beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 HEY GUYS, I FEEL LIKE WRITING THIS ENTIRE POST IN CAPSLOCKS BUT THAT WOULD BE ANNOYING. So I won't. But imagine a capslock mood. 

CUE JAUNTY, UPLIFTING, CELEBRATORY MUSIC

(I would totally use the serious Civil War man icon that I have for this post, because it's the most historically appropriate, but it doesn't convey the sense of glee I feel at the moment. Imagine me as the man on the right, Jacques Cartier, at least in expression and mood.)

I just got back from Staples (AKA the office supply store) and I came back with three printed copies of the final copy of my thesis: the one I'm going to hand in for my final grade. 

It's done. It's sitting in a box downstairs, by the door, so I can bring it to school on Monday when I return a huge stack of books to the library. I had to fiddle with the formatting this morning (you have to expand the left hand margin to one and a half inches instead of just one because they're going to bind them into BOOKS), but after looking over my conclusion one final time, changing two or three words... I declared it completely and absolutely finished. 

You can make tiny little nit-picky edits forever, you know? I could probably still be making changes in a month's time, if I wanted, adding in one more source, chasing down one more salient example... but I've made myself stop. It's as good as it's going to get. And it's finished. \o/ \o/ \o/

Here my honour's thesis is, by the numbers... 

Title: Too Easily Blamed: American Civil War Surgery and Medical Care in Context

Pagecount (main body): 51

Pagecount with bibliography, title page and table of contents: 59

Number of sections: 12

Wordcount: 14,789

Wordcount (including textboxes and footnotes): 17,789

Character count: 96,768

Character count (with spaces): 114,537 (THINK ABOUT HOW MANY KEYSTROKES THAT IS FOR A SECOND, NOT INCLUDING EDITING)

Number of items on bibliography: 15 primary, 37 secondary, 52 total

Number of footnotes: 215 (many of which cite more than one source)

Number of hours put into this project: COUNTLESS.
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 My facebook status this morning read "in contemplating the pile of books sitting next to my desk, ready to be poured over for three separate papers including a 50 page thesis, I have had the sudden urge to flee the house. >_> Instead, I remain here, trapped and weighed down by several large hardcover books. Besides, they're in between me and the door. D: "

Almost all yesterday and today (granted, it's only 2:30 in the afternoon as I write this, but I began working both days before 9 o'clock in the morning), I've been chugging steadily away at my homework. Mostly readings. This is the first chance I've really had to start working my way through the research for my papers. 

I took out a whole whack of books about a month ago from the Rutherford library (taking full advantage of my extended library privileges now that I'm in my fourth year in the honour's programme), but they've just been sitting in my room as I've been distracted by things like midterms and Spooktacular volunteering. To be fair, there may be a connection between zombies and gangrene and thus Civil War medicine, but whatever. 

Anyway, a few days ago, I stacked the books I have out by category (AKA which paper they're to be skimmed through for), and as I got an e-mail reminding me that half a dozen of them are due within a handful of days, I began working on them first. I have a growing pile of books next to my school bag that are ready to be returned to the library. I feel like I'm getting stuff done! ... At least in my scholastic life. :P

I'm actually writing this because I just finished writing a rough, 2,000 word outline for my honour's thesis on innovations in medicine made during the American Civil War. Hopefully my research supervisor will like it and have lots of helpful suggestions (but not enough of them for me to feel like this isn't a solid base), so I can then use it as a template for my 50 page thesis. I'm getting excited about my topic again! ... But also slightly intimidated by the amount of readings I have to do, because I also spent an hour and a half trolling through the library databases adding things to my bibliography and my "to read" list. Lots of short documents have been digitized and are available for free online, though, which is a plus!

In other news... I'm doing National Novel Writing Month again this year! I'm not nearly as happy with it, though, as I was at this point in the last three years I've done it. My characters seem flat, and I'm having a lot of trouble writing action. Not like fight scenes, but just ACTION, like moving from one space to another. Told from the first person POV, my main character just seems to want to THINK all of the time. She's too perceptive! Stop it! D: 

I think that I bit off more than I can chew, and didn't do nearly enough planning, despite the fact that this is the first year I've even tried to create character profiles for everyone. I think that I should have thought of an entirely different novel set during the Civil War era so that I can use a lot of the research I've been doing for university. :P I may actually have to drop this plotline and make up my wordcount by writing out some fanfic I've been meaning to write for a while... Probably a Temeraire piece, so I actually have fun writing this month, possibly an Avatar: the Last Airbender one. Right now, I don't think that my novel will be going anywhere without significant overhaul, and while I'll cast my eyes upon what I've written so far again throughout the month, and I WILL try to add to it, I don't think that it's conducive to my stress levels (or my writing ability) to grit my teeth and type out something that clearly isn't working... 

