beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 Today was a lovely day! ... Not the least of which was because I did next to no homework! (I may pay for it in stress later on, but man if it doesn't feel good right now. <3 )

The sun is shining! I feel that spring is on the way. After a long dark winter, the snow seems to be consistently melting. You get these lovely patches of crackly ice on the sidewalks that make a satisfying crunching noise as you walk over them in the morning just after the sun has risen. I've loved doing that ever since I was a child. 

Last class with my research supervisor. Feeling melancholy, but at least there were cookies. ) 

Happy news about pretty dresses at Fort Edmonton! )
 
Job interview for the Quebec program - definitely nailed it! )

 Today was a really good day. I needed a day like this, after weeks (months, really) of stress about my future and about papers and research and such. The end of the semester is in sight! I'm feeling really positive at the moment. :) I hope that some of my good cheer spreads across to you, o reader! I'm thinking positive thoughts your way. :)
beboots: (aang says yay)
 So I got a call this morning - I got the Fort Edmonton job! <3 <3 <3 

I'm really, really  happy about this. Again, I was 98% sure I had the job, but when they take weeks and weeks getting back to you and you hear about other people being hired for similar positions first... I feel self-doubt.

Now that's one less thing I have to be anxious about. I can focus on finishing my papers and studying for exams! 

I mean, Fort Ed not the BEST paying job in the world - I could theoretically find better paid work in a warehouse somewhere - but that's not the point. Money is all well and good, but by working at the fort I get to actually enjoy my summer. I have fun, get fresh air, do historical research, wear pretty clothes and make pretty jewelry... I get paid to talk to people from all over the world or from right here in Alberta about the history of the region, and its awesome peculiarities. I get paid to talk about super-cool historical stuff.

Plus, the vast majority of the coworkers are absolutely amazing people. 

I'm going to be in the Fort (1846) Era again, possibly in the same role as last year. :) I have a different supervisor, but I know him to be awesome, so this is great too. :) It's going to be an awesome season! :D

To end this post off (short, because I really should be doing homework right now >_>  ), here is that gleeful photograph of myself in costume from last year, which effectively describes my mood at the moment: 



(On a completely different note: so, uh, Russian cyberterrorists?)
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 I'm not sure if I mentioned it anywhere yet - I'm sure if I did I didn't talk about it in detail - but on Wednesday I got to be a part of the short film they're making at Fort Edmonton. <3 

For some information on the Capitol Theatre project, see here. Long story short: they're building a new theatre on 1920s street at the living history museum, right next to the Hotel Selkirk (which is a functioning hotel, by the way, with gorgeous rooms and delicious food). It's a super-exciting project! They'll be able to use it as a theatre space for dramatic productions, if they want, but during regular hours they'll be able to show 1920s silent films... plus some 1930s Talkies. :) (I put my vote in for "Freaks" and Bela Lugosi's "Dracula".)

They're also making an original film, entitled "Northern Light" or something like that, the plot of which essentially boils down to "10,000 years of Edmonton's history in 10 minutes". Cut for long-winded explanation of awesomeness, plus photographs. )


(Note: those things in the foreground aren't tombstones covered in snow. They are in fact ice walls built for the snowball fight competition being held there pretty soon. Can you think of a cooler setting for a snowball fight? :D )


Some of the beaded belts laid out on the table in Clerk's Quarters, ready to be chosen. Adele, the costumer, brought out our bag of "bling", as we call it: belts and chokers and so on so we could deck ourselves out. We laid them out quite nicely and several of us spent time photographing them. For more photographs of these belts (as well as more shots of the Fort in wintertime), see this album here

Aaand... that's all she wrote!
beboots: (Elizabeth portrait)
 A little while ago, I saw on the Twitter feed someone commenting on the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, and I gleed at the reference. :)

For those of you who don't know, these past two years I've worked at Fort Edmonton Park. This past summer I worked as a costumed historical interpreter at the 1846 Fur Trade Era Hudson's Bay Company Fort. But my first job on site was a Game & Ride Attendant at the 1920s Midway. Now, even though our focus was on, well, attending the games and rides, we all did a lot of extra research so we could get some historical interpreting in as well. 

I could natter on for like half an hour about the hand-carved carousel, and I made several blog posts a while back on the subject: Part One (Romance Sides & Money Sides, the Lead Horse, etc.), Part Two (The RCMP horse, Draws-Much-Blood, etc.), and Part Three (Low-Down-Trick, Gus, and others). 

