Monday, 30 July 2012

Getting the house in order

I think when I write I am realising - when I don't write down where my mind is going, I forget it, or do nothing with what I deduce. This is not productive! So today I went shopping to a rather nice old stationers near my parents and bought 8 'maths' exercise books* for 50p each, 5 nice pens on sale at the same price, a pack of HB pencils for another 50p, and a card folder to replace the one that fell apart on the train down, for the extortionate sum of 30p ;)
I have now headed up about half of those books with 'subject areas', plus one for the Coursera course I have just started on Fantasy & SciFi. The course is only 10 weeks, but a) it's critical literature, which is something I haven't 'done' in over a decade at least, and b) I am signed up to do another course during next term, so I have to get my routine sorted Now before work is back in the picture again. This week we are looking at Grimm, which is a nice easing in for me since I studied folklore in depth as an undergrad.
Next week is Alice in Wonderland (haven't read since childhood) and Through the Looking Glass (which I'm not sure I ever read). Each week requires a c300 word critical commentary/essay thing, which will be 'fun-hard'. Thinking on that - better get on, deadline is tomorrow and since I haven't looked at time-zones I'm working on the concept of midday UK time as being ahead of anywhere in America...

* I got to love using squared paper when studying in Russia as my handwriting is far neater and the squares let you do diagrams on the same page as the writing

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

IMC Monday - Session 1

This is more a write up for me to remember what I saw that to tell anyone who wasn't there what happened, mostly because I didn't take notes properly and so I've probably forgotten much more than I would like to admit. For most of my friends who won't know anything about the IMC, the running theme of the Congress this year is "Rules". Will add links later when not on a tablet which hates cut and paste!

Session 1: 113 - Getting clean and being dirty: Rules to follow for hygiene.

Paper 1: To bathe or not to bathe, Elizabeth Archibald. This paper was awesome for me and was the fundamental reason for me kicking myself to make sure I actually attended instead of just wishing. Dr Archibald is in the early stage of a project studying bathing and hygiene in the medieval period and seems to have noticed similar things to where I was before I kinda stopped working on hygiene.[1] Her handout had a lot of sources I'd either been looking for (primary sources where I had secondary references) or matched things I had noticed too. I found it really inspiring and I am now determined to spend at least part of my summer break getting my head and notes in order on the subject as it remains totally chaotic and mostly in my head.
Paper 2: When to 'go' in Frankish monastic texts, Belle Tuten. This paper was about explicit and implied evidence of when monks were able to visit the latrines. She mentioned areas I wasn't consciously aware of, such as fears held over monks using the latrines for lascivious purposes. I wasn't clear whether this referred to masturbation, homosexual relations, or both so is something I shall find out about another time... Lots of rules on what and when could happen and some interesting thoughts for me regarding cleanliness.
Paper 3: Why hold a drinking party in a latrine?: Women's impurity in two Anglo-Saxon texts, Martha Bayless This paper was a fun one which began with an account of an actual party held by some women inside a latrine! Comments about private and public space were very interesting and thought provoking, and I enjoyed the section on riddles even if it's not one of 'my' areas.

Closing Thought: "Filth Studies"! I like.

Sessions 2-4, Tuesday and Wednesday tomorrow if I get time. I MUST go to sleep now since I have to get the 06:30 train back across the Pennines if I'm to get back to Leeds in time for the 09:00 session tomorrow morning (I'm commuting in as it's cheaper than staying).


[1] No I don't know quite why I paused/stopped researching, and I hope that listening to this will have been the kick up the proverbial for me to Get On With It! I would like to write to Dr Archibald although I'm really not sure how to phrase it - "Hi, your research is something I've been fiddling with for the last 7 years or so and I'd love to share." sounds incredibly arrogant, clumsy and ingratiating, and is totally the opposite of what I mean to say! To stop me from sitting worrying and then just doing jack again, I promise myself to contact Dr Archibald IF I can think of a way to do it that sounds neither creepy, arrogant nor generally 'off'. I'd love the opportunity to really talk about it with someone who understands! :D to get

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Scared and excited...

I have finally managed to afford it. Yes, I am going to the IMC this year and now, just before getting the 5.30 train to Leeds (yup got to get one that ungodly since the budget isn't stretching to accommodation too), I have now realised how terrified I am about being in the same vicinity as people who I look up to That Much! So I am distracting myself by writing out my list of Lectures Not To Miss for the week on Evernote... So scared of being an idiot, yet so damn excited to be finally able to go!

Yes I am sad and No I don't bloody care :P