Snow Blood and Coal
Sunday, February 29, 2004
Well, I got kicked out of my elevator today. I was doing the second hour of my second observation of the elevator in the stacks of the IU library. I was taking pictures (asking people first), and somebody complained about me, so I was kicked out. Here's what actually happened: I asked various people whether they would let me photograph them in the elevator, and for the most part, they all said yes. Those who said no, I didn't photograph. Then this couple with a baby walked in. Before they even entered the elevator, the woman was hesitant. She clearly considered catching another elevator. When they got in, they stood as far as possible from me. I knew I shouldn't even ask, but I asked them whether I could photograph them. The man said no, and the woman cringed and covered the face of her baby with her hand. They rushed off the elevator at the first floor, and 10 minutes later, I was being ejected. One ejected, I wrote down all that happened, then went and interviewed the girl who kicked me off. She was very friendly, and we mostly talked about library policies and how they're not always compatible with classes. We also talked about how odd it is that photography takes place so often in the elevators that there is the necessity for an official policy. So what I need to do tomorrow is go to the library administrators, explain what I'm doing, why I don't need a human subjects permit, and beg their permission to allow me to complete the last four hours. I really hope that they let me finish it up, because if not, I'll need to find a new place and start again. And that would suck.
Friday, February 27, 2004
Today is almost mystically beautiful. The sun is out and it's breezy but not cold. The grass is green and the trees are beginning to grow their leaves. I walked to campus down N. Fess, and it occurred to me again and again as I walked how much I'll miss that route to school when I move. I don't think that I'll miss much else about where I live now, but the walk to school is nothing short of gorgeous when the weather is good...
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Today was sort of productive.
Today I read a bunch. I'll probably end up finishing Let Us Now Praise Famous Men tomorrow. I couldn't get PHP image manipulation functions to work for me, so I took the easy way out and made it so that administrators can only upload cover images for forum issues that are smaller than 150x220. And tonight, I'm going to set up some way for Folklore Forum administrators to edit users, and make it so that when an article is deleted, its comments are deleted too, and when an issue is deleted, both comments and cover images are deleted. Not too much work... not too ambitious. I can do it! But then I think, what about CSI?
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
It's been a while, I just realized. I've forgotten to write for a few days...
Anyway, yesterday was Yonder Mountain String Band, which was really really cool. As a friend pointed out to me, they aren't the best bluegrass band or the best jam band, but they're a lot of fun, and their mandolin player is just amazing. They also played some fun music that I wasn't expecting last night. They did a version of Dark Hollow (of Dead fame, but an older song than that), along with I'm Only Sleeping by The Beatles (from Revolver, I think), and some of my favorites from among their own material. Overall, very good.
Before the concert, we went to Lennies, which is a more than fair microbrewery and very good italian / american eclectic restaurant. I tried their amber (red) ale last night, so now I've tried all their beers, and I can say this: The porter and the stout are excellent (the porter better than the stout), the amber is good, but not great, and their pale and blond ales are really not very good. Especially their blond ale, in which they use WAY too much cascade hops...
As for their food, It turned out that Feb. 24th through the 26th is their Mardi Gras celebration, so they had some interesting things on a special menu. I took a gamble and had the softshell crab salad. I love softshell crab, but I was worried that in Indiana and in non-New Orleans hands, it would suck. It turned out very good, in fact. The batter was slightly wrong for authentic New Orleans cuisine, but it was good nonetheless. It was one crab, quartered, and served on a salad with blue cheese. Overall, excellent.
Then before that, there was class. I had a presentation on the museum project that I did a couple of weeks ago with two other people, and none of us remembered. So everybody else had either handouts or overhead projections, while we wrote on the board. It was fine. A little chaotic, but it went over well. One person in our group expressed a bit of trepidation about the grade we might get, but I think that we probably did fine.
