29 January 2008

It's official!

I'm a bloody genius. Further proof of that arrived today...

*insane screams of joy which can't be transfered to a blog post*

I qualified for the Norwegian finals of the Chemistry Olympiad!

I can't wait 'til my brother comes home on Thursday so I can rub it in (he never got past the second round).

Anyway. This means I'll be going to Oslo for a week to take a crash course of advanced chemistry, with the sixteen other finalists. Four of us will be chosen to represent Norway in the international contest.
It's so good to know that all the studying I did during the Christmas holidays wasn't a complete waste of time :)

The nerd qualified too, btw, but that's not all bad. Now at least I'll have plenty of motivation to work. Muahaha.

I'd hand out chocolate to celebrate if I could figure out a way to upload it. Meanwhile, have a pic of Orakei Korako, a geothermal area in New Zealand. Very pretty, but with a not-so-delicious smell of rotten eggs.
And bugger, I still need to finish my poetry analysis. No, hang on, I still need to get started...

22 January 2008

Some art

Drawn after a pic by Johnny Shumate - "The appearance of 'Agricolan' Batavian soldier" - from the June/July 2007 issue of Ancient Warfare.

Apologies for the absolutely horrible quality. I had to take a picture of it with my camera and then add some more contrast on the computer.

Pretend he's not wearing crocodile slippers.

I'm still not completely happy with it, though. The legs look completely off, the helmet's weird and don't even get me started on the shield, ugh! But otherwise I'm quite pleased with it.
Now I'm trying to find the courage to start painting. All that chain mail. It'll be a nightmare o_0

And once more, in negative, because it looks cool.

20 January 2008

I don't believe this...

The Uni can't verify my personal details (even though I sent them a copy of my passport) *bangs head against desk* Damn, damn, damn. I was all happy because I got through the application process alive.

But anyway. I think the 2nd round of the Chemistry Olympiad went okay. I don't know the results yet (it will probably take a week or two) but I'm fairly confident that I beat the nerd. And that, after all, is what this is all about.
I flunked the second round of Abelkonkurransen (mathematics) though, but who cares.

And I hate my phys ed teacher. We doesn't like gymnastics, does we, preciousss? And neither is we very good at it. Ssss... I'm all sore (which was especially nice since I had to work this weekend) and I managed to sprain my wrist too. I can hardly write, which is not a good thing since the second round of the Physics Olympiad is soon (does it ever end?!).

I really should stop procrastinating. I need to analyze a Norwegian poem from the first half of the 20th century. Luckily we get to choose the poem ourselves and I actually found one that I understand. Yaay.

Ahum. Pic.
Acher de Dom. Behind the Dom Church, Utrecht. This street runs exactly on top of the wall of the old Roman castellum, which was called Traiectum. Yaay.

15 January 2008

Chemistry, chemistry, chemistry...

The 2nd round of the Chemistry Olympiad is tomorrow. I'm not nervous. Honestly, I'm not. I'm terrified. Lol.

I thought I'd paint something totally random at art school today, to take my mind off chemistry for a moment, but well, see for yourself.
If you look closely you'll see chemistry. Three things. Four, if you're creative.

I'm off to do some last-minute reading about aldehydes.

9 January 2008

I love my pillow

And I hate mornings. I've hardly slept for the past three nights. I keep waking up in the middle of the night, 3am or so, and then I get out of bed because I think it's time to get up. Where's the sense in that? Well, there is none, but common sense usually does not return to me until I've been up for an hour or two and had at least three cups of tea. Sometimes common sense just wanders off in the middle of the night and doesn't come back at all, but you've probably realised that already. Uhh... anyway. So I get up and go to the kitchen to make tea, wonder why nobody else is awake (except the cat who's hiding behind a door to jump at me, argh) and then I see that it's 3am and I can sleep another four hours. So it's off to bed again (after once again having been attacked by my cat). And then this process repeats itself a couple of times. Three nights in a row, now.
Come 7am, I'm a complete wreck (with a nice set of scratches, courtesy of that black and white furry feline which is then purring contentedly on my bed with that "I don't have to get up, mwahaha"-look). To this, add the fact that it's dark (sunrise at 10am, yaay, and sunset five hours later) and there's ice on the bicycle tracks. Eeks.
The worst of it all is that though I'm so tired I fall asleep standing at school, I'm wide awake in the evenings. So no chance of an early night either.

