Monday, 21 December 2009

Things accomplished while in Melbourne

I'm going to use this blog post to keep track of the work-related tasks that I accomplish while I'm in Melbourne instead of Iceland. I'm planning on being very productive, and so far so good :)

  1. got my author's final changes done, including making her English nice and idiomatic, for the Nordlyd volume on Faroese.
  2. made final changes on Faroese vs Icelandic LDR paper, sent to Nordlyd editors for publication.
  3. made final changes on my LFG paper, including fixing f-structures and some argumentation, ready for publication. Editors great, and I'm very happy with this paper :)
  4. finished transcribing interviews done in Fosen, Norway. Added this data to LDR database that I'm making for the tekstlab. [Still todo: mini-writeup of this data].
  5. sent off PDs + relative clauses paper to friendly reader.
  6. perspective study: 800 examples coded for whether the subject of say is the same as the subject of its complement clause or is different. Mini-writeup completed, including having statistics checked by Steph. [Might need to do this for an adjunct clause too... This mini-writeup will go somewhere when I talk about perspective in more detail]

I'll add to this as I go. By the end of Feb, I'm aiming to have
  • the papers for the journal I'm editing reviewed and getting closer to publication
  • some idea of how to describe my EPs (expletive/dummy/correlative pronouns) theoretically, and be ready for the Humanities conference (Hugvísindaþing) at the start of March
  • all my interviews transcribed (Faroes 2008, Faroes 2009, Inner Scandinavia to go)
  • mini-writeups of as many fieldwork trips as possible ready
By the end of my postdoc, I'm aiming to have:
  • mini-writeups of all fieldwork places completed (Vestjysk Danish, Inner Scandinavian, Fosenmål)
  • self-paced reading task comparing Icelandic and Faroese data collection completed, and mini-writeup completed.
  • a second LFG paper [EPs]
  • at least one paper published in Icelandic [HVÞ 2008]

There we go!

Friday, 18 December 2009

RIP Francoise

Well, our first little embryo didn't make it :( And she was even at the 7-cell stage when she was squirted in. Poor little Francoise. I will forever wonder what you would have been like.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Wrapping up again

Okay, I'm packing up my office again, coming back to Melbourne for a few months. I've got all my papers to write up, although I don't have all the data I'd like. It turns out 25 people responded to an email I sent out requesting help from Icelanders to participate in my research, but only 3 of these forwarded to my gmail. I only found this out when I started asking random staff members at uni if they had time to do the test, and someone said 'Oh, yes, I replied to your email last Monday'. What the-? I could have doubled the number of people in the study! So now I have to either get Luce to work out how to do it online, or wait until March when I come back again. Grrr!

Aaaand it's all wet and dark outside, although it's really warm (was lovely at the beach last night). The setting sun is reflecting all gold and lovely off the houses in front of Hallgrímskyrkjuna, and I don't have my camera with me. Sigh.

I finally wrote a song over here, I think I like it. I think it's called 'Home is where you are', but that's a bit soppy, so I'm calling that its working title. We can jam on it when Hannah comes over with Brent and Dan. I think I want to inflict some of my songs on people, maybe I'll post them here slowly or on youtube or something.

See youse next week. It's going to take me all weekend to get home, but I'm on way. Just about. (Yay, only 3 weeks til Beth and I go see New Moon!)

Friday, 23 October 2009

I attribute this to insane Americans, whether or not it's a warranted accusation
My God, I have to put up with this crap aaaall the time, and think things like this each and every time. Stupid airlines.

Monday, 19 October 2009

15 seconds of fame

hehe, I'm famous :)

Faroes Fieldwork 2009

omg, this was so funny: I'm in the Faroe Islands with 6 other linguists, on fieldwork. We leave on Monday. Last night we were trying to work out what time our flight is. We spent, I kid you not, about 20 minutes trying to remember, discussing it from every angle imaginable, the time difference between here and Iceland and so on. At the end of 20 mins when we decided we weren't sure and would probably actually need to check, Einar tuned into the conversation when someone decided to ask him if he knew when our flight was. He answered all innocently and completely without hesitation "ten past four". Like, dude, your body's been here the whole time we were discussing it, but where the hell was your brain?! Hahaha!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

It's getting darker...

