beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
In a continuing effort to avoid doing much-needed homework, here are some random history links I've found over the past little while that may interest some who haven't yet seen them on my twitter feed:

Historically Hardcore Posters.

Upholsterer finds 200 year old love letter inside of chair. 

Queen Victoria and Abdul - "Previously undiscovered diaries have been found by an author based in the UK which show the intense relationship between Queen Victoria and the Indian man employed to be her teacher." Accompanied by good photographs!

Audio Slideshow: mapping Africa. Really interesting look at how Europeans perceived Africa over the centuries.

Getting Negative with Edward Curtis - an interesting article and video about this famous 19th century photographer of Native Americans, and the early "photoshop" techniques he used. 

Two Minute History of Film & TV Title Design 

The voice of Florence Nightingale, recorded in 1890.

While we're on the subject of audio files... Here is the transcript of a 1949 interview with Fountain Hughes, born 1848, and his memories of his childhood as a slave. This one includes some audio files of a few of the lines, so you can hear his actual voice as you read the transcript. 

The Year 2000 as Envisioned in 1910 - by this amazingly creative French artist. 

And not quite history, more like news, but awesome nonetheless:

The 8 Most Ridiculously Badass Protesters Ever Photographed

Some uplifting news coming out of Japan - Badass of the Week, Hideki Akaiwa, who scuba-dived to rescue his wife and his mother, among others, while the tsunami raged. 
beboots: (Elizabeth portrait)
 And all right, I normally don't pay ANY attention to the Oscars or awards shows or like ANYTHING to do with entertainment that isn't fandom, but I was kind of sort of following [ profile] cleolinda 's liveblog just now and I'm really, really happy that the King's Speech won things. <3 I really, really love this movie, and when I heard it was rated R in the US for silly reasons (I mean, that one swearing scene, come on! It was emotional and had a plot-related purpose!) I was really worried that it's audience would be ridiculously limited and that it would be forgotten by the ages or ignored in favour of other movies I couldn't care less about... (Not that I didn't love many other movies nominated - Inception is also amazing!) 

But... yeah. <3 

All right, I promise this is all you'll hear from me tonight. I'm done, I swear. ;) Sweet dreams, everybody!
beboots: (Harry Potter Face)
 I... can't help myself. >_> The shinies. They are so pretty. (ALSO: warning, the last one in this list is a (hilarious) SPOILER OF SPOILERS)

See more - MUCH MORE - under the cut!  )
beboots: (Awesome Iroh)
So this week off from school has been fairly productive, I suppose. More or less. I could have always gotten more work done. (And now I'm second-guessing the way I phrased that because my British mother always tells me that "gotten" is a filthy, clumsy Americanism and that I shouldn't use it. >_> BUT IT JUST COMES OUT NATURALLY THAT WAY WHAT SHOULD I SAY INSTEAD, "I HAVE BEEN"?) 

ANYWAY so I reached 10,000 words in my thesis! \o/ Woo! I'm sitting at 10,593 words right now, or 38 pages. It still needs a crapload of editing, but things are slowly coming together. 

I also got a decent amount of reading done this week, as might be expected. I'm about a week's in advance of my readings, which means that I can spend the coming week before and after class ALSO working on research papers. 

Anyway, I had a lot of fun a few days ago posting that mocking Twilight picspam, so I thought I'd do another one with all of the lovely GIFs I've picked up recently! (And this time, I swear, I'll figure out lj-cuts properly and make sure it doesn't overwhelm your friendslists. THIS TIME FOR SURE. 

How about I make this one AWESOMENESS-themed? (Note: as illustrated immediately below, a bunch of these will be Harry Potter themed, simply because of the inherent awesomeness of the books, but also because I did indeed pick up a lot of these from the comments of Mark Reads Harry Potter, which you should read too. 

Let us begin! )
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! )

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: (confusion)
 I've been thinking a lot lately on my childhood outlook on life. What were things that you believed as a child?

-My mother always tells me the story that when we moved away from Germany to Ottawa when my twin sister and I were three, we were under the impression that Ottawa was on a different planet. And what is a jet plane but a spaceship? (Also: were we that wrong?)

