elaby: (LotR - Galadriel blue)
Comings and Goings

Rachel’s parents are visiting us right now, which is really nice <3 Her mum has been out a couple of times this year to handle Gramma stuff, but we haven’t seen her dad for a year and a half, so it’s wonderful to get to spend time with him. He’s currently up north visiting his family and Rachel’s mum is staying with us to visit Gramma, who’s been in the hospital. The poor old lady is just getting more and more confused. She knows who people are (in general) and is fairly calm most of the time, but she’s never quite sure what’s going on or what’s been happening to her at any given moment.

Last night, Rachel’s mum taught us how to make stitched bead stars. It was SO much fun and so easy, and I love how mine came out:

Bead star

I want to make a million more!

Prehistoric Monuments

Lately I’ve been having a surge of interest in stone-age monuments like Newgrange and Stonehenge. I’ve always felt a connection/fascination with barrows and passage-tombs (I blame Tolkien for terrifying me with them and Brian Froud for telling me faeries live in them). When I was younger, I had a very vivid dream about being inside one. It seems like the less available information there is about a time period, the more I’m interested in it – my favorite part of Anglo-Saxon England takes place before Christianity arrived to help people write things down, and now I’m very interested in prehistoric Britain. I’m especially interested in the monuments that include stone-carvings (like Newgrange has) and ones that were erected to align with the solstices. Learning about the daily lives and religion of the people who built and used these places excites me. I’ve asked for a couple of books for Christmas :3

Rachel’s brother and sister-in-law currently live in England, and we want so desperately to visit them – both to get to see them (which we hardly ever do) and to sightsee. My dream vacation would be a folklore/history/pagan-themed tour of the U.K. It would include visits to so many Neolithic and Anglo-Saxon sites, and probably a great many locals giving me the side-eye for my epic amounts of squee. Newgrange has a lottery where you can be chosen to enter the barrow (!!!!!!!!!!!!) on the winter solstice, when the rising sun illuminates the passage and falls on the spiral-carved stone at the end. SO. AWESOME.

Reading

Because it’s winter and this time of year always gets me in the mood for some Tolkien, I’ve been reading Unfinished Tales, a compilation with notes of some of Tolkien’s unfinished bits of lore. It’s fascinating because it gives little details about the characters and shows how Tolkien’s conception of them changed over the years. I have the vapors for Galadriel, so it’s especially exciting that there’s so much content about her. My favorite bit of knowledge is this:

So, Fëanor, right? Elf of extremely bad judgment who made the Silmarils, shiniest of the shiny gems, and was so possessive of them that he got a large portion of Elves booted out of Valinor and subsequently triggered generations of tragedy and warfare? In those gems, Fëanor captured the light of both of the Trees (the pre-Sun-and-Moon gold and silver trees that lit the world) and he was inspired to create them because Galadriel’s hair was the color of the light of both Trees mixed together. He begged her three times for a lock of hair, just a single strand – but Galadriel told him to get bent because he and his lust for personal glory creeped her out.

AND SEVERAL THOUSAND YEARS LATER, SHE GIVES NOT ONE STRAND OF HAIR, BUT THREE… TO A DWARF.

I can just see her graciously handing her gift over to Gimli as the Fellowship depart Lothlorien, and Gimli walking off with little hearts popping over his head while Galadriel turns toward the Halls of Mandos to righteously give Fëanor the finger. As Rachel said when I regaled her with this story: “Wow, long game.” XD

I love that lady.
elaby: (Vocaloid - Rin approves)
So this is probably the most charming thing in the history of ever:

Picture of an old manuscript on Nimbuspub's book Tumblr

Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel tweeted this photo of a 15th century book, and it's been making the rounds on Twitter. Obviously cats have always had the same propensity for jumping right up on their friends' desks, regardless of whatever work they may be doing at the time XD

The icing on the cake is Geoffrey Chaucer's tweet yesterday:



SPORFLE.

For those of you who aren't experts in early Irish literature*, here's the Wikipedia article on Pangur Ban.