Anyway, when I read the brief tweet about the Chicago World's Fair, I suddenly started tweeting a whole bunch of stuff about the fair and midways in general. Also, freak shows. I thought I'd do a quick recap and linkspam here. :3 

The Ferris Wheel at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 was epic. I don't use that term lightly. The tiny little Ferris Wheel we have at Fort Ed is, well, minuscule in comparison. See this post for a photograph. I found an article with an excellent account of the Ferris Wheel of 1893 here. In short... it was made with the intention of one-upping Paris' Eiffel Tower, which they had created for their Exposition of 1889. The World's Fair in Chicago was meant to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas, and was really meant to show the world how awesome the New World was. The axle of the Ferris Wheel was the single largest piece of forged steel at the time. The chairs were more like gondolas, and were the size of streetcars. They were late completing it, and so opened the ride up halfway through the fair... and they didn't test it ahead of time. It could have ended in disaster, but there were no accidents! It was a huge success! Unfortunately, the Wheel itself no longer exists. It cost too much to keep running, and was torn to pieces and sold for scrap later on after the fair was over. 

On a related note, almost everyone on the Midway in my year watched the 1932 movie "Freaks", which employed actual members of a freak show as actors and actresses. You don't really get that today, what with all of the political correctness. (Although, as many have argued, including the so-called freaks, shutting down these freak shows in the 1960s and 1970s didn't help the freak show members at all. What was the Human Torso or the Lobster Boy or whomever going to do, sell newspapers on the street? They made good money this way, for all that they were putting themselves up on display.)

Anyway, as I tweeted, Johnny Eck the Half Boy was my midway hero. Here is a short bio (plus photographs, including one of him doing his famous one armed handstand). He was an amazing guy. He was born without legs, but never let that get him down. (When asked in an interview once about whether or not he regretted having legs, he expressed relief at not having to iron trousers all of the time.) He actually had a "normal" twin brother, and together they were brilliant at doing that classic "man sawed in half" magician's trick. The "normal" twin would go into the box and be switched with Johnny Eck and a midget, to be sawed in half. Through creative use of clothing, Johnny Eck would then get up, sitting on top of the midget's shoulders, and they would begin to walk down towards the audience as if nothing was wrong and that they had been put back together... only for Eck to slide off the midget's shoulders and be chased around the stage by his supposed lower half. Women in the audience fainted, I'm told. ;) 

Here is a clip from "Freaks" in which you can see him climb a stairway. He is totally suave and charming. :) Here are a bunch of clips of him doing awesome things, like working out. Note his gloved hands: he had hard leather gloves made, which he used like shoes to protect his hands from getting too calloused. 

As for another guy who didn't let life's troubles get him down... See Prince Randian Lighting a Cigarette in this clip from "Freaks". 

If you're interested in the subject of historical midways, definitely check out this book, "American Sideshow". 

Also, this brilliant online archive, The Human Marvels

On a slightly different note, one of the other important life skills that I learned while pretending to be a 1920s Carnie was the ability to gaff (AKA "fix") midway games. I can name at least six different ways off the top of my head to rig that milk bottle toss game in such a way as to make it impossible for you to win, all without magnets. It keeps me from enjoying going to actual, RL midways anymore, because when I did I totally noticed the carnies gaffing their games there too, despite its illegality. Well, some of the stuff isn't so much illegal as... not nice. But then again, if every single person walked away with a giant stuffed animal, then they wouldn't make much money, would they? 

Anyway, if anybody wants to know more on the subject of Ferris Wheels, freak shows, carousels, and especially gaffed games, don't be afraid to ask! ;) 
beboots: (Default)
 So [livejournal.com profile] beckyh2112  got me thinking about lists, and organizing my thoughts and goals, etc., in time for the new year. :) 

Awesome things that happened to me in 2010:
-For the first time in my life, I managed to actually KEEP a new year's resolution! This bodes well for the future. I vowed to take up push-ups: I began in January barely able to do one set of five knee push-ups at a time, and now I tend to do sets of thirty or thirty-five in a day. I think that I'll keep going with this, working my way up to fifty at a time by the end of school this April. :3
-I figured out a topic for my thesis! (Now, to actually WORK on it...) I've kept up with the honour's programme, which means that I have consistently kept a ridiculously high GPA... through lots of hard work. I just have to keep it up for one more semester... 
-Everyone in my immediate family has remained healthy and happy, more or less. No deaths! We're all going strong. :)
-I went on an amazing trip to the British Isles. The experiences I had there will stick with me for my entire life. :) I had fun, learned history, became independent, and realized that I can always work my way through the troubles life throws me. Keep calm & carry on, right?
-Despite setbacks, I was hired at Fort Edmonton in the funnest job I have yet to have. Where else would you be able to dress in costume and talk to people all day about fascinating subjects? Learn to light fires with flint and steel, and cook meals with wild game in cauldrons on fireplaces? I learned valuable skills that will serve me well in the case of civilization-destroying apocalypses in 2012. ;)

