beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
Yeah, so my last post was a bit short (although it had a nifty video!) and I realize that only a handful of my friends list can read it, so I thought that I'd write an English-language update with extra information.

Stuff is slowly getting done. Last night, I all-but finished my thesis. I should feel more jubilant, but it's not done yet. I made edits based on the comments on the final rough draft that I just got back from my research supervisor. A lot of it was "good!", "excellent!" and checkmarks, with the occasional "typo" or "move this here" or "this should be your topic sentence, not this" and so on and so forth. I've also had to redo some formatting. I wasn't consistant with where I put my punctuation, outside or inside of quotation marks. I still have to chase down a few more examples/citations, double-check my formatting, and give my conclusion a bit more "oomph", but I'm essentially done!

Which is good because it's due a week from today. It'll get there. My bigger problem, now, is to finish all of the research papers that are due in the two weeks after I hand it in. I've done most of the research for them, and I have loads of reference books sitting beside my desk, so if I run across a point I need to double-check, I won't have to take the bus all the way down to the university or scour the internet for extra sources... which is good. I've just got to sit down and write the darn things, and you know what? I'm tired. And when I'm tired my brain doesn't like to be creative.

I have next to no readings to do this week (huzzah, professors understand our workloads at this point in the semester?) but now I have nothing to passively absorb: I have to be actively creative. I'm tired. I feel so done with school. But I'm going to have to keep on chugging along until I can finally rest at 4:00pm on April 21st. That's when I finish my last exam. I won't even be able to begin to study for exams until the week before. Luckily, I just have gigantic research papers in lieu of most of the exams, and they're due in the final week of classes.

Anyway, this Saturday is a complete write-off as far as doing homework goes, because I'm going to be presenting at the History of Medicine Conference at the U of A! If you're in Edmonton on Saturday, feel free to pop by. It'll be in Classroom D (room 2F1.04) at the University Hospital. I know a bunch of the presenters, and it looks to be very interesting. It's an interdisciplinary conference with undergrads and graduate students, from the history, English, and medicine departments (and possibly others like art history, dentistry, psychology, etc.). Highlights will include talks on "The Evolution of Kotex advertising and the Introduction of the 'Negro Market'", "Eugenics in Alberta: Lasting Effects".... The guest keynote speaker is Dr. Jackie Duffin who will talk to us about "Medical Miracles: Doctors, Saints and Healing in the Modern World", which will "explore how medical science is used by the Vatican in the canonization process."

My presentation is right after the break in the morning and will begin at 10:20 (so hopefully nobody will be figeting because they have to go to the washroom or something). I'll be essentially presenting a condensed version of my thesis argument, on Civil War medicine and surgery and how it wasn't as bad as you think, really... immediately afterwards we'll have a presenter on prosthetic technologies from the 1850s through the 1880s in America (which works really well, leading off of my talk) and then we'll have a guy talk about cholera epidemics in the mid- to late- nineteenth century, which can also build off of what I say about the miasma theory of disease. The subjects lead nicely into each other!

As a side note, there's free food, too! Breakfast, lunch and snacks. :) A friend of mine on twitter said that as long as I didn't advertise with posters saying "Breakfast, lunch and cholera!"... ;) But they go so well together! Everybody loves cholera, y/y? D:

Anyway, it will prove to be super-interesting, I know it. I'll write about the highlights the next day, possibly including pictures from my powerpoint presentation. :)

Saturday is also the fifth anniversary of my little brother going into remission! This means that he's officially cured of cancer! \o/ He works in the morning, but we're going to go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner to celebrate. :)

Aaand... I was going to end off on a history linkspam note, but it kept growing so it shall be a separate post, soon to follow. (Can you tell I'm procrastinating working on my papers? Bad beboots! D: )
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 Good news, everyone! I'm actually FINALLY starting to feel somewhat comfortable with my thesis! I've been working on it for... way too long. Technically I began in October or November of 2009, when I took a 300-level history of American medicine class with my current Honour's supervisor, Professor Susan Smith. I wrote a short, 12 page paper on Civil War medicine and how it wasn't as bad as people say, really. 

Now, nearly a year and a half later, here I sit, with piles of books on the Civil War and 19th century medical practice surrounding me, threatening to topple at any moment and trap me here in my study space, and... the end is actually in sight. 

I'm planning on handing it in on March 31st, so I can get a chance at winning an award. (Money! Glory! Stuff that looks good on my resumé!), and I really am gearing on handing it in on that date and not two weeks later because there is only one other student planning on applying for it. That means on a most basic level I have a 50-50 chance of winning it. Odds don't get much better than that. 
Anyway, I've been working on this particular document - the thesis itself - really since this past December. I agonized over word choices, organization, numbers of sources, etc. I also beat myself up inside for not starting to write it earlier, like, last semester when I was only taking four classes instead of five like I am now. I felt WAY better this past Wednesday when all of us History honour's students met up to compare notes on what we'd done so far. Two of the other five hadn't even begun writing the thing yet, still finishing up their research. Even the mediating professor seemed taken aback by this statement. Granted, they're not planning on handing theirs in until April 15th, but when asked by the professor how long they thought it would take to write 50 pages, one guy answered: "two weeks."
Now I feel much better about the series of drafts I've handed in to my research supervisor. I just finished making the edits based on the second draft she looked over, and I'm still planning on handing in a third draft next week. 
Today, I read through the whole thing to make those changes. It's starting to come together. For pretty much the first time, it actually looks GOOD. 
And about an hour and a half ago, I reached 50 pages. 
AKA the required page count. \o/
Now if only meeting this goal meant that it was over and done with... ;) I've still got a bunch of edits to make, and there are some examples that I still need to track down, but... the bulk of the work is done. I'm going to FINISH it. 
I feel GOOD.
(Now I just have to stress out about the other four papers I have to write this semester, most of which I've done little more than do some reading, plus some outlining. That'll be my task for Sunday. But for now, I celebrate!)
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 I think I mentioned a few weeks ago (it was before things went crazy with the job application) that I’ve been reading this really awesome recently published document. I suspect I was talking to [ profile] feral_shrew  about some history subject or another. The edition I have of this text (the only published edition?) is entitled Practicing Medicine in a Black Regiment: The Civil War Diary of Burt G. Wilder, 55th Massachusetts. It’s edited by a historian named Richard M. Reid, and only came out in 2010.

About the surgeon and his diary... )

Discovering exotic flora & fauna, recruiting others to do your collecting for you, and making spider-silk jewelry! )
Quick note re: adaptation )

Astonished horses! )

Unusually large amounts of spider silk! )

Bitching about Doctor Brown )The epic quest for sweet potatoes... )
The quartermaster resorts to monetary fines to make Wilder actually eat something )
Billy the horse! )
African American superstitions re: pulled teeth, and on the method of "locking" the door of a tent )
A colonel admires Wilder's awesome horseriding skillz )
Well, HE hasn't seen any fleas yet... and he also almost loses his hat. And falls off his horse. )
Wilder overhears a debate amongst the men of the regiment and is surprised. )

Book meme!

Feb. 23rd, 2011 10:22 am
beboots: (Default)
Just returned from the beautiful Rocky Mountains, to which I was dragged after being kidnapped by my family and left to escape down mountainsides in subzero temperatures. By which I mean that my father and sister dragged me away from my homework on an impromptu skiing trip, and I had fun despite the weatherman lying and saying it would only be -12C, when in fact up the mountain it was below -20C, plus a ridiculous windchill. My neckwarmer, pulled up past my nose, frequently froze over with ice (I once had a LITERAL icicle dangling from my nose, guys! I thought that only happened in movies!), so much so that when we retreated in to the chalets to warm up after every third or fourth run, my sister and I took to running our face coverings under the hand blow dryers in the washrooms to defrost, dislodge and evaporate the ice. Crazy. 

Anyway, in a continual effort to dance around my homework even though I'm now back at home and have no excuse not to work on it... Here is a meme!

Snagged from [ profile] anyjen . Bold the one's you've read! (The BBC estimates most people will have read six.)

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien - aww yeah. I had to read the entire trilogy before my dad would let me watch the first movie when it came out in theaters. I was twelve, and it was awesome. 
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible 
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman - another book series my dad introduced me to. I got the first one for my birthday when I was in junior high school, and I cried at the end... then quickly devoured the last two. 
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens  - grade twelve English class... the only way I got through it was by alternating reading it with Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which is written in a similar kind of diction but involves magic and arrogant people and Napoleon. 
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott - No, but I have read her "Hospital Sketches" which she wrote while working as a nurse during the Civil War!
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger - SO AMAZING. I cried at several points, and was very touched at others. 
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell (twice)
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky - No, but I keep getting it confused with the English translation of Foucault's Discipline and Punish, which I have read, cover to cover, for a class?
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll 
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Graham
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis 
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis 
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell 
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown - read it while on vacation with father and sister in England and France in grade eleven during spring break. The only reason I enjoyed it was because it kept mentioning places I was travelling to RIGHT THEN as I read it. It had a weird synergy with my vacation. 
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery - as a Canadian, you kind of have to. When I visited the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, their English & French library in the basement had an entire section dedicated SOLELY to different editions of the Anne of Green Gables series, in many different languages. 
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding (we actually had this book at home, but I never picked it up)
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville 
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker - yep, and I kept having to remind myself that as cliché as some of the bits seemed, that this was the book upon which ALL of those other clichés had been based.  
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens - no, but seen a theatrical production of it in person?
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker 
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - reading RIGHT NOW. I'm on the fourth or fifth story in the collection.
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery - somehow missed reading this despite the fact that almost ALL other French immersion students in my high school had had to study it several times in the original French. It's on my summer reading list, just because. 
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams - no, but was traumatized by the animated movie version as a child. (NOTE: cartoon + bunnies = NOT AUTOMATICALLY A CHILD'S FILM OMG BUNNIES TEAR EACH OTHER TO PIECES IN THAT MOVIE). I will read it soon, just so I can exorcise my childhood demons. 
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas 
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

My score = 19/100? I am at least peripherally aware of the cultural impact of many others on this list, due not the least of which to movie and theatre versions of the books, but also due to things like Wishbone. >_> Anybody else remember Wishbone? Now I'm feeling nostalgic.. 
beboots: (Harry Potter Face)

 In a continuing effort to procrastinate on my homework (my thesis draft is staring as balefully as a pile of papers can at me from the corner of my desk), and, encouraged by the AWESOMENESS of everyone who seems to read this journal and their participation in that let-me-tell-you-a-history-story meme I held a few days ago... (People can still post prompts, by the way! It is by no means closed! You may even post a second prompt if you wish!) I've decided to participate in another meme that's been making the rounds of my f-list... 

Post the names of all the files in your WIP folder, regardless of how non-descriptive or ridiculous.

Upon request, I will post a random line or two from any of these you choose. Assuming that the file adds up to a full line, that is.

I'm not sure if very many people know, but I do write quite a bit of random bits and pieces of fanfic. My problem is that they're generally just snippets of scenes and dialogue at best... although I have a LOT of sometimes incredibly long outlines. So my WIP folder is actually quite large. My problem is that they always seem to STAY as WIPs, and never, well, progress to completion. In any case, I will post bits (or even more than bits!) for those curious. 

On a completely separate note, I'm also planning on making a picture post to go with all of the responses to the history meme, possibly tomorrow or maybe later today. You shall get a historical image to go along with the story, so that you can put names to faces! :) 

Anyway, here is the list of documents in my bulky "My fanfic" folder... Some of the titles you may recognize from pieces I have posted before, but others, not so much... I also tend to have rather descriptive titles (some with fandoms, some mysteriously without!), so hopefully some will strike your fancy! Feel free to request up to three at a time. :)

A Night Fury in the King's Service - Temeraire HTTYD cross
A Traitor Redeemed - Avatar(2009)
Against Thy Own Kind
An Extension of Trust
Avatar(2009) - Time travel
Aziraphale & the Werewolf - Crossover GO & HP
Azula's Revenge - timetravel
Blue Spirit Joins the Gaang, more or less
Carlisle & House 
Chid on the Dragon Throne
Childhood Friends - Toph in the Fire Nation
Chinese Formation - Temeraire
Crowley the Familiar
Dr. Horrible, turning on the League
Draco Timetravel actual fic
Dragon!Zuko fic idea
Fangs and Flamethrowers
Far Removed - hetalia idea
Fire Lord Iroh AU
For the Greater Good - Good Omens
Genderswitch Temeraire idea
Good Omens - HP crossover Idea
Good Omens X House crossover idea
Guillaume Laurent - Temeraire idea
Hallucination - a temeraire fic
Hikago - ghost busters
In a Land Without Technology
Invader Dib
Language barrier - hetalia idea
Laurence's privateers - Temeraire AU
Left for Dead - temeraire fic idea
Lieutenant Laurence - Temeraire idea
Meeting Fire Lord Zuko - timetravel
Nunavut Ascendancy - hetalia fanfic
Possession - Hikago
Professor Fell crossover idea
Reincarnation - Temeraire idea
Sasori Sensei of Suna
Star Command Zim idea
Strange, Norrell and Potter
Tea Cart Zuko & Iroh
The Betrothed - Mulan
The Tides of War - Temeraire
Tumnus in Spare Oom - Narnia HP crossover

Um... yeah. I get distracted easily...? Some of these fic bits have been sitting there untouched for several years... 
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 Good evening, everyone! Happy Valentines day, for those of you who celebrate it! 

