Mass Emails I sent out summer 2002 back

hi people

first of all, DO NOT EMAIL ME AT THIS ADDRESS. i'm only using it to send because swat mail has annoying mass mailing limits which i exceed. email me at: always. anyway, these "how to find me" emails are starting to fly, so here's my contribution. right now, i'm home, but i wont be home for long. first of all, i'm going on the annual weiss family vacation. i dont know numbers, i wont have email, so good luck trying to find me for the next two weeks. then....i'm off to pompeii!!! same dig as last year, staying in the same place (yes, kate, camping spartacus again). i'll be there from june 25 through august 5th. the address there is:

Claire Weiss
Gruppo Archeologico Ingese-Americano
Camping Spartacus
Via Plino 127
80045 Pompei (NA)

send me mail if you think about it (or beef jerky, thanks veronica!) and i'll reciprocate with a postcard.

as always, email me at, but i'll probably only get email about once a week or less, depending on my desire to spend time in sorrento staring at a computer screen. should anyone be in italy, come visit me. mike--i hear you're in tuscany digging again. you're visiting me, or i'm visiting you, or we're meeting in rome in august. i'll (hopefully) be in rome for the last week until the 12th of august (if not, i'll stay in pompeii). then home again for about a week before driving back to swat. hope all is well with everyone.


p.s. people who have graduated: congratulations, and what addresses are you adopting after the email purge?

ciao people

as always, email cweiss1, do not reply to this address.

things are going well (and this keyboard is sticking like mad). we're in the 3rd week of excavation. i'm working with diane fortenberry, a conservationist by current trade and a new comer to the project. thus, i am the only person in our group of 10 who has dug in pompeii before and under the bradford system. which puts an amazng amount of responsibility on my shoulders, but all is going well. the first week was a little interesting and not terribly archaeologically sound, but things have evened out since then.

our area is a room that has been tentitively labelled the stables. i had complete control overtheexcavaton of the doorway (which houses a toilet ) btwn our room and the ''temple'' next door. then my floor gave way to be a very large pit (1.5m deep, a meter across) which diane put her foot through, so there ended my excavation. sucks. but is still a very cool feature of the room. this is the second large hole in our room that someonehas put their foot through.

it's been raining fror the last 4 days. camp site flooding, archaeology looking pretty but being hard to dig in. ICCS folk, this is shades of the rain we had when we were here in the fall. hopefully it wll clear up tomorrow and we can get back to a normal schedule. anyway, i'm running out of time. so i'll end here. good times all around, write me people!!!!


Ciao tutti,

i'm writing from the newly installed internet point in camping spartacus (a decided step up from the facility (singular: one computer with wretched sticky pseudokeyboard) corner of McDonalds which runs off of phone cards).

We have one week left of digging before backfill. this is terrifying considering the amount of dirt we have to move yet. week three set us back a bit. As mentioned before, there was a lot of rain. every time there was a cloudburst (which was often), people grabbed the not-so-waterproof equiptment and ran for the nearest roofed establishment (of which there are maybe 5 in the whole of the pompeii scavi). five days of rain is a little weird for this time of year. it rained for a total of 2 hours last season. the last several days have been dry and suprisingly cool (i actually wore a jacket last night) which is nice to dig in.

a goofy list of truths discovered this year at the AAPP:

1. never wear flipflops when using turkish toilets
2. beer is bad. wuhrur is worse.
3. drinking enough skipper orange juice will stave off all illness, including this season's pompeii plague (knock on wood).
4. four year old italian girls named Teta always win games of scopa, no matter what cards they are holding.
5. tabasco sauce makes everything better, even crap rice lunches.
6. people will do almost anything for a kitten, myself included.
7. small french children named francios (who scream and throw rocks) should be banished from campsites.
8. dogs named mama (who bark at nothing ALL NIGHT LONG) should be shot.
10. there is never too much coffee.
11. campsite mosquito spray kills off the week bugs and makes the strong ones mad
12. the world looks pretty much the same through giant neopolitan purple sunglasses (although the world looks at you weirdly).
13. Although all evidence points to the contrary, italian deoderant is VERY effective stuff.
14. If Eric says it's not going to rain, it probably already is raining.
15. it's not worth it to buy an american football in italy
16. flipflops are not adequate footwear to walk around naples
17. Knackered is spelled with a 'k' (knackered means dog tired in brit slang).
18. it's difficult to sive mud
19. german documentaries about archaeology are wholly false
20. there are more sexual innuendos in archaeology than ANYTHING else.

