Monday, July 2, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

And tomorrow...

I'm off to the CA to give a paper on what I've been up to for the last two and a half years. I hope no-one from the AHRC is there, they'll likely be grievously disappointed.

So I shall be presenting a paper entitled "Scorched Earth: Refiguring the landscape in Lucan and Statius". For those of you in the Classics department, yes, it is a version of the paper I gave in February, but cut from 50 minutes to 20. No, it doesn't have fewer meaninglessly long words like "problematised". Those are my only hope, as I try to blind my audience with jargon.

Other minor issue: I'm in the "slot of death" (thanks, Joe), which means I'm on 2nd last, in the last panel, on the last day. And the panel is made up of papers which bear no relation to mine ("Authors and Emperors", indeed). My only hope is that a) no-one will be in the audience, and b) no-one will know anything about Lucan, Statius, landscape, or, hopefully, Phaethon.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Good news! The Medea stuff worked after all.

Huzzah! &c, &c.

It's vacation time now. No-one around. No papers to mark. Just a conference to look after at the weekend (apparently I'm now the School of Classics' "director of events". Can I have a budget, please?)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Okay. So months ago (before Christmas to be exact) I had this great idea for my thesis: Valerius Flaccus and locus horridus landscapes. I'd just come off the back of some great stuff in Lucan, and a cursory glance the VF suggested that there was some good stuff there too. And - for once - there was a crown for my glory: Medea and the grove of the Golden Fleece, which would cap the other material I was writing and nicely bookend the chapter with the witch Alcimede (Jason's mom) and Medea - prepsychobitchfromhell, natch.

Anyway. So I get through 3/4 of the work, and feel quite good about it -until I get to Medea. Which doesn't fit after all. So it's back to the beginning again for a thorough re-jigging.

Damn thing's due in on Thursday.


Friday, February 9, 2007

Real people vs. Idiots

Today I tried to renew my student overdraft. I don't really use it that often, but it's nice to have for those "end of the month" moments.

So, I thought, I shall phone the bank's phone banking service; it will save me a tramp.

Oh, fool me. A tramp I should have undertaken, for it would have saved me much anguish and time.

First: I am bad at remembering security details. Cue 10 mins of resetting my security numbers.

Then, I get through to a person. Aha! Sense.

Or not. "I have to check with a manager about your overdraft".

"oh, okay".

Hold music... hurrah. Not Greensleeves. This is Good.


This is new. Much better than "hold muzak".

Oops. No, they just hung up on me.


"Hello. I was just in the process of renewing my Student account overdraft, when I got dropped by the phone. Can you help me?"

"No. You've been declined. You're not allowed an overdraft".

"But I have a student account. That's part of the deal"

"Sorry. You've been declined by a manager. I am just a paid monkey. You'll get no help from me, and there's no point asking anyone else because we all have the same information - which is to decline you"

"Well, can I speak to a manager?"

"They'll tell you exactly the same thing. We all hate you"

.... and so on ad infinitum.

So. I phone my local branch. Who are lovely, and tell me that anyone in a branch will help me, so I can go to the local one. When I do this, it takes 2 minutes, my overdraft is renewed, and I'm being told that the phoneline people are morons.

Why is this? I mean, each of these people had the same information available to them. Yet the people on the phone just refused to accept that I was entitled to something that I had signed up for in their own terms and conditions.

I guess the moral of the story is that trying to avoid a walk ends up costing you more time. Or something.


Saturday, February 3, 2007


the h key has broken on my keyboard! disaster!