-I didn't understand the difference between "erase" and "wash". I remember once when my little brother scribbled all over a colouring book of mine in permanent marker. When my pink eraser wouldn't work, I filled up the bathroom sink with water and dumped the book in, assuming that the purple and yellow lines would come right off. I was sorely mistaken, and had a dissolved colouring book. I was not happy that this hadn't worked. 

-Cars had personalities, and their headlights were their eyes. I still judge cars this way: if the "eyes" are too big, I think it looks dopey. If a car looks "mean", I don't like it. There are certain vehicles that I simply will never consider buying because on some subliminal level I still think of them as having personalities like this. 
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 As I think I mentioned in my last post, I've been doing a lot of research for my thesis, lately. A lot of it has involved microform. I just wanted to share a few amusing things with you from what I've dug up in the United States Sanitary Commission Records. 

One of the neatest handwritten documents I ran across was a letter written in 1864 entitled "Quarantine", all on the subject of how to improve health and sanitary conditions in New Orleans, which, I believe, was under the control of the Union at that point in time (and hence why the Sanitary Commission cared). 

I've been taking careful note of all of the hints as to the reasoning behind their recommendations. Remember, these are the pre-germ theory days, so the reigning motivation for doing any kind of cleanup work is to get rid of miasma: essentially, disease causing bad smells. 

As a side note, I've also been reading Florence Nightingale's highly influential Notes on Nursing: what it is, and what it is not. She is highly well-respected for her sanitary impulse and drastically improving conditions for British soldiers during the Crimean War (1854- 1856). She's known as one of the first "modern" nurses (who actually knew what she was doing), is praised in glowing terms, etc.,etc. But remember, she wasn't after germs. She was after miasma. Here is an excerpt from her book, in her own words:

"The very first canon of nursing, the first and last thing upon which a nurse's attention must be fixed, the first essential to the patient, without which all the rest you can do for him is as nothing, with which I had almost said you may leave all the rest alone, is this: TO KEEP THE AIR HE BREATHES AS PURE AS THE EXTERNAL AIR." (emphasis hers)

Yes, you read that correctly. If nothing else, you HAVE to make sure that the miasma doesn't get at them. Feeding, watering, scrubbing, etc., are all secondary to fresh air. She explains why: 

"A room remains uninhabited; the fire place is carefully fastened up with a board; the windows are never opened; probably the shutters are kept always shut; perhaps some kind of stores are kept in the room; no breath of fresh air can by possibility enter into that room, nor any ray of sun. The air is as stagnant, musty, and corrupt as it can by possibility be made. It is quite ripe to breed small-pox, scarlet fever, diptheria, or anything else you please."

Again, a lack of fresh air causes disease. Also, note, that until the line about "no breath of fresh air"... it reads like someone has been hiding out from a zombie apocalypse. 

Continuing along that vein, that list of recommendations for New Orleans, alongside things such as dissing the quality of milk available in the city and disdaining the current drainage system for sewage then in place, also recommends against having cemeteries near crowded residential areas. The author talks about the risk of "putrescence", and how such stinks will inevitably cause the whole city to fall ill. But I absolutely loved this line, because to me it really felt like the prologue to some sort of period zombie novel:

"It is quite impossible to seal a tomb[...] hermetically, so that nothing offensive shall escape."

(source: here)
beboots: (confusion)
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Yeah, my username is quite weird, and there's a bit of a story behind it. I think it originates from a misunderstanding I had with the origin of a nickname my mother gave me when I was very young, after a cartoon character from a show we watched on German TV back when we lived there... I actually think it must have been Betty Boop. So that misheard set of words became in my toddler/child mind "Beboots", which was later shortened to "Boots", which my mum still calls me by today.

I've used this username since I was... oh god, I must have been eleven or so. First used for my Neopets account, back in the day. I think I used it for my first hotmail account, too, although I no longer use either of those two things. 

I don't think I would change it. I like it, I think it sounds cute it's easy to remember and it's relatively unique. Recognizable, perhaps... although I have been called "Reboot" and "Beboobs" before by people who weren't paying attention on forums. I think it's better than the username that the university computer bots randomly assigned me, which consists of the first letter of my first name and about half of my ridiculously long last name. It looks like gobbledygook and is impossible for people to remember off of the top of their heads so I always have to write it down. Also, I don't necessarily want to publicize my full RL name everywhere.