Eeeeevil cat with sharp claws. Do not be deceived by her cuteness. Lol.

On the bright side, I finally finished my Uni application. I had to apply on their website (site crashed about three times) as well as fill out this application form by hand. And that took ages. It had questions like "How do you plan to finance your study? Please give us specific information" and then about a square inch to write an answer. I got my report cards from the past two years translated and signed up for exams in English and Dutch (costs a small fortune). I have to take those to show that my knowledge of these languages is sufficient *rolls eyes* Luckily the Dutch exam is during Easter, and the English one the day before Whitsunday, so unfortunately, I can't come to work those days (busiest days of the year, mwahaha). My boss is going to be so extremely pissed off. Rotflol.

I've started writing an essay about runes but it'll be a while before it's up here. The second round of the Chemistry Olympiad is next week and I still need to learn, well, a lot. I hate organic chemistry.

6 January 2008

A meme

Gabriele tagged me. I'm supposed to list seven things about a historical character, so say hello to (don't tell me you're surprised!) Julius Civilis, leader of the Batavian revolt in 69-70 AD, and shown here wearing a silly hat.
Painting by Rembrandt, 1662. It's now in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.

There has been a nice deal of confusion about Civilis' nomen - whether it was Julius or Claudius. As far as I can tell, historians nowadays agree that he was in fact called Julius, though you can still come across Claudius Civilis here and there.
I have two copies of Tacitus' works. In one (English, first published in 1964) he's called Julius Civilis and has a brother called Claudius Paulus. In the other (Latin, published in 1911) they're called Iulius Paulus and Iulius Civilis. I'm thinking of just calling 'em Bob Civilis and Bob Paulus in my novel. Much easier.
Ahem. There is a nice theory that Julius Civilis revolted partly because he felt that Batavians who had only recently gotten the citizenship (along with the nomen Claudius) were becoming a bit too powerful. Julius vs. Claudius, nice little family feud.

1. Three nephews of Civilis are mentioned by Tacitus; Verax, Julius Briganticus and Claudius Victor. Funnily enough, Briganticus (the only Julius of the lot) was the only one who stayed loyal to Rome during the revolt. He didn't get along very well with his uncle.

2. As well as nephews, Civilis had at least one son. After defeating two legions at Vetera (Xanten), Civilis supposedly gave Junior a couple of Roman prisoners to serve as targets for spears and arrows.

3. Civilis had a nasty habit of getting himself accused of treason. He first got accused, along with his brother, during Nero's reign. According to Tacitus the charges were false, but Paulus was nevertheless executed. Civilis had more luck. He was sent to Rome, where the new emperor (Galba) pardoned him. So Civilis went back home, started plotting, got himself accused of treason again and was pardoned again. And then he revolted.

4. Like Hannibal, Civilis only had one eye. How and where he lost the other is not known, but he did spend 25 years in the Roman army. Plenty of time to lose an eye.

5. Just like every other barbarian who managed to put up some resistance against Rome, Civilis was unusually intelligent for a native. He also used evil cunning, bribery and well-composed speeches. All according to Tacitus, of course.

6. Unusually intelligent or not, Civilis at least had enough sense to bring in siege engines when attacking Vetera. Not that it helped. In the end they had to starve the legions out.

7. What happened to Civilis is not known, since the last part of Tacitus' Histories is missing. When it became clear that the Batavians would be defeated, Civilis decided to negotiate with the Roman general Cerialis. Civilis was offered a pardon, but it is of course possible that nobody cared and they killed him anyway.

And I tag Linwe. Muahaha.

1 January 2008

Happy 2008!

Best wishes for 2008! May it be a year filled with chocolate, tea and ninjas - erm, I mean, cooperating characters.

That's me trying to write '2008' with a sparkler. I'd post pics of the fireworks, only I don't have any. Except a few very blurry ones. Okay, here is the best one:

Last year's pictures were better. It's not my fault, honestly. It's those crazy Norwegians - their timing is awful. They watch 'Dinner for one' on the 23rd and set off the fireworks at 11 PM.

Here's an old pic of fireworks: