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Snow Blood and Coal

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Haloscan.com

Alright! We have (yet another) comment system for this blog. Go me! I'm still setting it up a little bit so expect the look of the comments screens to metamorphosize over time, but still, it's fun. Doesn't matter anyway, I guess. Nobody makes comments around here. Hehe.

posted by Adam on 10:28 PM.

En Fran├žais...

So one of the options on the Buffy the Vampire DVDs is to watch the shows dubbed into French. Going back and watching the first five seasons in french would be a great way to learn (at least to understand) the language, I think. Of course, it would leave me with a very specialized vocabulary, but that wouldn't be so bad. A lot of the vocabulary would crosses over with issues I'd come up against doing folklore, after all... Oh well.

In other news (read: speaking of french), I'm almost done with Tristes Tropiques. I figure that I'll finish it in the morning tomorrow, then spend the afternoon reading through Visual Anthropology and writing up those three page evaluations of my first two fieldwork projects (little behind on that). Overall, it shouldn't be a tough day. Then monday is definitely the day for me to go to the library and start my folklore and literature stuff (I really need to do that). The problem is that the first two things I need to look at I can't take out of the library. I'm going to see about buying copies of them (which is a good idea anyway), but in the mean time, it's the musty folklore section for me again (*pitch for IU* don't let me kid you, it's a great folklore collection. Bigger than any collection of folklore books and journals I've ever seen. And if it's not in the library, it's probably in the folklore institute's collection *end pitch for IU*)!

posted by Adam on 9:58 PM.

Aight.

I have perhaps the strangest cat in the world. Besides the fact that he plays fetch and catch, he also likes to play in running water. I can't turn the water on to brush my teeth anymore because there he is jumping into it. He doesn't drink it either. Just plays with it... And now he's running at top speed from one window to another to look at the cat in the window across the way... Weird cat.

posted by Adam on 8:51 AM.


Thursday, January 29, 2004

Wow.

Wow, I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted. Anyway, here goes.

So I did my interview with my neighbor, and it turned out really well. We ended up talking for about two hours, and while she didn't exactly tell me her life story, she did tell me a whole bunch of stories about her life, which incidentally included stuff about her background, her parents, where she was born, where she grew up, and lots of other things. I think that telling her that she could tell me anything she wanted about herself was a great idea. That way she felt comfortable talking, and the details about her would just be filled in by the contextual bits necessary to understand her stories. Go me.

It turned out in class tuesday, however, that I was one of the few people who had actually finished the interview. This is, of course, because of the buckets of snow we've been getting. I think that there's almost a foot on the ground right now, and it seems like more because when they plough the streets, they don't take the snow away, but just move it onto the curbs and sidewalks. So it actually feels more like two feet of snow on the ground. I'd complain about not having any boots, but really, it doesn't matter. I just walk in the middle of the street anyway. Don't you just love frozen mud?

Lets see, what else is going on? Oh! I finally finished cycles of influence. I'm going to write my booknote this weekend and get it back to the JFR people, and maybe they'll agree to let me do another one some time. I think that technically I'm within the 8 week period alotted to me anyway, so that's not too bad. One of my professors has owed them a note for years, she says... And what's more, now that I've finished this book, I've checked out another book to review for Forum--one that I've been wanting to read for a long time anyway, and that may yet be on my amazon wish list despite the fact that as soon as I finish the review, I own the book. The book is Maria Tatar's The Hard Facts of the Grimm's Fairy Tales. Should be so cool!

Finally, I'm reading a book by Sandy Ives called The Tape Recorded Interview for my fieldwork class. It's really funny and very quaint. The first chapter is about which is better: analogue tape or DAT. I mean please. DAT?! I guess that this was a serious subject for discussion 15 years ago, but now I, and I assume most non-recording-professionals who like digital are recording in high quality MP3 direct to hard drive... Not that this is better than DAT, but it sure ain't as expensive as what he's talking about...

posted by Adam on 9:40 AM.


Monday, January 26, 2004

Interviews and such...

Not a whole lot is going on. Yesterday, I sat and read all day, interrupted only by the fight I had with the cat. At lunch, I picked him up off the kitchen counter, and went to put him on the floor, when he jumped out of my hands, digging his claws into the meat of my palms. So I start yelling at him and chasing him around, he starts yowling and hissing, and when he thoroughly disappears behind the couch, I go and clean the cat hair out of my wounds, then wash them thoroughly. I think that these are the deepest cuts I've ever had inflicted on me by an animal, and I've been scratched by more than a few. I have a perferated imprint of his paw at the base of my hand, in the meaty part below my thumb. I also have a big long bloody scratch on my palm just below my pinky. Definitely yucky. Afterward, I felt bad for scaring the crap out of Lucien, so I spent the rest of the day, on and off, trying to make it up to him. Finally, I left him alone for a couple of hours, and when I sought him out again, he had forgiven me. Can you believe this? I'm seeking out the cat's forgiveness for hurting me...

