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.

I’ve Put This Off for Far Too Long

28 05 2010

So, as it happens, I haven’t been blogging in a vacuum. And, as Bilbo Baggins says best, I’ve put off crediting my inspirations for far too long. I know now the Word is a short and dull little commentless blog, but one day maybe it will be like these fine publications!

The Tenured Radical


Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar

and last but not least,

Clio Bluestocking Tales

Thank you ladies! Because at the end of the day I know I can sit down to my pork chops and asparagus covered in a delightful-but-shoot-shouldn’t-have-put-so-much-cayenne-pepper-in-it maple syrup sauce and laugh, cry or generally feel intellectually challenged and respected.

Damn, did I mention there was too much cayenne in that sauce?

Oh no! Little kitten, DON'T do it! There is too much cayenne in that sauce!

I shall direct you particularly to this post by Historiann which features a piece of short fiction by Jonathan Franzen. Historiann says:

“In addition to a thoughtful exploration of how the girl would have experienced the rape and its aftermath, it is also a perfect illustration of how class works to suppress the reporting and prosecution of crimes by privileged men.”

I once decided to write a paper on the privilege of masculinity for a gender class (which I never had to do but one day this paper will happen) and I read a small stack of rape studies for it, including Anna Clark’s Women’s Silence, Men’s Violence and was stuck by the similar dialogues surround rape today and rape in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries. The idea that women are only as good as their reputation is still so pervasive today…

Speaking of rape and gender, I always liked Denise Riley’s argument that women are women biologically but not necessarily cognitively but I remember saying so once to my super and hir sad and tired reply was that that’s true until you are walking down a dark street at night and you hear footsteps behind you.

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………….


15 05 2010

Hmm. Empty stomach. What do I do? Start a blog. Yessir, this is indicative of how this is going to work. Blog=procrastination. Right now I am procrastinating on cooking supper and editing a research note which is due on Monday. I haven’t looked at it since last Monday when the editor sent it back to me. Time Management fail. Oh well tomorrow I’ll going down to the Coffee Shoppe with a friend to work and work I shall. Then it’s back to Real Work on Monday! Yay Real Work!

So to clarify: Yes I love my work, but we will come to that in a moment. I live here in beautiful Colour City, in a part of town which used to be run down but now has attracted lots of yuppies and academics who like its heritage flair and have put money into the area: enough to support a bakery, a butcher shop and a bar independent of the grocery stores and main bar drag of downtown. I live with a current Masters student of Biology, two Beagles and my cat. I can see the Catholic church steeple from by bedroom window and can hear the bell toll when the wind does not carry the sound out to sea, which is to say: I don’t often hear it, but I get excited when I do.

Yes I live near the sea, and I love it. The past year I lived back in the industrial part of town and I hated it. Too many ambulances and not enough harbour breezes. So I moved and clearly I am happy with that decision.  I love the ocean. It is the antithesis of my upbringing in Growing Rural Community which is based around agriculture and mining. It did not help that I lived on a dairy farm there either. There is a vibrant folksie-artsie culture in this town that people in my home would hate, and I think it’s great. Sometimes people here are a little TOO hipster for my taste, but frig it’s nice to be around folks who don’t look down on me for valuing Knowledge over High-Paying Job.

But that’s the great thing: sometimes you can have your cake AND eat it too. I have a great job doing research for my Masters supervisor. I’m finally going to use my history learning and get payed a decent wage! And, because it is my MA super, I am getting a head start on my research for the fall.

And what is said research, you ask? Well it just might be about the stuff dead Victorian working-class men owned, but you didn’t hear that from me.

I’m doing this research at the big government-funded university Nostalgic U, which was founded for (you guessed it) nostalgic reasons decades ago, got a face-lift in the 1950s, and has fallen into an inconsistent state of disrepair ever since because there is a tuition cap at a low low rate. Thankfully this makes the place very affordable but also has the adverse side-effect of putting little funds into infrastructure and other important areas and instead has the bulk of money moving into marketing. Because obviously if you offer a low low tuition, all you need to do is increase enrollment to make a buck. Such brilliant logic! I can’t see that failing any time soon.

But despite all odds, [I mean of course] it has. The university infrastructure, administration, resources and faculty cannot keep up to the bloated student body and the result is that everyone loses, except, of course, marketing. And the people who work in Shiny New Privately-Funded Building. Mmmm love that corporate money smell!

But anyway, yes. Welcome to this blog.

Yours, &c.