First, a brief link recommendation. If you've never heard of Postsecrets, you should definitely check them out: essentially, people send in anonymous postcards with their secrets on them. Some are sad, some are quirky, some are touching, and all are absolutely awesome. This week they have a Valentine-themed series of postcard secrets for you to look at. This one was my favourite: 

Furthermore, the Edmonton Journal (which, along with the National Post, I read almost every day to keep up with news about the world) apparently held a contest for the best Edmonton-themed Valentines cards, most of them poking fun at the city. This particular one was my absolute favourite, mostly because I had to cross that bridge five days a week to get to Fort Edmonton this past summer. It was murder during rush hour when it was down to one lane. >_<; It's been under construction for at least two and half years.

For more, see here!

As a side note, I did celebrate this Valentine's Day as a single person. Here's hoping that I shall find my true love in the coming year! :) I should mention that I mostly enjoy Valentine's Day because it also doubles as my dearest mother's birthday! We have flowers and chocolate about the house, then, regardless of the state of our personal lives. :) Happy birthday, mother mine! Now, tomorrow is the holiday I look forward to even more than the events of St. Valentine... Cheap Chocolate Day! Celebrated: wherever chocolate is sold!

On a final note... I actually began writing this post in response to the lovely surprise left for me at [ profile] atla_valentine. I hadn't realized that people would leave me messages! :)  They made me smile. Therefore, my original plan had been, in response to people writing lovely flattering things about the history dorkery that goes on in this journal, to write a post about some of the crazy little tidbits I've been learning about in my History of Translation class... which just so happens to be what I'm studying for at the moment (even as I procrastinate reviewing for the midterm to write this post). I'll get around to that very soon! It will still happen!

I did, however, just have a thought. Maybe I could do something completely and utterly crazy and unprecedented. I could... do a history meme. I want to share the love with you guys. I love telling historical anecdotes; I like to think I got quite good at it while working at Fort Edmonton. Maybe no-one will want to play with me. I will still tell crazy history stories to the world! Just give me a direction, guys. :) What do you want to hear?

It shall be a shameless effort at trying to emulate the cool kids (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE), only instead of fanfic, it will be random history tidbits, in the style of the posts that have appeared in this journal before.

THEREFORE, what I resolve to do is ask you, the readers, for history prompts! Ask me a historical question: anything you like. For instance: "who is your favourite member of European royalty and what was the most interesting thing they ever did?" "What do you think is the silliest reason a war ever started?" "What is the most unusual historical artifact you have ever seen in person?" "What can you tell me about Canada's participation in such-and-such a war?" It can even be something like "tell me the craziest thing you know about the 17th century/the bubonic plague/aboriginal history/etc., etc., ad nauseam." I shall even search for an appropriate image to accompany the historical blather! 

If I don't know the answer to your question, I resolve to use my research skills and access to university databases to find the answer! You may get more coherent history squee if I've heard of the topic before, though. I have studied European history across the ages, some East Asian history, and lots of Canadian and American history, but still, don't let that limit your selection! I suspect that if you ask me something about the history of medicine or the French or English languages you will get extra-long anecdotes. Indulge your curiosity, and I will try to be interesting in return! :) 
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 These last few days I have spent many hours pouring over microform and microfiche, doing research for my thesis. I've looked at the Hospital Steward's Manual (essentially, how to run a military hospital, according to the Union army standards) and the first reel of at least two dozen that contain the United States Sanitary Commission records. That sounds dead boring. It really, really wasn't.

I thought that the U.S. Sanitary Commission records were going to be a republishing of documents regarding camp conditions, bureaucratic matters, and so on, like my favourite text of the era, The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. I was wrong. They're microformed versions of the ACTUAL, handwritten records, collected in person from military surgeons and soldiers and so on. Many of them have strange shadows on them; my dad assures me that they're probably not bloodstains but water damage. It doesn't always look that way. 

Anyway, I really enjoyed skimming through these records... which is good, for me, because if I find them interesting then I'll be able to work my way through at least a few more reels before giving up in disgust to rest my eyes. 

