Basket Case

OK, so I know it is a sin beyond sins to write a meme as a blog post but I’m writing it for facebook anyways (sigh, I have had about a million of these lately- all variations on a theme but some of them are kinda fun; note to everyone on facebook: I’m only going to do these if they make me go ‘Ooh’ OK?). So, meme below. Possibly giving you more insight into my musical taste than any of you deserve.

In other news:

This year I suck at my resolutions. Those of you who do the twitter thing will know I’ve decided to get back onto the bandwagon with it all. Especially the fitness thing. I haven’t been backsliding, but I feel like I’ve been in much the same place since October last year, and I think that is to do with getting to the point where the fitness work needs to be stepped up to keep having an effect, and for various reasons I’ve been doing less, not more. So, back to swimming, biking and whining on twitter about sit ups then! Sorry if it bores y’all.

I’ve recently shifted a couple of external hurdles to the last few bits of fieldwork on my PhD so if things go to plan I’m back off to Dartmoor in a fortnight, and potentially Somerset soon after, but I’m not counting my chickens on that one ’till I have the site license in my sweaty little paws!

Here is the meme:

WHAT TO DO: 1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle. 2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer. 3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS. 4. Tag 10 friends. 5. Everyone tagged has to do the same thing. 6. Have Fun!



WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? Release the Pressure (Leftfield)


WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE? Roses for the Dead (Funeral for a Friend)

WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO? Armagideon Time (The Clash)



WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? Where do I begin (Chemical Brothers)

WHAT IS 2 + 2? Right Now (Korn)


WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? Android (Green Day)

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? The Lowest Trees Have Tops (John Dowland)



WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? I can see clearly now (Johnny Nash)


WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR Some Days Are Better Than Others (U2)


WHAT DO YOU WANT RIGHT NOW? My Hero (Foo Fighters)


WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS? Basket Case (Green Day)

Well, that last one seems appropriate at least!


I’ve not blogged for a while. It’s all been a bit busy in Neko land, with an epic journey through the snow to Liverpool (more on that later), but that’s not why I haven’t been writing.

No, dear readers, the blame for this lies with Cas.

You see, in January she was infected with a meme that involved writing a few things about a friend, one of which was a question you’ve always wanted to ask them.

She asked me if I could live in any dwelling on earth, what would it be like? My immediate response was that it was an amazing question as I’ve been imagining, drawing, mapping and weaving my home in my mind for years. She excitedly identified with this… but I’ve been thinking about it ever since and about a month ago made up my mind it would form my next blog post. The thing is, I can’t decide. There are so many potential homes I have considered over the years… I’ve been trying for the last four weeks or so to pin it down to just one place, something that could hold all of them, but it just doesn’t work like that.

So instead, I’ll tell you about my favourites.

When I was very small I wanted to live in a tree house. Not just any tree house though, something like Lothlorien, or the Ewok village, or even the tree top refuge in ‘The Prince of Thieves’ (yes, I know it’s not that great a movie but I loved it when I was 12, OK?). I think that was more about the idea of a settlement, a private network of dwellings, secure up in the trees. I used to make up tribes, cultures, imaginary groups of people and how they’d live and function together. Not just the pretty bits, like what the homes would look like, but the real stuff, like how you’d get water up there for everyone, what sort of crop/ animal economy you could support. I also thought a lot about transhumance– following the best resources around, moving with your herds, but having a home base. Some of my favourites ‘races’ in fantasy and SciFi live this sort of lifestyle…

And it was in contemplating this part of my answer to Cas’s question that I realised how long this archaeology thing has been in my blood- ever since I was little when I’ve visited somewhere ‘historic’ I’ve imagined the everyday people there, what their lives where like, what tools and skills they used to live.

As I grew older and started thinking realistically about the home I would one day want. I know it needs to feel old, it needs to have history (or at least reference it). I imagine a warmer version of Theodens’ hall, an early medieval space with a large communal area, and more private zones separate from it. It needn’t be a ‘great hall’ on the outside; This idea could work as some sort of Hobbit house (which I also love the idea of). I imagine it as textile and texture rich. Woodsmoke would permeate the building and it feels very warm, in my mind.

This idea feeds into the small cottage lurking somewhere in the settled down, chickens and sheep dogs part of my mind. In the idea of textiles, rich colours, and warm wood. My cottage would be a glorious mismatch, with many difference pieces of furniture, none of them matching and some of them hundreds of years apart in age.

I would also love somewhere clean and minimalist. Not necessarily modern though. Japanese perhaps, with tatatmi matting and sliding doors. I know that part of me wants somewhere quiet and peaceful to retreat to once in a while.

Then there is the awesome house me and Rob thought of one sunny afternoon drinking cider outside the pub over the road from my current place. We would need to win the lottery, but if we did we envisaged a gargantuan mansion, built in a horseshoe with a communal ground floor (replete with indoor go-cart track to get around it, games rooms, kitchens, cinema room, trampoline room, library, ball pit and a swimming pool in the open centre), with a series of self contained luxurious houses up above for all our friends, so we could live together and apart. We would have our own larping/ paintballing arena in the woods in the grounds and life would be sweet.