I do use my RL name for scholarly stuff, work-related stuff, and history dorkery, though, because I'm of the opinion that if future employers want to look me up they'll only see awesome intellectual stuff instead of, well, fandom. ;) Although my mother and others have tried to make me panic about the possibilities of my online persona harming my future job prospects (all of those horror stories about employers looking you up on the interwebs and seeing embarassing, stupid stuff), I'm of the opinion that it can work both ways: if I never let myself be photographed while drunk (which, let's face it, almost never happens - I'm a very sober person), I'll never have really stupid racy pictures of myself on the internet. It can work to your advantage just as much as it can to your disadvantage. Anyway...

As a side note, my other childhood (and current) nicknames given to me by my mother include "fidget-bum", "monkey face" (which doesn't sound as bad as it is because it's apparently a translation of a Dutch endearment), and "petal-fart" (yeah, I don't even know either). My mum always tells me that I live "in the future tense", too, mostly because I'm an impatient person and I'm always worrying about the next thing. I need to learn to live in the moment. 
beboots: (confusion)
My final exams: Introduction to Translation, Art History (1848-1914), and an American Women's History course.  A few thoughts I've had over the course of studying for them...

I learned a new word while studying for translation - "Aphorism", meaning "an original laconic phrase conveying some principle or concept of thought." Also, "laconic: "using as few words as possible to communicate much information; pithy or concise." Definitions courtesy of the most awesome online dictionary I've found to date, Ninjawords (based on the three principles of being a ninja: "They're smart, they're accurate, [and] they're really fast".) That's the most interesting thing I've run across besides a few interesting examples of mistranslations while pouring over my notes for this course. :P SO HARD TO CONCENTRATE ON STUFF I CARE LITTLE FOR.

With regards to Art History, I've really started to think about the whole nature of art, "what is art?", etc.,etc., ad nauseam. I still think that art, on a basic level, needs to be aesthetically pleasing in some way. I'm not big into the whole "it's art even though it looks like a three year old could do better" scene. :P I realize that a lot of thought and innovation goes into some of these "avant-guard" works, but I think what really, really bothers me about a lot of the developments in the art world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is the insistence on innovative artists to dismiss all that came before. Like, the salons are too oppressive and won't let artists be free, etc., so we'll just dismiss the works of those who still follow the old masters. They want to break completely free, it seems, and so seem to be "forgetting" all that artists "learned" over the centuries

...And I don't know about you guys, but even though people like Bougereau and Frith may not have been big on Impressionism and neo-impressionism and other more "innovative" art styles, I still think that their paintings (for all that they're considered "conservative") are still amazing. I'm still not that fussed about people like Gaugin or Cézanne, for all that they get talked about a LOT in Art History textbooks. I only like a few works by Van Gogh - a lot of the stuff with wonky perspectives I really don't find visually appealing. I realize that they're all still skilled artists in their own different ways, but I just don't like that many later artists felt the need to dismiss those that came before to justify the style of their own works. I may  be bitter because I visited a show of Matisse's works at the Alberta Art Gallery last month and I was supremely unimpressed. The only thing that I found interesting about that show was the lengths to which the artist went trying to avoid drawing hands, which he admitted that he could not draw. Blah, "art". 

It's not that I'm that conservative when it comes to art - I mean, I really, really like Manet and many of Monet's stuff isn't bad either... I don't even know where I'm going with all of this. :P I really do love art! Why can't we all just stop hatin' on people who paint/draw/sculpt differently and all accept that art is awesome? 

In conclusion, studying for women's history is going well. Here, have a video with the Four Vagabonds singing their hit song "Rosie the Riveter", from whence one of the coolest icons of American womanhood came.

beboots: (Elizabeth portrait)
So as I briefly mentioned in my other post today, I'm at loose ends. When I ended off my last post with that video of one of my favourite scenes from Trueblood, I thought "hey, that's what I can do! Write a brief review!" But I suspect this is going to turn into something more of a "this is why I love Trueblood" with frequent reference to Twilight for contrast.

Now then, for the uninitiated, in brief, what is the Trueblood series about? 

Right then, any questions? None? All right, we're done for the day. 

Just kidding. That was a short, 15-second clip of Eric Northman, one of the sexiest vampires there is. He's a thousand year old viking, and a jackass. He's also quite creepy at times, open about his sexuality, can get violent, etc. But here's the thing: he's not Edward Cullen. 