The super-neat thing about the microfilm readers in the Rutherford library is that they're brand-spanking new digital things, so I can create a real-time digital image on a giant computer screen, with a magnifying glass as well as the ability to create giant multi-page PDF files of copies of what I'm looking at, saved conveniently to my memory stick to peruse more closely from the comforts of my own home.

And in a continual effort to avoid doing homework while pretending to do just the opposite, as I was skimming over the stuff I looked at today I created a mini-collage of some of the lines that really jumped out at me from the page. Civil War surgeons had much nicer penmanship under duress than I ever will. 

In case you're having difficulty reading what some of the handwriting says...
Box on the left: On /Penetrating Wound/ of the Thorax/ Death. / Battle of Ruaca(?) / 1864

Flesh wounds of the forearm... Erysifielas(?? Latin medical word?)  Recovery
Lieut. G.G. Bickett, Co.G.46'' Ohio in the Battle of                                                        Pulse
Report of the Sick and Wounded                                No. of wounded admitted. 665
Died.                              Skull unusually thin.                     Death.                                      ???(illegible, blotted by water damage or rushe dpenmanship)
Wound of the back.   ???? Deaths.
nothing like gangrene
Ball extracted                              Pneumonia                             Gunshot injury           amputation
Post mortem examination            Amputation                                Everything progressing favorably
remaining 508
                                   Refuses amputation
             Received orders
                                                                The inflammation rapidly spread
               Died 2nd day                            left
Gangrene                        Death
                             From this time patient gradually rallied
                                             very cheerful
                                                                       U.S. Sanitary Commission (letterhead)
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 (Oh hey, look, new icons! :D )

As I mentioned on Twitter, today was a good day on the "free stuff" front. One of my professors gets sent a LOT of American history textbooks by publishing companies, all in the hope, of course, that she will pick THEIR textbook to assign for all of her classes... She brought in a huge stack of them (it took several trips from her office) to class today and told us all to take one each. For free. Some of these are so new they're still in the wrapping! The one I ended up picking didn't even have a barcode. I think that it's print run is still on the way and that this one is just a preview copy or something. But hey, I'm not going to say no to a free textbook! :D 

I also got free food - pizza! pop! - at the public lecture by Christopher Moore. A bit of background: remember how last summer while working as a research assistant I used to talk about some of the interesting things I ran across while doing research for that course I was helping Professor Muir design, on the legal history of Canadian Confederation? Moore wrote the book I ended up recommending as a basic textbook: 1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal. Maybe I should have put it on yesterday's book recommendation list. It's very clear, informative, and downright entertaining in how it approaches what I always thought of as rather boring legal histories. Instead of having a revolution or something, we just waited until we were ready and then asked nicely. More or less. (Hey, did you know that Nova Scotia of all places was fiercely independent and was kind of conned into joining all of the rest of the British North American colonies into joining? Also, argued against Confederation with puns and other arguments.) Anyway, read that book if you're interested in Canadian history. I really want to read his children's books, too. >_> 

ANYWAY Professor Muir invited Moore to do a series of talks at the U of A on selected topics. I'm going to one on the 1864 Quebec Conference on Monday. Today's was on "Doing History in Public": AKA what someone passionate about history can do without going becoming a professor and getting mired in academia. (SO RELEVANT TO MY LIFE RIGHT NOW WHAT AM I GOING TO GROW UP TO BE??)

It was a really interesting talk! First he rambled a little bit about his own life story - which was immediately relevant because it was interesting how he fell into becoming an author. He actually had no clue what he was going to do after graduating with a BA in Honour's history in the mid-1970s, so he ended up working... at a costumed historical interpretation park! Well, as one of the historians working at the Fortress of Louisbourg back when it was just getting started. (Some of the stuff he was telling us about his work there was fascinating. For instance, they were really working on trying to furnish the buildings and glean clues about the architecture and interiors of the place, so he'd be searching through fascinating court records about someone being dragged before a judge for bashing someone over the head with a candlestick, killing them, and he'd be making notes like "had metal candlesticks at hand in house." XD )So I'm currently right where he was like forty years ago. 

But yeah, so he spoke about his different book projects for a while, spoke about "public history" projects... For instance, he's been commissioned by various (legal) societies to write their histories. He said that the advantage with working with societies of lawyers is that they can afford to pay for a history to be made. ;) He then gave us a few life tips, then opened the floor to questions. I remember one of the funny things he was explaining was that when he first started writing books of Canadian history in the 1970s, he was one of like five different historian-authors working in Canada at the time, it seemed. "I used to say that the others all starved to death", he joked to us. One of the messages he had was that, well, history wasn't necessarily very profitable, but it was interesting. ;) Also, that historical training can be immensely valuable in a huge variety of jobs... especially research-based careers.