Rachel ran downstairs this morning to tell me the joke while I was in the shower, and it absolutely made my day XD

*I am very far from an expert in early Irish literature. I have, however, watched The Secret of Kells approximately eight billion times.
elaby: (Madoka - Sayaka Kyoko forehead touching)
I know I've been kind of absent from LJ-land lately (I'm in the middle of taking a break from social media), so if I haven't been reading/commenting, rest assured I still love you all! I had to post to spread the word about [livejournal.com profile] willow_cabin and [livejournal.com profile] mermaiden's charming, inspiring, magic-filled Etsy store, The Fable Tribe. It's bursting with beauty and love and precious things - their trademark Glamourkins (pendants made from antique and vintage fairy tale illustrations), vintage animal figurines reclothed in glitter and magic, exquisite wall art, sparkly hair clips, crystal invocations - and I just had to share it. They make the most lovely things, and they're such inspiring, hard-working, beautiful ladies. Please take a look at their creations and, if you can, spread the word. The world needs more Fable Tribe magic in it :)

Last weekend, when [livejournal.com profile] caitirin and [livejournal.com profile] hak42 were at Fiber Camp, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday and the Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology on Sunday. It was really fun going around by myself; ever since I went to LA, I've noticed that I enjoy navigating cities by myself. I tend to spend forEVER reading the plaques in museums, so it was nice to be by myself and not be holding anyone up XD

The MFA and Harvard museums )
elaby: (Holmes - Paget Holmes)
www.victorianlondon.org is not only a great research site (yay primary sources!), it's also a pretty never-ending source of amusement. I thought I'd post a bunch of my favorite snippets here :D They're things that I either find particularly adorable, funny, or mind-boggling. I get such a kick out of the way things are put in the Victorian style of writing. I'm sure you'll see what I mean XD

These are all from www.victorianlondon.org, and there's something about the way the site is coded that I can't figure out how to link to specific articles. If there's anything you're particularly interested in, ask me and I'll tell you how to find it. The search feature on the left is also useful.

First, adorable Victorian letters from gentlemen to their BFFs on the occasion of their marriage )

Everyday advice for ladies )

The next advice book I delved into was Cassell's Household Guide, which is four volumes of just about everything you could ever want to know, from how to manage your household expenses to first aid to training dogs. I found the link for this one, actually! Cassell's Household Guide. Particularly interesting (and useful for both Watson fic and my own Victorian characters, one of whom is a medical student) are the "Domestic Medicine" sections, which these next excerpts come from.

What to do when your clothes catch fire, and other things )
elaby: (Watson and Lestrade - Solomin deathglare)
*is dweeb*

In my efforts to contribute to [livejournal.com profile] watsons_woes, a community where the rules necessitate that Watson either gets beaten up or falls ill or is in other ways woeful, I've come across a block in my research. I love to do research so very much that I sometimes end up spending more time trying to find out what treatment the Victorians would have prescribed for intestinal inflammation than actually writing the fic that involves such disorders. But one question came up time and time again when doing research and planning fics: at what point would a couple of middle class gentlemen such as Holmes and Watson go to the hospital rather than be treated by a physician in their home?

My early research seemed to say that hospitals were for the poor – people who had nowhere else to go – and that was that. Anyone who could afford it had a doctor come to them when they got sick. But this information came from the time ranging between the 1840's and 1870's, not the late 1880's through early 1900's when our stories usually take place. I also ran into a lack of information about what would happen if someone, say, got hit by a cab, or fell down the stairs and broke their arm, or got the snot beaten out of them by criminals in a dark alley, or had scaffolding collapse on them. Would injuries like these be taken care of by a nearby physician, fetched from his consulting rooms, or would the injured person be taken to a hospital? I've endeavored to answer this question as best I can from primary sources and modern accounts of the period. I took entirely from www.victorianlondon.org (which is a remarkable resource - all the content is from books and magazines and articles published in the Victorian era). I've included anything that mentioned the financial state of the patients, or medical school, on account of this being Watson research, you know.

Lots of text from primary sources, and a little babbling from me. )

I welcome corrections of any sort or further information if anyone has it :) Incidentally, I'm off work today :3 Just a random vacation day because I was starting to go twitchy. Let the Brett/Burke marathon commence!
elaby: (Watson - Hah!)
Victorian currency (shillings, crowns, guineas, etc) appeals to me immensely. I'm not sure why; the decimal system seems much easier to remember. There's just something about the pre-decimalization terms that sound lyrical to me. Anyway, because I'm a geek and the idea fascinates me that in the 1860's you could buy an umbrella for twice what a milk-woman made in a week, I wanted to figure out how much Watson's pension is at the beginning of A Study in Scarlet.

I've done some math here; beware.

Watson's pension in 1881 is 11s 6d* a day, which comes out to 3£ 17s weekly. In around 1860, his weekly income would buy a frock coat, or a water-closet (without the installation fees, I can only assume). The disparity between these in comparison to today boggles me.

