I’m Already Behind

8 09 2010

And it’s only the first day.

Well, I guess I’m just behind on work, but this will put me back on school. Ugh. Why do I put things off?

I’m starting an MA and I’m supposed to feel confident and smart for the next couple days until I get cranky, overworked and disillusioned. Why do I already feel stupid, lazy and bitter already? I feel cheated out of my brief time of sunny optimism!

Oh. Hello exclamation point. So we meet again. I saw you in some of PCW’s writing today and almost choked on my coffee. You had no business being there. But I refuse to email PWC about it because I’ll seem petty. So I’m just going to stare you down until–BELETED.

Thaaaaaaat’s better.

Oh, you people are still here? Didn’t you here me say I’ve got a little over the deep end? I see. Well, I have, so I’m going to stop writing now. Yep.

Today is a New Day

4 09 2010


I hardly made it through yesterday, I was so frustrated and lonely. But anyway:

Tuesday is the start of new semester, my first as a graduate student. So I’m going to make some resolutions.

  1. Blogging. I am going to try to post on here something every other day at least, and try to blog not just about stuff, but also about what I’m reading for classes and that sort of thing. I am going to try to have 50% randomness and 50% genuine reflection on Things Academic.
  2. Work. No more procrastinating and moping! I will get things done and I will not let PCW’s absence bother me.
  3. School. I will read everything and I will be prepared to discuss it in class. I will not procrastinate. I will start assignments ahead and I will pass them in on time.
  4. Clothing. I will start making it! I will incorporate men’s and historical fashion into my designs to make a unique and expressive collection of clothes. I will bone a bodice for a halloween costume if it kills me.
  5. Weight. I will lose some. I will go to the pool three times a week, and try to avoid buying Peek Freans. And making copious about of baked goods.
  6. Hair. It’s going to be long again!
  7. Reading. I am going to force myself to learn to read quickly and efficiently, so that I stop wasting time reading every detail or forgetting what I’ve skimmed. I will take concise notes in a notebook or program specially selected for the purpose (maybe something moleskin).

So, I guess I better get back to work, if I’m not going to default on #2 a few seconds after writing it.

This is going to work. I need to make myself so busy that I don’t have time to think about Other Things. Discipline will be had!

And then there was one.

3 09 2010

I know it’s September. I’m sorry. I’m weak. And undisciplined. Which will have to be remedied in the coming weeks because I’m starting a Masters program with lots of reading and I need to apply to some federal grants, apply to a conference and orchestrate a panel for a second. Really, the past two months have been crapshoots. I have been working on something I don’t enjoy, and PCW was getting ready to leave, which made me incredibly distracted and temperamental.

I do not like change.

But change happens and history really is not the study of the past; it is the study of time and change and so I need to suck it up.

So, PCW is gone, getting ready to ship out to Grey Port this weekend to pursue a degree which ze will have to qualify with a Masters in History in the end anyway because any idiot can learn to answer the phone and file boxes. And I know PCW doesn’t want to be that idiot.

Can you tell I’m bitter about this departure?

So now it’s just me and my super. Today it feels like the weekend, it’s so quiet. There are no researchers, the archivists are keeping to themselves and such… well, occasionally they come over and say that I look sad or lost and state that I must miss PCW. Of course I do! Ze sat next to me for four months, and we shared all our trials, tribulations and jokes… I drove hir home, ze made me bread. We had coffee everyday at 10am, everyday. With Peek Freans. This led me to sarcastically comment that maybe we needed to hire someone to sit around with a t-shirt inscribed with “PCW” to keep me company. And everyone just nodded sympathetically. PCW would have goaded me about it to high levels of hilarity. I do not care for hir absence at all. There has, indeed, been a distinct lack of laughter and other disturbances in the archive. And this, despite the general desire for a silent reading room, is a sad thing.

I also moved into a new apartment and my bed is not as comfortable as I’m used to, so I haven’t been sleeping well. Otherwise things are good. I need new glasses, new pants and a haircut, more hours in the day, more energy, more enthusiasm, more dedication and more stimulation.

And even though a part of me is glad PWC is gone, Ioh so selfishly want hir to come back and help me get through the next four months.


Aaaaaaaand, of course, Archivist #1 walked by as I was posting this. Ze paused when I looked up and says: “Still lonely?”

Yep. Still Lonely.

You’re a Gh-gh-gh–

29 05 2010


xx Dead Guy Watch xx

So yesterday I found 2 inventories in a single document, which was awesome. But the handwriting was so bad, I might as well have been dragging my eyes across the paper. It was awful. I can usually transcribe one whole document in an hour or so, depending on how much was recorded and how much formatting I have to do to make my typed transcription look at much like the original as possible,* but just the inventory alone took the same amount of time! It was worth it though. One of them had values of all the objects AND who bought them, which I’ve never seen (and done with this one inventory in the document). A third fellow died too but apparently owned nothing, which is interesting too.

My super comes back midweek so the next few days I will be focusing on having something for hir to see. I will probably go into work today at some point, which is a sad story except that I have a couple parties to hit up tonight. Or I might go down to the shopping district and check out the antique shops which are never open after work.

Yeah, that’s probably going to have to happen.

... Next Time!