I also asked him about his writing style, because he's written both legal histories as well as children's histories: what differentiates the two? He said that he's learned not to patronize children in his writing - so he doesn't gloss stuff over, I gather - but he does think twice about using certain "big words" and he never takes a reference for granted. For instance, if he makes an allusion to Pierre Trudeau, he will have a short aside explaining who the man was. Things like that. Super interesting!

Professor Muir introduced me to him afterwards. It was all very informal... but still, it's nice to make contacts! :) I'm looking forward to his talk next week as well! :D
beboots: (Harry Potter Face)
Classes have begun! Already, my workload is crazy. My thesis should be getting written. I've kept up with my readings - so far - but then again, it's only been three days. My classes seem super-interesting, at the very least, so hopefully it won't be too difficult or onerous to keep up. :) 

In the meantime, I've been finding solace in actually writing fanfic again. I'm sure that many people who know me through various fandoms may have picked up on the fact that I love alternate universes (no, not "high school" or "all human" AUs, but awesome ones), especially crossovers and time travel fics. There may be some of you who may recall my most prominent fandom works, Alchemy's Child (a Fullmetal Alchemist crossover with Harry Potter) and Rise of the Jinchuuriki (A Naruto!verse fic in which both Naruto and Gaara go back in time and race to become the leaders of their respective villages once more). Well, this fic that I've been working on has elements from both. 

It can be roughly summarized thusly: 

"Draco may be an arrogant, selfish little git, but even he has principles. When Voldemort kills his parents, well, he’s going to do something about it. Timetravel fic."

Essentially, Draco goes back in time to make sure that the Dark Lord doesn't win again. Or come back in the first place. He's only twenty-three or so when he does this, but he's already pretty world-weary. Mostly he's just tired of killing muggles, although he has a healthy dose of PTSD from his time as a Death Eater as well. One thing to note: he's not doing this because he had suddenly developed a great love for muggles and mudbloods. No, this Draco is still pretty racist. He still believes in the pureblood cause; he just dislikes Voldemort's methods. Of course, this outlook on life will change over the course of the fic, slowly, with many fits and starts. 
I also want to combat certain fandom trends that I'm not too fond of, the least of which is the fandom!Draco who comes to love soap operas and microwaves and other such things immediately upon being introduced to them. This Draco still isn't entirely sure that being a mudblood isn't contagious, and so many of his reactions to muggle things are still going to involve some uneasiness. (And no, it won't be the other extreme of "WHAT THERE ARE PEOPLE TRAPPED IN THAT TALKING BOX??" reaction to televisions or something.)

I also want to play off of the idea that people who return to the past have a completely perfect memory of what happened before. Um, no. Can you remember what you did when you were ten, over a decade later? Down to the exact dialogue and what you had for breakfast? Neither can Draco. My Draco is very much an unreliable narrator, too: keep that in mind, because it will come up, again and again. 

Also, things will change. Plot-type things. One of my pet peeves is when people write crossovers or time travel fics and just have the same things happen in the same order, perhaps for slightly different reasons or with another person speaking. Not so! Draco will change things, sometimes in ways that surprise even him. Make a few changes, and events will cascade differently, in interesting and sometimes unexpected ways. :3

So far, I have over thirty pages of it written; three completed chapters and lots of other scenes. My planning page, including a lot of back and forth ideas I've thrown around with a few beta-readers, is about the same length. I want to do a LOT more planning before I think of posting the first chapter. I've already rewrote quite a bit since I first wrote it. Thank you to [ profile] feral_shrew  and [ profile] kuiskata for letting me bounce ideas off of you two! :) I think that once I finish up to the summer after first year, then I'll start posting: then I should be safe from the urge to go back and make too many changes. ;) I suspect that I'll be writing a lot to avoid working on homework. Besides, with even more snow falling outside, and the mercury in the thermometer dropping right along with it, I don't think that I'll be up for going for long jogs or anything. It's weather that tells you to stay inside, make some tea, wrap yourself in a blanket and get some reading or writing done.

Anyway, I'm quite proud of what I have written so far, so I thought that I would post a little preview so that interested parties may be able to get a feel for the flavour of this Draco. 