Yeah, so that's the decision that I've made, for now, I think. I still need reassurance that I've made the right decision, though. :(

Also, here, see how I'm doing! 

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 [livejournal.com 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)
I really like the expression "beyond the pale" now that I've been to Ireland. It all has to do with Irish history and geography. 

The Irish Pale was the region around Dublin, long an English stronghold within gaelic Ireland. To go "beyond the Pale" meant, for an Englishman, descending into the wilds, possibly falling victim to the mercies of unsympathetic Gaelic lords and the hoards of their warriors. The English language was once confined to only a very small area of the world, if you recall. Even in Shakespeare's time, English wasn't even used in more than a relatively small corner of the British isles.

This post was prompted by the preponderance of bilingual, gaelic-English signs all over trainstations and, indeed, everywhere. They're more numerous than French signs in Canada, and we actually have a significant proportion of native speakers of the language.
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 Why don't we have as interesting names anymore? Granted, George Brown and John Alexander MacDonald wouldn't look out of place in today's phonebooks, but what ever happened to names like D'Arcy McGee? Or G.E. Eyre? Or, my favourite: W. Spottiswoode?

What interesting names have you run across in your travels? I recall a girl in my third grade class whose name was "Heaven-Leigh" (AKA "Heavenly"), and I was very jealous of the cleverness of the pun. 
beboots: (Default)
Winston Churchil quotes are love. :3

Anyway, on to the subject of this post!

Don't you just love inadvertant puns? See, I was working on that one paper for The Rise and Fall of the Tudor Regime (about those two authors duking it out over how much influence Anne Boleyn had over Henry VIII and his decisions regarding Cardinal Wolsey, which included huge blocks of old English, old French and Latin... untranslated), and I was explaining to my sister that I couldn't talk with her for long, because I had a paper to write.
Sister Dearest:  "Whhhyyyyy?" D:
And I replied, banging my fist on the table: "Because it's due tomorrow!"
Sister Dearest: ;_;
What I meant: "Relax, it won't take long because I only have to work out the kinks in this one last paragraph."
What I actually said:  "Relax, I only have to finish kinking out this one paragraph."
Yep.
And of course, Sister Dearest was like: "Wait, what? 'Kinking'? Do you want me to leave you alone with it for a minute? I'm sure this is a very private moment for you."
What I heard her say: "What a sexy essay!"
Myself: "That's right! I'm adding in more references to Anne Boleyn, obviousy." D:<
Oh those Tudors, so kinky. ;)


...okay, now I actually have to get back to work on that aforementioned sexy paper. D:

Day 22

Jun. 23rd, 2008 09:13 pm
beboots: (Default)

Day 22

So last week, my French teacher, Dominique F. told us yet another interesting word origin: sadism. Apparently, there was a Count of Sade, who was locked up for, um, kidnapping women and, well... yeah, hence, sadism. The subject was only brought up because the Count actually wrote a lot in prison, and it had something to do with some "ism" or another and it was literature-revelant, okay? ;) But then Monsieur was like (in French, of course, but translated for the benefit of those who don't speak French fluently enough to get sexual jokes...) "Oh, another parenthesis... The masochist said to the sadist: "Hurt me! Hurt me!" and the sadist replied "no.""

Yeah, I love France. ;) I also have photos from Belgian chocolate shops that sell more... racy molded chocolates. Very amusing. :3

I've also finally bought stamps! The post cards have been written and addressed and stamped! Soon, they shall be sent off to you all, hopefully to arrive before I do. ;) 

Oh, and I must relate a quick anecdote from my time in Brugge. I was in a kind of new age store that sold really funky clothing, but I was buying a few really nice scarves. I was observing my surroundings, trying to blend in (tourists are always a target for pickpockets, and I find that you're treated more nicely in general if they think that you're local), and I was listening very intently to the people in front of me as they spoke in Dutch. The lady at the counter would say someting to them that sounded very much like a Dutch variant of "hello, how are you today?" and there would be the generic  Dutch "fine, thanks", which don't really need translation. I could sort of understand the numbers, as "octo" sounds like it should be "eight", etc., right? Anyway, and then after exchanging goods, they'd each say "dankevel" (or something like that) to each other. 

