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Then to my knees you do promote me [Apr. 17th, 2011|03:29 am]
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It rained all day, pretty much. I dicked around a little on LotRO, but ended up reading through all my newspaper bits. Then it was time for sushi for Balaji's continued birthday celebration.I didn't have a drink because I'm a bit weak and mehhhhhhh today, but I felt terrible when we got home. Then I got completely fucking owned.

Goddamn. Tired. And yet, I would count it as a good day!
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In line for a number but you don't understand (like a modern man) [Apr. 14th, 2011|09:50 pm]
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That is all.

Well, on that subject. Another day spent in the Library of Congress, and this time I got to an abolitionist newspaper. As expected, it was extremely self-righteous and irritating, in the exact same measure that the Southern Dem paper was batshit insane.

And I'm pretty sure the Know Nothing Party were the Tea Party of their day. Xenophobic, Anti-immigration, Catholic hating, slavery endorsing idiots. So... yep. That's about right.

We're not on the verge of Civil War, though. So I guess we're still doing better than they were back then--which, to be frank, I did not expect.

I still might go to the historical society next Tuesday. Just because it'd be awesome, and maybe I'd find a few neat little turns of phrase. But for the most part, my work for this week is done apart from printing the covers. This is partly because I hemmed and hawed about it. If I print them myself, I can't print them to the edge--there will be a bleed. And so, I thought I'd just do the images smaller and not even try to take up the whole page--what's the point? And then I thought, what if that looks even worse?

But fuck it, I like empty space. I'm making these fucking things one at a time, here. People won't mind. Anyhow, I think I'll go pick out some card stock and do a test print tomorrow. Wondering if it's smarter to print one and do color copies on it or print them all... thinking the former. Wondering if it'll look decent.

The cover is fucking stunning, though. Even more stunning than Hansen and Sam are adorable. Which is SAYING A LOT.
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when the cadaverous mob saves its doors for the dead men you cannot leave [Aug. 13th, 2010|09:25 pm]
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Of course my train home is 2 hours late, because Amtrak hates me. So here I am, sat in 30th Street Station unable to really form a rational thought because all weekend all I’ve been doing is thinking. Which would be great if it didn’t mean thinking as if I had sprung fully formed from the early 19th century—as in I feel compelled to use words like “daresay” and a lot of useless adverbs.

Anyhow this seems a good opportunity for me to record my thoughts on this rather impressive half a week here in Philadelphia, since I’m not otherwise usefully employed. For the first time in quite some time. I meant to do it last night, and the night before, but well we see how that turned out. Again, all that thinking. I'm not made for it, you know.

So the general idea on Wednesday was just to get here and get to it. Of course my train was late, but not so very, so I got here around 11, checked in, got sorted out, and still had some extra time. I took a cab to Society Hill, thinking I could see Dr. Philip Syng Physick’s house. (He was the professor of anatomy at the time at UPENN—also had a big fucking house in the necessary neighborhood, had just gone through a messy divorce of note, and invented soda. As a medicine, but Aldo was still fairly impressed.) Alas the house was not open, so I just roamed Society Hill and picked out a few likely houses, gauged the nearness of Physick house and Powel house, etc.

And so a little later than initially planned I made it to the Pennsylvania Historical Society. I’m glad I went here first, because they were the toughest—very intense about what you could and could not take in and out, made you pay for a locker to store the contraband, all that sort of thing. But I met their requirements somehow and got a nice librarian to explain to me how to get them to bring me the goods. I had already printed out call numbers and that sort of thing, so I sent them off in search of the personal effects of various persons of whom I had never heard before. Mostly Julia Rush Williams (daughter of Dr. Benjamin Rush, who would’ve been not long dead, being of half a generation before Dr. Appleby himself, and the most famous doctor in America at the time. So she would've been raised in a similar, but far more limelight-ish household) and Gertrude Gouverner Ogden Meredith. The former would be maybe 5 years older than Becca, but married and turning out babies already. The latter was older, but only by 10-15 years; also married and well into the babymaking process. I liked her letters the best because she was a writer and completely hilarious. I liked her sons’ letters too—there were more from William Morris Meredith, who was a state Rep for PA, but I liked Samuel’s better. He was younger, at school in New York, and insisted that he couldn’t possibly have written his mother as much as she liked last week because he had a cold that was so bad he was about “to go and hang myself!”