Things I am anxious about for the coming new year:
-Jobs jobs jobs. I have an almost guaranteed job at Fort Ed for the summer, but what am I to do for a career? I'm going to apply for grad school for the year afterwards, but in what program? Decisions, decisions... 
-I do feel a bit lonely at times. I mean, I have a very loving family and some very good friends, but I have to say I wouldn't mind meeting a special someone. Until last year, I never really understood that old adage: "all the good men are gay or taken." This year I found out that damn, that is so true! D: Still, I hold out hope. :)

Things to look forward to in the new year:
-During the second week of January, I get to be an extra in the short film "Northern Lights"! It's a ten minute movie that they're filming for the new Capitol Theatre they're constructing at Fort Edmonton which will serve as an introduction to the park and to Edmonton's history: it's to tell 10,000 years of the history of the area in 10 minutes. I'm going to be one of the extras in the background of the fur trade era scenes. :) I'll have to skip a class to do it, and there's apparently going to be a ridiculously early start time (like 7:30 in the morning at a place that's nearly an hour a way from my home during rush hour), but it will be entirely worth it. :)
-As of sometime in the next year, my little brother would have been in remission for five years straight, which means that he will be effectively "cured" of cancer! :D Huzzah and well-wishes for my brother dearest!
-While this could (and is) also placed up above under the "anxieties" list, this year will also be the year that I figure out what I'm doing with my life. Probably. :) So that's something.
-I have two very good novel ideas floating around in my brain right now. I'm not going to wait for November: I'm going to actually write them, I've vowed to myself. I'll work on them in between working on my thesis and doing other things. :) Which brings me to...

New Year's Resolutions. As I did so well on last year's resolution, I will have several this year:
-Keep up the exercise! I'll keep doing push-ups, and I will endeavour to do at least three days of intense exercise a week: that's swimming sessions, jogs, etc. I may join the fencing club or take up Tai Chi with Cassidy dearest. :)
-Stop chewing my nails. It's a horrible habit I've had for as long as I can remember. It's not as bad as some people, but I'm self-conscious about it and I want it to stop. Must resist...
-Be more confident in myself. Be more personable. Stay positive. I generally am an optimist, and I hope to stay that way. 
-WRITING WRITING WRITING. I'm going to try to be a more prolific writer. I've got my thesis to work on, but also those novel ideas as well as several fanfic in the works. I endeavour to FINISH some of these stories floating around on my hard drive. Also, schoolwork. 

Hopefully, these aren't unreasonable resolutions! ;) I love you all! Happy New Year!
beboots: (confusion)
The final evening at Christmas Reflections at Fort Edmonton! It ended up being like -27C in the river valley... The poor draft horses had frost all over their coats, and were brought into the stables (switched out for tractors AKA "mechanical horses" ;) ) halfway through the evening. I took a shower right before I left for work, and I put my hair in braids while wet. So after I lit the bonfires, and I realized about an hour into my shift that my braids had frozen. SOLID. Like, icicle cores. D: 

CHECK IT OUT



PIPI LONGSTOCKING COSPLAYS = NOW RIDICULOUSLY EASY. 

And for comparison purposes, here is what it looks like defrosted. SO FLOPPY



Here is a shot of the glorious bonfire I made yesterday, to warm you up wherever you are. :)
beboots: (Default)
(Edit: I feel that I need a more "jubilantly" happy icon as opposed to "mildly positive". Hmm... Suggestions?)

 Huzzah! This doesn't mean I'm free, though, or that I even am finished all of my scholarly pursuits for the semester. Here is my to do list:

-apply for teaching assistant jobs abroad/in Quebec (I have three on my list)
-WORK ON THESIS. I have a bunch of books checked out, and they need readin'. Also, I should get some writing done. 
-repair the tears in my favourite winter coat (along the seam of the pocket, the inside of the lining of the shoulder)
-RELAX AND ENJOY LIFE
-Also, bake cookies! Here is an amazing recipe that they use to bake cookies at Henderson house on 1905 street at Fort Edmonton, which they have been baking every night I've worked Christmas reflections (and were kind enough to give me a copy of the recipe):

Fort Edmonton Shortbread (from an Edwardian-era recipe)
(For best results, of course, use a cast-iron wood burning stove, but as this isn't an ideal world I've included modern temperatures)

Ingredients
-1/2 cup cornstarch
-1 1/2 cups flour
-1 cup butter
- 3/4 cup icing sugar.

1) Mix butter with icing sugar
2) To the above mixture, mix in corn starch and flour to make a soft dough
3) Roll out the dough, and punch out your cookie shapes 
4)Using a moderate heat (300F) bake for 8 minutes

Then let cool, of course (they stick the entire pan out the side door to sit on the snow for a few minutes), and OMNOMNOM. No regrets! 
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 EAT ORGANIC, GUYS.