Draco's father reacts, passive-aggressively, to his son speaking to a mudblood in public, and Draco gets his first wand for the second time. )

beboots: (Default)
 So [ 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: (Elizabeth)

In the continuing effort to avoid doing more homework (hey, I managed to finish that four-way book review in time to be handed in this morning, okay?), I've decided to write a review of a book that I read last week (again, in an effort to avoid doing homework). 

1632, by Eric Flint, the first in a series. (Note for anybody who knows me in RL: other books in this series besides "The Baltic War" and "The Ram Rebellion", which I already have on my bookshelf, would be an excellent Christmas gift. :D )

First, take a moment to contemplate the awesomeness that is this cover. 

Yes, that is what it looks like. The plot goes thusly: the West-Virginian town of Grantville is displaced in time and place from the year 2000 to the year 1632, essentially dumping them in the middle of the Holy Roman Empire in the midst of the Thirty Years War, one of the most bloody conflicts in European history. 

And lo, it was awesome... )

I want to read this later book in the series just because of the cover: 

Aww yeah! >:D
beboots: (Elizabeth)
 My eyes are starting to get sore, and I swear that my nimble fingers must have typed tens of thousands of words in this past month, but I'm nearing the end game. 

I've just almost-not-quite-but-still-nearly finished my four-way book review for my 400-level History of American Women's course. Huzzah! Over 1,050 pages of reading went into that book review (I now know far too much about the roles women played during the Second World War, especially Rosie the Riveter types), not to mention all of the writing and stress and sticky notes. I've just completed going over it, making sure I've cited everything properly, and wrote my conclusion. Mostly. I think it still needs a few more sentences; I like my conclusions to all but reach out and slap the reader in the face with its magnificence. That sounds problematic, but, uh, I like my papers to have a bit of "oomph" at the end. If you end on a strong note, the reader (AKA my teacher who is giving me a grade on it) will put it down and go "yep, that's A material". If you end on a weak note, it's just as bad as having a typo in your introductory paragraph: not good, dude. :P 

So that one is due this Thursday, in two days, but I'm right on track.

It's the paper due a week from today that I'm quietly worrying about. I can expand upon the document analysis I wrote earlier in the semester for the same class, so I technically have like three pages of it written, and I have been doing a lot of reading and note-taking for it... I just have to actually sit down and write the darn thing. It will get done soon. Hopefully. Probably tomorrow, and definitely this weekend. 

As for the other endeavours of the month... NANOWRIMO. See for yourself: 

I hit 50k (well, 51,060 words) on November 21st, and I've written only about 3,000 words since then. Shame on me. I also degenerated after about a week into writing fanfiction to make up my wordcount. My original characters were flat, you see, and my plot needed a huge overhaul and... it was too  much to do this month, what with everything else going on. So I wrote huge chunks of two Temeraire fanfics, and a significant amount of a Harry Potter fic that I've been meaning to write for a while. The premises/summaries are as follows:

The Tides of War
In a naval battle with the French, Laurence is presumed killed but actually captured, and Temeraire, thinking his beloved captain is dead, joins the British Aerial Corps anyway get revenge upon the French. Misunderstandings, epic escapes, and hurt-comfort scenes abound.

The Tswana, despite their barbaric and backward reputation amongst the supposedly enlightened, Christian Europeans, did have the right idea when it came to reincarnation by way of dragons. (AKA the "executed Laurence comes back as a dragon" story)

No Tentative Title (Redemption? Something like that?)
Draco may be an arrogant, selfish little git, but even he has principles. When Voldemort kills his parents, well, he’s going to do something about it. Timetravel fic.

More on these at a later date, hopefully over Christmas break! I will edit the crap out of these and get something posted soon...
beboots: (Default)
 Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Do yours before you read anyone else's....

(Beboots' note: these are in no particular order. Tagged from [ profile] voiceofanarchy on Facebook.)

1) The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

2) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

3) Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

4) American Gods by Neil Gaiman

5) Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel

6) River God by Wilbur Smith

7) A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

8) The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

9) The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan

10) The Taggerung by Brian Jacques

11) Ghost Stories of Alberta by Barbara Smith

12) Animorphs #29: The Sickness by K.A. Applegate 

13) His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

14) Owl in Love by Patrice Kindl

15) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
beboots: (Default)
 Well, I've returned to university! For those just tuning in, I'm in my fourth year in the honour's history undergraduate programme at the University of Alberta. 

What better way is there to celebrate my return to academia for the autumn than a senseless discussion of academic styles? I encourage anybody on my friends list (or anybody else reading this who has had experience with such things) to put in their own two cents. 