Then today. Today I had a meeting with my advisor for the independent study I'm doing. We talked about the stuff that I've been reading and she complimented me for being thorough, then recommended a couple of books that I should look at in order to figure out where I need to go for the next part of the research. We also talked about my plans to expand this into a thesis, and she told me that the idea that I had would make a good dissertation, but for an MA, it might be overkill and I might come away unsatisfied. I explained to her that this was the end of about three years of research and that when I finished the MA, I wanted it to be the end of me with folklore and literature for a while, and she seemed to understand that, but reiterated her warning. It was a good meeting, though, and we'll meet again at the end of march before I start to really write... Oh yeah. She also told me that one of the people on the panel with Dorson in 1957 was still alive and living near Bloomington. So I think that I'll go and track him down and talk to him about his recollections of the panel. If I get interesting stuff from him, I think that it would be a great way to start this paper. Wouldn't that be cool?
Oh yeah. Then I had class today. We had a pretty good discussion on Tristes Tropiques, which culminated in everybody pretty much agreeing that we had had enough of the book and looking forward to talking about Let Us Now Praise Famous Men in two weeks. I know I'm looking forward to it...
Well... to bed.
Sunday, February 22, 2004
Cats, games, and other things.
Alright. A lot has happened since I last posted. First, the cat and I are on much better terms. I think that he's figured out that I'm not trying to kill him, so he's being more cuddly and playing more nicely with me now, although right now he's sitting on my desk and crazying / playing with coins.
Other stuff... I'm just about finished with a complete beta of the user interface part of the Folklore Forum web site, and it looks really good. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to reset passwords for people who forget them. I don't want an "email your password" feature because not every web server allows that. What I'm thinking is having the user enter his username or email, along with his first and last name, and if he gets it all right, it'll take him to a screen where he can enter his new password. Not the most secure way to do things, but I think it'll be as good as it gets...
Finally... I got a used gamecube yesterday with All-Star Baseball 2004 and a memory card, all for under $100. I think it was a deal too good to pass up, but now I'm playing a lot of video baseball again. That's okay. It's a lot of fun and it doesn't take up too much time that I'd be using for productivity, so it's all cool. I really suck at the game right now, though, so I'm getting my ass kicked. As I get better, I can't vouch for how much time I'll be spending... probably not THAT much, though.
Friday, February 20, 2004
More cat and stuff...
So last night Sarah and I managed to get kitty into the harness without him objecting, but just as the computer tutorial people predicted, as soon as he realized what was happening, he sat down and wouldn't move and wouldn't go outside. So we gave him some treats, took the harness off, and that was that.
This morning, I got the harness on him without a problem and even got him to go outside before he realized that he was leashed. As soon as he figured it out, though, he sat down in the mud and wouldn't move except to go back inside. So we went back in and I took the harness off, but I didn't realize that I hadn't closed the door all the way. And as soon as the harness came off, off he went, out the door, and we ended up doing two laps around the building. I think that he thought I was chasing him and pissed at him, because he went back in and was really freaked out. At the same time, though, he wanted to go back outside. So I spent 20 more minutes trying to get the harness back on and telling him that he couldn't go anywhere without it, but he wouldn't hear of it. So now he's going from window to window, yowling and trying to get out. Poor kitty. If he'd just listen, there'd be no problem...
Thursday, February 19, 2004
Cat stuff, other stuff, etc...
I know that I've said it before, but the cat is driving me crazy. We had a couple of incidents in the past couple of days, and now he seems scared of me, and I don't know what to do. Last night he got into the kitchen cabinets again and I yelled at him and swiped at him and called him names. He was very quiet the rest of the evening, and then this morning, he seemed angry at me. So I went to the pet store and thought: he always wants to go outside. So I got him a harness and leash and some treats and came home. I gave him a treat and tried to put the harness on him, and he wouldn't. I gave him another, same result. So finally, I resorted to restraining him to try and get it on. There was some yowling and scratching and biting, but finally I got it on, just in time for him to jump out of my arms, run across the room and under the couch, hissing and at full speed. When he came out, no more harness, and now he won't get near me. No scratch that. I fed him a third treat, and he got near me for that, but for nothing else. Now he's just sitting at the window and whining to the cat across the way, and he won't even play with me, which he'll usually do even when he's angry at me. I think that I'm going to go to the library and give him some alone time. Maybe when I get back he'll feel a bit better. If anybody has any suggestions, I'm desperate!