Neither is Bill Compton, what you could think of as the "Edward" figure of the Trueblood series. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

(I should confess my sins, first: I have read the Twilight series. And seen the movies. I can be entertained by them without respecting them, all right? >_> For examples, see "Reasoning With Vampires", which tears apart the diction and characterization of the Twilight books, with hilarious results (P.S.: three separate links).)

Let me elaborate... MOAR VIDEOS under the cut too! )
In conclusion, here, have an unrelated video in which Buffy doesn't take any of Edward's bullshit. 
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: (Default)
 I've been working on my homework today, mainly that four way book review for a class I'm taking with my honour's research supervisor. It's not as terrible as it sounds: you pick four books on the same topic and compare and contrast how they're addressed. I picked American Women's roles in the Second World War, and I've finished reading the books and I'm working on an outline now. I really just have to sit down and write it... and finish it, of course, two days before it's due because some twit has recalled one of the four books and it's due back several days before the paper is due... and I would hate to suddenly need to look up something in a book that's in someone else's hands and isn't available online anywhere.

But that's not what I'm feeling panicky about: several other things are making my stomach get all knotted up. 

What prompted this? I quickly checked my school e-mail after my break for lunch (I have Fridays off... to do homework!), and I had received an e-mail whose subject like was "spring convocation". "Huzzah!", thought I, thinking that my application to graduate had gone through.

...Not quite. I'm apparently missing one course's worth of credit in something called "Group 3". I have everything else covered: my artsy-fartsy credits, my science credits, my second-language credits, more history credits than you can shake a stick at... but not enough in "group 3". The only hint as to what else I could take was that the half of the credits I needed for that were in a Political Science course from my time in France.

In big bold red letters, the e-mail told me that as it was I was not good to graduate in Spring.

This was me, inside:

Luckily, there was a toll-free number at the bottom of the e-mail so I called up a nice (if bored-sounding) lady to ask what I could possibly take. I'm waiting to hear back from her at the moment: she's promised to e-mail me the huge list of courses I can take to complete the credit in something called "breadth of diversity". Apparently poli sci, anthropology, economics, and a bunch of other things are on that list. I'm still trying not to panic. I mean, I'm only registered in three scheduled courses next semester (plus my thesis, which isn't a scheduled class), so I shall hopefully have space. I'm just feeling anxious. It could be for nothing. Maybe I can take Anthropology 101 and be fine. I think I can easily fit another course into my schedule, especially on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Hopefully.

This panic is related to the horror I felt at getting a poor mark on a big assignment in my introduction to translation class (9/15, or a C-, on a deceptively easy assignment worth FIFTEEN PERCENT of my final course mark). See, I'm in the honour's programme, so if my GPA dips below a certain average, or any one mark is below a certain point (I think that it's the equivalent of a B or B+), I will fail out of the programme. I don't have enough credits to complete a French minor, so I'd have to take at least another semester to complete my degree. I don't think that it has come to that, but... yeah. ANXIETY. (Most history profs know who the honours history students are, and unless you get a ridiculously low mark in their class they don't want to be the dick that kicks you out of the programme, but the translation professor is in a completely different faculty and may have no such compunctions.)

It's also related to the fact that I'm terrified of my future. I don't have anything planned for next year. Nothing confirmed. What I really need to do is go about and apply for a bunch of jobs, hopefully abroad. I'm right now tossing around the idea of applying for this paid internship at the Smithsonian Institution in the states, or possibly this tour guide job at the Vimy Ridge memorial in France. I want to improve my French, you see, and get out in the world before I leap into another degree. Next week I plan to visit the "study abroad" office in HUB to see what they have on offer for work abroad programmes. 

I also feel anxious because my original plan was to take a year off and go on the JET programme to get teaching experience and then go into education, but I'm not sure if that's what I want anymore. Maybe the latter. My twin sister just applied for JET, and asked me why I wasn't - I had totally forgotten about it. Maybe I was discouraged because I've heard so much about how difficult it is to get into the programme without any teaching experience... which my sister has. If she doesn't get in, then I had no chance. 

