beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 So [livejournal.com profile] beckyh2112 has been doing some awesome research on women who have taken on men’s roles in various cultures, and when she put out the call on Twitter I responded with the question – “Have you ever heard of Two-Spirited people?” After a quick discussion, I agreed to transcribe a fascinating passage from a fascinating book, detailing a subject that very few people actually know about.

The book itself was published by the University of Alberta Press (I go to this university! <3 ). I picked it up this summer because they had a sale on the history books at the Fort Edmonton giftshop, and since I’d walked past this shelf every day for months on my way in and out of work, and this particular book had been recommended to me many times by my co-workers… The temptation was too much to resist. I can claim it’s research for work, too, because I portrayed a Metis country wife. ;)

Sarah Carter’s The Importance of Being Monogamous: Marriage and Nation Building in Western Canada to 1915 (2008) deals not only with aboriginal peoples, but also later polygamous religious societies like Mormon groups. The chunks of the book on aboriginal culture were particularly relevant to me and my work, though, and fascinating to boot. Analyses of societies like these really do demonstrate that the supposedly “natural”, heterosexual, monogamous model proposed by Western Europeans… isn’t exactly as “natural” as it is made out to be.

This particular passage (pages 122-125) is on Two-Spirited people, who are super-cool. Originally, Becky was looking for specifically female-to-male gender reversals, I believe, but the reverse is also fascinating, and some cultural expectations applied to both groups.



Read on to hear about Trim Woman, Running Eagle, Pidgeon Woman, Elk-Yells-in-the-Water, and other Two-Spirited people. )

Day One

May. 27th, 2010 12:26 pm
beboots: (Default)
Day One: writing on less than thirty minutes of sleep from a public computer in London Heathrow, watching the little timer in the corner of the screen going down. I only have 50p left to put in this machine, so I will go as quickly as possible! (Need to spend more money and thus get more change for internets...)

So my flight went by relatively quickly! It was 8 hours or so long, which is apprently short for an Edmonton-London flight. I watched a documentary on Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Terminators 2 movie. Opposites! ... or are they?

I'm worried I'm not making much sense, as I am completely incapable of sleeping on flights. We got into Heathrow at like 3am, Edmonton time. Fun! :)

Hmm... what else can I say? Well, I'm safely in London, at least, and the volcano has been behaving.

I kind of miss the Edmonton International Airport, actually. I like the feel of belonging - everything is so CANADIAN in Canadian airports, what with French/English everywhere, regalia covered in moose/meese/mooses and maple leaves sold in every store... You can't even escape the wide open nature of the country inside, as evidenced by the sparrows who seemed to have taken up residence within the airport building.

London Heathrow is apparently experiencing strikes amongst its baggage workers (for British Airways, I believe?) but you wouldn't believe it from the efficiency I experienced on the ground. I found my bus to transfer terminals quite easily, no problems... unlike the poor american lady behind me in line who had missed two transfers because her first flight was late leaving from Chicago... I hesitate to say that everything is working for fear of jinxing it, but....

Right now I'm sitting in a crowded shopping area, close by the boarding gate for my flight to Dublin... which departs in just over three and a half hours. I'm resisting the urge to fall asleep (as I would thus likely miss my plane). Contemplating Starbucks... or another coffee place, for some sort of caffinated drink. I would also like some food, I think... yes. Food is good. Food will keep me awake.

In any case... I'll be signing off, we three minutes to spare! (E-mail checking time).

Until next time (when I'll be likely less rushed, better rested, and more coherent)...
beboots: (Default)
Day: Still one day away from departure

There's something so desperately appealing about maps. I honestly think that the only reason that Canada exists as a single country today is because we look so great on the map. Men in suits a hundred and fifty years ago looked at a map of British North America and said the early Victorian equivalent of "Damn, wouldn't it be cool if we had a country that spread from like, SEA to SEA?" And then they'd have drunk more champagne and claret and made it happen. Who cares if the Nova Scotians have almost nothing in common with the Canadiens of Quebec or the Métis of Manitoba? All of that land looks mighty fine, all joined up.