Monday, February 16, 2004
Stuff and things...
Sarah didn't believe me when I told her that the cat didn't like me. She thought that it was all in my head, and that through such negative thinking, I was systematically alienating him. Then he was sitting on her lap and I was sitting next to her and petting him. When she would pet him alone, he would be calm as could be. When we were both petting him, he showed his annoyance in his tail. And when I was petting him alone, he would snap at me. I don't pet any differently than Sarah, so we concluded that he doesn't like me... On the other hand, I think that he does cordially tolerate me. He allows me to pet him once in a while, and likes it when I throw his toys for him. I'm not saying that we have a relationship of animosity, but perhaps one of mutual annoyance...
Anyway, in other news, I just finished my Graduate Assistantship application, and I'm going to turn it in tomorrow. I actually finished the FAFSA, which is a prerequisite for this application, on friday. Today, I just filled out the little application form for GA and AI jobs, wrote my one page essay, and printed out a C.V. I think that it's not unimpressive. I'm going to turn it in tomorrow, and I should know if I'm teaching (or doing something else) next year before spring break. I'm excited.
By the way, does anybody know who James H. Penrod is? He wrote a bunch of folklore and literature articles in the 40s and 50s, but I've never seen his name anywhere else...
Sunday, February 15, 2004
Valentines and other such things...
So yesterday, Sarah and I went to Nashville, IN and spent the day walking around. It was such a nice day at 50 degrees, that even her hurt toe couldn't stop us. We went and ate sandwiches at this overpriced, but not bad, restaurant that served Samuel Smith ale, then went into some candy shops, a music store, and a bunch of little kitschy places that really didn't sell anything but junk. The candy shops were the best part, I think. I managed to bring home a bunch of really good, really cheap, but not quite so fresh taffy, and a bunch of licorice. The taffy was only a dollar a pound, so we ended up buying 75 cents worth. Then we went and got free samples of pumpkin fudge, decided that it was too rich to buy, and went out to look at a couple of shops where weavers make some of the inventory, and a miniature shop that I figured would have D&D stuff, but turned out to be doll houses instead. Overall, though, it was a really fun trip.
Then we came back and went to Best Buy and Game Stop to price video game machines. Sarah and I have been talking about getting a game cube so that we can do Mario Kart and such, but it turns out that her Barnes and Noble employee discount works on everything at Game Stop except for game systems, and that the cheapest we could get a Game Cube and the required accessories / games would have been about $150. An X-Box would have been a much better deal, except that I refuse to buy Microsoft except when it's absolutely necessary (I have to have word because it's the only word processor that works with endnote, and really the only viable option on OS X). Really, though, I think that I'm glad we didn't get a game system. Much as I'd like to play video games, I don't have time, and so I'd either not get my money's worth out of the system, or not get my work done. Yeah. Better off without more video games in my life...
Friday, February 13, 2004
Cookies, cookies, lovely lovely cookies...
Aight. So yesterday I didn't do a whole lot productive. Sad, I know, but what can I say. Sometimes you need a bunch of time off. I spent yesterday morning working on my application for a teaching assistantship, which still sucks and still needs a lot of work. Then in the afternoon, I started reading Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which is a really excellent book so far, and I wholely recommend it. Then last night was sort of the crowning acheivement of the day. I made vegetarian chile to die for, with a bunch of different kinds of peppers, two kinds of beans, broccoli, tofu, mushrooms, and a bunch of other stuff. That was really good. Then I made experimental cookies, which are really pretty, but I think mostly just experimental at this point. They are half chocolate, half plain swirly sugar cookies, but I cut them too thick and didn't roll them, so they have a consistancy kind of like a biscuit. I actually think they're pretty good, but they're not what I expected. I think that sometime soon I'm going to make some of the more traditional kind of sugar cookie, then sex it up with things like granulated sugar, cloves, and cinnamon... But we'll see.
