August Pieces of My Mind

I’m not saying that my mind is particularly august.

  • First Aid Kit rule. And are godless: “There’s one life and it’s this life and it’s beautiful”
  • After listening to Ken & Robin’s latest podcast episode I did some reading on Joan of Arc and Gilles de Rais. The mind boggles at the idea of a Medieval army lead by two violently delusional psychotics.
  • Reading a book that shows its author, an American teacher of creative writing, to have a tenuous grasp on English. He writes shown for shone, immure for inure and lumpen for lumpy. Boo to his editor!
  • For the first time in 30 years I’ve seen a seal swimming at the summer house. Yay!
  • A sinister-looking gang of muscular perch are hanging around the swimming ladder on the dock, acting all casual.
  • I hate spectator sports. I want Russia to have the Winter Olympics as a punishment for its anti-gay policies.
  • This prog rock audience looks like a gaming convention with a 25-year lower age limit.
  • I’ve discovered that English pubs are excellent hangouts on lonely evenings. They serve cheap and filling meals, they offer wifi, and they don’t fill up with drinkers until about the time I head back to my lodgings.
  • One of my fellow guests at the B&B, a white-haired lady who favours low-key floral-print dresses, is a retired computer programmer. Welcome to the future!
  • The last time I visited the British Library was in the late 80s when they were still in their old building near the British Museum. Today I went to the new place and looked at the Beowulf manuscript and other good stuff. Then I read a few pages in an e-book.
  • My dad and his best buddy have often placed in the top-10 in the annual sailing competition around the island of Tjörn near Gothenburg. This year they won the whole shebang for the first time, beating almost 400 other boats. The boat they always sail is 60 years old now. And my dad and his buddy are 70.
  • I once translated the beautiful 1st paragraph of Lovecraft’s “Strange High House in the Mist” into Swedish for fun. Searching for it in a binder I instead found a forgotten translation of the entire “Cats of Ulthar”. Huh.
  • September is going to be a little crazy. I’m scheduled to take at least 16 air trips and a few long rail trips too.
  • Got some cool spam. “Reply back as soon as you receive this notification massage for your claims” plus Swedish translation, “Svara tillbaka så fort du får detta meddelande massage för dina påståenden”.
  • ”The English term ’empirical’ derives from the Greek word ἐμπειρία, which is cognate with and translates to the Latin experientia, from which we derive the word ‘experience’ and the related ‘experiment’. The term was used of the Empiric school of ancient Greek medical practitioners, who rejected the doctrines of the Dogmatic school, preferring to rely on the observation of ‘phenomena’.” From Wikipedia.
  • ”Ukrainian Antonov planes are the most common airplane brand on the planet, with total of 22,000 aircraft built and thousands of planes currently operating in the former Soviet Union and the developing countries.” From Wikipedia.
  • In Sweden, having applied for an academic job and waited a few months, you get a ranked list of all the applicants and an external reviewer statement about everybody’s qualifications. I recently got an unusually favourable reviewer statement for a job at a university in another country. But in that country, they won’t tell you who the other applicants are, how many they are or how you’re ranked against them. So all I know is that my reviewer statement is comparable to ones where I have been given jobs before. But I have no idea how these particular reviewers’ praise output is calibrated, nor whether they have been even more effusive about other applicants. Exciting and a little frustrating.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

12 thoughts on “August Pieces of My Mind”

  1. “One of my fellow guests at the B&B, a white-haired lady who favours low-key floral-print dresses, is a retired computer programmer. Welcome to the future! ”

    that unfortunately is the past.. the number of women in computing has been dropping steadily since the 70s.. when I started work as a programmer, gender balance was the norm. Now there is one woman and twenty guys in our group. Boo.

    Congratulations to your Dad and his buddy. That’s just wonderful..


  2. (OT) Over-interpreting the evidence “Proof of Solomon’s mines found in Israel”
    My take is that the local ruler -who was contemporary with some fictional heroes such as Achilles or Theseus- had a copper mine constructed 3000 years ago. There is no need to assume the presence of, say, Dwarf smiths at the mine, nor did they hire Conan to guard it.
    And placing someone named “Solomon” at a valuable mine triggers my stereotype alert.


  3. New microplasma source excites matter in controlled way, may revolutionize how archaeologists date objects in the field “Their plasma source may be used to develop an instrument for field archaeologists, which would allow them to perform measurements while out in the field; this in turn may revolutionize archaeology by diversifying the amount of information available during the decision-making process of an excavation.” Go, Uppsala!


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