Honesty

Aug. 23rd, 2011 10:30 am
tilly_stratford: (Orson has had enough of your bs)
I'm working on my resumé, and I suddenly realize I'm supposed to say what my bachelor thesis was about.

I had to restrain myself from putting down "Thesis: HOW PIPPIN THE YOUNGER WAS AWESOME." (I instead opted for the slightly more formal but way less exciting "Analysis of the relationship between Church and State in Eighth Century France.")

Though I daresay the first one is slightly more indicative of my intention behind the thesis.

Random aside: I like how "resumé" is one of the few instances where it's us Norwegians who use original Latin (Curriculum Vitae, C.V. for short) while you English-speaking folk Americans don't. You use Latin via FRENCH. HAHA SUCKERS.

(I did not get a lot of sleep last night, due to dreading my dentist appointment today. My student card is only valid to the end of the month, so I need to take advantage of every discount I can get).

Triumphant

Jun. 8th, 2011 12:49 am
tilly_stratford: (Orson has had enough of your bs)
There! AH! I am done, I have finished it, I've pressed the Send button, I am FREE.

Oh man did that archeology paper take a lot more work than I thought it would. Craft and trade in Medieval Scandinavia can suck it, it wasn't a great paper but it's done, my back is killing me (my chair finally broke today, it's been a bit taxing perching on the remains), and I can finally take a holiday.

What shall do first, of all the things I've felt too guilty to spend time on the last two months?

I know! A dread soak! Man, it's been way too long since I spent an evening soaking my dreads for hours. I'm going to go out tomorrow and buy the baking soda and then I'm going to have the most delicious deep clean while listening to Kate Bush and Bing Crosby. Then maybe I'll take take some yarn and tie in my old dread thingamabobs, like the little seahorse pendant. It's summer, I need colour.

(Incidentally my dreads' second anniversary just went by. Last year I posted a pic spam of my dread journey but this time - well, be content they've gotten longer, and a little tighter and messier. Nothing dramatic.)

But right now - don't mind that it's way past my bedtime - I need my evening ritual. I need my Kentish apple tea, my cat, and a thoroughly ridiculous episode of Lupin III, and then to bed.

Ah. Free.

Big girl

May. 12th, 2011 01:20 pm
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
So I celebrated my birthday yesterday and had a lovely day - excursion with the archeology class looking at monumental buildings, work at the shelter where I learned they'd named a (now adopted) kitten after me (d'aww!), and got lovely pressies from my family in the mail.

Loot includes things for Linni, an electric shaver (finally! No longer shall I envy men their fast efficient shaves!), another volume of Deadpool Classic (Weasel! ♥), a nifty jacket that I can "eat if need be" (it's über organic, made from hemp, bamboo and soy) and also, oh jeez, a mug commemorating the royal wedding (a gag gift, obviously. Boy is that going to look out of place next to my Captain Kirk mug)! And [livejournal.com profile] leaper182 sent me lovely birthday-themed Lupin fic.

Maria took me to see Thor, only there were technical difficulties which meant we had to go home after sitting in the dark of the cinema for half an hour. Damn! I always go to the movies on my birthday - and there is usually a Marvel movie showing around May every year, I had some wonderful continuity going. Stupid movie theatre.

Well in any case we got two free tickets out of the ordeal. First I thought I'd try to see Thor tonight, but they're showing The Untouchables at the film club this evening. Thor's for tomorrow then. I think.
tilly_stratford: (Default)
Yesterday was one of the most pleasant days I've had in months, which is sort of incredible considering I spent most of the day working on my archeology paper about viking ship technology (the conclusion was AW HELL YEAH VIKINGS).

I went to the second hands-on archeology seminar which was a treat because my favourite thing about taking archeology is the Touching Really Old Stuff bit, and I got to touch a lot really old stuff, like viking age dice and shoes and pipes and toys. And because this seminar was held at the Bryggen Museum I took care to go look at my favourite stick in the world - a little piece of wood with carvings depicting a viking fleet disappearing into the distance, drawn a few hundred years before the laws of perspective where figured out (Conclusion: AW HELL YEAH VIKINGS).