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Folklore and Literature [Revisited again]
Alright, so this morning I went to the library and really started my folklore and literature project in ernest. I sat down with a list of names that I had culled from the articles in the 1957 JAF and looked them all up in the two bibliographies of folklore and literature (One by Stephen Swann Jones, and the other by Florence E. Baer). What I came out with is a list of 46 articles and books published before 1957 that would be worth looking at in understanding the impetus for Dorson's negative view toward people writing about folklore and literature. As I was doing it, it occurred to me that it might also be worth looking into Dorson's other work on folklore and literature, too, to see if he follows his own recommendations. I figure that I'll do that tomorrow, though, before I start my long trek through the library to get some of the articles for which I found references. A lot of these journals will probably not be in the IUB library at all, so I'd better get on tracking them down via inter-library loan... I figure that if I spend the rest of this week and next week on this, I'll have a really good start toward the paper I'm supposed to be writing, and thus also toward my thesis.
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
So I'm in the process of listening to Ilmatar, the Värttinä album that I just borrowed from a friend in the department. Wow. So good. It has a lot of songs in common with the live album that I already have, but it also has a bunch of other interesting songs that I've never heard before. They just have such an amazing powerful sound, with such harmony. It always really amazes me.
And it reminds me that I have a CD from another Finnish band that I always forget about. Troka! I think that as thanks for lending me this CD, I'm going to make my friend a copy both of my Värttinä live CD and Smash by Troka...
Not much doing.
Well, there's not much going on today. I'm mostly trying to decide whether I want to keep my blog at blogspot, or whether I want to spend some money to get hosting and move it elsewhere, where I can have the blog and my pictures in the same place. I wouldn't ordinarily think about it, but the OCF seems to have frozen my account over there (my having graduated from berkeley, they did it with good reason), and the free hosting through indiana university sucks. So perhaps tomorrow you will come and find that there is no blog here. That it has moved some place like http://www.kong-lindorm.net or something like that... who knows?
I pretty much finished The Hard Facts of the Grimm's Fairy Tales today. There are a couple of appendices that I need to go through, and then I can start writing my review. Just in the nick of time, too. I really need to get down to working on my independent study, after all.
Anyway, I'm off to watch some TV and maybe to write a booknote...
Monday, February 09, 2004
So yesterday I went with some other folklore folks to Indianapolis to do our museum project for the fieldwork class. Basically, we were supposed to observe an exhibit, then talk to a visitor, a guard, and an administrative type about it. We had wanted to do the Indiana Historical Society museum, but it turned out that there were no visitors or guards. So we ended up going to the Eideljorg museum of native american art and looking at the part of their collection that focuses on the Pacific Northwest. It was really cool, like stepping back in time to Boas et al. We interviewed a thoroughly loquatious guard, then a girlscout troop, then the museum's program assistant, who was very nice to us. Overall, it was a fun day.
Today, hopefully I'll finish The Hard Facts of the Brother's Grimm, then I definitely need to do my writeup for the creativity project (the one where I went and observed people painting pots), then I'd like to get some folklore and literature stuff done, although if I don't do that today, I can definitely do it tomorrow.
Saturday, February 07, 2004
So tonight we watched The Omen. I don't know how, but I had never seen it before. Very cool movie. I loved the music (which apparently won an oscar), and I didn't realize that David Warner was in it. Go David Warner.
I also made my first attempt at fried chicken tonight. I didn't have buttermilk, so I used eggs and balsamic vinegar to make the chicken sticky. Worked very well, tasted great, and even tasted vaguely like fried chicken. Next time, I'm going to use a mixture of egg and buttermilk, try to get more breading to stick, and use hotter oil so that the skin gets really crispy. I've always thought that fried chicken was difficult to do, but with practice, I think that I can probably do it decently. Now how often would I want to do it, you ask? Not very. But it's a good skill to have. I think that more out-of-towners might come to visit more often if I could offer them really good fried chicken... or maybe not...
Ooh! Almost Forgot!
I almost forgot. I also just got tickets for Sarah and I to go see Yonder Mountain String Band on Feb. 24, and Great Big Sea in Indie on March 30. I'm so excited!
