beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
The one person that almost everyone remembers from Western Canadian or Métis history - if they remember anyone at all - is Louis Riel. For more information about him, see this awesome Canadian Encyclopedia Online article. For the purposes of this post, all you have to know is that he was a francophone Métis political and religious leader involved in two rebellions in 1869 and 1885. He spent a lot of the time in between those rebellions in exile in the United States.

He also wrote a lot of letters... and a lot of poetry. 

Today, while finishing up a few papers, one of which is on the Métis interpreters and the Numbered Treaties of the 1870s, I ran across a few of his French-language poems in the appendices of a book called The Free People - Li Gens Libres: A History of the Métis Community of Batoche, Saskatchewan by Diane P. Payment. And this poetry is INTENSE. 
Caveat: the author stated that this poem is attributed to Riel, but not for sure. Either way, it's intense.
Scroll down for a rough English translation by me, without any effort at making it rhyme. It has more rhythm in French.
C'est au champ de bataille, 
J'ai fait crier mes douleurs,
Où tant qu'un doute se passe, 
Ça fait frémir les coeurs.
Or je r'çois-t-une lettre
De ma chère maman
J'avais ni plum' ni encre
Pour pouvoir lui écrire.

Or je pris mon canif,
Je le trempai dans mon sang
Pour écrir' une lettre
À ma chère maman.
Quand ell' r'creva cett' lettre
Tout écrit' de sang
Ses yeux baignant de larmes,
Son coeur s'allant mourant.

S'y jette à genoux par terre,
En appelant ses enfants:
Priez pour votr' p'tit frère
Qui est au régiment
Mourir, c'est pour mourir,
Chacun meurt à son tour;
J'aim' mieux mourir en brave,
Faut tous mourir un jour.
Really, REALLY rough English translation. It's kind of dramatically gory. )
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)

At the behest of [ profile] mightyinkas , I've been convinced to make a post of all of the really funny pictures I've compiled that, well, hate on Twilight. See original post here.  

I usually don't hate on something like this. I'm more of a live and let live kind of person. I'm normally not one for taking potshots... but Twilight makes it so easy. >_> Just to be clear, though, I'm not trying to be malicious. See this comment by me explaining my thoughts on the quality of Twilight. This is all in good fun. You'll laugh. I promise. 

The vast majority of these come from the Mark Reads Harry Potter blog's comments... which explains the continual references to Harry Potter as well. 

Let us begin.

Cut to spare spamming your friends list with LOTS of (hilarious) images. Many, many more under the cut, guys. Check it out! )
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)
 (Oh hey, my post this morning on the wearing of the poppy in November sounds so angry! I just wanted to clarify that I'm not angry, I'm just frustrated with people who have the knee-jerk reaction of "war is bad and anything to do with war must also  be bad" and thus taking it out on people who only have good intentions. I hope that I didn't come across as some kind of fanatic. >_> )

ANYWAY I just wanted to share something interesting with you guys. As you may or may not have gathered, I'm doing my honour's thesis this year (all 50 intimidating pages of it...) on perceptions and innovations in American Civil War medicine. I've been reading some really cool books with interesting titles, like Microbes and Minié Balls, Gangrene and Glory, The blue and gray in black and white: a history of Civil War photography, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War... Of course, you get the opposite end of the spectrum with books with absolutely boring/uninformative/uninspired titles like The Civil War... which is in fact a brilliantly written book! (If, of course, I'm talking about the one by that title by a man named Paul Cimbala.)

