Sunday, December 23, 2007

And Today is Even Warmer... in Los Angeles

So much for summer in Oz, although it should warm up later in the week, although the weather report is
more of a guideline than anything one can rely upon. I guess it's a good thing we won't be bar b quing this year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

We Thought It Was Supposed to be Summer?

We're experiencing the 3rd day in a row of pouring rain (including flash flooding in the city) and as you can see by the weather report, our summer day is the same temperature as today's winter weather in Los Angeles (except without rain). The thunder was bad enough that Asta crawled on my lap last night.
Yet, we are in the middle of a drought with water restrictions. See:
Drought's seem to follow me around. I've lived under water restrictions in Athens, Nicosia, and Los Angeles. Strangely, it rarely rains in those places whereas it seems to rain continuously here. Of course, we need water, It just seems odd to have so much rain yet be experiencing drought, not to mention our so-called summer temps. Presumably Melbourne water - which also manages drainage, is doing something to recycle all of this rain - it would be nice to hear specifically what they are doing. Cyprus has improved its situation by building a desalination plant, with 3 more to be built by 2013 - a costly solution for such a small country. In Athens, we took navy showers and caught our shower water in buckets and used it to flush the toilets. I catch my shower water here from time to time to water plants, but with the amount of rain, this is rarely necessary.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We're Ready for our Close-ups Mr. DeMille

Extras are rehearsing a scene from The Pacific on Rathdowne Street

Our favorite local bar, Gerald's became a Greek Kaffeneion

The fruit and veg market was turned into a Greek establishment

Lots of equipment was brought in for the shoot

One building was turned into an old fashioned gas station.
We live in a neighborhood of vintage houses and the main street (Rathdowne) just two blocks from our house was used for a location for a new HBO series called 'The Pacific' produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. It's about US soldiers fighting in WW II in 1943 and stationed in Australia. Our street was used to recreate Lonsdale St, which is the heart of the Greek community downtown. Having a movie shoot going on near our house reminded me of all the production work that used to go on near where we lived in Los Angeles - I frequently rollerbladed past the Bay Watch beach, for example. Alas, even though we've seen Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks in our local Mexican food restaurant in the Palisades, they were nowhere to be seen in Carlton North.

Monday, December 10, 2007


The end of the year brings with it inevitable parties. This was an end of year party thrown by our Classics and Archaeology grad students. We had some great food at a local pub, and I shared some stories about my own grad student experiences.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Last Day In LA

On my last day in LA, I finished where I started - at the Pacific Dining Car, having lunch with 2 old college friends, Craig and Chris. Coincidentally we sat at the table where we sat on our wedding day. We managed to wrap things up by howling at the moon, which was very difficult concerning it was daylight. The trip home was uneventful and we were back to work the next day.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

LA Hash and the Old Place Redux

I spent my penultimate day in the city of the angels running with the LA Hash House Harriers in the hills of Agoura. It was primarily a trail run with spectacular views of the Malibu canyons and San Fernando Valley. Afterwards there was a bar b q. It has finally gotten cold enough here to wear a coat at night, so I'm glad to be returning to summer this next week. After I left the hash festivities, I went to the Old Place, a rustic restaurant on Mullhullond Drive (appropriate since it has a David Lynchian quality) that I discovered on my visit here last year. (See the post from last November). The Old Place is a 37 year old restaurant run by an elderly couple while their slightly less elderly son serenades the customers with Country Western music. They only accept cash, open when they want, and only serve steak or clams. When the food runs out, they close. I arrived there earlier than last year and was rewarded with 3 fairly good size pieces of steak. The prices have gone up, it's now $16.00 for a meal and $3.50 for a Corona beer. They also serve Australian wine by the glass.

Last Few Days in LA

Sunset over Santa Monica

Aside from deleting a deluge of spam, my last few days in Los Angeles have been spent catching up with friends and buying things that are cheaper here (well, pretty much everything is cheaper here other than wine and museli), such as Levi's and running shoes. Despite the fact that it's winter, there has been just 1 day of rain and all other days have been warm and sunny. The sunset over Santa Monica can be seen from Palisades Park where I went running when I lived in California. I am planning to go on a diet when I get back - I think I put on about 8 lbs (4kg) from all of that Mexican food. Last night was a final goodbye with many of my friends at the El Coyote Mexican Restaurant in WeHo. My friend Vicki, says it's tacky, but it's old school, tacky chic. My best friend and best man, Bob, gave me grief about not having enough margaritas, but I think I had enough to still function on Saturday and get my rental car up the hill to Craig and Christine's place, where I'm staying. Dwight and Cathy from the Hash were there also.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Knowledge Transfer and Science Fiction