So when it was my turn, the lady at the counter said "hello" to me in dutch, and I nodded, smiled, and mumbled someting that sounded like what she had said (when you mumble quietly, especially if there's music and/or people talking in the immediate vicinity, they totally fill in the blanks mentally, you know?). Then she gave me the total in Dutch (which I saw on the till), so I handed her the right amount of money, and she said "dankevel" and a few other things, to which I replied with "dankevel" (yay for imitating blindly!). So I interacted successfully in Dutch! 

But the story isn't over. I still hung around because my friend Yan was trying on some clothing, and when she went to the counter we were talking in English. The Dutch employee saw us, did a double take, and asked (in English), "Hey, didn't I just talk to you in Dutch?" So apparently I passed as a native of the Netherlands. :3

So this Wednesday, I shall return to Belgian to go to Brussels! :D Yay for chocolate! ... and I'm determined to find more waffles. D:<

Day 15

Jun. 16th, 2008 11:07 pm
beboots: (Default)
Day 15 (and other pleasantries)

Not only am I learning French, in France, but also English! :D Here's a random linguistic note that may interest a few people of my acquaintance... ever wonder why it's "chair" in English but "chaise" in French? Well, they were originally the same word (according to one of my two French professors). You see, way back when, apparently all the "r"s in French were trilled, like in Spanish. But after a while, the nobles in France decided that this sounded vulgar, and experimented with other sounds, like "y" and "z", instead of thoes trilled "r"s. But it was all very silly, and the Revolution put a stop to that concept (as it put a stop to many of those same nobles). From then on, most "r"s were pronounced the way they are now (Danielle dearest, could you provide me with the linguistic charts? ;) I cannot explain!) There are a few layovers from this time of experimentation, however... mostly just the word "chaise", though - the "z" sound replacing the "r"... as in "chair", which would have been brought over to England with the Normans, before they started with all of this linguistic business. Now you know...

Anyway, I hope to be brief, as it's quarter after eleven at night over here, and I'm tired. Last weekend, we managed to splice together a last minute trip to Amsterdam! Myself and six others went, entirely planned on our own. We randomly found a really nice hostel (Hotel Slotania (sp?) - thank you, hostelworld.com! :D ) which was about 20 minutes from all of the interesting stuff in the city centre. It was far enough away that we didn't feel like we were right on top of the Red Light district, which was really reassuring. The trams and the busses were really efficient (and clean!) and everybody... and I mean everybody spoke English. Hurrah for the Dutch education system and it's emphasis on learning like minimum three languages! :D Banzai!

We ate dinner at a really lovely Indian restaurant Saturday night, which I totally reccomend to everyone reading this... except that I totally cannot recall it's name. D: Well, my only option is to take a bunch of you on a trip to Amsterdam to show you which one I mean. :3 

On Sunday, we went to the Rijkmuseum, which is awesome. We only really saw the Dutch history gallery (we were short on time), but what we saw there was gorgeous. :D Beside every work was a little explanatory plaque, which gave little interesting details (beyond just the title and the name of the artist) in Dutch and English - like, some of the paintings portrayed hunters showing off their game to ladies, which was apparently a metaphor in the 1600s in Dutch ("birding" = "courting a mistress"). I really loved the Rembrant paintings, but everything was so detailed and lovely and symbolic and gorgeous and oh! It was wonderful. If you're ever in Amsterdam, this is one museum to mark on the list. Thank you for reccomending it, dad! :D

We also visited the Van Gogh museum, but after seeing the detailed art at the Rijkmuseum, I wasn't as fussed about his art style. Plus, this museum was much more crowded, and it was also where Heeran and I got separated from the others, so I wasn't very endeared with the place. Heeran and I ended up waiting for half an hour in the entranceway of the museum, waiting for the others (who had left without us, due to a misunderstanding). We then waited outside Madame Tussauds, because that was where they had been heading, for an hour and a half, because we were worried that they'd come out the exit just as we went in. (Plus, it was really crowded). I wish that we had gone in, now... but I suppose that much of the displays I would have seen at the one in Victoria. We did meet up with the others at the train station, where we waited for another 45 minutes.