Right now, I'm planning on taking a year off after getting this degree (PLEASE LET ME GRADUATE) before deciding if Grad school is really what I want to do. My current thought processes/options are as follows, after my year off:
-apply for grad school, get a masters in history, become a professor (which would be cool, but jobs will be thin on the ground until more and more profs retire in five years or so)
-apply for a translation school in Ottawa, become a French-English translator (hinges on me becoming more comfortable in my French language skills)
-look into things like diplomacy, and what you need for that. Probably more political science courses.
-maybe go and get a two-year after degree in education and just work as a teacher? They get summers off, at least?

Also, somewhere in there I need to become a famous author and live off of royalties from my books for the rest of my life.

*flaily hands*

beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 Hey guys, today, I'm here to talk to you about poppies. Specifically, the red one that you wear on your lapel at around this time of year if you live in certain countries.

(I'm talking about the one with the really long needle that inevitably falls off so you are forced to buy another one, but hey, it's all to support the veterans! Also, tip: push the end of the needle through the edge of the flower, and it won't fall off. Genius!)

Anyway, I just wanted to put in my two cents in the whole "debate". There are some people out there who object to wearing red poppies. Now, I can understand if you are in, say, the Republic of Ireland, or are a very recent immigrant who feels absolutely no attachment to the sacrifices of Canadian (or British, or other British allies') soldiers especially from the First World War, but also other battles since. I am fine with that. 

But what really makes me angry is when people start using Remembrance Day as an anti-war day. Like, a forum for current politics. 

You know what? Remembrance Day ceremonies (if you actually go to them, and most of these objectors don't) don't glorify death, as many object. At least, none of the ones that I have ever been to have, and I have gone to a ceremony on November 11th ever since I was literally a babe in arms. They are respectful of death. Yes, they use the words "supreme sacrifice" far too often, and sometimes the presenter's take on history is a bit shaky ("When we fought the GERMANS" like they were solely at fault and fighting alone against the entire world in both world wars). Yes, they don't question the validity of the justification for going to war, but they respect the men who died for their country all the same. 

Although we do honour all veterans since the First World War, Canadians haven't exactly participated in a whole lot of controversial wars (unlike in the States with Vietnam and Iraq). You may not believe in the mission in Afghanistan (and, uh, before you rant about it, can you double-check your facts and make sure you're not angry about Iraq by mistake? PLZkthanks), but that's still no reason to disrespect all soldiers, point blank. Even if you are fervently anti-war, can you not at least summon up a modicum of decency to respect people like the Canadian soldiers who liberated Holland, which was being slowly starved (quite literally) by Axis forces during the Second World War? For (and this feels like a cheap shot, but it has to be said) the men who fought Hitler and his allies? If you are anti-war, I'm pretty sure you're probably anti-Hitler. I'm just saying. So have respect for the guys who helped take him down.

I should also take a moment to talk about my own background. Yes, I come from a military family. My father's a Canadian military engineer, now retired, who served in the Gulf War. My mother is British, and my grandmother still lives in England, and she lived through the Second World War (out near Manchester, I believe). My father's mother is a Dutch War bride, from the Holland that Canadian troops liberated from the Axis.

(I also had a Great-Uncle who lost a leg during the First World War when a grenade was thrown into his trench and he had the choice of doing nothing and letting everyone there get killed or stamping down upon it, absorbing the impact, and losing a leg/possibly dying.)

Perhaps these family facts make me biased. Perhaps they make me able to see through other people's bullshit.

Furthermore, if you're all about the justifications of war (like, "we shouldn't be honoring the guys who fought an unjust war!"), the First World War was fought on rather... strange justifications. Almost everyone acknowledges this. But that doesn't change the fact that thousands and thousands of our men died an ocean away from their homes, fighting for their King and country. Look, blame "the Man" all you want, but have a little respect for the people on the ground, guys. 

(I can understand if you're from Quebec and your great-grandfather was drafted against his will to fight for "England's War", though. The Quebecois at least objected, riotously, and pleaded their case at the time... which, incidentally, was one of the reasons that Prime Minister Borden justified giving women the vote in Canada in Federal elections - you could vote if you had a man in the war. So you could vote for his Conscription Bill, obviously, but it's because of the contingencies of war that women enjoy the political power they have today in our country.)