I’ll write all about CAA during the week: I’m at home in Southampton an extra night tonight to make up for being away at the weekend. It’s sparked off some useful ideas that I think (hope!) will take my final thesis up a notch or two…

Neko out for now….

Five Questions

My friend Cas, over at Brightmeadow, played a game with a fellow blogger in the US… slightly long story, but basically roro agreed to answer, on her blog, five questions posed by a friend… the game being that people could then volunteer to have roro write 5 questions for them…. which is where Cas came in… and then I volunteered for Cas to ask me some, which I duly answer here:

1. It’s a given that Cas (and Bright Meadow) are the best thing since bread came sliced. But what is the second best thing on the Internet?

This is such a tough question for a geeky girl like me. There are so many great things about ‘teh internets’… there are amazing sites full of cool maps that someone has hunted down and put out there for map-geeks like me, there are repositories of shiny gleaming knowledge and words, there is data, if you know how to hunt it down, that save projects and inspire ideas. There are silly sites that cheer me up on a bad day. There are endless ways to amuse myself and in turn amuse others. I love wikipedia– I know it has its flaws, but as a place to start finding out about something, or just to go and have something interesting to read on my lunchbreak, it rules. Communities building worlds, like Second Life, or knowledge like antiquist fascinate me.

Then there are the games, from the simple, non interactive little flash games moose is always finding us, to MMORPGs like City of Villains (there is nothing like playing the bad guys!) and, a recent obsession, the very cute and very French Dofus.

The best second best thing? (And in some ways my downfall) Contact. Email. Blog comments. IM services. Forums. Wikis. The ability to connect with other humans, however ephemerally, is really important to me at the moment. Hence the blog. Even if I’m just talking to cyberspace, I’m here. Type therefore I am. But this is also my downfall- in these days of instant communication, I now get impatient for email to arrive, whereas email once made me frustrated with post. The constant contact gets addictive… and anything this impersonal make emotion and subtlety difficult at best…

2. Which archaeologist would you most like to be stranded on a desert island with?

Indiana Jones (ahem). Phil Harding. For very practical reasons- all that experimental archaeology he does is bound to have imbued him with some Ray-Mears like survival techniques, thus bettering our chances of building a boat and escaping. The man is an expert flint knapper, and also a great archaeologist. I reckon he’d have some really good stories to tell as well. He is quite famous though, so it is a bit of a cop out.

If I had to pick one I had actually met? Professor David Hinton, ’cause he is a consummate gentleman and I wouldn’t have to worry about him going crazy and eating me. He really knows his stuff as well, and I could listen to him talk for hours and hours, just soaking up the knowledge and passion he has. He also has a wicked sense of humour, and like Phil, I suspect he has some great stories to tell.

Or, the godhead :). We could be scared of the spiders together…

3 – Pirates or Ninjas?

WOW, this is a tough one for a geeky gamer like me 🙂

Pirates- rum, swashbuckling, canons, doubloons, jennies, treasure, curses, camaraderie, great slang and swearing possibilities, devil-may-care attitude, and funky clothes (especially for the girlies!). Banter, fencing and witty repartee!

Ninjas- deadly, cool, honourable, dark magic, secret pacts. Really cool kung fu moves and shiny shiny swords. Being Japanese (cool points just for that one!). Being lithe, quick, supernatural. Getting to be the femme fatale….

At the moment the Ninja’s win. It’s the dark magic, forbidden knowledge and ties of honour that have me. So many possibilities for cool stories….

But I’ve not seen Pirates Three yet, so ask me again after I go get my Johnny Depp fix 😉

4 – (Ever so slightly morbid I know but – ) What do you want the last words you utter on your deathbed to be?

‘I love you’ . If I’m aware that I’m going, I sincerely want to be able to say that one last time to all the people who deserve it, in case I hadn’t told them enough.

5 – Five people from your life who you most want to get around a table together?

(They all already know each other, bar one- I hope this wasn’t cheating!)

H- currently in Greece. I don’t see her as much as should or want to.

Jess- best friend from school. We live a long way apart now but when we see each other it s like we never left off.

My Dad. I love him so much, and I don’t get to spend enough time talking with him now. He is the greatest at social events, and best of all, Jess and H know him well and a) won’t take any c@~p from him, and b) give as good as they get, which makes for great discussions when we (very rarely) are all in the same place at the same time.

Cas- I want her to meet my Dad, and Jess and H as they would get on fantastically, and I know she would join in all the fun and discussion with vim and gusto!

The not-spouse-creature- He gets on well with Jess and H, needs to get to know my Dad better (even though we have been together almost 9 years) and would be a good ‘bridge’ for Cas, since he has met her. I don’t get to sit and have proper time set aside with him just to talk and have fun at the moment, so while it may seem a cop out he is a worthy inclusion…

I reckon between us we would have a pretty interesting discussion…. I challenge anyone not to when around my Dad!

