Snow Blood and Coal
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Great Big Sea last night was awesome. Apparently, this was the first time that they have ever played in Indianapolis, and I think that they weren't expecting a crowd like they got. I get the feeling though that a lot of people have driven to places like Chicago and Cincinnati to see them in the past, so everyone was ready. The venue, however, was not. It was nice because the beer was cheap, but the acoustics were lousy, the sound system sucked, and the place was just slightly too small to hold the number of people who came. It was still fun, though, and they played some new songs and some songs that I had never heard them play live before, so that was really cool. So yeah. Overall, good great show.
Then today, I need to get some work done, then I'm going to go to the AI lounge and read before class. Not that I have a whole lot of reading to do, but I'd really like to get through Ballymenone so that I can spend the rest of the semester concentrating on writing. Ah well...
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
GREAT BIT SEA! GREAT BIG SEA!
When I posted this morning, I had forgotten that I wouldn't be doing a whole lot of work tonight because...
I'M GOING TO SEE GREAT BIG SEA!
Anyway, though, finished my AFS proposal, and at least that's something. I may post it later, although really, if you're interested, in the interest of space, I'd rather have people email me and ask for it.
Fits of melancholy...
So I was definitely having a fit of... despondence... last night. Yesterday, two separate people said to me something to the effect of, "you like bibliography, right?" I didn't think about it at the time, but right before I went to bed last night, it dawned on me just how depressing that is. Do people think that bibliography is something that I have more enthusiasm for than average? Would they go so far as to think of it as a hobby of mine? And what's more depressing is that it's true. I think that I do have more than the average amount of enthusiasm for bibliography, but it seems the polite thing not to say anything about it... The point is that before I went to bed last night, I was feeling a little bit one dimensional and a bit despondent about it.
This morning, however, after I got over the trauma of being awakened, I was feeling enthusiastic. As I showered, I was thinking about how to make my AFS proposal seem like not a load of crap, and I think that I've solved the problem (I'm going to write it after I finish here). Also, I figured out how I'm going to get my soundscape project done for my fieldwork class, and how I'm going to get my observation paper for Henry finished (which I'm going to do after class, I think). So see? I'm not one dimensional at all. There are a lot of aspects of folklore in the academy about which I'm enthusiastic...
Oh yeah. And I'm probably going to have to skip a lecture by Bill Hansen--a good classicist and really good folklorist--to get everything I need done.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
I've felt sort of aimless today. This morning, I looked for classes for next semester, and for the most part, they don't seem terribly exciting. I'm going to take a performance theory class with Bauman that should be good, but then I'm going to take 2 of these three: Arabic Myth and Legend with El Shamy, Internet Folklore with Janelli, and Intro to Cultural Studies in the English department. I'm feeling pretty committed to taking the third, but I really only can if Janelli's class can count for the area requirement for the M.A. Otherwise, I have to take El Shamy's class, and that conflicts with Cultural Studies. On the other hand, if I do El Shamy's class, I might try and do an independent study on Medieval folktale collections too, and get a chance to read Arabian Nights and Boccaccio... But I don't know with whom I'd do that kind of a study... Ah well. I'll figure it all out later (tomorrow is my first advising meeting).
But other than that, I haven't really done a whole lot today. Mostly just read and slept. I'm reading Passing the Time in Ballymenone, which is really good, but I don't feel like I have a whole lot of focus today, and I keep wandering off or dozing or doing various other things, sometimes in the middle of sentences. I don't know what's wrong. Really, I should be writing. I figured out what I'm going to do for AFS and I need to finish at least one of Henry's papers, but I figure that I'll get it done tomorrow. I'll be on campus before 10:00 am anyway, so I figure that I'll spend the day in the library then have Sarah pick me up. I feel like I'm more likely to be able to write in the library anyway.
Oh yeah! My AFS topic. I think that I'm going to write about my M.A. research. It's what's most on my mind these days anyway. So I'm going to talk about how, using Dorson and Dundes as examples, theoretical writing on folklore and literature is really broader than that, attempting to answer the pressing large questions of the day in folkloristics. Then I'm going to end with a challenge: What is our guiding question in folkloristics?
Saturday, March 27, 2004
Things, stuff, and the world...
So Jeana has come and gone, and it was a really cool visit. I showed her around the campus and she went to my classes and there was a lot of hanging out with the other Berkeley ex-pats here. So yeah. Good trip. Plus there was a lot of good food. We went to the turkish place, lennies, runcible, uptown, el norteño, etc. and it was all good. We also went to bookstores and clothing stores and such, and just generally proved that Bloomington is some approximation of a real city. Looks like she'll be here next year, so I figure that I did what I set out to do.