We didn't spend the whole day waiting for the others. We did stop by a nice shoe store, where I bought some awesome boots. :3 We also watched a street performer from New Zealand do his "juggling fire torches on a 10 foot tall unicycle while blindfolded" act, but he was really, really good at it. Plus, his accent was awesome, and he was witty. :)

Oh, and yes, on Saturday we did indeed visit the Red Light district. In broad daylight. I was going to call you, mum, and say "Hey, guess where I am" but I couldn't figure out how to use the Dutch public phones. ;) Oh, and mum, before my minutes ran out when I called you yesterday, what I meant to say was "tell dad I said happy father's day!" ... I suppose that dad's reading this entry too, so.... HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, FATHER DEAREST! :D

...and that's all for now.
beboots: (O RLY?)
Chinese proverb
I wanted to put as my quote "Puella rēginam vīdit, cui melem dedit", but I figured that no-one would know what it meant. It means "The girl saw the queen, to whom she gave a badger". I love my Latin teacher - he comes up with the most awesome sentences. Our worksheets frequently have little instructions that make me giggle, like, for instance, "Translate the following lines into whatever language you think appropriate." :3 He also likes to include the Latin names of obscure animals, like porcupines, orang-utangs, etc. :D It's awesome!
In any case, I'm doing well.
I HIT 50K IN MY NOVEL W00T GO ME!
It was two days ago that that happened - Friday. I ended up writing like 4k in one day. XD Rock! My storyline is only about 1/3 of the way through, though, so I'll be continuing to write for a while now. I'll post a quick exert at the end of this post as well.
I just finished an 11 page essay for my East Asian history class. It was sort of an amalgamation of two essay topics, but really neither, but there's an option to just make up our own topic, so I think I'm fine... I finally thought of a title like five minutes before I printed it off: "From Egg to Cloth: The Impact of Sericulture Upon Historical China". I worked really hard on it. I must have spent like a total of 30 hours on the blasted thing... a few of my points are still weak, but since it was my first research essay, I'm just glad that I've included enough information to support my thesis. My friend Leah says that my writing has a tone that's too pretensious. "But I like my "thus"es and "oft-cited"s!" D:
I only had about five minutes to rejoice the completion of that piece of work before I had to move on to my French homework and my Latin sentence translation, both of which took far longer to finish than anticipated. "Wheelock's Latin", the textbook that we had to translate from, is pretty funny, though. It doesn't intend to be. The first edition was written in the late 1940s, early 50s, so all of the sentences are moral lessons telling us that war is bad. XD It's actually pretty hilarious! Here are some exerts: "What type of harmful crimes destroyed those two states" and "Without brave men doing good deeds, we can never have peace."
In addition, the Lolita meetup at West Ed a few weeks ago was pure awesomeness. :3 My outfit is still incomplete - I need a good winter jacket (ordered) and I need to find some good lace stockings (the ones I'm knitting are taking too long), a cute thing to go in my hair and perhaps a parasol. I feel like an idiot for not having a full-shot photo taken of me alone, though. I love my skirt, but I have no good shots of it! It really shows off my tiny waist. I have one of those figures that people in Victorian England were trying to emulate - skinny, but only around the waist (ie, decent sized chest and hips). With the strings around my viscerae pulled tight, I really do have a wasp-waist, but not a freakish one. :3 I'll have uploaded some photos up on deviantart after I've finished posting this. Go here: http://beboots.deviantart.com/

And here's another exert from my novel! In this scene, Tithonus, our intrepid winged boy-king (who's incognito at the moment, and goes by the name "Cricket" among these mercenaries) has just watched the rest of the men in the group he's with launch themselves off of a cliff to get into the air (they call all fly, as they are all "Kin" and all have wings). Tithonus hasn't flown since he broke his wing when he was six or so, and is sort of panicking. Burdock and Tenebris are the two men that fished him out of the river a few days earlier.