My question is this: what is the best citation style?

Inevitably, during the first lecture or two, the question is brought up: how do you want us to cite our sources in our papers, professor? Inevitably, the professor gives a very specific answer - something they clearly want the student to use - but, of course, reluctantly admits that such-and-such a style would be (only barely) acceptable, if you must. (The last part must be spoken with at least a hint of disguised distaste.)

Perhaps it's merely a matter of which one you learn to use first. Rather like a native language, anything other that that first style seems stilted and, well, foreign. Cumbersome to use, even. 

What am I talking about? MLA vs APA vs Chicago vs anything else I've missed vs, well, chaos. Some professors will accept anything "as long as it's an actual style." 

Personally? I'm a huge fan of the Chicago Manual of Style. (As much as anybody can be a "fan" of such things, of course.) Why do I feel so strongly? Well, I had to learn how to use MLA for an English class that I didn't particularly like, and I've had to use APA for a psychology class before, but, well, quite frankly? In-text citations look UGLY to me. 

I have no idea why English majors and English professors don't insist on Chicago style. Aren't they all about the flow of language and such? When you  have to stop a sentence to stick in a huge set of dates and authors' names and such, you can't just skip over.

It's not that the Chicago style isn't clearly citing one's sources... it's that we're just not obvious about it. No, we're subtle, discrete, even. It's all in the footnotes and endnotes. Tiny little numbers, barely visible, but with informative footnotes just within easy glance. A random date and even a name tells me nothing. But a footnote can contain FAR more information in a much more stylish way.

My mother tells me (rather like a horror story) that in the style she must use at the hospital where she works (I think it's APA style), one can't shorten a list of authors in-text to "et al" until after five or six names. And with all of these modern, empowered and educated women (with, of course, hyphenated last names to show that they're married but still modern, empowered and independent women), well... That doesn't look graceful at all.

Is it just a matter of placing the authors one's citing front and center? Is it all about narcissism after all? 

(Isn't Chicago style the best?)

What say you, f-list? 

(And that's it for your daily dose of dweebery. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. :P )
beboots: (confusion)
(quote by Terry Pratchett, who is made of awesome)

So... I suppose I had better bring this journal up to speed with what I've been up to lately. I've been hiding under a rock because of exams, but they've been over for just a week, so I can finally breathe again. I was intending on working a couple extra shifts (for the extra money), but I've been feeling burnt out, so... yeah. Not that fussed about spending more time at Superstore.

Regardless, I think that my hard work has payed off. I've gotten all but one of my marks back (and I'm thinking that if the final mark  hasn't come in by today, Christmas, it probably won't be in for a while. I certainly hope that they don't have people working on marking these things on Christmas day. D: ). I actually got an A plus (my first) in Art History, an A in French translation, an A- in Japanese 201, and a B plus in History of the Tudor Regime. I'm a bit sad about the last one (it's the first time my marks have drifted below A-), but I really can't complain, because it was a 300 level class, and, well, I'll just sound arrogant if I'm all like "GOD I'm such a HORRIBLE student! Actually GETTING A B  of ALL THINGS THEREFORE I FAIL AT LIFE!!!"

Um. Anyway... I went for a walk in the woods to the north of St. Albert yesterday with my brother and father, despite it being about -25 degrees celcius out. For those non-canadians reading this: it wasn't that bad. Layers are the key to keeping warm. I had underwear, obviously, plus leggings and a t-shirt, plus a thin turtleneck, plus a sweater, plus a winter coat, plus a thick scarf, gloves, and toque. Oh, and nice winter boots. We were going to go snowshoeing, but the snow wasn't deep enough, so we just walked. We didn't see any animals, but we did see loads of tracks: beyond just boring ones like rabbits and squirrels, we identified deer, martin, coyote and moose. Speaking of moose, we also saw a few places where they would have bedded down for the evening, just off of the beaten path (human beaten path). So that was cool. Yay for the Canadian wilderness! :D

I've been working on writing as well. Not on finishing my Nanowrimo novel, unfortunately. I love my characters to bits, but I've grown sick of my plot (or lack thereof). Plus, I can't find the motivation to pick it up again, as it's no longer November. Meh. I'll probably take a look sometime and take a red pen to it.... probably rewrite half of the scenes, inject more plot, etc. 

Regarding fanfiction... )

Oh, hey! Look, pictures from Europe!



beboots: (Default)

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