Alright. So for my creativity project for my fieldwork class, I had decided that I was going to go to The Copper Cup and watch them make boba. I just found out that they made it, and thought that it would be a good opportunity to get some. So Sarah and I went and each got their green tea, which I expected would be green milk tea. Instead, it turned out to be some kind of frozen drink that was too sweet and kind of disgusting. And worse, the tapioca balls were not freshly made, but rather frozen. This meant that they were overcooked, overexpanded, and pretty tasteless. I think that this'll be the last time I get boba there. The thai place in town does it too, though, I think, so maybe I'll try theirs one of these days.
Anyway, back to the point of the story, I thought that I would watch them make boba, but I gave up and ended up going to this place called "The Lastest Glaze" to watch people paint pottery. So I went in and explained to the girl behind the counter what I was doing, and she said that they were more than happy to have me as long as the patron's didn't mind. So I took some notes on the place in general, the kind of people there, the layout and character of the studio, etc. Then these two women came in--mother and daughter--and walked over to the table at which I was standing. I asked if I could observe their project, and they agreed, so all went well. Then, as I was taking notes and pictures, the owner came over and started talking to me. Apparently, it's a really common place for both folklore and anthro grad students to come and do fieldwork projects. I asked him a bunch of questions about the technical aspects of the painting, glazing and firing, which he was happy to answer, then, right before I left, I asked him if I could go and photograph his kilns and overglazing station. He agreed and even helped me photograph the glaze. I forgot to ask him where they got the unfinished pottery to begin with, so I might call on monday and ask. Definitely something that's worth knowing for a project like this.
So despite my trepidations, I think that this turned out really well. It's a dumb project, but I had a pretty good time doing it, and I think that the writeup I have to hand in won't be boring, so that's a plus. Go me.
Now to catch up on some correspondence and reading and other stuff like that before I actually do the writeup...
Thursday, February 05, 2004
Things and stuff...
Alright. So yesterday, as I was eating dinner with Sarah, it dawned on me just how ahead I am in my classes. I'm done with all of the reading for my fieldwork class for the entire semester, and as it turns out, the next book for my ethnography class isn't due until March 10--over a month from now. This is a really liberating feeling. It gives me ample chance to do my fieldwork projects, on which I am most definitely not ahead, to work on my independent study, which is really starting to take shape, and to do some reading for myself, which is absolutely unheard of during semesters for me. On the other hand, I am going to start reading the next book for my ethnography class soon anyway because it's a book that I've been wanting to read: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee. Oh well...
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
The hard facts are my facts...
So I started reading Maria Tatar's The Hard Facts of the Brother's Grimm. Very cool book. Got through the two long prefacesw (almost 40 pages of preface in this book), and then the first chapter, which was about the publication history of Kinder- und Hausmärchen which she translates--strangely--as Nursery and Household Tales rather than the conventional Children's and Household Tales. Anyway, it's pretty good so far, although what Zipes manages to say in about 15 pages in his introduction to KHM, she takes almost 40 pages to say. She does have some interesting details however, and some great textual comparisons between the first and later editions of the book. I'm not quite as thrilled as I thought I would be by this book, but overall, it is really good so far.
Monday, February 02, 2004
I'm really not thrilled by the fact that the snow outside has turned into ice. Since they don't plow the parking lot of my building, this means that it really sucks to walk around out there. I went out and thought that I would go to the library, but decided against it because it meant walking over the ice with my computer on my back, and I just don't need that. The last thing I need is to break my laptop by slipping and falling. Hehe. So I guess that the library will wait until tomorrow, and in the mean time, I'll hit JSTOR looking for the online copy of the journal I want. Yuck, but I guess it's the best I'm going to do.
Sunday, February 01, 2004
Finished Tristes Tropiques this morning. It ended very well. It seems to me that the point of the book is that travel writing (including ethnographies) to some extent are always glitz, and that by staying home and studying your neighbors, you can get much the same kinds of insights... But then that's just one of many ideas in the book. It's just the one I like.
For dinner, I'm making a beef stew. Never tried it before, so I hope it works right. Mostly, I'm worried that the beef will be tough. I figure if I cook it for long enough, it'll all get tender. Two hours? We'll see.
Anyway, off to cook.
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