That was a bit of a tangent, but I just finished going over the cheap roadmap of the British Isles that I picked up at my local AMA. (Google maps just isn't as visually appealing.)  I spent ten minutes going through my itinerary and marking each city and town I'm to visit with a little "x" with my pencil. It was immensely satisfying, searching out some of the more obscure (to me, anyway) places.

Furthermore, I've decided that the British Isles have some of the coolest place names ever. Seriously. They have such a wonderful, lilting and sometimes even humourous appeal to them. In Ireland, for instance (try saying these out loud): Tralee, Caherdaniel, Ballycotton, Hook Head, Kilmore Quay, Blackwater, Carrick-on-Suir, Bantry,  Killashee... "Tipperary" will always be one of my favourites, from that famous First World War song, "It's a long way to Tipperary"

I know that the spellings and pronounciations of a lot of these places, especially those with Gaelic names and, well, almost any English town, have almost no relation to each other. My mother, who was born in Leigh (just outside of Manchester), raised in Brighton, and schooled in London, has been trying to pound pronounciations into my head from a young age... but they don't always stick. Me and my filthy North American English. :P I'll do my best, though!

I'm also going to be on the lookout for a book on British place names, and their origins. I'm certain that one exists out there, somewhere. 

Anyway, marking out where I'm to be going has been quite a satisfying experience. I like knowing where I'm going. It's a good quality to have for life in general, I think. :)
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)

I have decided to blog about the research I am doing. I swear that some of it must be of interest to others who enjoy history!

Cut for an explanation of the course I'm helping to design, as well as quotations from a particularly interesting source... )
beboots: (Default)
"Trying one's best is a good thing, but trying one's patience is a bad thing. A blunt instrument is dull, but a blunt remark is pointed." (seriously, what the hell, English? D: )

A cheerful little story for you guys, also courtesty of Bill Bryson's book "The mother tongue: English and how it got that way": 
Sometimes words are made up for a specific purpose. The U.S. Army in 1974 devised a food called funistrada as a test word during as urvey of soldiers' dietary preferences. Although  no such food existed, funistrada ranked higher in the survey than lima beans and eggplant. Pg. 77.

 
Status report!

I haven't finished either paper (I haven't even opened the file folder for my history one), but I now have 503/1000 words of my French paper written! :D That's better than yesterday... and is, in fact, like halfway done! (Plus editing time, of course, mustn't get ahead of myself...)

I also had my job interview today. It went... all right, I think. I have no idea if I gave a good enough impression or not. I showed up a bare five minutes early, because I parked my car too far away without realizing, then got lost on foot. Googlemaps showed the place to be right in the middle of an intersection when it was, in fact, down by the river valley, like ten minutes walk away. Go technology! :P So the hems of my pants were wet from scrambling through snowdrifts (I didn't have time to run down four blocks to get to the stairs that led down to the river, so climbed down. It wasn't steep, but damn was the snow deep), and my hair was pretty windblown by the end of it.

There were like a dozen of us applicants there. We were interviewed in groups, and while waiting the rest of us did the written portion... which were pretty much scenario questions - like "You are a barker, write your speech to entice people to come to your booth!" (Barkers = also known as those guys who run carnival games and call you over, like "step right up, step right up!") and stuff like that. We also had a group activity... which was my weakpoint. We were split into three groups, and each of us got a period photograph, and from that photo, we had twenty minutes to come up witha skit. It was crazy. I'm not sure I did too well... Ours was a photograph of a 1920s fair at Greenwhich with a hotdog vendor. I think we did okay... but the other groups did much better. :(

I think the interview went well, though. I hope that it will all work out.

