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.

I’m Back

4 07 2010

Well, that was quite the hiatus.

Work has been busy, busy and I’ve had at least one confidence shaking event which didn’t make posting look very appealing. But don’t worry, I’m still alive!

Still writing about dead guys, but that’s about to wind down and I’ll have to move on to another subject dealing with their occupation but not really with their deaths. Fun, I guess (I’d really rather keep working with my dead guys, but work is not school and I can’t do whatever I want).

Anyway, just wanted to put myself back on the radar. I’m going back to contemplating how donuts and naval coats polarize my mood. (Donut=Content, Naval Coat=Miserable).

Alone in the Archives II

30 05 2010

Not quite ALL alone today. Techguy is here and is expecting Techgirl at any moment.

But to the picture … Anyone remember playing Myst back in the day when it was cutting edge gaming? Remember that empty wind sound that was the musical score of the WHOLE game that made you feel so damn alone? Yeah, that’s what it sounds like here today. And yes, I feel pretty damn alone.

My goal today is to peruse my accumulated transcriptions and the xeroxes my super provided me with and start writing, hopefully tonight but tomorrow at the latest. I also decided yesterday that I’m going to discuss focusing my sample on one particular and common–no. I’ve changed my mind. I just realized that the particular type of occupational accidental death I was going to focus on perpetuates a class, age and occupational difference which would single out inventories of the young, inexperienced workers who do particular tasks. I should focus on disease since it knows class less (though cleanliness and age are still obviously factors here).

Great. Now I have to go pull another data sheet and redo my samples. Gripemoan.

Anyway, I never beat Myst without the help of a walkthrough guide but then again, I was quite young when it came out and it was probably pretty significant that I even played it. I was always really intrigued by the story and the beautiful scenery, which have been the main factors of my gaming selections ever since (Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, Shadow of the Colossus). I think it was one of the first game I ever played with multiple endings and I was impressed by the idea that you could be trapped in books. Trapped by knowledge: swallowed by things that usually are the tools of man. Ironic.

Well, I better get some work done.

UPDATE: I just had the best discussion about Jane Austen with Techguy. This has made my life, especially since I brought up Austen movies with PCW and was indigently rebuffed as though How dare I think ze has watched such drivel!

Jane Austen for the WIN.


x.x Dead Guy Watch x.x

One of the men whose inventory I currently am transcribing owned A History of England. That’s the best thing ever.

Alone in the Archives

29 05 2010

All. Alone.

Guess how went to work instead of having fun? Meeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Working away at transcriptions, which is pretty dull. I like material culture and consumption history but these inventories are just … well, they are lists. I guess I like better know how people felt about their clothes, what they thought about when they put them on, what they read in the clothing choices of others… I’m not really concerned with how many.

But I’m just sayin’, not complaining. Alright, that might have been a complaint, but I’m not getting ready to mutiny or anything. I’m just pointing out that I’m really not that into the original economic lean which consumption history had before the cultural historians got their hands on it.

x.x Dead Guy Watch x.x

Generally, though, I get no context to the clothing. Usually what I get is this:

List of effects 1 black Coat 1 [work] coat 1 pair canvas Pants 1 pair Drawers 1 Under Flannel 1 Waist Coat 2 Neck Ties 1 Bag 1 [work item] 1 Miniature [Signed by Supervisor]

Not a lot of stuff, really. And besides the black coat and the under flannel, I have no way of knowing what fabrics or colours anything was. Maybe this guy splurged on a paisley necktie. Where his drawers linen or cotton? And at first I though the “miniature” might be a statuette but now I think it might be a painting. Who’s to know? What is it of? A mother, daughter, lover?

Really, though, I should stop wondering too much because it’s just going to make this whole process more painful.

Back to the ol’ drawing board I guess…

RETURN showing the Number, Ages, Ratings, and Causes of Death

27 05 2010

xx Dead Guy Watch xx

Yep yep yep. I’m in the archive and I’m having fun looking at stats about my dead guys. Lots of crazy deaths here. For example, did you know that if you lived in 1866, you could die of Mortification of the Ear (1) or Toe (1)? How about Black Vomit (1)? Or Urine Retention (2)? Some of them are not so ridiculous, but are somewhat surprising. Can you actually die from insanity (2)? How exactly do you expire from Dysentery and scurvy (1) at the same? What the frick is Thunderstroke (1)? Some of them are archaic deaths … few people these days pass from Lock Jaw (7), consumption (163) or measles (3). And there are huge numbers for occupational deaths; 1219 men were killed by a particularly hazardous reality of their job.

All in all, 4866 men died in 1866.

There are some problems with these stats, obviously. Firstly, there is no context. While the table is broken down between tasks and age, there is no similar context for how many men were actually working. Secondly, who is declaring the cause of death? Some of them are probably overlaps, like Excessive Drinking (7) and Atrophy of Liver (1). And finally, there is the whole Unknown section, which accounts for nearly 1/5th of the deaths. That is a lot of question marks.

But still, these are great to have. And I know that in 4 out of 5 cases, someone was trying to figure out what these men died of and made sure to record it.

PCW is having a grand time with the legislation. Ze is currently dealing with the heaps of abbreviations and such attached to all our primary sources.

Quick PCW, hand me the The Project Legislation Repellent Spray!

Oh dear. Well, that will do.