Friday, October 29, 2010

Facebook Sorting Hat

In the spirit of Halloween and in response to a quiz that's been going around my extended friend group on Facebook for the last week and a half, I thought I'd go all Harry Potter on you. Honestly, it doesn't take a lot - read: any - prompting for me to go all Harry Potter, but I have a really good excuse this time.
Usually I resist FB quizzes, but the Sorting one intrigued me. I've done a lot of them in the past. I usually get Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, which both suit me fine, though I tend to think of myself as a Ravenclaw - I'm analytical, read a lot, and am more reserved than your average American college student. I'm loyal, but it takes me a long time to open up to people.

(I have this other tie to the Sorting Hat -
check out the pic to the right. Behold: my school's Suess Spruce/Sorting Hat.)

The quiz was a fairly high quality one. You know, it asked about what role you take in a group and how you'd react to being caught in the wrong (if you'd even be caught in the wrong to begin with), instead of asking if you like green or blue better and whether you consider yourself more of a badger or a lion.

I answered honestly, even though some of the answers were a little unflattering. I figured, correctly that no one would see the answers and I'd get one of the houses I always get.

I got Slytherin. Huh?

I was surprised, but then I wondered why I was surprised, and was then chagrined that I was vaguely unsettled by it. It's just a Facebook quiz, right?

And what's wrong with being Slytherin, after all? I think JK is unfair in her treatment of them. (This is, of course, an absurd statement, as she can write whatever she wants about the things she invents, but stay with me here.) They're the flattest house of the four. Yes, they have characters on the faculty level who round them out - Slughorn, Snape - but on the student level, they pretty much are exactly what they're said to be. Every other house has much more well-rounded students, and saying that we know they're rounded because Harry spends more time with them only proves the point. There's never a redeeming student. I think the most unrealistic moment comes in DH, when none of the Slytherins opt to stay to defend the school. Not one? Really?

I think, as far as the Sorting Hat's words go, Slytherin's sound pretty badass. They're clever and determined and, sure, they cut corners, but they get what they want. But I can't believe they're without morals, as some Sorting Hat quizzes suggest. I don't think a quarter of the world has no morals.

So, what do I strike you guys as? Have you taken this quiz, or one like it?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Archaeology and POV

Tami asked earlier about some of my archaeology stuff, so I thought I'd elaborate a little.

1 - The actual fieldwork

I'm helping a Cornell grad student out for a month on a site close to my campus. She's looking for evidence of a Tuscarora settlement and some later, Euro-American stuff. So it's a lot of pottery and pieces of rock chipped off in the process of tool making.

2 - Project

My personal, senior capstone project isn't exactly archaeology, but it's closely tied. I'm writing historical fiction based on a Neolithic grave yard (about 3500 to 4000 BC). You look at what's there and what people know and fill in the interesting blanks, basically.

I wonder, sometimes, what it is about archaeology that appeals to me, and I've come to the conclusion that it's the stories inherent in it. I love piecing things together from bits and pieces and archaeology is nothing but pits and pieces, and their meaning is open to interpretation, so 10 different people would get 10 different stories and I adore multiple view points.

Archaeology also often gives you a window into the lives of the lost and forgotten - people who history has overlooked or silenced. It's nice to give them a voice. These Neolithic people, for example, had highly sophisticated metallurgy and the beginnings of a complex social hierarchy, but few people know about them.

My affection for multiple or alternative points of view that is what makes me eat up Gregory Maguire's stuff, even if I think he's a little heavy handed with the darkness. I like seeing things from new points of view.

Thoughts? Pick up any good alternate points of view recently?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Create a Scene Tuesday

I'm not sure I'll be able to finish this scene today, I'm including this more as an effort to remember it next week. I think it's a cool challenge, and writing challenges are a great way to stay in shape. I found this one through a few links that led me over to Ketch's Tavern and the Create a Scene Tuesday. You get character, action and setting and write a short blurb. Today's parameters are:

Character – A Monster

Action – Trying to Scare Someone

Setting – Anywhere

Shannon's monster was tricky. He was something between a Boggart and a Ringwraith - shapeless but shaped largely by the books Shannon had read in middle school.

The monster lurked beneath Shannon's dorm bed when she went to college. It had been tricky moving from home here. The monster had been familiar with the haunts of Shannon's childhood home. There were plenty of nice, dark spaces in the spacious old Victorian. Sometimes the monster hung out in the attic and sometimes in the basement and, in the winter or on stormy fall nights, he found shelter under Shannon's bed, though there had been less and less space there these last few years.

And then the dorm room. Cheap blue linoleum floor and unforgiving florescent boxes in the ceiling. The monster felt himself shrink from the light and shouts of new friends.

But when Shannon's roommate was in bed and Shannon herself sat alone, working on an assignment for that awful accounting class or facebook stalking the boy from the sub shop, he felt free to sneak out again. He knew Shannon could sense him. She would frown and snuggle into whatever out-sized hoodie she was wearing. She would pick nervously at the Lean Cuisine dinner she'd let get cold. This was always the kind of stance that meant he could pounce at home. She would stay up reading for hours to make him go away.

Now, though, she just left. She went off to find friends because she knew there was always someone awake, and she left him behind to slink back into the shadows, uncertain of what shape to take, and wishing for the haunts of home.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Take Two - An Update

So, we'll give this another go, if you guys are on board. New year, new start, right?

I'll stick with that note. Does anyone else agree that the fall seems like a better time for a new start than the middle of the winter does? I think it has a lot to do with when the typical school year starts - we're geared up for new things in September. New pencils, new people, new start.

I don't find January as motivating. It's dark. It's cold. January 2nd has never seemed so too different from December 28th to me.

Anyone disagree? Maybe people in different parts of the US/the world feel differently. I'd be interested to hear.

But as far as me, here's what's up: I'm a senior in college. (What the what? When did that happen?) I'm loving most of my classes. I'm volunteering on an archaeology site off and on the month, hopefully camping next weekend, working on a senior capstone piece of fiction on Neolithic Europe (more to come on that, I'm sure), and really enjoying the house I have with three friends this year. I really miss my 20-year-old brother. He's in Tanzania for the semester being awesome and backpacking and playing patty cakes with Kiswahili-speaking seven year olds. My 17-year-old brother is angsting slightly about being a high school junior and I feel bad for him. I want him to come out here and visit but I'm not sure Mom'll let him drive that far.

And, in the world of writing, I'm working with my WiP. It's 74000 words of YA memoir. More to come on that later.

So, how about you guys? What have you been up to?

Monday, August 16, 2010


I'm sorry everyone. I'm sorry if I've disappointed you. I'm just trying to figure out this serious love/hate relationship I have with blogging.

Love - I love you guys. I care what's going on with everyone and I've been keeping an eye on things even if you haven't seen me there. I love the connections that I know can be made here.

Hate - I have a twisted relationship with online life. The online community helped me become who I am... and who I am now is a lot less dependent on her computer. It actually makes me really anxious to hang out here too much; I feel 16 again. I started pulling away from the blogosphere/fandom a long time ago and I feel like my online persona is out of step with who I am out here.

As for why I cleared this out, I figured a fresh start wouldn't hurt.

Thoughts? I still have this WiP I want to do something with. If you guys are up for it, you're welcome to come along for the ride. I could use some help.