On another note, my Habsburg history prof has been trying to encourage us to listen to classical music for the entire semester, telling us amusing stories about various composers - and of course the majority of what he calls "good" composers are from Central Europe. ;) In any case, because my brother was in the next room, chatting, I was like "GAH I need something to listen to... oh hey yeah classical instrumental music is supposed to be good for you to study to, right?" So I've been raiding youtube for awesome songs... and yeah, I've saved a bunch to my delicious. (Check it: http://delicious.com/Beboots/music ) They've really been helping, I think.

So what kind of stories was the good Professor Szabo telling us, about these composers? 
For instance, Heiden wrote the Austrian Imperial Anthem after seeing/hearing a crowd in England sing "God Save the King". He felt so moved that he wanted something like that for his own people. He, as an old man, was in Vienna when it was occupied by Napoleon and his troops. Now, the French really respected Heiden, and so he actually got an honour guard of French soldiers. They were so impressed with him, they requested that Heiden play something for them. Heiden, being a shaky old man by this time, sits down at his harpsicord... and plays the Austrian Imperial Anthem. ;)

Oh snap.  
beboots: (Bad Day)


or exercyse any Wytchecrafte Enchauntement Charme or Sorcerie, wherby any pon shall happen to bee wasted consumed or lamed in his or her Bodye or Member...
Yep, I'm reading from "An Act agaynst Conjuracions Inchantementes and Witchecraftes". Oh, Tudor England, how awesome can you get?

...At least the paper I'm writing for that class is currently much more interesting than Cardinal Wolsey. I actually don't mind doing the readings for this one. It helps that they're shorter...

So I was having a bit of a bad week. My computer is well and truly deceased, and I ordered a new laptop, but it won't come in in time to be any good for typing up the two papers due this week, so I'm using the family PC. It's working out fine, I suppose, though I miss my lovely laptop keyboard. ;_; But apparently my new laptop shall look the same as my old one, but $150 cheaper, with more memory and more advanced overall. So... things shall look up.

I only have to get through until this Thursday. On that day, I'll have handed in my Hist 332 paper (Tudor Regime) and done the presentation on Tuesday, handed in the Hist 260 paper (Pre-confederation Canadian History) on the Wednesday, and will have completed my Art History midterm (my only evaluation besides the final, worth 40% of my mark) that morning. I can't wait for Thursday afternoon...

I mean, I was having a stressful week, but it's now no longer as oppresively bad. I mean, I was worried that with my two seven hour shifts at Superstore this weekend, I wouldn't get anything done. In fact, I really shouldn't be typing this, I should be working on my assignments in the word documents two windows over... BUT a few good things have since happened to me:

1) I've gotten stuff written down for my witchcraft assignment. And a plan for my essay. Isn't that nice? :) It's an improvement on what I had (not) done as of three days ago.

2) I was seriously considering quitting my job because I felt under-appreciated, harranged and harassed. Then, today at work, I was working side by side with my boss, Teri, and David, a worker more junior than I. Teri had to leave for an hour to go to an appointment of some sort, and David and I were left in charge of sorting out this disaster zone of an aisle. I also went for lunchbreak during that time. David and I focussed, and we got the aisle cleaned up. We were just finishing up when Teri returned - and she told us she was stunned at how well we had done, that it looked really nice and neat. She actually was under the impression that I'd skipped by lunchbreak to work hardcore at this aisle. I felt much better. :)

3) The next paycheque is all of my back-pay, as per the new union agreement! :D It shall be like the lottery, only I'm sure to win - I just don't know how much I'll get. It shall be a surprise. I just know that I get 60 cents for every hour that I've worked since August 2006. And I've worked at least 2000 hours since then.

4) I got an e-mail saying I've been accepted for the Louise McKinney scolarship - which means that they throw $2500 at me for being in the top 2% of my faculty. I feel better for having worked myself nearly to death last year. The GPA for my first year will keep me afloat for the rest of my University carreer, I do believe.

... and now BACK TO OUTER SPACE! D:<

... I mean, homework. Yes.

Also, I have learned the manliest name ever, topping even the phallic symbolism in the word "Shakespeare": Manwood. I kid you not, this is an actual last name. Doesn't Early Modern England rock? :D

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 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.

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