Monday, June 22, 2009


As I sit here typing, I notice that I have an extremely awesome farmer tan acquired by spending copious amounts of time in the Black Rock desert. Yes, my friends, it is field school time. What is field school you are asking? Well, allow me to tell you. Field school is basically a crash course in archaeology and the way universities exploit students for free labor.
The site, Sulphur, is an old mining town founded in the late 1800s and abandoned around the 1950s. The first week of school was spent doing inventory. Basically this means walking around and figuring out just exactly what is out there. Each of us was assigned a transect, or a specific course to follow. We stood about 30 meters apart and walked and walked and walked, flagging anything of interest. I seriously had ADD, because I could not stay in a straight line. I would see something cool and run over to flag it, forgetting that I was supposed to stick to my transect. Needless to say, my first run was not a straight line. But, as is usually the case, I got better as time went on.
Next, we defined features. A feature can be anything from the remains of a house, to a scatter of cans left out in the desert. In the end we had over 100 features. They ranged anywhere from a mound of dirt left by people prospecting for gold, to an intact dugout, lined with cardboard boxes.
After defining the features, we set out to record them. My partner is a tall redheaded guy whom I will call Opie. I feel bad for him because he is getting slowly roasted out in the desert. He borrows SPF 70 sunscreen from another student, whom I will call SpongeBob, due to his smashing rendition of the SpongeBob campfire song (more about that later.) He doesn't talk very much, but that is okay because I more than make up for his lack of conversation. We spend the day taking angles, drawing feature maps, and measuring cans. We also manage to chase lizards, particularly horny toads. We have found three and named them Harvey, Tyler, and Roy.
We have been particularly lucky this year to have rain everyday. This, as you can imagine, makes sleeping in a tent quite pleasant and fun!
Due to the intensity of the sun (when it is not raining) we work from 6:30 to 2:30. After that everyone is exhausted and we basically all fall asleep until eating dinner at 5. We have decided that we are running on senior citizen time because we go to bed at 8. The downtime is spent telling offensive stories to one another. I know that you are thinking and they are not all from me!! SpongeBob might just possibly talk more than I do. I know, shocking! I can tell that sometimes he gets on another student, Alaska's nerves. I have taken advantage of this fact to amuse myself. I try, whenever possible, to get SpongeBob to sing the campfire song, just to annoy Alaska. Last Friday they finally figured out what I was doing, to which SpongeBob replied, "Natalie, we are not your playthings." I disagree.
Because this just wouldn't be a blog posting from me unless it discussed the bathroom in some shape or form, I will honor you would more information than you could ever want. The nice accommodations reside at our campsite. We have a nice wooden box with an attached toilet seat residing over a freshly dug hole. The view from the latrine is quite stunning. One morning I was watching the sunrise as I did my morning business. When I stood up I noticed a ginormous black widow centimeters from where my bum had been. It was super disturbing.
The bathroom at the site is non existent. The land is completely flat and there isn't a tree to be found. The guys have it easy. Basically they walk like ten feet away and turn around. The girls have to walk a good ten minutes to find anything big enough to act as cover.
Well, I am off. More next week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The end of it all, possibly.

Yes, I know. It has been a little while since I have bored you all with snippets from my life. This semester started out slooooow and finished extra fast. The difference? Working two jobs in addition to school. Who'd have thought? Crazy.

Today was my last class of the semester, but I am learning that grad school, at least grad school in anthropology, never ends. Instead of getting a nice long summer break, I am supposed to attend not one, but two 5 week digs in the Nevada desert. Yay!!!!

Tomorrow bright and early I have to someone returning artifacts to the museum that have been missing since 1996. I think this is my finest accomplishment during my time in the museum. My job has technically ended there, but I just couldn't refuse their return. :)

Okay, possibly my most boring post ever! But I am in the middle of laundry and cleaning so this will have to do. :(

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nevada Desert

Owwww, I am so sore! I spent yesterday afternoon wandering around in the Nevada desert with a fellow archaeology student looking for artifacts. 5 hours wandering up and down sand dunes. Not the smartest idea for a fatty like me. But the guy I was with was super nice and waited for me each time I had to butt-slide down a dune. Fine, I was hoping you didn't notice, but I am sure you did. Yes, I went out into the Nevada desert with some guy. I realize this could have been very stupid of me. As in I was clear out in the middle of nowhere and could have easily been murdered. Then in about 10 years, my eerily persevered body would have been dug up by a golden retriever out on a hike with its master. And to complete the circle, a forensic anthropologist would be called in to examine my corpse. But that didn't happen and I am back in Reno and everything hurts.
We went to Bohunk Camp, an early 20th century campsite for Slavic workers on the Carson River. We didn't find anything left of the site, but we did trespass, by uh accident, on a restricted area of government land. Next, we went looking for Chinese pottery to verify that Chinese immigrants had occupied the area. All we found were a lot of cans, broken glass, and WIE. Oh and a lot of lizards. They guy I was with seriously had ADD and had to chase after every one. I think he was just keeping himself amused while I caught up with him, wheezing. But so goes the life of an archaeologist.
Anyway, it was fun to get a taste of what it is like to work in the field.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Week 3

Highlights from my first three weeks back in Reno:
  • Returning home to find that my roommates hadn't emptied the garbage the entire time I was gone. Do you know what cabbage smells like after it has sat out for 5 weeks? I do.
  • Finding out that my internship at the museum wasn't just brunt work - it was actually running the museum. It is all I can do not to run screaming in a blind panic as I have no idea how to run the day to day operations of a museum. Night of the Museum, my only previous museum experience, did not prepare me for this. Stay at the museum until midnight hoping that it will come to life and help me with the day to day work. Sadly, the drawer full of dead weasels stayed deceased. Extreme disappointment sets in.
  • Going to class and learning that anyone who believes that God created the world is a "moron." The next two weeks include such gems as, "I think that eventually speciation will occur as the more enlightened evolutionists segregate themselves from the ignorant individuals who believe that God had his hands in any of this," "Let's drop them off in Antarctica with the bubonic plague and let them pray all they want because it aint gonna save them." I find this especially disturbing coming from anthropologists whose entire goal is to study people different from themselves without bias.
  • Hitting a saloon on Friday night and a casino on Saturday.
  • Finding my favorite chocolate cake!
  • Falling in love with Dean Koontz all over again.
  • Analyzing a car in the parking lot. A big ole pimped out Black Tahoe. Concluding that it had to belong to a Caucasian male. Watching a tiny Asian female get in and drive away.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What list did I get on?

Yesterday I received an invitation to the grand opening of the maternity ward at the local hospital. Today I received an invitation to the local bridal show. Um, what list was I put on and how do I get off it?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stolen from Janet's Blog

I got this from Janet's blog and couldn't help but let everyone know some of the cool {and not-so-cool} things I've done.Do it yourself! Copy and paste the list into your blog and bold or highlight the items you have done. Here we go....
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Totally copied a post from someone else's blog to your own
I've done

More Paper Writing

Ugh, I know I am sick of it too. In order to write a paper, I have to get into the zone. Unfortunately the zone using come the night before. Ugh. I just want to not write papers. I will do anything else, clean the toilet, watch reruns of Full House, amputate my appendages. But writing a paper is just asking too much. I have had 4 Diet Cokes today trying to motivate myself. All it has done is make me hallucinate. Oh zone, where are you?