And all is well here at home. Here, let me bore you with yet another picture of Linni.


We have discovered the Blanket of Calmness so things are going great. When positioned on the Blanket of Calmness things that are normally terribly frightening lose their edge, like people walking in the corridor, or cuddling with your new owner. Even if the Blanket of Calmness inexplicably moves to new places, like the middle of your new owner's bed, that's also okay.

Now I'm off to travel to new and scary places and try to locate a scratching post. Somewhere in Sandsli, I believe.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Man, I've just got the best support group ever. I've got my family to calm me down, my buddy Åsmund to copy the relevant pages I'll need for my paper (on Monday though, so it'll be a tight fit but if I get a head start over the weekend I'll pull through), people send me things to cheer me up ([livejournal.com profile] leaper182's been sending me delightful snippets from her Lupin III fanfic and also evidently told Jigen to come and be my muse, hee) and people are just, whoa, amazing.

Yeah so while I'm still quite jittery (I always am in exam periods, I've had worse freakouts than this) things seem to be shaping up. Thanks everybody. It takes a village and all that.

But I've got big news: I've acquired a cat. I am now an actual Owner of Cat. Which incidentally is why I'm sitting on my bed with an aching back and writing this on my wonky old laptop with the broken space bar - the little furball's dozing off under my desk - thusly:


Notice her cool disregard of the blanket I so lovingly put down for her. And yes I promise I'll get some better pictures once she's settled.

Yeah I... I just couldn't let Linni spend her life in the shelter. She's always been special to me - did you know she came in the same day I began working at the shelter? Yeah, it's been that long.

Backstory and vital statistics )

So I'm following all that advice I've been giving to customers (it's kinda funny being on this side of the process, last time I had to deal with an acclimatizing cat I was hardly out of nappies) and I'm hoping she'll dare to venture out from under the desk soon (I've tidied and placed blankets on all the high sweetspots I know cats are fond of and she goes to sleep on the cold floor. This will be a learning experience I think) but here we are. Day one.
tilly_stratford: (Cello in the rain)
Ah, shit.

It's half past eleven and everything is just too much right now. I've got an archeology paper due Tuesday which I thought was going to be a breeze, only today I discovered that the curriculum compilation is sold out at the bookstore (I knew I should have bought it earlier but I didn't need it earlier oh shit oh shit oh shit) so now I'm wondering what kind of paper I can write when I haven't got 80 % of the curriculum in question.

And after that it's the English exam the 16th and while I'm quite good at transcription I'm shit at everything else and I should just start cramming but I've got this paper and then I've got the history exam (the one I failed last year) on the 26th and I've never been able to pace myself on these things oh shit oh shit oh shit.

Adding to that, (and certainly caused by that,) I'm back in one of my insomnia periods and right now I really don't want to go to bed in case I just wind up working myself up even more and all this overwhelms me completely. (Right now I'm telling myself that I'll be able to write some sort of paper with the two books I do have and it's not even going to be the final version of the paper so calm the heck down girl).

Dilemma: Try to get some much-needed sleep and potentially freak out, or watch an Astaire movie or something?
tilly_stratford: (JLI: Beetle and Booster)

When I delivered my last archeology paper I ordered some dirt cheap volumes of Justice League International as my reward. Aw look at these! Actual paper! I own printed paper with Justice League adventures all legal-like! (Granted the paper is suprisingly low-quality but I suppose you get what you pay for)

But woe, I've got an English exam to study for and no time to read comics right now. Too bad I can't do both at once.

ALTHOUGH NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT )

Gosh, that was fun! And why the hell not - our English professor told us that she usually picks examples from whatever she's interested in at the time (one year the exam questions all featured dialogue from X-Files).

