Back In The Saddle Again

rodeoI've been away from my various desks for almost two months while excavating and then enjoying some time off. Here's what's on my plate right now. Saddle. I mean my saddle, in which I'm back.

  • Landscape archaeology conference, three days in Uppsala. I'm giving a paper on my Bronze Age project.
  • European Association of Archaeologists, Annual Meeting, five days in Vilnius. I'm chairing a session on castle excavations and giving a paper on our fieldwork methods during the past three seasons.
  • Apply for grants. I've got 35 kilos of animal bones that need osteological attention. And I only have my subsistence covered through March.
  • Apply for advertised uni jobs in two neighbouring countries.
  • Finalise proof corrections for The Mats P. Malmer Greatest Hits Collection, published by the Royal Academy of Letters, and send the book off to the printers.
  • Co-write coin paper. I'm going to be second author on a paper about the coins from Skällvik Castle, headed by a dear friend from grad school.
  • Post-excavation work. The finds need to be catalogued and the reports written.
  • After all this is done, I can sit down in earnest to write a book on Östergötland's Medieval castles at 75% of full time.
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Erm...that guy is not actually *in* the saddle - he is momentarily suspended some way above it.

I have a friend who used to ride bulls in rodeos in Australia. I made the mistake once of telling someone he did it for fun. He immediately contradicted me by saying that he did it for money, but never managed to stay on the back of a bull for long enough to make any money. He is proud of the fact that he once rode an infamous bull named Chainsaw and managed to stay on its back for a whole 6 seconds. It must have seemed like a lifetime. People who fall off and land badly tend to fracture the 3rd vertebra, and never walk or have the use of their hands again. After he married, his wife made him give it up - well, he wasn't making any money at it anyway, and it is difficult to think of a more crazy way to spend one's spare time.

Which brings me to the salient point, that you have secured subsistence only until next March. But hopefully at least the grants will take care of that, if not one of the academic jobs. Hope springs eternal. I have my fingers crossed for you. Excavating castles is no doubt fun, and a good deal safer than riding wild bulls, but one needs to put bread on the table.

By John Massey (not verified) on 17 Aug 2016 #permalink

Excavations are an indirect way for me to put bread on the table. If I promise to dig I get grants. If I publish studies based on my excavations I get more grants, etc.

Of course I know :)

I was just looking for an excuse to talk about my crazy bull-riding friend. He is now an explosives and blasting expert, and sometimes demonstrates his confidence in his own blast design by standing on top of a loaded rock face while the shot is fired. The ground heaves so much that it is difficult to keep your feet. I guess we can postulate that he has naturally low risk aversion. One day he might make a mistake and blow himself up, but I sense that he would rather go that way than lying in some hospital stuffed full of tubes.

By John Massey (not verified) on 18 Aug 2016 #permalink