Anyhow I played historical voyeur from about 1pm to 7.30pm, which got me plenty of interesting phrases to use ala Heyer-research, and then toddled off for some overpriced wine and an excellent dinner. (What I saved on the inexpensive hotel, I generally spent on dinner. I’m okay with that.)

The next day to the Mutter museum—or rather their library. The librarian there was particularly helpful, and they didn’t care what I took in or out. What I learned about Bec and Hannah the day before I learned about Tom, Francis, and Paul there. (Though admittedly, Samuel Meredith‘s letters were VERY Paul. Obviously.) I was handed actual notebooks purchased at Front Street stationers (hey, now I know where they got their school supplies!) and scribbled in by these would-be physicians: lectures in anatomy by Dr. Physick, material medica, chemistry, surgery, etc. (Most of these notes were from winter terms on either end of '26, but I'm okay with that. I still say this book should happen in the spring/summer just so I can end it on Jul 4 1826. It's just that cool.) I now know all kinds of fascinating Latin terms that no doctor would ever use today—and some that they would! I also know precisely what Dart would’ve done for Tom’s bullet wound and what Tom would’ve done for Paul’s face. (Also spotted the occasional bored/distracted doodle, which was in its way even more awesome.)

Incidentally, it’s no wonder the mortality rate was so high. God, Lister could’ve come a bit sooner, couldn’t he?

Sadly my body sabotaged me about four notebooks in—which was okay since I only had one more I was thinking of looking at anyhow, and the cheerful librarian was nowhere to be found for the last hour even if I had wanted it. I ran downstairs to see the museum for an hour, then fucked off at closing time for the library with a head full of disturbing and fascinating medical anomalies. I ate at the typical chain restaurant Ruby Tuesdays, indulging in the veggie burger and, in much greater quantities, the restorative Jack and Coke.

By then you might imagine my back was fucking killing me, hauling my shit around Philadelphia for a few days like that. Granted, there’s pretty much nowhere in Philadelphia that takes more than 10 minutes to reach—at least so long as you’re in the city proper—but it’s still a pain in the ass when your back sucks like mine. Never mind that, there is research to be done! But my point is that that’s not quite the body issue I was having (if you’ll take my not so subtle hint) and so I spent the evening after that with a little paper cone of Godiva chocolate covered strawberries, crap decaf hotel coffee, and the History Channel. Then I curled up in a ball and, thankfully, slept the worst of the pain off.

Yes I felt better in the morning, I’m glad to say! So I got up and had the morning Luna Bar and hotel coffee, then made my way to the Library Company. The librarian there was a sweet middle-aged woman who helpfully did as her emails had promised and showed me how to find the exact newspapers I needed. I spent the morning flipping through the National Gazette and Literary Review for March-July 1826, snapping photos of interesting ads, notices, and happenings about town, happy in the knowledge that I now knew precisely what Paul was carrying tucked under his little arm all day, Becca and Hannah were fighting him for, and Tom was mocking heartlessly. Major topics of interest were Mr. Jefferson’s financial difficulties, the theater (naturally—hell now I actually know what was going on in it!), random ass foreign politics (particular interest in the English and French, but also stretching to the oddly far eastern), sensational murders, fires, &c., the stock market, the exhibition at the Institute of Fine Arts, and whether or not Genl. Jackson the dubious Hero of New Orleans might be a candidate for President in the next election. (Spoiler alert: he was.) Even found an advert for a newly minted copy of The Federalist and a lot of discussion of a duel between Calhoun and Randolph that was all very condemning and generally delicious.