****

He then noticed that they were the last three still remaining on firm, solid ground, and it suddenly became all that much harder to remain calm.
Tenebris and Burdock exchanged a suspicious-looking glance with each other before turning to ‘Cricket’ with a look on their faces that had the boy scrambling backwards instinctively without really knowing why.
He was too slow, however, and was grabbed by his upper arms and almost before he realized what had occurred, was literally thrown over the edge of the cliff. All he could hear over the screaming of the wind whistling by his ears was the suddenly far-away voice of Burdock:
“Just flap your wings, Cricket! And don’t panic!”
Tithonus panicked.
Chapter Fourteen
Advice is least heeded when most needed.
~American proverb
His most gracious majesty, King Tithonus, ruler over all Italium and her provinces, protector of her colonies, son of the late and eminent King Augustus the Great, and lord over us all fell like a stone through the air above Le Forêt.
He would have been screaming in sheer terror had he been able to gather the breath to do so. Instead, he was falling through the air with a silent look of terror on his face, which would have been quite comical if it hadn’t been genuine fear.
Some indiscernible shape wooshed past him and yelled: “Flap your wings, for pity’s sake! Cricket!” Only later would Tithonus realize that it had been Tenebris.
Perhaps it was those almost-lost instincts that once again immerged to save him. Regardless, it was due to that shouting that broke Tithonus from his all-consuming fear of the ground that was coming closer holy –
Cricket flapped.
It was mad flapping, as was the last time he had tried this endeavor. It was inelegant (very much so), but effective. The boy found his fall slowing, then almost stopping.
He was flying.
Well, gliding and losing ever more feathers by the second, but … he wasn’t about to die. Rejoice!
He then discovered that to his surprise, he had somehow kept a hold of his lone possession at the moment – his bedroll. Perhaps that had something to do with the reflexive death grip his hands had on it.
A shadow fell across his face, and he managed to look up. Before, he’d been quite fixated on the ground (still looking tapestry-like, but no longer so innocently), especially now that he was no-longer approaching it at break-neck speeds. But he managed to tear his gaze from that which had nearly killed him – what would have been the sudden crunch at the end of his free fall – to look up. Circling above him were eight winged dots, outlined starkly against the light blue sky. They looked so … graceful. They were truly beings of the sky, these Kin mercenaries.
Tithonus felt small, young and almost painfully clumsy. He was a mere fledgling of the skies, not yet a ruler of it, as they were. Why, they were hardly even flapping, but gliding, skillfully taking advantage of what the wind and sky had to offer. The boy didn’t feel comfortable enough to stop his mad wing-movements just yet. Why, he was even gaining altitude – maybe. It was hard to tell, with so few areal landmarks. The ground seemed a little smaller, though, and the other Kin seemed closer. One of his green feathers drifted by his face as it was carried on the current of the wind to destinations unknown. There was a sheer feeling of space up here. The wind was cold but uplifting against his face, ruffling through his hair as a parent would.
Or, rather, as a parent probably would, because if you’ll recall, dear readers, our intrepid boy-king doesn’t have a whole lot of experience with his own parents to judge properly.
“Shit, you weren’t kidding when you said you couldn’t fly, were you?” Came the voice of Burdock from his upper left, oddly distorted by the wind. Tithonus managed a frantic shake of his head in the negative, in time with the crazed movements of his wings as he kept himself aloft.
Tenebris’ cream-coloured wings swung into view below him, stroking powerfully, as he, too, felt the need to comment. “Yeah, sorry about that. We just thought you were nervous about jumping off a cliff. It’s a surprisingly easy way to get into the air, but many haven’t even tried it before and have to be, well, convinced. You understand, right?”
Understand? They’d almost killed him! But he supposed it had worked – he was flying. It was thrilling once some of the sheer terror had worn off. His right wing ached a bit, but then again, both ached pleasantly with exertion. He supposed it would only get worse the longer that he stayed in the air, though.
The boy would definitely be more wary around these two from now on, in any case. ‘Cricket’ had learned his lesson regarding Burdock and Tenebris: approach with caution, avoid when possible.
“Oi! Are you coming, or not?” A voice from up above wafted down. “The boss wants us in formation! Unless our new recruit isn’t up for it?”
“Of course he’s up for it!” Burdock answered for ‘Cricket’ with obvious challenge in his voice, swinging upwards. Tithonus wasn’t so sure himself, but he made obvious efforts to follow.

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