But to get back on track, I just wanted to share a passage with you from a book called Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War, by Edmund Wilson. It's bound in a serious-looking blue cover, with very thin pages that actually remind me more of books from the late 1800s, not one published in 1962. This, combined with the title and even the man's name (I always associate the name "Edmund" with sour-faced men with dark goatees), I expected this to be a serious, possibly even depressing, work. And it is. For the most part. Except for this one completely unexpected passage in the introduction in which he makes reference to something completely unexpected, right after talking about having lived through two world wars:

"In a recent Walt Disney film showing life at the bottom of the sea, a primitive organism called a sea slug is seen gobbling up smaller organisms through a large orifice at one end of its body; confronted with another sea slug of an only slightly lesser size, it ingurgitates that, too. Now, the wars fought by human beings are stimulated as a rule primarily by the same instincts as the voracity of the sea slug. It is true that among the animals other than man it is hard to find organized aggression of the kind that has been developed by humanity..."
Holy crap, guys. This author is... I don't even know what to think! I think awesome. He goes on to continue with a pretty serious philosophical/historical point about the inherent evil in humans and why wars are started and perpetuated and such, and he uses long words like "pugnacious" and "Lebensraum" and others, but I cannot get over the fact that he used Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID to start off this discussion. 

How did this serious historian, of at least fifty years of age (he lived through both world wars, remember?) encounter this movie? Did he go to the movie theater with his grandchildren with the American Civil War on the mind? 

Just thought I'd share. 

And always remember, guys: 
(Image courtesy of

EDIT: Wait, upon reviewing some respectable internet sources, I've realized that the Little Mermaid was only released in 1989. Now which Disney film was Mr. Edmund Wilson, the serious historian, referring to? He needs to source his statements better, OMG! :P 
beboots: (confusion)
 I can't decide if today was a good day or a bad day. Let's see, what happened?

To begin with, I have an 8am class to which I have to commute from another city. That means that I get up at 6:15, to catch a bus at 6:54 from my house... only I missed it. So I had to leap in my car to drive frantically to the transit station to catch the right bus. But I did end up catching it! So: not late for the last class before the midterm. Also, I didn't forget my lunch. Bonus?

Anyway, I then I had a three hour break. :/ I got some reading done, but never enough. A Temeraire/Harry Potter fanfic that I've been following was updated, so I got to read that on my little iPod, so it wasn't all boring. Also, lunch! And snacks! (Salted nuts, cheese slices, homemade yogurt parfait, etc.) So that was fine. I then had my class from 12:30 until 2:00, and the lecture was almost directly relevant to my thesis and thus topic of interest. Sounds fine, right? 

I was pretty tired, though, and I was debating if I wanted to stick around for the three extra hours I'd told myself I was going to so that I could attend a little talk at 5:00 on what one can do with a history degree. I hesitated, really, REALLY tempted to just get on the bus and head home, but I thought, "nah, this is my career! I'd better go". So I stuck around for three hours, getting some reading done, but nowhere near what I would have had I gone home and made some tea and worked on it in a comfy chair with lots of light. 

And then I went to the room, and it turned out that the meeting was cancelled. I didn't get the e-mail because I hadn't RSVPed. >_<; I felt like an idiot, and like I'd wasted my day. I was tired, had a headache, and wanted to go home. 

But I still had a meeting at Fort Edmonton - a dress rehearsal for Spooktacular (more on that in a week or two), and a friend of mine that I carpool with was going to pick me up at university at 6:30. There was no sense in me going home - during rush hour - only to turn around and drive back into Edmonton. 

SO I went to go swimming! (I'd brought exercise stuff just in case, as I had that six hour break.) It was the first time I'd actually used the fitness centre at the university - you know, the one I pay like $160/year to keep running? And I felt really refreshed and energized and healthy after swimming laps for half an hour. 

And then I went back to the Honour's room, where I'd dumped my stuff (my phone, my purse, my study notes)... and I couldn't find my key. Correction: keys. My housekey, my car keys, my two university keys (one of which I need to give back sometime next week). Also, I have several keychains from around the world, bought my myself and by friends, that I'm kind of emotionally attached to. I ran back to the gym (no-one answered my frantic knocks on the honour's room door - surprise surprise, it was past 6pm), and they weren't in the Lost & Found there. I ran back to the room, and this time someone was there to let me in... but no dice, my keys weren't there either. 

I still haven't found them. I'll ask again at the lost & found tomorrow, and I hope for the best. I really, really don't want to have to replace these... :( 

On the plus side, I still have my bus pass and I had a ride home? And I got to pretend to be a zombie (and got to "devour" someone) at the rehearsal?

