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.


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.

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.

We All Fall Down

27 05 2010

I’m listening to Waxwing by the Parkas. Quite good.

Now, I have posted for awhile because, well…

Because I just graduated! Yes, I am the happy holder of a BA (Hons) in History! So basically for the last couple of days I’ve been taking my parents and my grammie around Colour City (no, there were no walking tours … well, there was that one, but I was the appreciative recipient in that instance). So yeah, no post.

I put them on the plane today and I’m pretty relieved they are gone. Not that I don’t love them or that I didn’t enjoy the time they spent here, but I was a whole lot of running around, whole lot of headaches and a whole lot of telling my father to put away his iPhone. In restaurants, no less. Nice restaurants. Just because you have your phone with you doesn’t mean that you have to answer it.

Also too much time away from my dead guys.

I did take them to archive, though, before my convocation and they quite liked it I think. My Project Co-worker (PCW) gave a nice tour when I asked hir, which was great since I don’t know as much about the actual collection as I should.

Also, my supervisor airmailed me a card from Britain where ze is currently visiting. This is just one of the many considerate things ze does for me and I’m very lucky to have hir as a mentor.

Tomorrow’s edition will be more comprehensive, I’m sure.


Something’s Cooking

20 05 2010

… maybe.

Well, I have chicken stock on the stove and I boiled some eggs, mixed chicken salad for sandwiches and made a salad for my lunch tomorrow, but I wish other things would move off the counter and onto the burner.


It was beautiful in Colour City today, which was really something. We had lunch outside instead of the lunchroom or huddled in the dim campus bar, averting our eyes from the tv. I picked some blooms from a flowering tree, which I just realized I left in the archive. I mostly read today and cleaned my desk, much to the hilarity of my co-worker. Ze said my stacks of books looked like a castle wall I admit it does. So I’m bringing my little metal model of a French Gunner and his cannon to position on the parapet. He will guard me from all invaders!  I have the house all to myself as my roommate is out inducting some people from the Central Provinces into the local customs of the Coast.

Yes, it involves liquor.

Also, I’m trying to coordinate this party next week and it is not going so well. Basically we have one person coming from Far Away to convocate on Tuesday and I want hir to see us all before ze goes back but hir parents booked a very brief visit and so every night ze is here someone else in the group has something else on the go. It’s been a nightmare to plan. On top of it all, my folks are coming into town for the same days as ze and so I have to juggle my peers with my parents (and grandma). Ugh.

And my parents want this Super Awesome Historian’s Tour of Colour City which I don’t have the time or desire to provide. I charge for that, dammit! Not really, but hey … maybe I should. It seems to be popular.

… … …

Mellow Yellow? ... Nope.

I think I put too much tumeric into the stock because instead of being a nice chicken stock yellow, my soup is a horrid piss yellow. FAIL>> but I’m sure it tastes fine. And no one will notice when it becomes The World’s Best Mulligatawny Soup! Yum Yum Yum!

Also I need to make a cheesecake and some tandori chicken for the potluck at work on Friday. Maybe I should wear a casual tie …

This is just a long ol’ cooking edition of Acadic, isn’t it?

UPDATE: Now that it has begun reducing, the stock is becoming an even more horrific fluorescent-piss yellow. Yegads!

Lost in a Sea of Papers

18 05 2010


Someone misplaced a document and the people at the archive realized today. Now everyone is scurrying around looking for it, going through all my papers and boxes. I feel stupid and useless because I can’t help them but I look like I’m just sitting here, ambivalent. My co-worker on The Project used to work here and so ze is helping but I would just make a mess. I hope they find it, but it could be anywhere.

Neat little piles of chaos indeed.

In other news, I finished the revision of my paper this morning, so hopefully that goes forward and I’ll never have to see it again until it is a warm, crisp journal in my hands.

I feel accomplished. Now: To the Library!

This will do, I suppose...

UPDATE: No, the document was never found. Also, some shelves broke. It just wasn’t Archivist 3’s day today…

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).