Hey it might make cramming phonetics and grammar a bit more interesting, that's all I ask for.
tilly_stratford: (Kaizer: Humping Terje)
Time to get ready - Tiny and her man arrives in Bergen tomorrow! They'll stay for a couple of days (during which I've promised I'm going to help her start her off on her very own dread journey!) before all three of us travel to Oslo on Friday, in time for the Kaizers Orchestra concert on Saturday!

Meanwhile my first archeology paper (on Scandinavian finds from the Merovingian period) is due Friday. I've already finished it and sent it in today, and as a reward I've, um, bought stuff. Some things I'd promised myself I could buy when I finished the assignment and some things I sort of... hadn't. eBay is a very dangerous place to roam, especially when you've got a budding action figure collection. Well, at least it's something I wanted for years and it didn't set me too far back. I'm sure I'll write more about these wonderful things when they arrive in the mail (hopefully) at the end of the month.

Aw man, my place isn't presentable at all and here I am blogging about it. Right, dinner first (sausages, mashed potatoes and baked beans, yum!) and then I gotta tidy and clean like I've never tidied and cleaned before.
tilly_stratford: (Cello in the rain)
Oh. I've studied History for three years now, I've crammed facts about so many wars without a second thought. Then suddenly today I found myself tearing up at a lecture about World War I.

I think for one, (for me,) WWI straddles that line between way-back-in-history wars (which let's face it, are some of the more immediately interesting parts of historical studies because history is all about changes and wars generally bring about major changes faster, and when there's a thousand years between you and it you can appreciate its drama and larger-than-life individuals) and recent and current wars, which concern my own world and people I care about. I can't help but project a whole other level of emotions into what I'm reading.

Another thing, that I'm only now realizing by discussing it with my friends, is that my history education up till now has been skewed as hell (well even on my current academic level the information offered is almost exclusively Western-oriented), in this case I suppose it's because Norway wasn't involved in the Great War. My primary school education on the subject seems to have gone along the lines of "Franz Ferdinand shot - escalation - trench war - the treaty of Versailles, which brings us neatly over into WWII which we'll be spending the next four months studying."

Of course reading about WWII is also horrifying - and it's so much closer, my grandparents lived through it for goodness sake - but WWI, in comparison, is infinitely vaguer to me, so reading about Somme or Verdun is like a bucket of cold water. There's this visceral reaction to the thought of how there was this adherence to how war had been fought for hundreds of years, like you had to stick to some unspoken rules when no one else did, without taking into account that the enemy had machine guns now and as a result wave after wave of men had to go over the top to their deaths, and there were years before someone at the top finally decided that it was a horrible mistake to make your men fight like that.

I don't know. War is hell and war has always been hell. But there's something extra chilling about the Great War.
tilly_stratford: (Darkwing: not convinced)
Argh, cursed fate! My two seminar groups for English (one for grammar, one for phonetics) have been disbanded and we've been relocated to other groups. I didn't ever really get attached to my group members so that isn't a concern, but worse, I got a new seminar leader.

And I don't like her.

1. She hovers over you when you're doing the exercises. I haven't had anyone hovering over me while I'm working for years, and surprise, I still hate it. I had to distract her by sweetly asking her whether the first I in "involved" is a weak vowel. She didn't know. I bet my former seminar leader would have known...

2. She doesn't seem to have any experience in talking to groups. My former S.L. wasn't an oratory genuis either (as far as I know scientists doing research at the university have to work one semester in these minor tutoring jobs, so three years in I'm getting used to being taught by people who know a lot but have no pedagogical training), but this one, ugh.

3. SHE SAID AMERICANS PRONOUNCE "IRON" AS "EYE-REN". SURELY NOBODY IN THE WORLD PRONOUNCES IRON LIKE "EYE-REN". I wanted to put my hand up and call her on it but as it was my first time in her group I didn't want to come across as the snotty bitch that I am. "Eye-ern" I can go for, but come on!

Look, right there in my pronunciation dictionary: iron - RP: 'aɪən. GA (General American): 'aɪərn.

I know it is a minor issue and all but she's supposed to teach me English phonetics, and she repeatedly said "iron" the way it's actually spelled. Jeez.