My era supervisor from Fort Edmonton this summer posted a bunch of pictures he'd taken over the season. This was one of them. I was helping out in the fort's garden one day (we grow a relatively small garden - historically it would have been planted surrounding three of the four sides of the fort, outside the walls), and I was pulling carrots for stew ingredients... and I almost fell over backwards when I pulled this carrot up because it was so BIG. It's like, as big as our beets, which were like half the size of my skull. It was purple on the outside, and bright orange-yellow on the inside: not a beet that I mistook for a carrot or something. 

We don't use any chemical fertilizers (IF IT DIDN'T EXIST IN 1846 IT IS ANATHEMA TO US), so those who bitch about organic foods not being as good, I thrust THIS example into your face! 

As a side note, it was delicious in bison stew.

Cut for more pictures and history nonsense, including why we associate "XXX" with whiskey... )

(Photos courtesy of Ryan Mullan, Fort Era Supervisor)
beboots: (Default)
(Thank goodness for autosaved draft - I almost lost fifteen minutes of typing!)

Happy Hallowe'en everyone! :D I'm reporting back on Spooktacular... For those of you just tuning in/who don't live in Edmonton, this is the Hallowe'en event run by the City of Edmonton at Fort Edmonton Park, that living history museum which is so awesome. It's closed for the regular historical interpretation season, and the history knob is turned down (a lot), but it's an amazing setting for creepy happenings for two nights towards the end of October. 1920s street and 1905 street are kid friendly; spooky children's crafts, bobbing for apples, LOTS of candy being given out, face painting, Thriller dancers (the midterm project for a dance class from the University of Alberta), etc. 

Cut for zombie action and descriptions of zombie lurching & groaning techniques... )


Also, the zombies amongst us should shop here

Happy Hallowe'en everyone! :D
beboots: (Civil war)
Come autumn, Fort Edmonton Park does this awesome two-night Hallowe'en event called Spooktacular. Last year I volunteered for logistics - I walked around with a few others in shiny reflective vests with radios, shining a flashlight into the eyes of anybody suspected of smoking pot/drinking/doing something else they shouldn't have. We're there to give out information and act as security. Somebody three years ago apparently broke an ankle trying to sneak into the park along the service road by climbing over the chain-link fence, and it was someone in my position that found him. It was fun. 

But THIS year, I'm volunteering to be one of the actors on the scary street: 1885 street is PG-13. Apparently they used to do the Fort of Fear, which was TERRIFYING (I mean, you hardly have to dress it up in the dark; it's pretty scary as-is). For various safety and legal reasons, we can't do it anymore, but that means that 1885 street, with it's reproduction jail, really old houses, skeletal trees, and empty wagons gets to be the setting for our nights of mayhem.

This year, the theme is zombies. I'm a rover; this means that I'm one of the zombie hoard not assigned to scenarios within the buildings themselves, mostly for atmosphere and to terrify people wandering around/waiting in lines. 

We had our dress rehearsal yesterday, which went pretty well overall! Volunteers from the other streets came by to test us out, which was fun... and good practice. It took me like fifteen minutes to learn to keep a straight face properly when someone else is staring at you or laughing or whatever. I've learned to give out a moan whenever I feel the urge to laugh. 

Essentially, my "at rest" pose involves me with my upper torso leaning backwards almost enough to make it uncomfortable, with my head to the side, eyes wide and staring. I can do a good wide-eyed face. One of the two lovely volunteer girls who do the makeup gave me a giant slice wound across my face, between my eyes going onto my left cheek. We were thinking: ax to the face. But not enough so that I stayed down! ;) Anyway, if you catch my attention I don't follow you with my eyes or face, but with my torso, moving unnaturally. I will lurch towards you, stop and stare, lurch some more if you catch my attention... I sometimes sneak up on people watching other programs, stand behind them, stare for five or ten seconds, then groan. 

We have to be careful to shuffle slowly, so people can get away; we can't technically touch visitors, and it's kind of awkward if you catch them because you can't disembowel and eat them. Seriously, super awkward. ;) One of the guys gets around it by sniffing anyone he's caught, making a disgusted face, and shuffling off. 

I need to learn to blink more than I do (wide, glassy-eyed staring freaks people out a LOT) because I actually lost a contact when my eyes dried out too much and I blinked. I had to grab it off of the dirty ground, shuffle off behind a building, and dash to the washroom to clean it off and put it back in. I kind of needed my peripheral vision to drive home. >_> 

But still! It's been super fun! I will have more details (and possibly photographs) of the two actual nights, Friday and Saturday. If anybody's in the Edmonton area and wants to attend (and you totally should!) you can get tickets through Ticketmaster... although they're selling out fast! :D

Now, if only the thin layer of snow on the ground would melt in time... I've compensated by literally wearing five layers of turtlenecks and sweaters under my dress shirt and four skirts plus yoga pants (which doubles up as extra padding against zombie hunters), but it won't be a comfortable night if it's like -10C... :P
beboots: (Elizabeth)
In the last few weeks, whenever the stress has gotten to be a bit overwhelming, I shut my books, made a mug of tea, put on a podcast or two, and took out my beadwork. 