In other news, I went to Caveat Emptor, the used bookstore in town, yesterday and bought the four volume Arabian Nights that I've been lusting after. They were having a 30% off sale, so instead of $80 dollars, it was $52 or something rediculously cheap like that. I figure that I'll read it pretty soon, and I told him that if he got the other famous translation in (the Richard Burton one), I might be interested in buying that too. Maybe I'll go back sometime and see if they have some of the other folktale collections that I want like Piaccevole Note...
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Bread and stuff...
Aight. Made a new batch of wheat bread yesterday and it turned out really good. Whereas my last batch refused to rise, this rose rapidly and violently, leaving me with a nice ball of dough, double the original size. And it smelled good too. So I ended up baking it, and it came out really good--light and fluffy, not too strong, and probably really good for toasting and sandwiches.
In other news (or perhaps the main news), I picked Jeana up at the airport yesterday afternoon. She got into the folklore program for next fall, and she's here for five days to see the town, university, professors, library, etc. We went to Turkish food last night, which she liked, then just sort of hung out the rest of the evening while I waited for Sarah to come home.
Today, I'm giving a slide presentation on Nashville Indiana. Everybody in the class is giving one on the same thing so I'm glad I'm going first. It actually shouldn't be terrible, though. Sure, I did it at the last minute, jetlagged and without a whole lot of enthusiasm for it, and sure I didn't want to walk around because it was snowing when I got to Nashville. But I took a lot of pretty good pictures, I think, so it should at least be entertaining. Unfortunately, while there are a lot of good ones, there are a few bad ones in there that I have to use to illustrate points in the presentation. I guess it teaches me that one memory card is not enough, and that I should either get a big one (512 mb?) or a second 128 mb card...
Sunday, March 21, 2004
yo yo yo yo!
I'm back in Bloomington as of last night, and oddly, I'm pleased to be back. This afternoon I need to go to Nashville for my fieldwork project, but even that doesn't seem so daunting. Part of it, of course, is that I missed Sarah and have now gotten to see her after 10 days apart, and part is that I'm actually looking forward to school starting again. And then it dawns on me: I have so much writing to do before the end of the school year. The first priority is my AFS proposal, then my write-ups for the fieldwork class, then my papers for Henry and my independent study, which now I have to finish because I can't have any incompletes.
And why can't I? Because as of next semester, I have this really good deal as a graduate assistant working for the folklore section of the MLA bibliography. I'm excited. And it includes a fee remission and a stipend. What more could I want?
Anyway, off to do stuff, eat, go to the grocery, then go to Nashville.
Friday, March 19, 2004
Back in L.A....
Aight. I just spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in Berkeley and had a whole lot of fun. Jeana put me up in the guest room of her co-op, and basically all I did while I was there was eat and talk about folklore. What more could you want? We went to Chef Gia's (good Chinese place in SF), Chez Panis, La Note, and to get sushi at this place that I remember being mediocre, but was actually good.
On St. Paddy's night, we went out to a big party thing at Becket's Irish Pub. Those types of loud, standing room only events aren't usually my thing, but I actually had a good time there. One of the people that I went with turned out to be somebody I knew from ages and ages ago, who is still friends with a lot of people I used to hang out with. Also, at the pub, I met up with Helen, with whom I used to live in the dorms, and Jonathan, my old roommate. It was really good to see Jonathan again. We talked for a while (as well as one can in a loud bar) and caught up. Definitely good to see him... I also met the guy who directed this play that Ben was in at the University a couple of years ago (I don't remember what it was called... the one about Australia). He was really funny, but I think that that may be a story for another time, especially considering that it's long and I'm here on dial-up tying up my phone line.
Anyway, it's good to have gone, but at the same time it did make me really homesick for Berkeley. I knew that I missed it, but now I really miss it. At the same time, though, I'm excited to go back to Bloomington. I don't know why, but I'm beginning to think that it's kind of a cool town despite the frats and the fact that it's in the middle of nowhere... Ah well.
So today I'm going to hang out with Max, probably, then it's back to Indiana with me!
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Well, this has really been a trip about eating so far. Yesterday, before I even got home, we went to Las Fuentes for their Pescado a la Parilla--a trout dish that is the absolute best thing that they make. I've missed fresh fish so much that I can't believe it. I really don't know how people live inland all the time. The lack of fish must drive them crazy.
Then yesterday afternoon, I went to the grocery with my mother, and what were they selling but packages of assorted heirloom tomatoes. It's been way way way too long since I've had heirloom tomatoes. I had forgotten just how good they are. Sarah, who doesn't like raw tomatoes, once tried them and told me: "If I were forced to eat tomatoes, these would be the ones. They are clearly superior." She is totally right. These are some of the best tomatoes in the world. What I should do, perhaps, is save the seeds, and grow them in Indiana when we move into the new house. The problem is that I know nothing about tomato growing, and I'd probably screw it up, and then I'd just have wasted a bunch of those gorgeously tasty seeds...