Then today, not a whole lot is going on either. It snowed last night, so I really don't want to go to the library. I figure that I'm going to finish Cycles of Influence (finally), and do my interview, hopefully with one of my neighbors, if either of them are at home. Wish me luck. I'm really nervous about that.

Anyway, off to read.

posted by Adam on 9:48 AM.


Saturday, January 24, 2004

Update.

Haven't updated for a while, so I figure that a little bit now won't hurt. Really, there's not a whole lot to say. Yesterday was the first folkpub meeting of the semester. I told the folkpub people that the web site was about 80% feature complete. I think it's more like 70%, but I think that I wasn't lying when I said I could have a beta by the end of the semester, and that we could be up and running by the fall. I think that's a good schedule, and if school doesn't get in my way too much, definitely doable.

In other news, I'm about a fourth of the way through Levi-Strauss' Tristes Tropiques and it's really good so far. I'm feeling way ahead in my classes, although I do still need to do an interview for my fieldwork class. Still don't know who I'm going to interview... I think that my next-door neighbor is my best bet. I really don't want to do it. Call me shy, or whatever, but it just doesn't sound fun to me.

Finally, I don't remember whether I've mentioned it, but I had a couple of meetings about my folklore and literature independent study. The plan, as of now, is to read the entire issue from 1957 with Dorson's "The Identification of Folklore In American Literature" in it, and start a bibliography of things that Dorson would have been reading. The other direction is to read through some old british folklore and literature studies and bibliographize from that end. Overall, seems like a good strategy, and I'll probably get on it on monday or tuesday...

Alright. Now for lunch.

posted by Adam on 11:51 AM.


Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Baby get back...

I don't know how I did it, but yesterday, I seem to have messed up my lower back. It has been bothering me a little bit for a couple of weeks, then it hurt more last night, so I took an aleve and went to sleep, then when I awoke this morning, the pain was staggering. Since I've gotten up and started to move around, it's been a bit better, but I don't know how it's going to be walking back from campus tonight. Thankfully, at least, Sarah is dropping me off at campus...

Thinking about it, worse that walking back from campus tonight will be driving to philadelphia tomorrow. I can only imagine how much a 10 hour car ride will suck if my back still feels like this. I think perhaps that I'll call Sofiya, Linda, and Leah, and tell them that my trip will have to wait for another week. That's really disappointing. As the date approaches, I really was looking forward to seeing them. But it wouldn't be a cancellation of the trip, after all, just a postponement. And I know that it'll make my parents happy. They're afraid that the east coast has turned into tundra and that I'm going to starve to death on the way, or something...

posted by Adam on 9:43 AM.


Tuesday, January 20, 2004

National Book Critics Circle

Check out this article on CNN: National Book Critics Circle. In the second to last paragraph, notice that a book of poetry by Susan Stewart was a finalist in the poetry category. Go Susan Stewart!

posted by Adam on 10:22 AM.


Monday, January 19, 2004

Cold...

It's really really cold in this apartment. I guess that I wasn't paying attention because I was engrossed in the end of The Aran Islands, but when I finished it and got up, I found myself shivering. I really wished that the heat here worked better. When I got up, I turned it on, and nothing happened. It takes a while for the furnace to warm up, and only now, a 20 minutes later, is it even going on. That means that the apartment won't even start to warm up for another half hour, and basically, that I'm going to spend the rest of the day freezing.

In other news, last night, I made what I can only deem an incredible soup. I took some ideas of gumbo-making and chowder-making, and did one of the best mongrel soups I've ever had. I started with a roux that I cooked to a golden brown (not as dark as I would for an actual gumbo), then added a chopped onion, some sausage, salt, and pepper. I cooked all that, then added a can of whole clams, a can of chopped clams, more spices, and enough water. I cooked that for a while, then added three cut up chicken breasts and some milk, then cooked the whole thing for about two hours. It came out a bit thinner than either gumbo or chowder, but really extrordinarily good. Far beyond my original expectations.

Then after that, I also made some brownies, and discovered something. I discovered that if you line the brownie pan with a thin layer of granulated sugar before you add your dough, you come out with a neat crunchy crust that really compliments the gooey insides. I'm not huge on brownies myself, but sarah really appreciated that I did it.

posted by Adam on 11:22 AM.


Saturday, January 17, 2004

Yesterday, the day before, whatever...

Alright. So not much has been going on with me. Two days ago, I started my observation project for my fieldwork class. I rode up and down in an elevator for a while and watched people's behavior. It was fun. I made notes of when people got in and out, and what they did while they were riding. A couple of people were interested in what I was doing, but really, most people didn't even seem to notice me sitting there on the floor.

