I need feminism because

… There are oh so many reasons why I think we ALL need feminism. I’ve never been shy about my feminism, but I’ve been reluctant to post / pose for one of the #ineedfeminismbecause blogs/pages/shoots because I couldn’t think of a way to boil down my reasons into something that would fit on a piece of paper.


I went running this evening, and for the second time in the same week, got a some unwanted attention from some guys in a car. I’ve not had much of this before- maybe summer is the hatching period for idiot boy larvae? I have no idea if this was standard street harassment crap or some attempt at body-policing (oh, look at the fat girl running, she can’t possibly feel awkward enough, lets call attention to her and make her feel even more crappy, and like she shouldn’t be out in public). It wasn’t delivered in a hugely threatening or overtly sexual way, but it was definitely NOT sincere friendly encouragement. My fellow runners do that, with a wry grin and a nod as we trudge past each other. The lady I always see walking her huge St Bernard does that with a smile and a ‘Hi’ or ‘Good evening’. Nope, this was lechery or just nastiness, or both.

My normal reaction to this is to ignore them. I have sadly learned that giving any sort of reaction either encourages them or winds them up. However, tonight I’d just started my run, I was looking forward to it, the park was lovely and I was really pissed off with these guys who had just casually shattered my good mood and probably thought they were really cool for doing so. So I gave them the finger. It felt really good to show how pissed off it made me that they decided to impose themselves on me in a public place, unasked.

Then I panicked… I was about to follow them around a corner. What if it pissed them off and they decided to slow down, yell some more, or even get out? I live in a pretty safe city and I was in a place with a few people on a well travelled road so I was quickly able to   push aside the worry, and use my pissed offness to fuel my run. But it made me decide to post. I realised just how often that fear stops me reacting with appropriate anger to those who think they have a right to my body when I put it outside my house.

So here you are. My 200th blog post, and you know what humanity? It sucks that this needs saying at all.

#ineedfeminismbecause #project52 #week25

#ineedfeminismbecause #project52 #week25

(and just in case anyone reading this thinks ‘there is no reason to be scared, feminists blow this stuff out of proportion’ or ‘but what about my right to give people compliments? I am a nice guy, I don’t mean anything by it’ I suggest you go and read this and this before starting to have a discussion with me)

A little bit late, but only for the best reasons

This is last weeks’ #project52 post… It didn’t happen over the weekend because I was too busy doing the things that feature in it 🙂


My wonderful friend Sarah came to visit…

9046995901_75cafb58fc_o (1)

we had a bit of an adventure getting to the cafe at the Noordermarkt for the traditional apple pie pilgrimage… but the pie was worth it



…then we went on an even bigger mission to get kibbeling at Nieuwe Sloten, but it was well worth it


Then she surprised me with this AWESOME scarf, that she crocheted just for me….


… I have named him Benedict. Isn’t he magnificent?


She also brought me a very cool Totoro t-shirt…..


… and a care package with tea, chocolate and jammie dodgers!

… much tea was consumed, we laughed a lot and I get the feeling I am going to spend all week recovering from the lack of sleep. But she can come back next weekend and every weekend if she likes. She’s like a big sister, partner in crime and best friend bundled into a wise, caring bundle of energy, curiosity and wicked humor. My PhD wouldn’t have happened without her help, she’s been there for me through some weird times. I’ve had the honour of being her friend for more than 15 years now, and she’s exactly who I want to be when I grow up…. (and she’ll want to strangle me for getting all sentimental). Love you woman!

There is no try… the #ISAPafterparty and beyond

One of the things I said I needed to do regarding the #yearofyoda was to start being more proactive in my research career and putting my ideas and professional stance across more strongly and confidently. Boy, is it terrifying. If you follow my twitter feed you’ve probably seen an extended conversation that started at the ISAP biannual conference in Vienna last week, about a lot of serious (and not so serious) aspects of and issues in archaeological geophysics at the moment.

One of the things I agreed to do was post up a series of open documents laying out my ideas in a more expansive forum than twitter’s 140 characters, to try to keep the impetus generated at the conference going. I’ve just posted them up on an openly shared google docs folder that you can find here. I welcome any feedback and I’ll try to keep them updated with what everyone adds, keeping my own opinions clearly demarcated. It’s a little bit scary, all of this. In some ways, I don’t feel like I have the experience or the authority to set an agenda in this way. I’m hoping people I perceive to have more ‘gravitas’ will join in and I can at least act as a collecting point, a facilitator!

In other news, me and my brain have had a bit of an interesting time. Vienna was a good distraction from all that, and getting back in touch with other people working in geophysics was really good for some of the confidence issues I have been experiencing. Various things have gone a bit ‘wrong’ since getting back from Italy and I am determined this week to get back on track, to eat healthily, sleep properly and focus hard at work and on making plans for next year. This week’s photo is a little taste of life in the Netherlands. Here in Groningen we have ‘city sheep’ that belong to the city council and keep the verges and canal-sides trimmed. I was walking home from the shops yesterday to find them all penned in the park behind my house, getting their annual haircut!

#project52 week 23 City Sheep!

#project52 week 23 City Sheep!

Summer is here!

But it didn’t arrive last week while I was in Vienna.  Instead we had torrential rain that pushed this May into being their wettest ever, and they had some awful flooding elsewhere in the country. The conference was very good. I saw a lot of old friends, made some new ones, and got to talk geophysics and archaeology and science and cool things for a whole week, without anyone suggesting it was boring 🙂

We got to go on two excursions. The one to Carnuntum was pretty cool, with the reconstructed baths, and the wine to taste, but the one I really loved was to a place called the Heldenberg, which houses the strangest tomb (with the strangest back-story) I think I have ever visited, and a reconstruction of a Kreisgrabenanlage (“circular ditched enclosure”) – a neolithic monument of a type that appears all over central europe, along with some houses based on excavated ground plans. Prehistory is where my heart really is, and though the baths were spectacular I was such a happy little geek, bouncing about the circle and the palisade and peering up in the roofs, looking at axe facets on the hewn wood and generally grinning like an idiot, as the picture below shows.


Me in the rain at the Heldenberg
#project52 week 22

As you can see it was rather wet. And I didn’t care. At all.

One of the reasons this post is a bit late is because I didn’t get back home until week 22 had been over for an hour and a half. The other reason is that there has been a lot of post conference chat and things are afoot (duh dun der!) that I hope to blog about in more detail- if you follow my twitter you’ve probably seen some of the discussion. So I’ve been a bit too busy to sit and write until now. I actually need to go and do more on that front now, so I’ll sign off but will write again before the end of the week to keep up with the #project52 malarkey.