Today I'm probably going to go out and have a look at a new cooking supply store with my mother, then tonight I might go get sushi with a friend who I haven't seen in forever.
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Check this out: http://fishpond.owlfish.com/medievallogs.html. It's a list of medievalists with weblogs. I was really incredibly surprised that I'm on it considering that it's been nearly a year since I've discussed anything medieval here. Since I'm on the topic and now that I know that I'm being watched by medievalists, I figure that I ought to make a statement:
I am definitely still interested in things medieval. I haven't talked about it for a while because my research interests have strayed away from medieval literature, but it's still definitely present in my mind. Right now, the bulk of my interest in medieval things is focused on this one poem in the Cambridge Songs called "The Snow Child". A lot of you who read the blog know me and know all about this poem / folk tale, but I find it incredibly interesting. I won't recount it here, but basically, it's a story about the way that people speak metaphorically to each other in order to be able to live with the horrible ways that they treat each other. Very interesting, very cool, lots of stuff about the cultural significance of bodily fluids. There may in fact be a paper about this in the near future, like, say, at the next American Folklore Society meeting (I still need to do a paper proposal).
Anyway, that's my rambling statement...
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
So have you ever been reading through a bunch of stuff as part of ongoing research, look up, and realize that what's happened is that you've lost sight of what you're reading for? That happened to me today. After two essays from Folklore and Fakelore by Dorson, and two chapters from this book on Rowland E. Robinson that put's Dorson's folklore and literature thesis to use, I put the books down and realize that I had been so caught up in this stuff as general interest historical documents that I had lost sight of my thesis about Dorson's take on folklore and literature. And his take on folklore and literature is, after all, why I'm reading.
So I think that the thing to do is put the books down, take a break, start outlining the paper that I have to write for this thing, then figure out what else I need to read before I can really start the writing. I have a feeling that really all that's left is going through American Humor by Constance Rourke, then doing some reading among Dorson's contemporaries to determine the degree to which his point of view was anomalous, and the degree to which it was shared by other leading academic folklorists. A couple of articles here and there is really all I need, I think, and then I can start to write. I'm excited.
In other news, in preparation for writing my paper for Henry about my elevator observations, I'm reading back through Waiting for Godot, and I may also read How It Is. I'm about half way through Godot right now, and it's better than I remember it. Very complicated. I remember it being so simple, but it's not. I guess that this is what 5 years of added experience does to you...
Oh yeah. Yesterday I did my second interview, which went really well, and tomorrow I'm going to Nashville to do this fieldwork project that I'll need to present on the tuesday after spring break. I figure that while I'm in California, I'll need to write up my 3 page thing for the interview, and write up some notes about Nashville (as well as putting together a power point presentation--yuck!). There will definitely be time to do it while I'm in L.A., and I'll probably get a couple of hours in the Berkeley library while I'm up there too, so it shouldn't be a problem...
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
So we never have people come over unless they're coming in from out of town. Usually. But last night, Chantal and Dustin came over and we drank a couple of bottles of mead and had some dinner, and I showed them how to feed the cat, give him water, and clean the litter box. Things went very well. A good time was had by all, I think, and what's more, the cat really took to them, which is nice, since he'll be seeing a lot of them next weekend (Sarah and I will both be gone, so they're coming over to take care of him). So yeah. Things are good.
Then after that, I checked my email and one had come in from Matt, from whom we'll be subletting this summer. He described the apartment and told me what we'll need to pay and all that. Sounded good to me, so Sarah and I are going to go over there tonight, check the place out, and agree to take it more formally. This summer is going to be a real hassle, moving twice and all, but it'll be better knowing that we have some place to stay. Plus, we're going to take it from the beginning of june until august 15th, which means that we'll have nine days where we have 2 apartments at the beginning which will be nice to allow us to get all our stuff out of the old one, and maybe as many as 15 days where we have Matt's apartment and the new house, which will be nice so that we can get everything moved in. Overall, good things.
Monday, March 08, 2004
It's almost two in the morning and I'm thoroughly unable to sleep. So I got up, thinking that I might start writing about my elevator observation for my ethnography class, but it was definitely a false start. What I want to do is something almost stream of consciousness that is meticulous in details concerning the space and my impressions of being alone in the elevator, and punctuated by entries describing people getting on and off. I'd like it to be nice and sort of novelistic, emphasizing the sense of futility that I have sitting in an elevator. The problem is that it's been so long since I've read anything that's been really novelistic, and my mind is so much in academic writing mode that I'm having a problem switching. Perhaps what I'll do is spend tomorrow morning free writing, then come back and look at it in the afternoon, after I do my interview. Tomorrow, by the way, is the day that I plan to do the second installment of my interview project. I just hope that my subject is available. She's usually always home, but you never know... Sometimes I think that I ought to give her notice before I stop over with my tape recorder, but then I think, Oh well...