See also: "Tilly doesn't have a creative/fannish outlet at the moment and gets way too easily frustrated."
tilly_stratford: (Darkwing: not convinced)
Wow, this never stops fascinating me.

I am not currently obsessing about anything. Even though I'm mortally embarrassed every time I get hooked on a movie/TV series/book/actor/comic book to the exclusion of all else, I still feel sort of vaguely unsatisfied when I'm not. Empty, kind of. And I notice I'm more irritable these days and I really believe it's directly linked to the fact that I'm not spending lots of energy every day fangirling something.

I've got Kaizers Orchestra's new album, it's a new concept album with an entirely new universe and everything, my sister is completely into it, and usually so would I, but for some reason I'm not.

God, all this sounds like one of my usual "I'm so bluuuue and I don't know whyyyy" posts! Don't worry, people, I'm not in one of those moods! I'm really quite cheerful these days, I'm reading Booster Gold every moment I'm not studying (and I'm really studying an unparalleled amount, to be honest; I'm finally a good student! Kinda.) and when I finish my 600 page Booster Gold collection I'm sure I'll write a really long fawning post about it. I also watch an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold every night before I go to bed - it's just such straightforward fun: No Bruce Wayne-y angsting, just Batman with cheesy one-liners punching things and introducing me to the DC Universe (which makes me realize how clueless I really am about DC second-stringers. "Who's that chick with the green hair? Fire, huh? What, does she team up with somebody name "Ice"? Oh my goodness she does!")

So yes, still going for all this superhero stuff. Which is fun, but I'm not completely spellbound by it. Which I'm sort of hoping will change, because being this un-attached to my entertainment is really kind of boring.
tilly_stratford: (Orson has had enough of your bs)
Some of you expressed your sympathies when I shared my despair at how my text book told me that the way I pronounce /v/ is radically different to how an Englishman pronounces it, so you'll be happy to know my professor (who by the way is internationally known for her work in the field, also all-around awesome generally) devoted a lot of time to explain this concept at the lecture today.

She told us that all our text books in phonology will tell us that Norwegians pronounce it /ʋ/ while Brits and Americans say /v/. She then explained that this notion is completely wrong and we should just ignore it. In her words it's a theory that has always been present in Norwegian academia, but the current generation of phonologists are thankfully doing their best to eradicate it from the field since it's just confusing and nonsensical.

More in-depth theory about /v/ vs /ʋ/ )

So in conclusion: It's the bygone generation of linguists that are wrong, not me.

To make up for her "rant" as she called it, she then went on to teach us the technical terms for exactly what's wrong with Arnold Schwarzenegger's English pronunciation ("There's this absolutely wonderful example in Commando..."). See also Re: I have an awesome phonetics professor.
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Whisper)
I swear, the deeper I get into English linguistics the more I'm faced with my own shortcomings.

I've now had a week to come to terms with the fact that I've occasionally got a problem discerning between /s/ and /z/ (we don't have /z/ in Norwegian). That isn't to say I can't tell the difference between "sue" and "zoo" - it's more about words like "gloves" - /glʌvz/.

But yes yes, that's something I have to work with. Today's discovery is a real humdinger though:

I'm reading about consonants when the book explicitly says that "Norwegian contains absolutely no lenis fricatives. None. Zilch." And I'm going "Oh you silly little stupid book, are you trying to convince me that Norwegian doesn't have /v/? What tomfoolery is this?"

And the book retorts to my scathing criticism with "In fact it's very common for Norwegians to confuse /v/ with their own native /ʋ/" and since then I've been going "Vast. Vaske. River. Hive." AND I CAN'T HEAR THE DIFFERENCE. THERE IS A SOUND IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE I CAN'T HEAR - or I can hear it just fine; I can't pinpoint it, the difference between what I think /v/ sounds like and how it's apparently actually pronounced. WHAT.

