Friday, May 25, 2012

A Towel Would Help

There are some instances when I have mentally checked out of a conversation. This is usually due to a reaction my brain is having that I believe can be counted as a survival mechanism, after all, being an anthropologist means this whole 'survival of the fittest' theory is an easy excuse. Then again, it might be because I am a terrible and conceited person and any topic that does not spike my interest is thereby deemed unimportant. Luckily this does not happen often.

Unfortunately, during these tiny expeditions my mind makes while someone else is droning on about- well I wouldn't know, would I? Anyway, this is moot, because I find that what goes on during these times are absolutely silly. For instance, while a customer cornered me at my ever so lovely job, said person proceeded to tell me the entire history of her cat's affection for bird watching and how it related to the economy (how it jumped from the former to the latter is an unknown variable). While this would have been interesting in a condensed sentence long enough to be Twitter-post acceptable, it was not however, an appropriate form of entertainment according to my brain.

My mind thus proceeded to take me on a marvelous journey, you know, the hero's tale. Although, because it was not an actual scripted film, it was not to be compared to such adventures as Frodo and Sam had, but more along the lines of The Phantom Menace, with more Jar-Jar.

My only concerns about these sudden fantastic trips that my brain decides to book willy nilly is that I have no idea how to recover from them and jump back into a normal conversation. I assume, like most, that you smile and nod.

Apparently there are too many flaws with my understanding of the awkward social interaction. Nonetheless, here's a pretty picture to make this post seem even more unremarkable.
Trees! Yay!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Coprolites, Middens, and Debitage

Ah, getting an education. Nothing really can puff some one's ego to the point of peacocking like learning. I know I love learning. I think learning is quite beautiful. The more I know about the world around me the more I want to know. The more questions I have. It's a sick cycle, like cocaine, but I get to keep my nose. Noses are great.

The problem, one that I see, is that once one starts to learn a dangerous thing happens: said pupil realizes that others they know do not know what has just been learned. Let the false flaunting begin!

Everyone knows someone who's like this, and everyone has been like this. For example, someone sees the new Avengers movie and suddenly is an expert on Thor and Loki's relationship, proudly flaunting that Thor and Loki are ACTUALLY from Norse mythology. As this person's victim you sit there, maybe smiling and nodding occasionally until their moment is over. They've mentally added another feather to their wonderful peacock plumage whist thinking they've taken one from yours. They KNOW about Thor and Loki, and you don't.

Although we all hate being in situations like these, with 'new' knowledge being forced down our throats, we are all so guilty. Tsk! Tsk! I don't enjoy these moments by any means, but I tolerate them because learning is pretty freaking awesome. Your mind, being the sponge it is, soaks it up and gets hammered on new information. The problem I have with it is that knowledge, or higher education, is behind closed doors. Sure, I am paying to get my degree from a good University, and I am thoroughly enjoying my time there; but as much as I hate to say it: I am paying for that darned slip of paper that says, 'Kristina knows stuff'.

Education should be available to anyone who wants it. That slip of paper that I am sure I will hang on my wall one day will only help me get a job. My 'confirmed' knowledge is no better than the student of independent study, pouring over books and getting the same amount of education outside of a university. In all, that independent student is probably better than me, because the good Lord knows I'll bum around on Facebook and Pinterest with my free time.

Anyway, my point being that those in higher education should really get off their cute little boxes and stop trying to impress people with their big words. Whether we're talking an undergrad to a high schooler, a grad student to an undergrad, it doesn't matter. Take the time to explain to your audience what you mean, let them learn. You're here to teach, not to impress. Let knowledge be freely given and give your ego a break.

Then again- coprolites, midden, and debitage sound so much cooler than poop, trash, and sharp-edged waste.
Richard Klein, I'm looking at you... Your book is a kick in the parietals.

Anthropology: Like 'Story Time', But With Tests

Archaeology: The touchy-feely part of history. Because everything is infinitely more interesting when you pull it up out of the dirt after decades, centuries, or a millennium of not being graced with a loving stroke from a human hand until YOU get to touch it. Touch. Feel. Connect. Mild stupor.
Although Archaeology will eventually turn from attracting this sort of scientist, one's who never listen to the 'don't touch' signs, it will at least last long enough in this phase for some more destructive digging. Cheers! Which is great, you know, because that's what I like. Get your hands dirty and take a look at our human past.
I stand by my opinion: Archaeology is ridiculously interesting.