And holy crap guys, I did a lot of procrastination on my homework. >_> Check this out!

This is a rope necklace made from tiny little glass seed beads. I learned how to do this over the course of the summer at Fort Edmonton, and I even completed three or four necklaces in this style while interpreting to people, but never one this long. I should have measured it before I gave it to my beloved friend Yan (who keeps making me food and being an awesome person!), but it had to have been at least two feet all around, if not more. 

Well here, see it for yourselves... )



A few details of the strand, twisted, so that you can fully appreciate the colours and the way the light plays out on the three different textures of the beads. 
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 Hello everyone! Remember how a month or so ago I posted a few photographs of myself in one of my fort costumes? It occurs to me that you guys never saw the second one! And then, I was sent a few photographs by an awesome retired couple from Saskatchewan. 

You see, I was doing a train tour... )

About a month ago, that married couple from Saskatchewan took a few photographs of me during the tour, and they got THIS just as I made the joke! I look like a hula dancer, but I'm actually gesturing, indicating a "putting the vermin and rot in the legislature" motion. 



They showed it to me on their camera afterwards and I was like MUST HAVE COPY. They agreed, and also took this other photograph of me in the courtyard of the fort, with Rowand House on the background to the right. (Yes, that is the PERSONAL RESIDENCE of the Chief Factor, and his family of four. That's it. One house.)



I should also mention that I'm wearing my "cold weather" version of this outfit, with the blanket. All native and Métis women living in the fort would be wearing a blanket like this and almost all times. It was an essential part of your outfit... but they're made of wool, and so we can get away with not wearing them when it's plus thirty degrees out. But towards autumn... You need it. 

Also, you can see the fur press in the background, pointing towards my left shoulder! It's not a catapult, a sideways gallows, see-saw or a barbeque (we have gotten all of these answers and many others). You use it to make bales of fur. Like hay bales. But fur. :)
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 Hey everyone, I just thought I'd share with you the events of the last two full days of Fort Edmonton being fully open (that was August 28th and 29th). They were fun-filled days, which were liberally photographed. Click here to see! 

Okay, so some of those photos deserve some explanation. The first two were taken of Mike at the Fort Party we had a month or so ago. He always comes dressed for the occasion. I just linked you to a photo of him dressed as a pirate as we moved the York Boat into the water a while back. He came to a dinner at Julio's Barrio, a Mexican bar on Whyte Avenue, dressed in a poncho, sombrero, and bandoliers. He is epic. And our lovely vegetarian blacksmith. 

As for those dinner photos... The Black Powder Society of Edmonton is a historical firearms society that enjoys, well, firing off 18th and 19th century muskets. They are epic, period. They camped out just outside the fort walls overnight before Harvest Fair on the 29th, cooking all day... and firing off muskets. They let me fire off three towards the end of the day. Sorry, general public - only people in costumes are allowed to fire them. ;) When they hang about the fort, they portray a group of free traders from 1805, many of them former Nor'Westers, the Hudson's Bay Company's direct competitors, defunct in 1846, the year the rest of us portray. They're so epic, though, that we forgive them. They invited us fort interpreters to dinner (cooked over an open fire all day!) after the park closed. The only condition they had was that we ate in costume. Even a light drizzle couldn't bring down our spirits. We also toasted the fur trade and the monarch with port. :)

As for the other photos... On the final day of the year, we have a very special programme... all of our men disappear from the fort (including some supervisors from other streets, all costumed up for the occasion), goods are taken from the trade store and loaded up into the functioning York Boat before visitors get there... and two hours into the day, we have a York Boat arrival programme. I was trapped in the Married Men's quarters watching the fire as I made vegetable stew, one of the few people left to literally hold down the fort and direct visitors down to the river. The free traders obligingly fired off some musket blanks to welcome the men as they arrived from their long journey from Hudson's Bay. ;) I didn't get to see the arrival myself, but Lori, the Midway supervisor, took photos with my camera. Look, laborers doing labor! How unusual for us! ;)

As for the final photos... Now, most of the time, we costumed historical interpreters are forbidden from what we call "time warping". AKA the First World War veteran from 1920s street cannot under any circumstances appear walking down 1905 street, just as Dr. True, the quack from 1885 street cannot try to ply his wares at the 1846 Fur Trading Fort, no matter how much we may be in need of medicine. BUT on the final day, just before closing, standards are relaxed, or, rather, broken, as interpreters, starting with us at the fort, run down the other streets, gathering personnel as we go, to storm the 1920s Midway for a ride on the carousel. It was epic. 

