconstructions!)
End: The conclusion (Goddamn you pilots/mechanics/greedy airlines/fate delete as appropriate)

Once you’re familiar with the series you can play ‘spot the recurring reconstruction actor’.

Here are my top 5 Air Crash Investigation episodes (along with some special mentions):
5. “Panic Over the Pacific” An EPIC example of bad flight crew turned good
4. “Fight for your Life”: Fed EX cargo flight where flight crew are attacked with hammers and a spear gun! Proper mental
3. “Gimli Glider”: Maths, bleh!
2. “Ripped from the Cockpit”: EPIC RECONSTRUCTION! British Airways flight 5390 suffers a mid-air explosive decompression!
1. “Falling from the Sky”: BEST. EPISODE. EVER.

Special mentions:
“Helicopter Down”: Helicopters! In the North Sea!
“Attack Over Baghdad”: Best ever landing done with NO HYDRAULICS!
“Flying on Empty”: Longest ever glide of a fully loaded 747!

Time wasted on this post: 20 mins
Time wasted on Air Crash Investigation: 353 hours

Journey to the Centre of the Armstrong Volume I

24 Oct

Greetings adventurers!
After yesterday’s epic journey to find the Armstrong Boardroom, a mythical El Dorado if you will, intrepid explorers Noble and Tolson again trekked to this Shangri La on a quest to bring back photographic evidence. The reason for this is thus: After the re-modelling of the Armstrong the Boardroom is on our list of ‘acquisitions’. We therefore felt it our duty to bring a report forth, post haste!
We commenced a little after lunchtime, after a hearty meal of cake. First we ventured into the mapped, but inhospitable, corridors of Marine Science.  Thankfully, the lift was located at the very edge of this territory.

We travelled by lift to the 3rd floor, gathering a couple of extra explorers along the way, though they would leave us in search of more hospitable ground. We alighted in the Business School, a deserted wasteland with no sign of the native peoples. The central foyer was lit by a glass relic of a long-dead civilisation.

We pushed forward, aware that we could be being watched from beyond the shadows. There was but one way we could advance – down the dark corridor. A perfect place for an ambush…

Noble and I advanced warily, knowing full well the protection afforded us by our affiliation with Historical Studies would do us no good here. We were tantalisingly close to our goal, yet in the spirit of adventure stopped long enough to document this native site:

We had brought no provisions, so our sojourn was brief. We advanced further down the corridor in search of our prize. And here! A sign! A trap perhaps? For the sign pointed to an abandoned cupboard.

Yet faint sunlight lit the far corner of this dark hole. Warily we made our way into the darkness, towards the light…

Success! The cupboard was a mere ruse! Constructed long ago before the Business School had conquered this territory, destroying or scattering to the four corners of the campus that great civilisation of which this was a relic. We had reached the Octagon and would claim it as our own!

Our place high in the Octagon Tower afforded us unparalleled views of more civilised territory:

We could little aford to savour the view! The Octagon held more secrets to be uncovered! See here, an ancient technology, abandoned by that lost civilisation in their haste to flee Business:

This image in the name of science has been sent to our colleagues in London for analysis. Close by this artefact was a hidden door. Where it led, we would endeavour to discover!

Through this door was a dark expanse, full of artefacts. Alas, we had not the equipment to sortie into this cavern. We will return in time with provisions and equipment.

It was now time for us to depart the Octagon and start the long trek back to base where lunch awaited us. The descent was steady, and we took the long path down the stairs to avoid Marine Science as it was now lunchtime and the natives were well known for their cannibalistic tendancies. We made one slight detour from the path to record this doorway, high up an ancient stairway:

Alas, we had no way to venture beyond it. We made good time, arriving back at base to our colleagues rejoicing in our success: The flag of Historical Studies had been planted. We now owned the Octagon.

Iron Maiden Monday: POWERSLAVE!!!

24 Oct

A classic 80s metal tune! Live show from the movie ‘Flight 666’, a proper awesome documentary following the band on their record-breaking 23 concerts in 45 days worldwide tour, thanks to their personalised Beoing 757 ‘Ed Force One’. Watch it and I promise you will become a Maiden fan. UP THE IRONS!!!!!!