Also, I am dealing with some Amorous Issues right now, in the form of crushing on someone very smart and funny, but shy. It’s very frustrating because I’m shy too. So we’re just going to go about in circles and never get around to anything. Anyway, last night I invited hir to a party and ze couldn’t come, which I might have been upset about if ze hadn’t ended the message with an Inspector Gadget quote.

Yes, that’s right: The presence of “Next time, Gadget” at the end of the message has brought this to a whole other playing field. I am going to have to stop being shy, dammit, because this person is so right for me.

I hope.

Anyway … maybe I should have breakfast?

*I come from the Carolyn Stedman type of transcribers. See her wonderful book The Radical Soldier’s Tale. She has quite a wonderful discussion about the problems with correcting grammar and punctuation and rearranging paragraph structure and how this effects the meaning of the transcription.

Still “Editing”

18 05 2010

Yep yep yep … guess what I’m doing? What’s that? Editing? Are you ca-razy? It’s quite obvious that I’m currently writing this blog entry which can only mean one thing …

Procrastination for the NATION!

But I really need to get this done. Today the great annoyance has been trying to find a citation for an image which was sent to me by the son of the artist. A scan of what I think is an original was sent to me and I have no idea how to deal with it. Anyway, I’ve had no reply from the son about permission so I’ll have to call him tomorrow, which is exciting! He’s nice and excited about my work. Also he might be visiting us here in Colour City, which is a fun thought now, but I’ll probably not be quite as delighted when I have to do research for a walking tour of the city.


So, I’m doing research into dead guys (have I said this before?) and I’m using bureaucratic documents to find inventories of their stuff and today on my hunt I found only one inventory. BUT what I did find was a whole bunch of living guys with “desease vererial” and I think I might have discerned the word “Clap” in one of the entries. Which is awesome. It is not uncommon to find these records as these men where fined for venereal disease as it was considered preventable , but these are the first I’ve come across. I also keep running across mistakes in the database I am using to find these documents, but today was especially funny because I pulled a fellow who supposedly died an accidental death but wasn’t dead at all! And I can’t quite figure out how that mistake was made since accidental death was not very common.

The real reason I am rotted with the database is not because of such mistakes, however. Those are to be expected, especially when dealing with the heaps of information in the archive where I work and the years it took to create it. What really bothers me is that the project managers assumed that they would have time to enter the whole collection (within certain national boundaries since it is a transnational archive) within their timeframe. Of course, they were a little optimistic, and what was supposed to be a complete database turned out to be only a 25-50% sample. This bothers me for three reasons:

1) 25-50%? Hello? That’s not a small margin!

2) I have no idea when they switched from entering 100% of all data to only a sample. I do not know what they started with (which might be more complete) or how they subsequently picked their samples. Since no one was expecting to have to legitimize their sampling methodology (as there was supposed to be no sampling) there are no records at all of how this was done. In the ’80s. Yes.

3) When the decision was made to cut some of the data, it was the working men’s entries which were ditched. So in an annoyingly hilarious twist of fate we have this huge archive full full full of information on working men (and some women but, alas, don’t hold your breath), and yet when push came to shove it was their information which was cut when time constraints became apparent. So instead of having too much information on these ordinary guys, there is now too little!

Arg! I’m a possibly missing out on 50-75% of potential inventories!

They put everything into neat little piles … Neat little piles of chaos Mr. B! CHAOS!

Which is exactly how I feel. At face value, the database is wonderful. But as I’m sitting there, trying to interpret the statistics which it is producing, I have no idea how to read what the numbers seem to be telling me.

>>Liquor Alert!<<

Okay, so my roommate had some out of town friends over and I might have spent the rest of the night downstairs with them talking about dogs and crazy in-laws (not that I have either) and I may have not finished the article and also had a couple glasses of wine.

C’est la vie. Tomorrow is a new morning! (Ugh … I hate mornings).

Editing Sucks….

16 05 2010

… It sucks a lot.

Now I know I shouldn’t complain. I am getting something published in a journal which will appear roughly around the time when I start PhD grant applications, which would look great. AND it was something that my supervisor had been asked to write and graciously passed on to me, at the likely mortification of the journal editors …

… but still.

There’s a prof in the department who says that it’s more enjoyable to edit than to write. I’m also sure that ze likes to make these statements to increase my frustration and then snicker behind my back. Ze is also not the kind of person who likes to be told what to do repeatedly and last I heard hir books has been in the revision process for a long time. So I’m not exactly taking hir comment at face-value.

Now, this is only a five page research note. Nothing major. But I realize that the editor is looking for information completely different from what I am interested in, things I know nothing about. Now I’m going to have to more research on something which I have no foundation on whatsoever. Which is great … I know this is part of what I will be doing for the rest of my life and such (hopefully) … I’m just being lazy. And I’m bitching because it feels good.

Secondly, though, the editor is assuming that I have information that I just don’t have and I don’t think exists. Yes, I do have the unpublished manuscript of a book and a meager sampling of publishing receipts and other things, but I don’t know what the distribution of the book would have been and how it was received. There were only 1000 or so copies made in the 1930s and I think most of them were given as gifts by the female editor of the book. So I guess I’m frustrated that my editor is not seeing the limitations of what I can find out and what I needed to find out since the publishing information was never a prominent feature of the dissertation I produced a month ago.

But I am going to be published in a journal, so I guess I should keep my cool and just work through this. I wish my supervisor was not on vacation so I could talk this through with hir…

Right, right. Back to work………….