Please have fun following all the links above- I’ve tried to include some interesting and fun sites for you to explore.

If you want to join in, volunteer in the comments. This means I will think up five questions just for you, but you have to answer them honestly, and on your own blog. If you don’t have a blog, you could guest post here!

To see other peoples questions and answers, follow the links at the top to the right page on Cas’s blog- links have been added in the comments! Have fun!

Oh, and if you were worried, the meeting went fine, awaiting comments back on all those words (!) but apparently the length was fine! Just got to start being brave and arranging meetings with important people to get the fieldwork rolling…

So long and thanks for all the fish…

Well, I have a lot to update you all on…

The closing days of 2006 saw a mad dash to finish the MSc dissertation in time for the New Year so I could enroll on my lovely funded PhD and actually have money again for the first time since ceasing work in July. It was not a fun way to spend the Christmas period kids, and I don’t recommend it.

I’m not totally happy with what I turned in, by a long way, but it was as good as I could manage and I’ll have to live with that. Think I may have kissed goodbye to my distinction though, despite averaging 70% on all my other work. Oh well, as my tutor told me in a moment of academic honesty: ‘Once you have started your PhD no-one will care about your MSc grades, just being on the PhD will be enough’, so I’m trying not to worry. Anyone who knows me well will be aware how futile this is.

So, I’ve moved down the coast and started at a new university (my last institution had been ‘home’ for 7 years so this is quite a shake up!), only see my not-spouse-creature at weekends and have embarked on a PhD….

I’m all a bit phased still so I can’t comment too much, but it already seems like it’s going to be very interesting and with a lot of fieldwork and practical stuff, which makes me happy. It’s odd- ’cause it’s a funded place it’s a topic the department I’m now in wanted doing, not something I came up with myself, but for all that it fits my interests really well- bogs, geophysics and European prehistory, with some GIS stuff on the side. It’ll involve looking for sites like Flag Fen and the trackways under the Federsee (the website is in German).

For those interested (and because writing about it will no doubt help me put it order in my head) I’ll elaborate soon, but for now, on to other things!

Cas tagged her minions with a meme, a while back but I haven’t had time till now, so here goes my CD CV…

The first song you ever bought?
The album Right said Fred by Right said Fred. I was 10 and I just loved the base lines and the silly lyrics 🙂

I’m going to be a pain and have 2 though:

The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails is my real one because I bought it with my own money and still own and listen to it. My tastes changed a lot between 10 and 15 and inbetween I just bootlegged tapes from friends…

The song that led to your first popstar crush?

Umm.. I’ve honestly never had one…

The song that reminds you of your first true love?

Again, I’m having two 😛

When I come around by Green Day. For about 4 years I was madly in love with my very best friend, totally unrequited. His band covered this, and it struck a chord somewhere.

Where the streets have no name by U2. First requited love (and still going strong), this became our theme when we spent a year apart, him away at uni and me going though ‘A’ levels and some heavy family stuff. The intro is one of the best ever written, I think.

A song that’s guaranteed to make you dance?
Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison. Makes me think of dancing with my Dad and is consequently one of my favourite songs of all time.

Your Favourite Holiday track?
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. I grew up in a seaside town with a big gang of about 10 friends. We were effectively ‘free range’ for the summer and slept out a lot and lived on the beach. We sang this as our anthem as we roved about, and it always makes me think of those idyllic summers.

The song you’d most like to sing on stage?
Suddenly I See by K T Tunstal. Believe me, no-one wants to hear me sing, but if I could, I’d sing this to my two very best friends, ’cause this song could’ve been written to say what I feel about them.

The most embarrassing record you ever bought?
I’m not ashamed of any of them! I have eclectic tastes in music, but I don’t mind what other people think.

The one song you wish you’d written?
Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. Shivers, tingling, weeping, the works. This song does things to me. Lennie may not be much of a singer, but he is a poet. This song does things with words I wish I could.

Best guitar riff ever?
Killing In The Name Of by Rage Against The Machine. Gets the old adrenaline going for the mosh-pit every time. I love RATM ‘s guitar work in general, but this tune is particularly good.

Your favourite love song?
With or Without you by U2. The not-spouse-creature is a big U2 fan , and this song says a hell of a lot about us, more about me and how difficult I can be to be with, but that he still loves me <blush>.

The track that reminds you of your best mates?
These boots are made for walkin’ by Nancy Sinatra. Mad, mad school friends who are special to me forever. dancing about the VIth form tuck shop we rang, singing this into a broom.. or whenever they could at karaoke when we were out…

I’m going to add a category now:

The song you wish was written about you/for you?
My Beloved Monster by the Eels. I want some one to feel like this about me! I want to be that beloved monster: ‘ My beloved monster is tough, if she wants to she’ll disrobe you, but if you lay her down for a kiss, her little heart it could explode’ sigh….

Neko Out!