I also started reading The Aran Islands, which is really interesting, and which I will hopefully finish today. Synge's writing is not nearly as compelling as I expected, but it is still a very interesting read, and Synge himself seems like he was an interesting guy...

Alright. Today, hopefully I'm going to bottle my beer, and like I said, finish The Aran Islands. I'm not sure about the beer bottling, especially considering that it means washing 40 bottles and finding a place to leave them where the cat won't get to them, but I think that it will ultimately turn out okay. Anyway, though, off to start my day. Eh?

posted by Adam on 9:50 AM.


Thursday, January 15, 2004

School has really started.

Well, sorry I haven't posted much recently, but school has now really started. Last night, rather than keeping up with my blog, I read my first school-book for the semester. It's called People Studying People and it's by Michael Owen Jones and Robert Georges. It's about various issues involved in fieldwork, and is mostly a catalogue of annecdotes from the reflections of people who did significant fieldwork. I'm not sure how much new I learned from this thing, but it was definitely entertaining, and it did bring up some issues about which I've thought before. Specifically, it brings up the issue of whether you need to listen to your informants when they say stop. The authors seem to believe that yes, you do need to listen, but they also cite some examples of ethnographers who recorded things against the wishes of their informants, were very successful because of it, and in retrospect, gained the approval of the informants and their ancestors. It's an interesting quandry...

I also had my first F525, Readings in Ethnography class yesterday. What did I learn? When you're doing fieldwork, always urinate wherever you have the chance, because you don't know where you will have the chance again. Seems sound advice to me. Actually, it was a lot of fun, if not a bit overcrowded, and it looks like it'll be a good course. The assignments in it are going to be to write two very polished 10 page papers based on the fieldwork we do in the fieldwork class. He says that what he expects is good writing above all else. So this should be a lot of fun...

Today I need to go to the library to do my first fieldwork project--an observation of one of the elevators in the stacks--and to pick up some books for my folklore and literature independent study (I think that thursdays will be my day for that). I also need to go to Franklin Hall (wherever that is) and pay my tuition. Overall, an exciting day, don't you agree?

posted by Adam on 8:48 AM.


Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Stuff and things...

Alright. So yesterday was a pretty big day. Did a lot, learned a lot, etc. I went to the bank in the morning, then over to campus to buy the last of my books for the semester. I actually only had three left to buy because I got all the others for really cheap at Amazon used. I know that you all tire of hearing me talk about it, but online used book shopping is really an amazing thing... Anyway, so after I got my books, I took the long walk to the pet store, where I picked up some catnip and a new toy for Lucien (who is now sitting in my lap and making it very difficult to type). While I was at the store, I talked to the people who work there about his seeming desire to go outside, and how to get him to stop obsessing about it. Basically, what they told me was that he just needs time to adjust. They had some good tips though. They suggested that I leave the TV or radio on when I'm not at home, that I should let him sit on the window sill and look outside (he does like that), and that I should make the inside as interesting to explore as the outside. The last one is the hardest, but he has the run of the whole house (minus the bedroom) and leave to jump around on any of the furniture except my desk, so that shouldn't be a problem. I think also that I'm going to start leaving catnip and little bits of food in various boxes and bags around the house for him to find. That should spice up his day. I've already tried some of these things, and he does indeed seem a little bit better about going outside. It's only really at night that it's a problem...

In other news, I have my first class of the semester today at noon. It should be fun. It's my fieldwork class, in which is going to be all of the first year students. It's also taught by a professor whom I've never had, but whom I like on a personal level. She graduated from Berkeley, and it's kind of fun to find people with whom I can talk about the program there... Ah well... Off to do all those things I need to do today before school starts...

posted by Adam on 8:05 AM.


Monday, January 12, 2004

hmph...

Hmph... well, apparently, my cat pictures have stopped working. I'll try and figure that out later, I guess...

posted by Adam on 7:51 AM.


Sunday, January 11, 2004

Cat Pictures...

After much delay and several problems, here they are:





Ain't he cute?

posted by Adam on 11:47 PM.


Saturday, January 10, 2004

That darned cat.

So I sit down to do computer stuff this morning, and what happens? He jumps in my lap. I put him in the other desk chair, and he jumps right back in. I put him on the floor, he jumps back in. I put him on the floor again, he jumps back in. So now he's sleeping on my lap while I type. What a strange cat. I would have expected that he would get along far better with Sarah than he would with me. I'm not really a cat person, but she is. She also feeds him... And yet, whenever he wants attention, he seeks me out. Maybe it's because Sarah is allergic and can't pet him as much, but still, very very strange cat...