And as for those people selling white poppies "for peace"... I understand the sentiment. I really do. And I'm still torn about the idea of wearing both a red poppy for remembrance and a white poppy for peace. It's a neat idea. Except that most people DON'T wear both. They wear the white one. And it politicizes things. And remember: the purpose of selling those lovely red poppies (by donation) is to help veteran's services. (Another thing that pisses me off: people who rob the poppy sellers. I'm beginning to feel old when I feel the need to exclaim" Now what is this society coming to?") Where does the money paid for white poppies go? I've never seen it publicized (but I'm willing to be informed, if anybody reading knows). Making Remembrance Day into a debate about the merits of war vs peace is silly, and it's taking money away from the veterans by discouraging people to display the red poppy. 

By the way, guys, the vast majority of these soldiers were not fighting because they WANTED TO. They weren't fighting because it was "fun", or because they liked being violent. They were fighting for the same thing as you: peace. And guess what? They succeeded. More or less. 

Veterans get enough flak as it is. They need all the support that they can get. And it's one day, guys. Seriously. Have respect for ONE DAY, hell, even the ONE MINUTE (or two) of Remembrance at 11:00 this Thursday. Just be quiet for those two minutes of silence, and have respect. Go back to campaigning for peace afterwards, after having respect for the men you died for YOUR cause.

Hell, even create an international day for peace! If there isn't one already. And sell your white poppies then. I'd buy one. Just don't do it by disrespecting your elders and countrymen.

I'm just going to end with a little poem that's always read on Remembrance Day ceremonies, and when read properly, I always get shivers. (Hint, don't pause at the end of the lines: pause at the end of the sentences. In fact, I'm going to shake things up and ignore the traditional stanza divisions, and write out the full sentences. Pause at the end of every line here.)

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row that mark our place.
And in the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly, scarce heard amidst the guns below.

We are the dead. 
Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved, and were loved.
And now we lie in Flander's Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe. 
To you from failing hands we throw the torch.
Be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die we shall not rest.
Though poppies grow,
In Flanders' field
-Lt. Col. John McCrae, 1915

(That turned out to be a really long and serious post after being prompted by a series of stories in the National Post over breakfast. Anyway, thoughts?)
beboots: (Default)
(Thank goodness for autosaved draft - I almost lost fifteen minutes of typing!)

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

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

Also, the zombies amongst us should shop here

Happy Hallowe'en everyone! :D
beboots: (Elizabeth)
After having a three hour discussion about the rise of the beauty industry and all that it entails in my History of American Women class this past week, I feel that this video, which was only just linked to me, needs to be watched. I had the urge to cheer with the crowd at a few points during this video.

beboots: (confusion)
Hello, everyone on my friends list! I had a few quick questions for you all. 

I've been thinking, lately, of "Canadian culture" (if such a thing exists, and I think that it does), and what you really think of as defining a person's culture. One of those things is the food they eat. And I got to thinking: maybe some of my favourite foods, things that are so omnipresent in grocery stores all around Canada, aren't as common as I think that they are!

So, tell me: have you heard of all of these food products? Have you ever tried them? What did you think of them, and how were they served? (AKA what kind of toppings/side dishes?) What are your favourite local foods?

(Just to clarify, I live in Western Canada, but I have lived in Ontario, very near to Quebec, so I'm also familiar with French Canadian culture... but these foods are all found in Western Canada too.)

-Perogies (Holy crap the interwebs don't even recognize this spelling! It's on all of the bags!) AKA lovely potato dumplings sometimes stuffed with cheese and other things, boiled, often eaten fried with butter and onions, and topped with bacon bits and sour cream. Maybe I only know it because we have the largest population of Ukrainians outside of Ukraine here in Western Canada...?

-Pumpkin pie. In fact, pumpkins in general. Not squashes. Pumpkins - the kind you make into Jack-o-Lanterns. (Also edible!) Has anybody outside of North America ever had baked pumpkin seeds? (One of the best non-candy Hallowe'en snacks there is, and they're just the leftovers from making art!)

-Maple syrup. Maple candies. Maple anything. I know that pancakes and waffles exist outside of Canada... but what do you put on it if maple syrup isn't available? Just cream or something? How easy is it to get maple syrup outside of Canada? Pancakes + maple syrup is such a ubiquitous combination here that anything else is just plain WEIRD. 


beboots: (Default)

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