This is like the time when I was eighteen and a teacher asked me if I had inherited my speech impediment from my mother. I wasn't even aware I had a speech impediment at the time (though I do; I can't correctly pronounce the allophone [r] - you haven't got it in English, you generally use [ɹ]. And yes, my mother has the same problem so it's most probable I got it from her.)
tilly_stratford: (Orson has had enough of your bs)
Did I mention how learning phonetics is eerily reminiscent of learning to write as a child? It really, really is.

I mean -- after seventeen years of perfecting it I now have a presentable handwriting, but now I have to learn to print these phonetic symbols for the first time (except θ and ð, which I've used in Norse. I'm a champ at ð) and the resulting scrawl is rather depressing and yet somehow familiar:



(Lulz I got "pleasure" wrong twice, and no, I don't think "laugh" is pronounched "laash".)

Hopefully I'll look back at that paper four months from now and have a giggle at how green I was.

Our lecturer even did a bit about common pronunciation mistakes among Norwegians speaking English - and to my surprise a lot of them were specific to Eastern Norwegians (as I am). I'm now slightly obsessed with how on earth you would attempt to use retroflex consonants (like I have in my dialect) in English anyway.
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Whisper)
Oh my goodness, learning English phonetics feels a bit like walking in on the English language doing something secret and shameful in the bathroom. I'm not sure if I can look English in the eyes again.

I have the tiniest bits of experience with phonetics from when I did Norse, but that was just to help things along and it's a dead language and all so you haven't heard fifteen hundred different accents speaking it in its own way. For academic English we're obviously doing Received Pronunciation, proper Queen's English, which means I actually have a lot to unlearn. A possible life line I suspect is that I could imagine everything read out to me by a Colonel character in some British WWII film, that might be the only way I'll remember how to properly transcribe a sentence like "go find the phone".

And how utterly absurd it feels, learning to do English transcriptions. For our first assignment we had to write the word "cat". Phonetically or not, today I spent more than ten seconds figuring how to write "cat". Good God.

By the time we'd moved on to "village" I was ready to be institutionalized. WHY, ENGLISH, WHY WOULD YOU USE TWO DIFFERENT LETTERS TO SPELL OUT THE SAME VOWEL SOUND IN THE SAME WORD. YOU SCARY CRAZY LANGUAGE.

Tomorrow it's the first lecture on grammar. That'll be interesting.

Jumping in

Jan. 13th, 2011 11:00 am
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
And there, I'm now registered for my final semester at the University of Bergen. I'm experiencing that same kind of breathless enthusiasm I feel at the start of every semester - I've got a good feeling about this year's classes.

They are...

History 102 (Recent history, i.e. from ca. 1550) - because I failed the exam the last time. Okay so I don't feel much breathless enthusiasm for this particular class, but as I'm not suffering from crushing insomnia this time I feel much more motivated. Here we go again, beginning with the American and French revolutions.

Archeology 104 (Northern Europe, ca. 570-1500) - not that I'm going to be an archaeologist obviously, but since I've already written my bachelor thesis, this semester's all about amassing enough points to complete my degree - which means I can pretty much choose whatever I feel like. To be honest I've picked Archeology mostly because the final choice stood between it and History of Art, and my pal Åsmund's doing Archeology and he's proved to be a good wingman for studying before. Not to mention actual hands-on studying of artifacts! The lectures don't begin until March though so I've got some time to focus on the other classes in the meantime.

English 101 - because I could choose one class that wasn't directly tied to my degree in History. To be honest this one's the one I'm the most excited about - I already find linguistics fascinating (finally I can start using those terms I learned from studying Norse again - postalveolar affricates and that sort of thing), and it's English, which I love. It's probably going to be harder than I expect, as I've never been very good at the specifics around grammar; I've got the bare minimum of English education in my system, same as most Norwegians, but for everything else I've always gone for a by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach to English (which I'm certain people reading this blog are painfully aware of). Cor, look at the size of that pronunciation dictionary!