Anyhow, I took lots and lots of reference pictures of it, so here’s hoping my camera loves me when I get home. I can hardly believe I remembered to bring the thing, it was so fucking useful. Knock on wood.

Today was also different, though. This day, I decided to eat lunch. For the past two days I had just been sneaking out for ten minutes, a bottle of water, and a pack of crackers. But today I retraced my steps to Society Hill (the Library Co. being just next to HSP, and therefore in familiar territory) and stopped at a Jimmy Johns for a cheese and mustard on the way. I swallowed it whole en route and returned to Physick House, where I took a tour with a strange and motley crew of other visitors and voyeurs (a middle aged man and his old ass, chatty, amateur historian father + a very probably gay couple, who snerked with me a lot). Most useful, and I hopped a cab back so as not to make the whole adventure last much more than an hour.

(I found out that Raphael Peale was buried nearby and wanted to go and pay my respects, like Paul would've wanted. Oh well, next time!)

Then I finished up with The Aurora and Franklin or whatever it was called—the decidedly more democratic flavored Philadelphia paper, but I only made it through the spring. I needed to look at the Philadelphia Visitor’s Guide and Directory for 1825 (1826 was not available, but I think I’ll survive), which pretty well answered my remaining questions.

I left a good 20 minutes before the sweet little librarian would’ve had to throw me out on my ass, repaired to the nearest Italian bistro for a well-timed martini. I also ate half of about everything I ordered (pasta primavera should probably not be swimming in butter, because that is gross; that said, the house wine was all right, and the crème brulee rather good).

And then I went off to pick up the bags, which the hotel had been so good as to watch for me all day, caught a cab, and here I sit. Well, I did have to remind Balaji to buy Interpol tickets, as they went on general sale this morning, but that’s about all the excitement after entering 30th Street Station. Certainly nothing like a train arriving. Not one going south, anyhow.

In short (see, I almost wanted to say “In fine”—it’s happening again, goddammit!!) it was a useful, worthwhile, and excellent research trip. I hope to god my pictures worked. I took a lot of notes by hand in the HSP and I transcribed a lot of the most important pages (the anatomy lectures in particular) at the Mutter. But it wasn’t at all useful to do that today with the tiny little newspaper articles and—yeah. Lots of the letters just need to be seen in situ—no that’s not the phrase I want, goddammit I’m turning into Bertie Wooster misusing this Latin bullshit. It's one of the few we art historians know, though. Anyhow, you know what I mean. Even if the camera busts somehow it will have been worthwhile. If it doesn’t, it will have been incredible value for the dollar.

And now it says it's 2hrs 15 minutes late. I think I need another drink, the last 3 are really wearing off. Also, this bench is like a church pew. Which is uncomfortable, though probably not for the reasons my mother would hope.
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nobody loved you like me [May. 4th, 2010|05:55 pm]
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Sidetracked from finalizing beta read of awesome (last 20 pages!) today by preparations for company tomorrow-- Sheetal and then Leah joins him on Thursday. Let summer begin! Come to DC, you know you want to!

(Yes I love when people visit. I realize I am not that social, but I like who I like, and I like doing nerdy DC things with them. It is awesome.)

So I did some cleaning, went to the store, and am now preparing for THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. Yes. Tonight. I get to see my The Opera That Made Me Like Opera performed by the National Opera at the Kennedy Center.

Did I mention yet that I hope we don't have to move away any time soon?

In other My Life Is Awesome news, my husband just agreed to another trip to Philly before draft 2 of Resurrectionists commences. I offered to go by myself some week when he's at Duke, since I want to spend it almost entirely in the Pennsylvania Historical Society library... but he wants to come.

Don't get me wrong, our chief occupation in life is annoying each other, but my husband is so awesome. Sure, he just wants to eat at Morimoto again... but so do I, and I couldn't have without him. It would've been like treason. (No really, he loved our last trip there when we did the nerdy typical tourist stuff.)