Verdict? Good day or bad day?
beboots: (Civil war)
Let's get my thoughts on paper! I'm thinking, because I have so many ongoing assignments, it may be best to just write everything down and occasionally post updates with finished things striken out (so I can feel better about myself and my progress). 

At the moment, I mostly feel like I'm treading water: I'm keeping afloat, but I'm not going anywhere. I need to get in advance. Fortunately, this semester worked out so that I have a three day weekend every weekend! Huzzah! Fridays off! Also, (un)fortunately, I'm unemployed this semester, which means more penny-pinching (but not desperate straights: I live at home with my parents and I have scholarships and RESPs), but also means that I have more time to do homework. Hopefully I won't go stir-crazy first. :P

All right, things to do!

-Write reply to penpals Anna and Anri. It will happen soon, I promise!
-two paper proposals for two separate women's history courses. Better be brilliant, as the professors for these are the thesis supervisor and the second reader for my thesis respectively. 
-READINGS. SO MANY READINGS. Actually on track for this! I have like 150 pages of reading per week, but it's manageable if I do them on the day that they are assigned, or at least strive to do so. 
-Write out plans for honour's thesis, to see where the gaps in my research are. Prof. Smith, my supervisor, actually gave me the idea of writing out two plans, in which the order is flipped, to see which one's organization would flow better. 

-Study study study (for midterms).

-NANOWRIMO? I've been doing it since my first year of university, and I haven't failed in my wordcount goal yet... I have a brilliant idea for some characters and a world and such, but I need to plan this stuff out. Also, find the time. Which is related to my need to get stuff DONE in advance. 

Long term, but better get started:
-Research for honour's thesis! I want to get a really, really rough draft done by Christmas. We'll see how that goes!
-Primary document analysis on Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself
-Turn that primary document analysis into a full-fletched research paper. CHOOSE TOPIC.
-Finish three (Two to go!) 2-page reading response papers for senior-level American women's history course. 
-Start reading four books for comparative book review for the same class. I've chosen american women's roles in the second world war! 

Other commitments:
-volunteer at Spooktacular, the Hallowe'en special event happening on the two nights immediately before Hallowe'en, at Fort Edmonton. History dial is turned down. I'll talk more about this later in a separate blog post, but for now, please accept a link to a video of the Thriller Dance that took place during the 2007 Spooktacular.
-Continue volunteering with EISA (Edmonton Immigrant Services Association) for credit for linguistics class. I get to meet with a lovely Peruvian lady once a week to wander about Edmonton so that she can get out of the house and practice her English! (But it's time-consuming)

So, uh... I'm busy? D: I feel restless, but I've been reading straight for the last several hours... I think that I'll take a break to go for a jog, then make some tea and leap back into reading. 
beboots: (Default)
So my father is having his ten minutes of fame, as they say. 

Some of you may have heard of the problems that the Commonwealth Games are having at this point in time. There are stories about a collapsed pedestrian bridge, unfinished Athletes' Village accommodations, terrorist threats, etc. 

My father is going to be attending the games in Delhi as a rapid-fire pistol shooter, among other pistol-related competitions. This morning, a few hours before he was going to head off to the airport, he got a call: they're putting off sending any athletes in until Sunday. My father: sad face. 

He had already had an interview with CTV scheduled for that morning: a "look, local man off to compete for king and country in the commonwealth games!" kind of thing. Well, it was a bit of a different story when they got there, but my dad went with it. They took some shots of him zipping and unzipping his luggage, and some shots of his "Canada" hat (the one that he was debating with me this morning over bringing) and he actually spoke in a calm and reasonable manner about the whole thing. Mostly how the organizers know best, and the sporting facilities themselves were pretty high quality when he went to compete in Delhi three years ago at a separate competition. He refused to diss India on screen, and I believe he really does think that some of these concerns are overblown. Still. Woo. 