Turning now to the world of sports, I don't usually talk about my mild obsession with the Dodgers, but it's really starting to frustrate me that they haven't made any significant attempt to get players who can hit this offseason. They got Juan Encarnacion and Bubba Trammel, but the latter is basically a bench player, while the former has never hit more than 25 home runs in a season and has an on base percentage that would not significantly increase the dodgers' obp from last year. Having rid themselves of Kevin Brown, the Dodgers are in a position to get a big budget hitter, and it's driving me crazy that they're not doing it. If it takes offering a 5 year contract, then do it. One more long term contract isn't going to kill anybody...

posted by Adam on 9:48 AM.


Friday, January 09, 2004

School and stuff.

Alright. So I'm really excited for school to start again I think. I was ready for it to end, but I kind of feel the way I did at the end of the summer, like I want somebody to tell me what to do. I'm feeling unmotivated to work on any of the projects I've been doing up until now, and really mostly what I've been doing is sleeping. I haven't worked on the Forum web site in forever, nor have I really done any writing. I think that school will be a good way to get me back my motivation.

On another note, I got all my papers back from last semester. I did pretty well on all of them, and with some of them, I even felt flattered. It's nice to feel flattered once in a while. Builds confidence...

posted by Adam on 3:58 PM.


Thursday, January 08, 2004

Cat, Beer, etc...

Alright. So today we're going to meet one of my friends from folklore for breakfast / coffee at the Runcible Spoon. This is definitely a good thing. It's nice to see people, and it's really nice to have some good coffee and breakfast food. Then after that, we're going to pick up Lucien (the cat), who now has two fewer testicles, take him home, and shower attention on him until he forgives us for taking him to the vet to be neutered. I read yesterday that tuna makes for a good cat treat, so perhaps I should get some tuna ready in the spirit of making amends. I feel really bad about getting a cat as old as him neutered. Two years, I think, is entirely to old to have that done. It's fine as a kitten because they don't know any different, but he's spent the first two years of his life with his testicles, and it seems sort of cruel to have them taken away now. On the other hand, it was part of the conditions under which we adopted him, so you know...

Anyway, in other news, I moved my beer from bucket to carboy yesterday, and boy is it gorgeous. In the carboy, it looks the color of mahogany, while in a smaller container, it looks about walnut colored. I have a feeling that it'll be somewhere in between in the glass, which is about what I was shooting for. The smokey flavor of the beer is a little bit strong for my taste. It overpowers the other flavors a bit. On the other hand, I think that with time, the flavors will mellow and even out, and it'll become quite a good beer. It's also a little bit strange, because it has hop bitterness, but no hop flavor. This was intentional. It's part of the style. But it's still a little bit strange...

Alright. Off to start my day and pick up my cat...

posted by Adam on 9:32 AM.


Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Lots of updates.

A bunch has happened since I last updated. As you can see, I'm back from New Orleans. I actually got back at three in the morning two days ago, but yesterday was spent in other endeavors, so I haven't posted until today.

New Orleans was a lot of fun. Sarah, my parents, Noah, Andrea, Noah's girlfriend, and I all hung out quite a bit, and more than a bit with my family from there. There was a lot of sitting and talking, a lot of walking around the French Quarter, a lot of eating, and a lot of all the other things we like to do in New Orleans. Sarah and I, without anybody else, also went to the Aquarium, which is one of the coolest I've ever seen. They had a neat frog exhibit and a great collection of different kinds of jellyfish (my favorite). One word of advice, though. Never go see an Imax 3D movie. It fucks with your eyes.

Then we got back, and yesterday, we went and adopted a cat. His name is Lucian, and he's really quite strange. I think that he's getting used to living here, and he'll end up being a little less nervous than he is now, but as for now, all he wants is attention. He loves laps and petting, but unfortunately, not the food that we bought him. I'm of the opinion that with time and hunger, he'll learn to like it, but Sarah's a softie, so we might buy some soft food to supplement his hard stuff... We'll see... It's interesting though. He really wants me to pet him, and likes it when I do it with my right hand, but as soon as I touch him with my left hand, he's clawing and biting at it. I guess he'll just have to learn that neither of my hands are toys or vermin...

Anyway, we have to go take him to the vet today, get him checked out, neutered, etc. So there will be more updates later, and perhaps some pictures (whenever I get around to moving them over to my computer.

posted by Adam on 8:49 AM.


Thursday, January 01, 2004

One more update...

So last night, we watched Buffy all evening, and when it got to midnight, we opened up a bottle of mead and drank the whole thing. At one point, Sarah turned to me and said, "this isn't as strong as wine," but alas, she proved herself wrong. After we had each had four glasses, when she got up to move, she found out just how strong the stuff is. When I first posted about my mead after I had bottled it, I characterized it as "deceptively strong." I stand by that, but with one addendum. The kind of drunk you get from it is very different from any kind of drunk I've been before. We got really giggly and ended up laughing back and forth at one another all night. It was kind of fun that way...

posted by Adam on 10:55 AM.



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