Wow, so much has happened since my last blog post. In brief: came back to Iceland, now living in Kópavogur instead of Reykjavík :( No, it's actually lovely here, and less than a 1km from where I used to live! Went on a fieldwork trip to Norway, and for the first time ever, found exactly what I was looking for! Omg! (Old people have LDR, young people don't. That's pretty fast language change, which is actually sad.)

Came back to Iceland and got the uni to buy me a nice new Lenovo ThinkPad, which is an absolute monster. I've named him Egill, after Egill Skallagrímsson, an Icelandic hero from the sagas. He was stupendously ugly, killed his first enemy at age 6 (a 10 year old who wouldn't let him play ball with them), but wrote incredibly beautiful poetry. My Egill is like that. Really nothing to look at, but very powerful and a great worker. Except my Egill hasn't killed anyone. Yet. My Egill's full name is Egill Ljótur, Egill the Ugly. Which is actually a fully legitimate Icelandic name. Icelanders are a bit mental when it comes to names I reckon!

I'm off to the Faroes again in a week, and I've finally got this mad experiment to work, although it's going to be a race against time to get the test sentences translated while I'm there as well as running the experiments. Well, we just do the best we can. It's a self-paced reading test, which should give me insight into how the Faroese process sentences, exactly where they have trouble and so on. Cheaper than sticking their heads in an MRI scanner, and should give me similar results :)

And, finally, it's snowing! There's been a dusting on Esja and the hills around us for a while, but it looks like winter has finally come to Reykjavík!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Back in Iceland

Hello world, I'm back in Iceland! Took around 37 hours door-to-door, which included 3 hours of skyping Luce and you-tubing New Moon and Rob Pattinson in general in Singapore, and 5 hours of sitting in Copenhagen recharging my batteries and drinking chocolate milks. The whole flight from CPH to KEF I could see the plane's shadow on the clouds (and sometimes the ocean) below us, surrounded by a rainbow halo. It was gorgeous, but I don't recall ever seeing that before. Has anyone else ever seen that before? I'm guessing we must have been below some clouds, and that was the refraction through them, but I'm not sure. Very cool though :)

Friday, 28 August 2009

Bye Tom, Hi Jason; MS Office 2007 first impressions

Well, Tom lasted almost 24 hours before his guts got ripped out and replaced with bigger (500GB hdd!) and faster (2gb ram!) insides. (Still only an Atom processor though, can't wait to get a decent-speed, real-sized laptop that won't take ages to do anything, when I get back to Iceland!) Luce took ages learning how to use 'migrate' and 'grow' and 'shrink' tools in a usb-key-bootable version of linux called 'damn small linux' or something, aka 'knoppix', so I could install stuff on tom (160gb hdd) and not have to reinstall it when my computer became jason. But it didn't work. So I've spent days researching, buying, installing, reinstalling and coming to terms with MS Office 2007 (in particular Word, Excel, Access and some Powerpoint).

[Start Review of Office 2007, after 5 days intense usage]:

There are some things about Office 2007 that seem really good - the fact there's no title bar taking up screen real estate is a bonus when you have a 10" screen, and that the 'quick access' buttons can be moved above the menu bar. Both of these are 'half-size', so you only lose the space of the old title bar, no more (the title gets squished along to the right). You also lose the screen-space taken up by the half-line-sized status bar at the bottom, but it seems useful enough so I'm not complaining (about that) just yet. Thank Christ the ribbon can be minimised!

What I don't like about Office 2007 is that the Quick Access Buttons bar can't be undocked (that I can find), so I can't put it on the screen where it will be closest to my mouse for a couple of repetitive actions (that aren't worth recording a macro for). On the other hand, the styles pane doesn't seem to dock at all, which means that it covers up part of my page. To see all of my text, I have to zoom out, and this leaves a blank, unused area on the opposite side of the page to the style pane. This is pretty annoying, I hope they change this back to how it was in Office 2003.

The rulers are easy to turn on and off with a button at the top of the vertical scroll bar, just under the split screen button, so it takes up no room at all, and gives more room to my page. Again, good-o.