last week we had the pleasure of being filmed by some german documentary filmmakers. this was strange. my trench had just begun to uncover what seemed to be a complete, intact cup (which looked a lot like a beerstein), a pair of boar's mandibles, and a complete oil lamp. so all of it got covered up with dirt again so that the film crew could film us "discovering" them again. they filmed the uncovering, then asked us to cover them again so they could film it again. and again. then they positioned us in various areas of our trench "digging" while they panned across the expanse of the trench. i was instructed to hold a bucket full of dirt in my left hand and walk in front of the camera just as it hit some point on its track. so my feet have been filmed crossing our baseline. i spent another 15 minutes pretending to take notes or some such while the camera panned across several trenches and everyone had to look like they were doing something important. if anyone ever sees this documentary, that's not how it actually is in the trench.

so the countdown begins to backfill. and i'm going to find some food. hey, veronica--if you still have it, could you send me the article we wrote last year for henry? i forgot to bring a copy and people want to read it.



hi, all

i'm in sicily for the few days before going home. the season is over, the trenches are backfilled, my tent is packed up and has not seen the light of day for the last 3 days (can i stress how much i love cheap italian hotels?). alvin (other second year on the project), kevin (his friend from home), sara (first year on the project) and i rented a car and drove ourselves down the coast, past amalfi, positano, through calabria, to reggio and now to siracusa. much fun has been had. i can officially say that i've driven the VERY narrow streets of italy and not died. alvin and kevin both can drive standard, but do not do so on any regular basis, so i get put in the driver's seat whenever actual driving is needed (i.e. not on the autostrada). i like it. i will never have a fear of driving in tight spaces ever again. oh, to top all thatoff, we're driving an alfa romeo station wagon that has a screwed over transmission which kills itself every fifth or sixth attempt at getting out of first. quality.

last night we stayed in a supposedly two star hotel in the back streets of siracusa. we had made reservations at some other place earlier in the day (or atleast i think that's what i said over the phone, they didn't speak any english so who knows what i actually ordered). got to the place late (very sketch--fake panelling, much smoke, VERY surly desk clerk) who looked at the four of us and said no. so we drove down the street looking for anything with a light on and found this hotel. i asked the man if there was a room for four in italian. he said something back in italian that i didn't understand and then lapsed into english (score!). he said we're very lucky, he has one room for four left. top of the stairs, our own terrace, airconditioning, tv, private bath, all for 100euro. just a little hooked up. sara talked to him for a while as i moved the car. he apparently goes to new york twice a year and sees broadway shows (this was confirmed by the framed playbills decking the walls of our room). very hooked up. we asked where he would recommend we go to dinner. he gave us a map to this little seafood place up by the spring of arethusa in ortygia, gave us a card for the restaurant with the hotel insignia stamped on the back and said to tell the resauranteur he sent us. when we got to the resaurant, the manager gave us funny looks until i handed him the card, at which point he laughed a little and seated us. the hookups continue.

so today we're seeing a bit of siracusa and then booking it back toward campania to make our flights out on the 12th. thus, this is my last email from italia. well, until next summer at the least.


hello, all

without going into much detail about the circumstances of the situation due to my general idiocy, i'm stuck in london for a day. right now, i'm in london victoria which seems to fit every steriotype of london things that i can think of. i get home tomorrow (14th).

anyway, having not done anything here yet (i will very shortly), i have a quick rant to share: NEVER EVER GO TO COSENZA, ITALY. yes, i do have reason behind that outburst. after doing the very bare minimum of sightseeing on sicily (restricted time, all of us had to be back to catch flights....heh), we took off north again headed for sorrento to drop the car back off. got to cosenza at around 8. we had stopped here for lunch on our way down and had found pretty much the entire town closed. this is not terribly unusual since it was siesta, but closed down as no other town has ever closed before. life seems to die in cosenza. anyway, we were hoping things would be different as it was saturday night and the guidebooks had all good things to say about the place. we get into town only to find that, had life turned over in its grave, there was no movement in the city to show it. dead. creepy dead.

