Monday, November 13, 2006

November 13, 2006: Exene, the Pacific Dining Car, & Howling at the Moon

Yesterday, we slept in and went for a late lunch of French dip sandwiches at Philippes, an LA Institution since my dad was a kid. It's famous for inventing the French dip, sawdust on the floor, and 9 cent coffee (it used to be a nickel).
In the evening we went to see Exene Cervenka (of the band X) and her other band, the Original Sinners at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. On our way, we passed a priemier of some movie called Deck the Halls at the Chinese Theater and I saw Kristin Davis and Danny DeVito walk by from the car. It was amusing to have this random Hollywood moment, but not a big deal as I've seen him a number of times when I lived here.
The concert was not crowded, but Exene and her band really rocked. We were right next to the stage and I got the obligatory T-shirt as well as an X embroidered biker jacket.  It should be all the rage in Israel. We talked a bit to Exene and urged her to check out Melbourne.
We ended the evening with breakfast and martini's at the Pacific Dining Car downtown. Now that James Ellroy has moved back here - to Hancock Park, he apparently goes there all the time. Before leaving, I stood under the restaurant sign and howled at the moon.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

November 12, 2006: Me and Exene

I am definitely sleeping much better here without the day to day stress of teaching, but have to write examiners reports for several hons theses before I can begin doing my own work. I don't have any jet lag, and gradually I am working the kinks out of my back from my 3 legs of flying: Melbourne to LA, LA to Wash, DC, DC to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Tel Aviv. Wait! - that's 4 legs - no wonder my back is sore. Jerusalem is peaceful, quiet, and warm so far. My apartment is huge with a big spare room that would hold all of you if you were able to visit. You can see a picture of where I'm staying at
Everything is good with Asta in Melbourne, although it has been very hot, 2 days of 37-39 (nearly 100 degrees F) so needless to say Asta has spent plenty of time in her "private swimming pool".
I woke up yesterday morning around 6, and after coffee took a walk around the Old City. It's sunny and pleasant, and Jerusalem seems quiet at the moment. My apt is huge, with a spare room for visitors, and I have a good wireless connection. My arrival here was uneventful. I was not even questioned at the airport. My conference in DC went really well, but I was pretty tired on the flight over as the 6 hour flight to Frankfurt wasn't really long enough to get rested.
LA and X are a long way away, but I still have the jacket!

November 12, 2006: The Old Place or Steak and Clams

On Saturday, my husband Brian and I ran with the Los Angeles Hash House Harriers in the Malibu mountains near Malibou Lake and the Saddle Rock Ranch where I went on first excavation some 20 years ago. The run lasted about 2 hours with 2 beer checks. The down downs were fun - it was good to sing more than 1 song. We ended up at this little country market / deli for the On on on (eating). We had a snack and planned to have more street tacos later. I found out from Retracted (Neil) that my old 320i is still running well, but he as changed mechanics. We talked to a couple of locals at the bar. One looked like a rockabilly star and his name was Chuck. He's a horse trainer. Another hippie-like guy called Snow told us of his love of guns. People there told us to check out a restaurant called the Old Place. It doesn't really have a name, that's just what it's called. It sounded just weird enough to draw us and several other hasher's there.
The Old Place is on Mullhullond Hwy just east of Kanan Dume Road. It's kind of a shack with a Miller neon sign in the window. It's run by an old couple of 80 something's. They only open when they want to be and most of the patrons are local people: a combo of drugged out hippie bikers, artists, and rich media types. In short, our visit there was a "David Lynch Moment". They only serve two things: steak and clams. They don't start cooking the steaks until they have 4 orders in and they will only cook them medium rare. They have 5 taps in the bar - all Miller. Barbara, who works the counter said she didn't know if they had two steaks for us. She had to serve the 6 other customers and she said she would then let me know if there were steaks for us. It turns out there were and we had a steak, baked potato and bread for $16. While we were waiting and talking with various people there, the owner's son (picture) who appeared to be 60-something walked around seranading the customers with country music. My husband Brian (right) seems to be having fun, but I think he could've done without the music.
This was the type of place I'd expect to find in the middle of nowhere, not on the outskirts of a city like Los Angeles.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

November 11, 2006: Bringing the Mountain to Mohamet

I arrived in LA yesterday fairly exhausted and am staying for a few days with my friends Craig and Christine. I wasn't up for anything more than sitting, but C & C invited a bunch of my friends (L to R: Jan and Gary, Craig and Christine, Alan and Friend, Vicki) to their place where we had pizza, street tacos, chips and salsa, and martini's. It was like a really nice cocktail party despite my lack of energy. Christine always knows how to make sure everyone has a good time!