Cooee

Jan. 12th, 2011 12:08 am
tilly_stratford: (Constantine: Sly smoke)
Silly me, almost forgetting that it's against the rules to get a full night's sleep the night before the class briefing at the university. Good thing I've got my cough to keep me awake. End sarcasm.

I already suspect this entry is going to make me sound way more negative than I actually am, because really, I do love being back in this city again and returning to all my odd little routines and just comfortably slipping into this me mold that I've spent two and half years lovingly constructing... It's just that I haven't had the best start at it this time around.

Firstly, I think the trip back to Bergen might have aggravated my, well I wouldn't call it my illness, let's call it my "health issues" (like the aforementioned cough, and I would really like to regain the hearing in my right ear one of these days if it's not asking too much pretty please), and my back's out of it again. Also, it seems I left my rooms in slightly worse conditions than I remembered, and I'd really loved to tidy everything up but my back's clearly nixing that. I'd call my select family members for sympathy but my phone's out of juice and I forgot the charger at my mum's.

Also when I first walked in, the biggest spider I've ever seen on my side of a terrarium was chillin' over my bed.

So yes, sulk sulk sulk. Meanwhile I'm actually not freaking out about school (heads up, this might be the last instance this semester) and I've got my volume 2 of Dark Avengers to read. Here's hoping Gargan eats somebody's head, that would cheer my up even more.
tilly_stratford: (Constantine: Sly smoke)
Right, things are finally moving again! I've got my final exam tomorrow (!) and then on Wednesday I leave in an Easterly direction homewards. With the exception of my sister Tiny I haven't seen my family all semester. My friends don't seem to realize how close I am to my family - if they want to see their mum all they have to do is drive for half an hour or catch the ferry; I have to travel from one end of the country to the other. I love this city but sometimes I really wish I could movie it, mountains and all, to Eastern Norway.

As for the exam, as far as I understand it can hardly be called an exam at all - a formality regarding my bachelor thesis. My counselor described it as a pleasant half-hour chat about the work I've done - it seems impossible to screw up. Still, my body has the worst timing in the world and has decided to give me intensely painful period cramps right now and I can't think straight.

Work, you goddamn pills!
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
The things you realize when you sit down to reread a Deadpool comic for the fortieth time:


(Aww Bob, compared to Kitty Pryde you are by far the girliest)

In comparison, I can barely remember a third of all the things I knew a week ago and wrote about on my exam. My mind tend to simple purge itself of all practical and school-related knowledge at the end of the semester, but the geeky stuff? Somehow that never leaves. Ask me about silly trivia concerning The Goon Show or the Beatles or Star Trek any day, but when it comes to the year Nicholas Brekespeare made Norway an archiocese? It was a number that was obviously not going to stick around for very long in my mind.
tilly_stratford: (LS: Please run)
So. Six-hour history exam tomorrow. I don't think I've had a six-hour exam since I was in my mid-teens. And it's my first class on the 200th level too, which turned out to be effin' hard as it's about Norwegian history (which I've already mentioned I know zilch about) and the lecturer is one of Norway's leading experts in the field and of the old school - remember every date, every law passed, every historian with opinions in that field.

That isn't to say the class hasn't taught me tons of stuff I've always been vaguely ashamed for being ignorant of, like our early kings, the civil wars, why Bergen cinema is called Magnus Barfot... But oh my God, I have a six-hour exam tomorrow.

I'm struggling to find the right way to handle myself - I haven't dipped into my usual "worry so much that I actually vomit"-mode yet, thank God, and I've steered away from last semester's defeatist attitude.

Right now I'm desperately going for a sort of parental detachment - "If you're a good girl and study for your exam you can watch your cartoons when you've finished up tomorrow."

Yes, I'm actually bribing myself.

I got hold of this little flick some time ago and been saving it for my post-exam evening:

(It was produced for the 40th anniversary of the Lupin III anime last year, reviews tell me it's got great animation, cute injokes for the fans, and a completely impenetrable, idiotic plot. Can't wait.)

Well, I'm off to the university to do some final studying. Catch you on the flip side.

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