He also did a phone interview with the Edmonton Journal, a newspaper we subscribe to, and another video interview for Global news. They shook it up a bit; one filmed in the front room, the other on our back porch. Whatevs. Each one focussed on slightly different things, and dad thinks that they were fair in their 30-second selection of the five or ten minute interviews he did for each. Sometimes they can completely misrepresent what the interviewee said in the editing process. Not so this time, so that's good, at least...?

Now it's after supper and the CBC called. (That's the national channel - the Canadian version of the BBC - for those not in the know.) They're sending someone over in less than half an hour to interview him. Mum and I have been frantically cleaning up our living room.

I wonder why they haven't been going to that lovely runner and the swim guy for these other interviews? Maybe my father is just reasonable and logical in the interviews, and isn't just nattering on about all of the illnesses you have to get inoculated against to visit India...? He's mostly like "calm down, guys, the Indians probably have like a bajillion guys working on fixing this," only phrased in a way that sounds more like my dad.

The news sources keep emphasizing that "oh noez, the games start in X number of days!" It's actually WORSE than what they're representing, for once (normally the news talks like the world is ending, to the point of exaggeration). You see, the athletes like to do some training in the week before the games actually open in the actual venue that they'll be using, so they won't be thrown by the strange location, and will have time to get over jet lag and such. So this delay could cost the athletes in terms of performance. 

Anyway, word is that some of the athletes have cancelled their trips to India and won't be competing. Dad doesn't want to cancel, and probably won't.  If he does well in this competition, as well as one in October in Rio De Janeiro, then he could qualify to represent Canada at the 2012 Olympics in London. 

You can do it, dad! I believe in you!


"Can we get a shot of you doing up those last two latches again? I'm thinking, 'And he's packed up and ready to go.'"

beboots: (Default)
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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?
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
Maybe it's because I've been at this for at least three or four hours, but I ran across a funny coincidence while accumulating a bilbiography... See, I've found many documents that have been made into microform by the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM), which is in itself a bit of a mouthful... Each of these documents is assigned a number, I think either at random or the order in which it was microform'ed in relation to other documents. 

Well, I've run across something different - a speech argued with evidence from the bible, instead of, y'know, in terms of economic advantages or the formation of a common national identity or what have you. 

It's entitled "The Canadian dominion tested by the evidence of scripture and history." It's CIHM number? 04666

I am highly amused.

... In which case, I probably need a break. :P
beboots: (Default)

Reflection by ~Beboots on deviantART

Construction Woes )

Also, work is still awesome. :) Today at work I did an evening booking, for something called Murder Mysteries. I think that they do different verisons on each street (it would be so cool to see it at the actual Fort). It's essentially a group of actors in costume that host a party (the one that I worked was at the Johnny J. Jones Midway in 1926) and there's murder. They serve the guests (who've bought tickets to attend) food and drink (lots of drink, let me tell you) and they have to figure out who the murderer is by asking questions to people in costume.

Now, I was just running the carousel with Sasha for an hour, but since I was in costume, people asked me questions. I was in-character, but all I said was stuff to the effect of "Oh, I'm just green help" (i.e.: newly hired carnie), and sometimes I would add "And let me tell you, what with all of this drama, I'm not sure I'll hang about." It was fun. :)

Also, people who are tipsy enjoy the carousel even more. Seriously. Children of all ages.
beboots: (Buddha Lime)
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia."
- Charles Schultz

Crisscross by ~Beboots on deviantART

I have come to the conclusion that today would have been a bad day, if I wasn't an eternal optimist. I mean, bad things happened to me today, but I don't feel like it was a bad day. Does this make sense?

Let me elaborate.  )
beboots: (Default)

So, if you've been following along, I now have a job at Fort Edmonton. And it is glorious. :D The people there are amazingly nice and enthusiastic, for the most part, and the job itself is very fun. I wouldn't mind if it consumed my life. ;) 

I've had a week's worth of shifts, so I'd like to share some of the more dramatic occurences with you all. )

I've had a week's worth of shifts, so I'd like to share some of the more dramatic occurences with you all. )

Oh, and soon enough I'll post a photograph of myself in each of my two 1920s outfits. Eventually.


beboots: (Default)

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