we found a hotel (quite literally the only thing open in about a mile radius) and checked in. the guy at reception told us in italian that we were not to pull the red chord that hung down next to the toilet, it would set off an alarm. then he went through it again, gesturing to loose threads on clothing and kevin's red shirt and various other things to get his point across. for five minutes. and we're all standing there saying ho capito, si, si, capisciamo and he goes on. wait, i think i've forgotten, were we supposed to leave it alone or pull it? we get up to the room. four beds are lined up on one side of the room with a chair between each blocking the little isle ways between the beds and facing the wall. the hotel sign glows neon green through our window. wow, psycho. we spend the next 10 minutes taking pictures of all of us sitting in the chairs staring at the wall with blank looks on our faces and making cracks about cutting the red chord next to the toilet off the wall and presenting it to the guy downstairs. then we get hungry and go for dinner. this is where it gets really interesing.

we left the hotel and walked a while, looking for anything that might be open. nothing was. there were no cars driving down streets. no sounds of traffic. not a single window open to an apartment above, no people walking around (except one old lady with a dog). if death were to be personified by a city, cosenza would be it. we walked quite a while finding only a chinese restaurant with no one in it and a fast food pizza store packed with surly looking individuals. so we walked back to get the car. right behind our hotel we found a very nice looking resaurant literally brimming with people. ah ha, this is where the ENTIRE town is. we asked to be seated and the manager (or whoever he was) said, no, there is no space (regardless of the fact that there was a table free right THERE), maybe in half an hour. we said, ok, and left. got into the car. started driving. drove the entirety of the city finding just as much as we'd found before. nothing. squat. closed doors and empty streets. began to wonder if the whole town was a movie set and we'd eventually trip over a camera crew filming Fear and Loathing in Cosenza. eventually we actually made it out of town via circling around city center until we ran out of city and got to the next town over. it was almost equally dead. but lo! a mexican bar/restaurant next to the river presented itself and we made the decision to suck it up and eat italian mexican. got out, sat, talked to our server, ordered sangria, and appetizer, salads for everyone, and main dishes for everyone. were told that additionally, they have a deal with some cuban rum distributer and that they have over 80 types of rum (and cheap). ok, cool. food first.

10 minutes later, the sangria comes. 10 minutes after that we get silverware. 15 minutes later our server comes out to say that they dont have the fixings for the salads we ordered, would we like something else. sure. we order 4 of something else. 10 minutes later she shows up with our appetizer. we are ravenous by this point and finish it off in 5 minutes. and sit for another 15. sarah gets her grilled veggie main dish. eats it. decides she's going to go make a phone call. we sit and wait. 5 or so minutes later, alvin and kevin's main dishes show up. they are very grey, thin pork chops with onions on top. we stare at them for a while and determin that, yes, it is the porkchops that smell distinctly of feet. ugh. they, being boys, eat them anyway.

we sit and wait. we've been there for an hour and a half at this point, still with no salad and me with no food at all. we start to discuss crappy serving expiriences we've had before. how some girl forgot to put in kevin's order for a pizza for an hour once at pizza hut and then he refused to pay. we consider this for a while. the wait staff has still not shown up (it's been literally 20 minutes since the last time we saw them). so alvin says, let s leave. lets just go. they wont miss us. it will take them a while to figure out we were even here. he gets up, gets sarah, kevin starts the car (which thankfully starts on the first try) and we drive off. and look for more food (i'm still very hungry, having eaten nothing but sangria and the fruit in the sangria). we drive back to the restaurant behind our hotel where the same guy says no, they're closed (although a family of 80 is eating in the next room over and what self respecting italian restaurant closes at 11:30?). we drive for another 15 minutes or so and find...........A MCDONALDS!!! corporate america saves the day again. we all get food (sarah breaking four years of vegetarianism for a big mac) and go back to the psycho hotel, glancing over our sholders for the 'restaurant' chase vehicle. we vow never to come back to this godforsaken pit which we have decided is truly hell. but it was fun. a lot of fun.

we made it back to sorrento to turn in the car on time, made it to naples, saw alvin and kevin off to rome, and sarah and i got a hotel for the night in naples so i could catch my early morning flight out (heh) and she could go to rome the next day. and i'm still on my way home. heh.