The hardest thing at the moment is working out where things I've used menu commands for for ages now (open styles pane, insert comment, insert (first) caption in document, insert header/footer, change AutoCorrect options, change preferences/tools-options, macro stuff), are, since they are no longer where they were. I think at least some of these have been moved to more logical places, eg the styles pane is opened by selecting the style button, and scrolling down to the 'More...' selection. That took a long time and some lateral thinking to find!

Finally, since I tend to have 3 or 4 Office programs opened at the same time, I'd like to be able to change the background colour of each independently. But when you go to 'Change Access options' and select 'black', it actually changes this in all of the Office programs. *sigh* Hopefully this can be changed soon too.

Woops, sorry for that launch into a review! But this is a blog, and this is part of my Icelandic adventure, even if it happened in Melbourne.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Farewell daisy, hello tom!

My poor darling daisy, a 4 and a half year old Acer Travelmate 3000, suffered a few heart attacks earlier this weeks, and finally, on Thursday morning, completely carked :( I had just gotten back into full swing of work, which may have contributed to her demise. So I spent a panicked 14 hours on Thursday researching new laptops, and found NOTHING that exactly suited me. So instead, I've opted for a netbook for all my travels, and the uni in Iceland is going to get me a workhorse computer for my proper work. So, this is my first blogpost from tom, an acer aspire one d250 10.1" black netbook. Tom had to be black, cos my dad already got the blue one! Great minds... (Except his won't be specced up with twice the RAM and three times the hard disk space ;) .) I am so skypable now - tom's inbuilt webcam and speakers are truly impressive!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Back in Melbourne for some winter loving

Okay, so I've arrived back in Melbourne, but I'll be back in Iceland in September and October. July was spent: hosting visiting LFG scholar Ash Asudeh in Reykjavik (which turned out even better than I had hoped!), travelling to Cambridge to present at the LFG conference (which went really well, Mary Dalrymple spent ages with me working out how to formalise what I said in my talk, and I met a guy who had actually met Isaac Asimov, and written to Robert Heinlein!), met up with friends in Copenhagen (I have a new favourite saying: "Hvor det er hjerterom er det husrom" - 'Where there's room in your heart, there's room in your home' - I stayed in a 3 bedroom flat with a family of 5! Thanks Anne and family!), visited the butterfly enclosure and tried out the (heavenly) foot massage machine in Changi, and went snowboarding at Perisher in NSW for a week. I had the best instructors, each day they said, "What do you want to work on today?" So I have now ticked off everything that was on my list: bumps, jumps, tricks and t-bars :) I officially feel comfortable on a snowboard, and can't wait to get up to Buller to practice on some harder runs - Perisher is 60% blue :/

My first priority back in Melbourne (apart from finishing some writeups of conference papers and getting prepared for the next round of fieldwork in September) is to get insulation in the house - happily the government is offering $1,600 rebates for exactly this. Next priority is to get the hot water system, and the bathroom in general, fixed, and happily the government is offering rebates on solar hot water systems at the moment! #3 priority is rain water tanks, and I hope the government rebates for them are still in effect. Yay for good timing of rebates!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

bye-bye Víðihlíð

This is my last post from Víðihlíð, tonight I'll be sleeping in Kópavogi! The shame of it! No, actually it's quite a lovely area :) Oh, and I finally got to go to Þórsmörk, and it was definitely as beautiful and special as everyone has said. Not to mention lovely and warm - I shocked the hell out of the Icelanders after our 22km hike by lying down for a few minutes in the icy cold river beside the campsite to cool off and wash, while they only lasted a few seconds each :D Photos forthcoming.

Monday, 22 June 2009

June summer holiday

Phew! I've just returned from my 3-week trip to Europe, which is why I haven't been replying to emails. Will work on the photos when I have spare time from moving house and working. Here's a summary of my June so far:

1-6 June: NORMS Linguistics workshop, Hotel Fefor, Gudbrandsdalen in Norway. Highlights:
  • Swimming in a mountain lake, fed by snowmelt from the highest mountains in Norway, at 1158 metres above sea level
  • Playing Cat's Cradle (you know, that string game) for about 4 hours with Gísli on the last night
  • Finding out that some Dutch dialects have subject-complementiser agreeement in embedded clauses, as well as subject-verb agreement (eg 'I know dat she is coming', vs 'I know dan they are coming'.)

6 June: Mark and Susana's wedding just outside of Rome. Highlights:

  • Navigating from the airport to the reception in Italian, where my Italian consists of a few songs about Dario from the textbook Avanti! (Non sono Dario, sono Pino. Sono piccolo fratello di Dario. Dario e i gabinetto.)
  • The bright green kilts worn by Mark, Luce and Matt. First time I've seen groomsmen more eye-catching than bridemaids
  • Susana's family. First time I met them. I'm already disappointed that they don't live in Melbourne.

After that, coupla days: Rome. Highlights:
  • The crazily thin Roman pizzas.
  • The stupendously yummy chilli chocolate gelati near some church near the river.
  • The insane, people-everywhere, churches-everywhere, mopeds-everywhere pace.
  • The Colosseum. I could totally visualise Asterix and Obelix charging and sneaking about there!

After that, 3 days: Naples/Napoli. Highlights:
  • Rosemary (Luce's mum)'s beaming face as she threw herself heart and soul into the pure insanity that is Naples
  • Tango dancing in the posh part of Naples (thank god there was one!)
  • Visiting the ruins of Pompei and seeing Mt Vesuvius
  • The gum trees :D
  • The yummy focaccia-based pizzas

After that, one night: Rome again. Highlights:
  • How truly PEACEFUL the city was. In comparison with Napoli.
  • Gelati

After that, 1 week: Rethymno on Crete, in Greece. Highlights:
  • The totally bizarre driving style. Basically, you can overtake at pretty much any time, which means you drive on the shoulder wherever possible, to allow people behind you room to squeeze past, and to avoid oncoming overtakers on your side of the double lines.
  • The Palace at Phaistos, and the Phaistos Disk
  • Knossos
  • Kafaiti (it's the hairy one, my new favourite)
  • Samaria Gorge - 17kms of white rocks, pink oleanders, orange cliffs, clear streams and the beautiful green of gum trees, starting 1km in the sky, finishing in the super-inviting mild waters of the Mediterranean Sea
  • Down-time, where we could all just kick back and read our books, and continue to regain our sense of self after Napoli

Last 2 nights: Agia Pelagia, on Crete. Highlights:
  • Finally having Luce all to myself!!
  • Snorkelling several times a day
  • The freshly-squeezed blend of pineapple and orange juice, despite the skepticism of the restaurant guy

Reykjavik again. Highlights:
  • It was still light when the plane landed at 11:30pm, and it was still light when I got to bed at 1:30am
  • The tap water is not only drinkable, but it is decidedly yummy
  • High-speed internet on-tap
  • Super-comfy bed and pillows
  • Endless supply of scaldingly hot water at a good pressure
  • The toasty warm inside, refreshingly cool outside
  • I can finally recognise an Icelandic accent on someone's English, and it's beautiful!
  • It's home. And only 4 weeks til I'm back in Melbourne, at my other beautiful home.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Creative in Reykjavík

Righto, I just wrote a poem. It's not even a sentence, just a very long noun phrase, and it's certainly horribly clichéed, plus it changes referent/topic halfway through without proper notice, but I think it fits what I can see right now. Sitting in my living room right now, with only candles and evening daylight outside to see by, is truly beautiful. :)

Reykjavík, sumarið 2009

The pink light
at half past ten at night,
like the world is lit by a sea of candles
stronger than the stars,
muted by the rain -
polishing the short-lived green
of the world outside my window.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Friday, 15 May 2009

A windy tale to rule them all

Okay, so I've had some stories to tell about the wild wind here in Iceland before, like trying to jump in a puddle, but getting blown off-course and missing, being unable to walk under a bridge because the wind just blew me backwards across the ice, being blown sideways off the bike-path, and 2 weeks ago getting caught in a particularly forceful gust at the wrong moment in a pedal (one up, one down), and being blown backwards on my bike. (Okay, that was my own fault for trying to take a short cut over the top of the Perlan hill instead of going around the cemetery)... But this just takes the cake. Fair dinkum, surely this will drive home to you just how ferocious the wind here can be: So, our uni foreigners' 'coffee meeting' group went on a walk about Reykjavík with a guide today. So that I could see the statues and so on, I tied my hair back out of my eyes. And... wait for it... THE WIND BLEW THE HAIR ELASTIC OUT OF MY HAIR!!!! Seriously, that can't be in the rules! I say, that's simply not cricket!!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

twilight and twilight fans

Okay, so the more I read about the Twilight series, the more I realise I'm so not alone in being obsessed by it - the books, the movies, the audiobooks, edward, rob, jacob, bella, alice... I even read comments about the actors. But seriously, it seems like people with all levels of education are totally into Twilight - I laughed out loud at one fan's defense of the actors, about how they're real people with real lives, and about how we should stop expecting them to actually be like their characters, and all the celeb palaver, etc.

"People need to stop putting actors on pedal stools".

HA HA HA HA! ROTFL! Is that like some kind of shroom that makes you rush instead of hallucinate? Or like a racing rocking chair? AbsolUTEly LMAO!!!

Monday, 27 April 2009

RtR done

Well, the conference I was organising on 'Relating to Reflexives' in Reykjavík went swimmingly. 2 days of people yabbering about reflexives from all sorts of angles, including long-distance reflexives, logophoricity, methodologies, possession without overt reflexives, how to differentiate between core syntactic binding and non-syntactic coference, pronouns with local antecedents and more :D

We then headed around the Golden Circle (photos), with me acting as tour guide. Lots of hand-flapping during my retelling of the sagas, which I had neglected to brush up on. Dinner of steinbítur (world's ugliest fish = world's yummiest fish) down at the Hafið Bláa 'The blue sea' country restaurant on the south coast, near Selfoss I think. HIGHLY recommended! Food and views were exquisite!! (A seal and loads of birds watched us eat, through the floor-to-ceiling windows.)

I was very happy that my outside-in approach to binding for both Icelandic and Faroese was well received, since this is what I'm going to try to talk about at the LFG conference in July. Lots to do now!!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Good Friday, I'm miles away and missing you already...

I tell you guys what, I just had a MASSIVE Good Friday - I don't think I stopped smiling all day! It all started early, had to finish making the 2 batches of hot cross buns - one wheat and sugar free. Guests (Björn the Kraut from Icelandic class, Karl the Yank from salsa/beach going, and Linda, Auður and Björk who need no introduction) started arriving at 10am (yes, my god, I did a 'brunch'!). The hot cross buns went down a treat, special dietary needs and everything :D Woo-hoo, I entertained ALL on my own! And breakfast too, no less!

Björn, Auður, Björk and I then went to the beach (Linda went for a run), and it was blue skaaaies and sunshaaaine the whole time. 10 degrees! And 5 degree water! Even with the first day of summer still 2 weeks away!!

Then Linda, Auður, Björk and I went and had a lovely lunch (roast lamb, which the Ási's had had for dinner the night before, with me and Linda's uncle as guests, so I guess my Easter holiday started early). Me, Auður and Björk had to drive to FOUR shops before we found one open to buy bread, tomato and sláttur. It was very small-town, but also a nice little adventure :) (cos it had a happy ending you know).

Then the four of us ladies went and played some basketball (although we only found an open petrol station to pump up the ball at the SEVENTH place we checked!), which was really, really nice. Me and Björk vs Auður and Linda. I was pretty impressed with all of them, and the mini-rings was a good idea for Björk. It's really cool the way kids learn - I could actually put Björk's hands in the right positions for her to shoot, and she had a very nice shot when I did this.

Then the four of us watched Twilight together. Linda and I sighed together at Edward (he is SO lovely. and weird still. but still...), while Björk looked at us all funny throughout most of it, and Auður kept asking 'what's going on?' in every suspenseful bit, and checking how much time was left. (Björk is 10 and Auður is 14!)

Then Linda and I rushed out to Selja Church to see Bach's St Matthew's Passion or something, some Good Friday tradition. Of course we got lost on the way, even stopping in at the wrong church (there's no such thing as a Melways in Reykjavík, so everyone just points themselves in the general direction of the suburb and hopes - it does lead to a lot of driving in circles, but at least we had an excuse for being late to Karl's choir, that meant we didn't have to mention Twilight...). Karl the Yank was actually outside the church having a coffee when we arrived, we waited for a break between pieces, then went and listened to some really lovely music. One of the singers was Ási's cousin, naturally. At interval I met up with a lady from one of my Icelandic classes, a very happy, easy-to-laugh Dane, and we've arranged to go hiking.