New Philly reading commenced last night too. It's going to be just that and shorts for me for a few months, I'm thinking. Exciting stuff.

So tonight, finishing touches on beta read/general thoughts write-up (spoiler alert: this book is tight. My god), and scripting next chapter or 3 of Plaguebringer. No gaming for me, but s'okay. I'll be too high on Mozart for it anyhow.

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love, desire; can't seem to tell the difference [Oct. 20th, 2009|05:10 pm]
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Whatever the weird flu was that I thought I was getting before Tara and Matt came, it hit me really hard last night. Either that or they gave me the plague, since Matt was just getting over it. I was so miserably fevered I actually went to bed at 9pm. Only to wake up again at midnight after the fever broke and spend a few hours randomly slaying Guaradan-- which I'd been wanting to do anyhow. But still. That sucked.

I'm coughy and achy today, but it's not half as bad. I even made myself eat a real lunch instead of just cereal as a precaution. I'm so proud.

Anyhow, Metallica was awesome-- weird sentence, but true. They kicked some ass. I did a dorky ass write up on the dorky ass blog, but it's here. I still can't believe how close we were to the stage. So strange. I mean, I've been closer, but a band as big as Metallica you never really think that'll happen. And helped a lot with Neenah, as it was more her kind of vibe than any of the stuff I'd usually go to, just in terms of rabid, fist-pumping fans.

No one really does the fist-pumping at Oasis shows. Just saying.

And that's about it. I should probably get to editing The Horologist based on Balaji's info, but I'm kind of feeling lazy since my face and throat hurt. Might get it done tonight or something.

Also: [info]the_literatzzi people who know her-- [info]mssolo has a story called Swan Made in this M/M erotica fairy tales collection, Bedknobs and Beanstalks [WARNING: man ass on the cover]. Tell me that isn't the best name ever. It's always cool when someone you know from fandom gets published, anyhow. I'm of course skipping to hers (Mina Kelly is the nom de plume) and then reading the rest, but you know. Thought others might be interested.
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reading forwards from my mirror to my heart [Feb. 24th, 2009|03:02 am]
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I didn't do a damn thing today. Well no, I did a bit, but it was administrative in nature. Balaji's off for a few days as of tomorrow afternoon, and for some reason when he's about to leave I never get as much done.

I still somehow forgot to eat all day and ended up eating an ENTIRE Chipotle burrito for dinner as a consequence. And we finished watching Frankenstein: The True Story, which I saw for the first time strung out on vicodin at my parents' and thought was the coolest shit ever. Turns out it's pretty decent even when you're not all relaaaaaaxed. It has James Mason in it (I always hear Eddie Izzard's impression of him when he opens his mouth, and probably will forever now) and that guy who played Romeo in the Zeferelli Romeo and Juliet, mostly memorable for the fact that my Freshman English teacher covered his bare ass with a fan when we watched it in class. (But she looked herself. We were rather annoyed. Incidentally this is the English teacher who's good friends with my parents and comes to Thanksgiving and such with us. She rules.)

These days I can't help but think over and over, "My god, he's so like Tom Chaplin, but kind of cute." And I need to go and listen to Perfect Symmetry again.

Now I need to find the other 70s Frankenstein. The one that completely massacres the story and has Dr. Frankenstein getting crazy amounts of play.

No really, it's RESEARCH. Not quite as great as blood smiley faces, but pretty good man. I'm cutting out the Regency stuff for a moment for a foray into 16th century Scotland, though. Then I'll go right back. But I'm so excited to write something where the men wear neck cloths. (And dig up dead bodies regularly. Speaking of which, those are other books I must read!)