I just left the Los Angeles Science Fiction Convention where the theme was archaeology and I gave presentations on three panels: problems that archaeologists have, ethics, and the future of archaeology. I got a lot of insights from the experience in terms of dealing with the interested and educated public. This is what most people call public outreach, but what my Uni now calls "knowledge transfer." One of the other panelists was an indigenous Californian who is also an archaeologist. So, the panels were worthwhile. I also went to a presentation on the real archaeology on Indiana Jones, where I got some information I can use in my course on Egypt. The experience also gave me a chance to promote the excavations at Tel es-Safi/Gath and meet up with many Jewish fans. Of course, there were also some great parties and the green fairy made an appearance. I also got to see an Astronaut diaper, something that was an endless topic of dinner conversation last year at the Albright - that is till Anna Nicole died and Paris got sent to the slammer. I'm spending a few days with friends and going to a couple of concerts before heading back to work and a new government in Australia.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Interlude, Friends, and Doggies

I'm not driving so I ordered the large margarita!

Brian, Me, Sandi, and Leslie on Thanksgiving
I'm spending 2 days in Carlsbad, California before heading to my next conference, which starts on Friday. I'm staying with my friend Sandy, her daughter Kate, and her 2 dogs, Scruffy and Tommy (Trojan). Sandy is one of my oldest friends - she and I were undergrads together at USC. I miss Asta, so I've been walking Tommy and Scruffy to compensate. Sandy made some home made chili. Last week we also went out for Mexican food before the ASOR conference started. Brian met us at Leslie's house on Thanksgiving. Leslie and I were in the USC banc together.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

San Diego Maritime Museum

I spent my last day in San Diego at the Maritime Museum. This reavealed some unusual symmetries with Australia. The centerpiece of the Museum is a ship known as the Star of India, but it was originally the Eutrepe, which took English emigrants to New Zealand after it was built in 1863. A new addition to the museum is the HMS Surprise, used in the movie, Master and Commander, which my sister-in-law worked on. Behind the Surprise is a 1974 Soviet Submarine.

Monday, November 19, 2007

San Diego: Zoo, Sea World, Brian's Birthday

I managed to also make vistis to the San Diego Zoo and Sea World - the Shamu show was a highlight. I took Brian out for a good steak for his birthday before he had to drive up to Anaheim to spend time with his mom. I spent my last day in San Diego at the Maritime Museum.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ASOR Meeting

Aren Maeir is Reporting on the 2007 Season at Tel es Safi

Jeff Chadwick is speaking about Cooking at Tel es Safi

Morag Kersel Answers Questions In Our Theory Session While Jonathan Lawrence Prepares to Begin and Andrew McCarthy Moderates
Both of the sessions I co-chair went well at ASOR as did my paper on an international style of Bronze Age architecture. This paper provided many examples, but focussed on the site of Hala Sultan Tekke on Cyprus. Aren Maeir and Jeff Chadwick also gave terrific papers on the site of Tel es-Safi/Gath. Aren talked about this season's new finds and Jeff spoke about the cooking installations in Area F. We also attended an exhibition at the Museum of Man and made several visits to more Mexican restaurants.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Arrival in San Diego

Brian and I met up yesterday in the OC and drove down to San Diego in the afternoon. The hotel we are staying in is located on Harbor Island - a beautiful place, but further away than I expected. While Brian took a nap, I checked out the pool and jacuzzi (spa in Oz-speak), which was quite nice given that it's a "chilly" 73 (20 C) degree winter day here - much warmer than the "spring" in Melbourne. In the evening we drove out to our favorite Mexican Restaurant - Casa de Pico - the one that serves margaritas you can swim laps in. We had the medium size, which for $7 are still 3 x as big as the Australian ones that cost twice as much - do the math. I will be spending the next couple of days getting my powerpoint presentation ready.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Los Angeles Hash and Foothill Hash

I spent my first full day in Los Angeles going through the 60 e-mails that accumulated in just 24 hours, then driving to Glendale for the Los Angeles Hash. It was kind of a small turnout, but it was still great seeing everyone. I was kind of tired at the end and skipped the on on on. I ran another hash, the Foothill hash, today in Griffith park. It seemed pretty much like it was all uphill with lots of dirt trails and shiggy. This one had a bigger turnout. I got a couple of down downs both days - for being a returner. I've now done more hashes this year in California than in Melbourne. It's "freezing" here in LA - dipping down as low as the mid-60's! (18 C) - shocking! We went out for pizza afterward, which for me is kind of like taking coals to Newcastle. Tomorrow, we're heading down to San Diego for the ASOR conference.