So, that was my massive Good Friday. Just received an email from Tolli asking if I want to come over tonight, should be fun :) I'm going for a run in a bit, and I'm reading my Icelandic book at the moment. Tomorrow is chocolate day, I've bought an easter egg for myself from Luce, at 11am another one of Karl's choirs is singing in Hallgríms Church, and we saw last night that there still appears to be snow at Bláfjall :D

I don't think I stopped smiling all day yesterday, I had SUCH a lovely time. And it wasn't a so-insane-I'm-going-to-explode/i'm-feeling-bipolar kind of happy, I just had a really nice, balanced, SATISFIED kind of day. Luce is in Adelaide, with people I really like, and I know he'll be having a really lovely time too (assuming they didn't bring any viruses with them!), and that is also making me very satisfied and content. Only 8 weeks til I see Luce, it hardly seems like anything, a mere blip.

Woo-hoo, we should have sunny holidays with our friends more often!

(PS, we had a bit of a 'religion' discussion, which I think prompted every paragraph starting with 'And theeeeen...' Sorry!)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

So much, yet so little has happened

Okay, so I've been back in Iceland since the end of January. I went straight up to Akureyri to play 2 games of basketball, both nail-biters (against the bottom team!), but we won both. Then I've been to 2 conferences, with the next one being the one I'm organising here in Reykjavík, and which is shaping up to be much bigger than I thought!

The basketball season ends this Thursday, which hopefully means my dancing season can start again. I've been to the beach nearly every week at least once, and I've even bought some neoprene boots and gloves to help deal with the 2 degree sea water (it helps enormously!).

Life without Luce here is a lot quieter at home than it was. I'm working up to having a party on my birthday on Friday, but it's a lot of effort on one's own, so we'll just have to see.

Just over 2 weeks ago I became addicted to Twilight, and read the books over this weekend. The strange thing is, while I am totally in love with Edward, rather than be WITH him, I'd like to just BE him. I think. Cos I think I'd rather be WITH Jacob. Hmm, maybe I am spending too much time on my own!

Finally, my abstract to the LFG conference just got accepted! Gah! That's supposed to be quite hard to get in! FOUR reviewers!! So that's in July - I'll be coming back to Australia straight after that, although I'm actually here in Iceland until June 2010. I'll just be commuting ;)

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Áfram Jóhanna!

As the only Aussie in Iceland, this makes me *the* on-the-ground, live-as-it-happens Australian expert on Icelandic politics. Hahaha. Yes, if you have any questions about the new Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, you can ask me. Mind you, you could just listen to this 7 minute or so interview on the Radio Adelaide breakfast program and hear absolutely everything I was able to remember about her...
Radio Adelaide podcasts, "Iceland's New Prime Minister"

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

more iceland

So, I've just had a lovely 5 weeks or so back in Melbourne, and am heading back to Iceland today for another 6 months. Aaaand, I've just gotten another 12 month extension! My performance over my first year was called 'exemplary' :D Woo-hoo! But I've already gotten permission to do the second extension partly in Australia, so I'll be back in July before heading over again. So all those who haven't yet made it to Iceland, get your calendars out and see if you can't squeeze in a visit.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

At home, heading home again

I've just bought my return flights back to Iceland. I'm leaving Melbourne on Wed 28th of Jan (after the Australia Day long weekend at the Prom), on the 5pm Singapore flight. Haven't decided yet whether I'll go straight to Reykjavik from Copenhagen, or fly the next day straight to Akureyri for my basketball games. But I've booked my home flight from CPH for Tuesday 21st of July. It was going to cost $8,000 more to leave on the Saturday or Sunday, so I decided I could cope with a couple of extra days summer in 2009.

While the 'summer' here in Melbourne has been rather pissweak, I have been pretty thrilled that all my friends have called me and organised to meet up with me - I feel like I've been flat out since mid-November and couldn't have organised a pissup in a brewery if left to my own devices (eg NYE on the couch, bed at 12:30). It's been great to feel I have friends who make the effort to call me - thanks everyone! XOXO :)