One of the men from 1885 street, Mr. Ottowell, as he is normally called, appeared at quarter to 6:00 calling himself Sir George Simpson (our Chief Factor John Rowand's boss) to tell us to begin, and we then chased him down 1885 street, yelling. You see, 1885 was also the year of the Riel Rebellion, and in Edmonton, then a city of just 300 inhabitants, had a scare. Apparently someone saw a Métis man with a musket, probably coming back from the hunt, and, hearing of all the dreadful news of Riel's rebellion further east, thought that they, too, were being attacked, and actually fled into the old abandoned HBC fort, huddling there for three weeks before a small detatchment of government troops arrived to confirm that they had been completely safe the entire time. Anyway, in a parody of history, we, the angry "Métis" charged 1885 street (Mr. Harriott, in his starched white collar, claimed to be a Métis sympathizer). We took out the Mountie first, of course. 

We then proceeded to sneak onto 1905 street all together with the 1885ers to collect the 1905ers, boarding the streetcar from there, only stopping to pick up a few 1920s interpreters and to have Tom Long, the 1920s supervisor, shake his fist at us. Supervisor Mike of 1905 street, eating an ice cream cone, also briefly stopped to shake his head at us in mock exhasperation and chastise us for congregating (which normally happens when three or four of us gather together to talk, not, uh, the entire populations of four streets). 

From there, we sang a few rousing songs on our way to the Midway. Upon disembarking from the streetcar (and thanking its driver), one of the men from 1905 street gave a rousing pre-battle inspirational speech, and we then charged the Midway, taking over the carousel entirely. 

Then, it was all celebrating and frolicking and photographing. We met up at the Selkirk bar, the functioning bar within our hotel on 1920s street for a few drinks. We of the fort, though, had to make our way to the exact opposite end of the park, so Billy of the Motordrome on 1920s street gave us fur traders a lift on an old Model Ford, all the way INTO the Fort itself. 

A wonderful end to the season. Except that I still have to work weekends in September. But still - the last day in which everyone was there!
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
I'm feeling restless at my research assistant job (having completed almost all of my work), and so I'm taking a well-earned break to write about my other history-related job, Fort Edmonton.  Remember how I wrote about my "fort husband" a few weeks ago? And how I promised I'd upload photographs of him? Well, I keep getting "internal server error" messages from livejournal whenever I make the attempt at uploading the super-awesome photograph that I want, so, uh... Here are a few that I could find online!

Read more about Anne-Marie, Rowand, Duncan, and screaming children... )
And HAHA! I've finally managed to upload the photograph I was thinking of a few weeks ago! This photograph is SO Will. (Um, not quite accurate to 1846, but, uh... JUST LOOK AT IT! That's Mike the blacksmith lying on the ground, conquered, by the way. He was passing love notes to Mr. Rowand's daughter, Nancy, you see.)
beboots: (Default)
 Time to squee like a history dork over my second summer job! (I swear that it will be of interest!)

As I think I've mentioned before, I've begun working as a costumed historical interpreter at Fort Edmonton Park. I work at the actual fort, a representation of Fort Edmonton (or Edmonton House), a Hudson's Bay Company fur trading post that was in operation in the Edmonton city area from about 1795 through to the late 1880s (although the final fort wasn't torn down until 1915), as it stood in 1846, during its heydey. It was the first true "settlement" in this region, as the local Cree and Blackfoot tribes were nomadic. 

Also, it's a fort, which makes it look THAT much more cool. 

I'm not in a lovely poofy dress with ruffles and bustles, or wearing lovely feathered hats like on 1905 street and 1885 street, but I am still immensely pleased with my character and my costume. I represent a young Métis country wife (that is, my mother was one of the local Cree women who married a French-Canadian fur trader) named Anne-Marie.

Here is a photograph taken of me in costume!

Let me tell you about my fort husband and my bling...  )
beboots: (Default)
First thing's first... Livejournal frustrates me, at least in regards to uploading photographs and such, and so I believe it may simply be much easier to refer you all to the albums I have put on facebook. Don't worry if you don't have an account there (you don't want to be sucked into that website), as I've posted the links to the ones that can be viewed by the public. But these photos have comments! I'll be certain to do more detailed ones for the promised cities (Killarney, Edinburgh, etc.).

Click here for Dublin.

Click here for Newgrange & Tara.

Click here for Wexford, Waterford and Cork.

More to come!

In other news, the Fort Edmonton job is awesome! I shall post at least one photograph of myself in costume at some point. I've already been photographed like two dozen times, at least, in the last two days. European and Asian tourists, especially, love photographing the native & Metis country wives.