This alone should be enough to get me moving on my edits. So I'm finally going to pass out with that as my last coherent thought, I think, and after I've seen my husband off, it's on.
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I didn't realize that you wrote such really awful poetry [Sep. 29th, 2008|01:07 pm]
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[Current Music |... I'd think it would be obvious]

I haven't watched an Oasis video since I was like 17 I think-- their videos have always sucked (though the Champagne Supernova video was good. Hey, I was 16 and it was Liam Gallagher collapsed on a bed. Life was easy back then.) But I just got The Shock of the Lightning video with my purchase of the single, and it's particularly bad. Not All Around the World bad, but bad. It's Liam trying to look like John Lennon (nothing new) in old skool psychedelic photo style covered over with lots of cut out phallic, military, and apocalyptic imagery.

I'm so disturbed.

It's an okay tune though, catchy. I'd only heard it twice before, and then live last month. I like the production because he actually sounds like he does live, like he used to on the old recordings.

Also, while I'm on the subject of music, I'm looking at various interpretations of the Smiths' Cemetry Gates (Yes, that's how it's spelled, goddammit, even if it WAS a mistake -- lyrics here) just to kind of help an idea I'm sort of rolling around in my head, and it's boggling my mind. I really should've known better than to read anything written by Smiths fans, because that's the fastest way to turn a good song into a mishmash of ill-conceived self-insertion.

Keats and Yeats are on your side
But weird lover Wilde is on mine

Cut for way too much talk about Morrissey, which scares me a little, but can't be helped )

Morrissey is an intolerable fucker, don't get me wrong. (And he's perpetually a quarter-step flat, I swear.) But I do love The Smiths. Let's not make it more complicated than it has to be. Next you'll be telling me that Meat is Murder is a song about fucking Pol Pot. Let me make it quick for you guys: HE'S A FUCKING VEGETARIAN.

Sorry about that.

Either way, this is why I like bands with stupid lyrics, in general. I don't have to be annoyed with people who don't know what they're talking about. Oh yeah man, Noel Gallagher wrote Supersonic about a teenage prostitute called Elsa who worked for cocaine.

No. There was a fucking dog in the studio called Elsa, and he liked the name. "She done it with a doctor/on a helicopter" "She's sniffing in a tissue/selling the Big Issue"? They fucking RHYME.

Christ. See what happens when I try not to write for a month? It's been three days and I'm already trying to find something to which I can apply my atrophied academic nonsense.
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Why I love Italians [May. 30th, 2008|02:32 pm]
[Current Music |Bach - Some Harpschord Concerto Thing]

Okay, honestly, this is a quote from a Florentine chronicler contemporary with the first major hit of the plague in Europe, in the 14th century:

...In the morning when a

large number of bodies were found in
the pit, they took some earth and
shovelled it down on top of them;
and later others were placed on top
of them and then another layer of
earth, just as one makes lasagne with
layers of pasta and cheese.

Seriously, they're some sick motherfuckers, just for that last line. (I won't soon make a lasagne without thinking of this...)

Okay, I'll stop laughing now. But... HA! That's great!

Catalano, these are your people (sort of-- a more northern version!) And they're awesome.
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you know you should be glad [Feb. 24th, 2008|12:17 pm]
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Okay so moving on!

Organizing Research Part 2: Philadelphia Strikes Back )

That's all for the "neighborhood" edition of today's research. Possibly more coming, though it wouldn't be my photos, mostly old engravings. Have to take my library books back soon so I want to be sure I get everything documented from the scans I made before then...
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just some rage and three kinds of yes [Feb. 23rd, 2008|05:30 pm]
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[Current Mood | cold]
[Current Music |Interpol - Mammoth (Erol Alkan Rework)]

Organizing things here, since it's a simple way to create a document that'll make sure I have my notes in one place... and tagged so I can get them all on the same page as I make more.

Here's some initial Philadelphia stuff, my own images in this bit. I scanned a bunch of plates from the history book I have, but that'll come later when I'm organizing my book notes. Yippee.

Organizing Research: Part I )

Part 2... after dinner? Yes. After dinner. I've been organizing my notes and shit all day, lest I leave it for too long and something escape me. God forbid!!
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