Monday, October 30, 2006

October 30, 2006: Crikey! I'm an Aussie

Crikey, I became an Aussie citizen on Today! This means I am adding it. This does not affect my US citizenship. I'll have dual citizenship in the US and Australia, and have 2 passports to travel on and now I'll be able to vote in elections in both countries. Since I pay taxes in both countries, I should be able to vote! I put my application in 2 weeks ago, had my interview on Friday, took my "oath" today, and get my passport on Wednesday - I think that's even less time than it took for Madonna to adopt and get a passport for her African baby!
Normally it takes about 2 months between filing (I should say lodge because I'm an Aussie now and that's the correct term!) and getting the interview. They accelerated the process to me as I convinced the authorities that my 8 month trip to Israel was in the national interest of raising multicultural awareness.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

October 25, 2006: Cretalogical Congress

This picture shows the old Turkish Mosque and harbor at Chania. I spent 1 week in October 2006 in Chania in west Crete where I gave a paper at the 10th Cretalogical Congress. I arrived during my 2 week teaching break and spent the 3 days before the Congress site-seeing and grading papers on the beach :-). The Congress was intense lasting 12 hours a day before going out to diner.

Friday, September 8, 2006

September 8, 2006: My First Student Graduates

This is me 2 weeks ago with Dave C, my first student to finish a graduate degree: an M.A. in archaeology. Dave got a scholarship to continue with a PhD at Nottingham. I'm pleased that my first student to finish has done so well. A week ago, I got early promotion to Senior Lecturer, Level C. The US equivalent is Associate Professor. So, I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Friday, August 18, 2006

August 18, 2006: Brian's Current Activities

My husband now has his own D & D game going on in my house every Friday night. I'm glad that Hubby has something going on here that he enjoys and I use that night to go out and do something I enjoy. I usually spend the night at a movie and a quiet dinner. Last night I saw United 93. It's not the kind of movie that you say you enjoy, but it was well worth seeing.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Some 2006 Activities: Brian & Asta in Front of Our "Humble Home"

I was in LA in April for the EPOS conference at the Getty and UCLA. It fell at the end of my Easter teaching break, so I got to go a week early. I rented the cheapest car possible and got a free upgrade to a PT Cruiser convertable. I saw my favorite band X and sat on the stage in a puddle of beer right in front of John Doe. Afterward, I met my friend Craig for breakfast at the Pacific Dining Car - eggs and martini's - it was an LA Noir evening. I also ate Mexican food everyday - can't get enough!
Melbourne is great, but I miss the LA weather, Mexican food, my friends, and the grittiness of the big city. They have real seasons here, but no snow, nothing as severe as the mid-west or east coast of the United States. When the leaves fell in fall, Brian thought the tree was dying. We found one Mexican restaurant here that is actually owned by a real Mexican. It's good, but pricy. Cuisine here otherwise excellent and reasonable. Life is pleasant here, but bland compared to the dark places of Los Angeles, it's kind of like the movie Pleasantville.
My husband Brian is doing IT for the University and we both bicycle to work. It's one of the things I really like here. We also like our historic neighborhood of Carlton North where we live in a 19th c. church that has been renovated.
I was tenured in May and promoted in Sept 06, so the job is going well. I'll be spending My sabbatical from Nov 2006-July 2007 at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem as the Visiting Annual Professor. Crikey! It should be a blast.

Friday, August 4, 2006

August 4, 2006: Me and Herakles at Monastiraki, W. Crete

I've just returned at the end of July 06 from 7 weeks in Greece and the last 3 weeks were in the village of Monastiraki and my winter semester started 2 weeks ago. I spent the first month in Athens creating a pottery catalog of pottery collected by the British Lakonia survey in the 1950's. Pretty boring stuff, but I am trying to start a project at the settlement associated with the Vaphio Tholos and I see this as part of the process of building up knowledge about the site. I was working with a friend and colleague, Anne Chapin, of Brevard College.
The project at Monastiraki was something I fell into by accident. The excavations are finished there and the Greek Director, Athanasia Kanta is working with an Italian team who are putting all the finds and diaries into a database. I had no idea what to expect. It was originally supposed to be a full month of cleaning, then it turned into a week, then it turned back into 3 weeks with some limited excavation. It was very interesting. It's the most complicated building I've ever seen. Some of it is clearly planned, but in some cases the architecture is very poor. We did some excavation to try and understand the doorways, so we clarified some parts of the plan. We had a seal stone as find from cleaning the surface and I found a bronze ax where I was cleaning. It seems like the project will expand in the future, so this will be potentially interesting, particularly if Vaphio doesn't work out.
My time in Greece went unusually well. We finished our database and in visiting the site of Palaiopyrgi, we found a Mycenaean quarry, and have applied for permission to publish it. The time in Monastiraki also went surprisingly well. I frankly did not encourage students to come as I received very little info as to what would happen and the dates kept changing. I did not know if it would be a success or a bust. It was originally supposed to be a month, then it was decided to be for a week (after I had already bought my tickets), then it ended up being for 3 weeks. It was planned as a cleaning and study season, but we ended up doing quite a bit of excavation and found some interesting things including a seal stone and a bronze ax. It looks like a project that will expand in the future and the team is quite glad to see Australian students participate.