I've already had my braids fondled ("Is this your real hair?"), been called a "squaw" (not to my face), and had an old man greet me with "How!" and a raised arm, to which I nervously laughed and offered an awkward Cree (then English) greeting. Most of them didn't mean anything by it (most of the older ones don't know any better), and the best thing to do is correct if you can, like: "'Squaw' is a corruption of an aboriginal term that originated in the American south, and was never used in this area. Even in 1846, it had pejorative undertones." Most are happy to learn the "politically correct" (or at least non-insulting) terms. Hint: when in doubt, use tribe name (Cree, Blackfoot, Stoney, etc.). 

But aside from that, things have been going great! My costume, while not a poofy dress, is very flattering and, best of all, very cool in plus 30 degree weather. I have been learning a lot about the buildings themselves, which is always usefull... You see, I know the sweeping overview of fur trade history, but I've been struggling with the "what's that object used for?" side of things. I also participated in a programme today! I lit a fire in the kitchen fireplace in the basement of Rowand's House, boiled water in a kettle for tea on that fire, made tea, and served it to the gentlemen seated upstairs. They - "Chief Factor John Rowand", his son-in-law "Mr. Harriet" and the missionary "Robert Rundle" - chatted about "current events" (of 1846) and Fort Life (debating letting men have Sunday's off for prayer, etc.). It was all in good fun. They would often make fun of "Anderson" (the Fort name of one of the other employees), and would call for "Anne-Marie" (my fort name) for more tea. It's a great chance to interpret several social classes, and as people are often intimidated by the three stern-looking men seated around the table, I, the mild-mannered looking Metis maid, was often called upon with questions. :) 

... Much more fun than sitting in the library all day! I am a social creature! Also, vain, so a job where I get to show off my knowledge to people and be photographed all day in a neat costume? I'm there! 

Be forewarned: I will soon be updating this blog with interesting fort shenanigans.

... I'm still working as a research assistant, though, so tomorrow, though my "day off" from Fort Ed, will be a work day for me. :P I'm determined to sleep in on Tuesday, though!
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(Note: this entry was written on the plane two days ago. I've arrived in Edmonton safe and sound, and I'm actually posting this while on a break at work! Sssshh...)

This message was brought to you by: a girl who gets bored on long flights.

So I'm on the plane home. Sad face. I've been making a short list, growing ever longer, of things I must do within like two days of my return. Things will be hectic. I have. To run errands like picking up bus tickets, acquiring a security check from the RCMP stating that I haven't done anything illegal (or at least that I haven't been caught) for the Fort Edmonton job, figuring out tea parties and dentists' appointments and arranging the dispersal of some presents... In fact, it's difficult just finding the ones destined for my family in my bag, which is all stuffed full and compressed. I hope that nothing is damaged in transit!

I'm not really worried about my luggage being lost. It has clearly printed luggage tags, I don't transfer anywhere (yay for direct flights!), and I arrived at the airport and checked in over two and a half hours before my fluff even boarded, let alone actually took off (we took off like forty five minutes late, completely off setting any gain weay had had due to favourablr wind currents.) Also, whenever I check my luggage in at the desk, I verbally order it to come back to me. None of my bags have yet disobeyed me.

But then again, I did depart from the notorious London Heathrow. Hmm... Maybe it's a toss-up. (Note from the future: all of my bags did arrive safely! Nothing broken or missing!)

And it just occurred to me that I mentioned Fort Edmonton up there when I was just whining about how much stuff I have to do while jetlagged. I believe explanations are in order. Well... Some of my older readers may remember me blathering on about my poor prospects for a summer job because of this trip (I think that the entries are tagged something like "anxiousness" and "joblessness.")

Well, when I checked my email in Galway, I got a message there from Kevin Spaans, the supervisor of the era supervisors at this historical park. Apparently they've been given more money to hire people! They're filling a handful of histprical interpreter positions for July and August... And I was one of the first they thought of! :) 

I think that my friend (and four year fort veteran) Adrianna put in a good word for me. Also, several of the supervisors heard tell of the paper I wrote for my native history class on Fort Edmonton, which probably explains why Mr. Spaans said I'll probably be in the fort (1846) era.

Now, this means that I'll probably be portraying Metis country wife, a costume that involves a shawl, leggings, and braided hair, but you never know! Perhaps they'll need another woman in the big house for Adrianna's day off, so I may yet get to wear a pretty dress. We'll see! In any case, that's something else I'll be posting photographs of.

Anyway, back to trip-related reminiscing. I ended up going to the Natural History museum for a few hours this morning to kill time. I decided on this particular museum because I knew were it was, and it was close to my hostel, so I wouldn't get lost or waste time trying to find it.

But man, I just watched "Young Victoria" on the plane, and now the Victoria and Albert museum is on my must-see list for my next trip. They're so cute! Also, my love for the Victorian era has been renewed.  