In other news, I went to the library today and got a bunch of interesting books. I got a collection of essays by Dorson called Folklore and Fakelore that is very entertaining so far. I also got his book American Folklore which should give me some insight into the questions that he wants to answer concerning folklore. Then I got Constance Rourke's book on American humor and national character. I'm not really interested in this one, but Dorson refers to it a lot, so I thought I should have a look. Finally, I got a 22 page pamphlet by E.P. Thompson called Folklore, Anthropology, and Social History. It was interesting, kind of anomalous, and not really what I was expecting. I don't know how useful it will be for anything, but I did enjoy the read. One of these days I'm going to get myself a copy of his collected writings and really do some reading. He seems interesting and I think that knowing his work will be useful in the long run.
Well, starting to feel tired, so off to bed now (again).
Saturday, March 06, 2004
I had a really packed day yesterday... mostly with Henry and Pravina. I went and ate lunch on campus, then did some work on the forum web sight (more on that in a minute), then went to Henry's office hours. I thought that I just had a couple of brief questions for him, but we ended up chatting for about an hour and a half. Then I went to an optional extra class period for Pravina's fieldwork class, where we just sort of sat around and socialized and only kind of talked about class stuff. After that, happy hour, which, after everyone had left, ended up being Henry and Pravina, two other people and I for two hours sitting and chatting. So yeah. Kind of interesting when stuff like that happens...
Getting back to the web site, I designed a logo for the very front page of Folkpub, which has links both to forum and to trickster press. It looks really good, I think, and I'm going to piece together a web page today. I'm really excited. For so long that spot has been held by a temporary piece of crap, but today, all that changes. Plus, today I'm going to apply for university web space, so hopefully I'll have it by monday or tuesday, and have a working copy up and ready for testing by the time I leave for L.A.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
I bought two folklore books today. Myths and Folk Tales from Ireland by James Curtin, a late 19th century linguist who did his collecting in the Aran Islands just before Singe got there, and Irish Fairy and Folk Tales by Yeats. Both look like a lot of fun, and I can't wait to get a minute to read them (as well as the Decameron, which I bought last week...).
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
So last night I tried my hand at fried chicken again. I think that it came out better this time than last, except that I don't think I used enough salt. What I did was this: I took six drum sticks, washed and dried them. I put 2 cups of flour in a bag and seasoned it with salt, pepper, cyan, etc. I broke 2 eggs into a bowl. Then I covered each drum stick with egg and tossed it in the bag, shaking the thing until the chicken was all covered with seasoned flour. From there, I heated my big pan with as little olive oil as I could manage (sort of a lot, actually) and tossed the pieces in, cooking them for about 15 minutes. I tool them out when they were golden brown (or a bit darker in places) and put them on paper towels to rid them of the excess oil. I ended up eating half of them and leaving the rest for Sarah. Overall, they weren't the best fried chicken I've had, but for a work in progress, not bad, I think. My mother's friend still makes the best fried chicken in the world, but with a bit of work, I think that I can do almost as well...
Monday, March 01, 2004
So this morning, I talked with the head of library facilities and renovation at IU and cleared up the matter about getting permission to photograph. I explained my situation over the phone, and he told me that he would check into it and get back to me. About an hour later, he emailed me back and told me that as long as I got permission from the people I was photographing, I could continue, but if anybody complained about me, I would have to stop. He wasn't clear on whether I would have to stop the observation or the photography, so I'm going to play it safe and take mostly big crowd shots (i.e. the outside of the elevators), or just photograph the space. I think that that's probably the best way to handle this situation...
In other news, I'm about half way through Richard Dorson's books of essays, American Folklore and the Historian. Very cool book. As always, I don't particularly agree with a lot of what he has to say, but he's a good writer, and always oddly compelling to read. The book has a lot in it about his definition of folklore, and perhaps also some insight into his motivation for pushing for a standard definition in the first place. This is good. This is the point of my independent study. There's one more book of his that I'd like to look through (skim maybe) when I'm done with this, and then I think that I'm about ready to write... although I should also look at some stuff by Constance Rourke, and various things by Ben Botkin before I really get on with it... or maybe I'm just trying to plan my procrastination schedule...
Speaking of Botkin, though,, he is one of the most interesting features of this book. Dorson is alternately always at odds with him or praising him. I happen to know that if asked, he would criticize Botkin harshly, and so it surprises me that he has some serious compliments in there. I think that somewhere there's a good paper in the relationship between the two of them (perhaps a follow-up to the one Dundes wants somebody to write about the relationship between Dorson and Bascom)...
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