I'm sad to see Britain go, but glad to come back home. I do enjoy mum's pasta better than my own, staying in my own bed with a guaranteed shower, and free laundry facilities, open 24-hours a day, in my own basement!
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Last summer, I worked on the 1920s Midway at Fort Edmonton. One of the rides (the iconic one) is a Ferris Wheel from the 1940s (but it looks accurate to the 1920s). It goes pretty fast; it's got like room to seat 40 people on it, and you go around like once every ten seconds, maybe fifteen. It personally makes me nauseous, especially on hot days, but when there's a slight breeze, and it hits you just right? It's a fun ride. 

One day, sometime in June, I saw a group of schoolkids get on the thing. I had to run to the carousel for a few minutes, but when I returned, they'd gotten off the ride. Nothing unusual... except they were all clustered around one person, jeering. I came up (I was heading in that direction anyway, and curiosity killed the cat and all that), and they were actually surrounding one kid. Everyone was probably like twelve or something, and this kid had just thrown up (he'd clearly eaten bubblegum icecream - I remember the vomit being blue). All of the other kids were laughing and taunting him. 

I just went right up and was like "HEY" in a very angry voice. I said something to the effect of "What the HECK to you think that you're doing? Stop this right now!" Because I was so much "older" than them (I was twenty at the time, which is like ancient to kids at that age), I was thus  an authority figure (that wouldn't have flown if they had been teenagers). In fact, I have no idea where their teacher was (they looked like a schoolgroup), but they often ditch kids of that age and older on the Midway to have fun while they go have a smoke or a snack or whatever. 

Anyway, I got them to stop, I told them that they were being stupid, and I took the kid who had thrown up aside and asked if he wanted to come with me to get some water. Really, it was just an excuse to get him out of there, but he took it. I took him to the employee breakroom, which is air-conditioned, and got him a glass of water and a few kleenexs to clean himself up. There were a few other Midway-types in there, and we all spoke with him for like five minutes while he calmed himself down. I told him that even I got nauseous on that Ferris Wheel, and the other carnies backed me up. We generally just tried to make him feel better. 

I think that embarrassing incidents like this really stick in the minds of children. I still remember the day that I was chewing on the end of a white-out pen in grade six, as was my habit with stationary, and having it burst in my mouth. It got all over me and everybody laughed. That kid is probably going to remember this day for the rest of his life, and I wanted to make sure that he remembered that not everyone is a mean little insensitive asshole. Well, his classmates might be, but at least the museum ladies in the funny outfits were nice, right? 

I also think that somebody in authority needs to stand up to bullies for kids like him and tell them that they're being insensitive and stupid. If nobody confronts them about their poor behaviour, where do they get any incentive to change from? 

So there's my two cents on bullying. What say you, guys?
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An update on the job situation, everyone! I've done the typical Canadian thing, when faced with a difficult choice - compromise.

(I should mention that the Hotel Selkirk interview was a bust - very short, because they can't acommodate my vacation schedule. But I anticipated that, and I hadn't gotten my hopes up. BUT I send my sister their way, so they may hire her instead! So yay, silver lining?)

I have yet to hear back from Professor Muir re: the research assistant position. I still needed to get back really fast re: the Antique Photo Parlour, or I would perhaps face the possibility of having NO job over the summer.

It came down to: the Antique Photo Parlour is a sure thing. I will enjoy my summer with them. I will learn new skills (portrait-taking), and I will have job security (AKA I can have a job over the school year as well, and won't be jobless and anxious like this past year).

THEN I thought: well, what's stopping me from holding down both jobs? Answer: the week-long archival research trip. Which is only a possibility - it may not even be necessary, what with the huge numbers of digitized documents and the fact that the University of Alberta is plugged into one of the largest library networks in North America. Plus, our own archives aren't too shabby either. Coupled with the fact that the research assistant position has extremely flexible hours... I could theoretically work both. Like, not working 9am-5pm shifts in the library, but four hours here, six hours there, and more time on my "days off" from the Antique Photo Parlour.

And that's IF I get the research assistant position, which isn't a surety.

So I went with the safe (and fun!) option: the Antique Photo Parlour (while keeping my options open for the other position).

I just wanted to thank everyone for all of your advice. I'm not going to lie: this was a really difficult decision to make. I think that you all made very good points... nd I myself was torn, a bit, because someone would convince me very nicely, and then I'd read the next person's comment only to be completely convinced of the OPPOSITE opinion. ;) Still, it's what I needed.

So... yeah. Bottom line is I have a summer job! Maybe two! We'll see how this pans out. :) Than you once again, guys!

(Man, do I feel so much better after having made an actual DECISION... That's a weight off of my chest. Maybe now I can actually enjoy my summer?)
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Hello, friends list people! You're all quite smart (or so it appears to me) and I need some outsiders opinions to help me figure out what I'm doing this summer. (People who know me in real life can answer, too - I need to be convinced one way or the other.) 

Maybe I just need to write down everything, pro-con, so I can figure out what I'm doing.

So last week I had no job, now I have too many to choose from... )

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