So, if I did the math right, that means Watson makes 209£ 14s 8d a year. Not bad, but not great; that's within the second lowest middle-class bracket (the middle bracket, in fact - between "under £100" and "£300-1,000") in the 1861 census, exactly 20 years earlier. There were tons of middle class people making less than 100£ a year, but all working class people were classified as making less than 100£ a year as well. This would mean that Watson was making, every year, a bit more than twice as much as a junior clerk second class in the Post Office would make, and if I recall correctly, about as much as a Scotland Yard detective could be expected to make. Not bad, for a pension. And since he was a doctor, it would put him solidly in the middle class, even though you could be a skilled worker (or a policeman) and be making more than that while still be considered working class. Not that we ever doubted Watson was middle-class.


*For those on my f'list not familiar with the abbreviations, s=shilling and d=pence. I was completely flummoxed by this in the Moomintroll books when I was little, no less by the 8/- meaning eight shillings and no pence. I thought they'd made up the currency *laughs*
elaby: (Default)


So, as you may have heard, [livejournal.com profile] caitirin and I saw Alexander today.

I
enjoyed it immensely, and I'm really glad we went to see it in the
theatre. Even though at times the melodrama was such that I had to
stuff my sleeve in my mouth so as not to disturb the other (five)
people in the audience with my laughter.


I
don't know much about Alexander himself (maybe I'll learn next
semester!) so nothing hit me as glaringly historically inaccurate. I
did have fun playing "identify-the-actor-as-fast-as-I-can", as Brian
Blessed (who is in practically every Kenneth Branagh movie known to
man... he played Hamlet's father and was in Much Ado, as well as
playing Robin's dad in Prince of Thieves) was in it and I got Anthony
Hopkin's voice after just a couple words. There was also an incredibly
prolific amount of pretty men in this movie. I'm a fan of Colin Farrell
anyway, although it was really weird seeing him blond, and all of the
male love interests were just gorgeous. Angelina Jolie wasn't too bad
either, though I've never been infatuated with her looks. She had a
neat accent.

The melodrama got really heavy at some points, and
- you can all attest to this - I'm never one to turn away the pretty
man angst, but GEEZ. Somebody needs to tell Colin Farrell/the director
that if your main character starts to bawl every other scene, it's not
going to be very effective the times when he has more reason to be
crying. However, I can't say that I didn't enjoy that.

There
was a bit near the end where everything went all red-scale, and I
thought something was wrong with the film, but it turned out just to be
artistic lisence. I couldn't see who was who then, though, and that
kind of bugged me.

But oh my GOD. I want Babylon.

The
fight scenes were pretty cool - very bloody - and we now know why the
commanders always wore funny hats. It's because that's the only way
your troops were going to recognize you through all that dust.

All
in all, I was really glad I went to see it, and it was extremely
enjoyable. Hephaistion, Alexander's True Love (tm) got a whole lot less
lovin' than I would have liked... Alexander snogged the random Indian
dancer boy more passionately than we ever saw him do anything with the
guy who was supposed to be his soulmate. The eye candy was just
incredible, though. There was some for those female-inclined as well,
but all of the women in the movie were either (extremely cool)
psycho-bitch-mothers in the fine Greek tradition, or just kind of wild
and nuts and naked.


Yeah, so that was fun ^_^ I'm SO glad to have Old English over with. So glad.


This
dream stuck in my head all morning, because it was so weird and vivid.
It mostly consisted of scenes, and the situation kept changing.

Somehow,
I was trapped in Lucius Malfoy's body WITH Lucius Malfoy. It was some
kind of scheme, and I can't remember who was orchestrating it, but they
had him and they were torturing him. They'd cut his hair, and he was
wearing some sort of wig because apparently Malfoys go bald (*DIES*).
There was a painting on the wall that the person in charge showed
Lucius (and me, since I was in the body too), of his mother, who was
sick and bald and who he had been very cruel to. He was not amused by
that, and I could tell it upset him. Sometime around this, I managed to
break my way to the surface and told whoever was in charge that while I
wanted to help them arrest/punish/get Malfoy, I could feel all the
torture and I wasn't unconscious like they said I would be and I
witnessed all the shitty things he did. The orchestrator said that he
knew that, and was sorry, but I'd only have to do it for a few more
days/weeks (until the beginning of April, and it was March in the
dream), and that it was nice to hear a good person's voice coming out
of Malfoy.

Then there was a random scene in a big manorhouse
where Hagrid had been tending lilies, purple ones. I touched one, still
in Lucius's body, and the blossom fell off... then Hagrid yelled at me
for it, because he thought that Lucius had done it, where it had
actually been me and I hadn't wanted to hurt it.

Then, Lucius
and I were both not in his body but in a body that looked like Draco,
but wasn't. Because around this time Draco came home from school - he
had been doing things with a mini-Death Eater gang or something, but he
got freaked out and deserted. When he saw me answer the door, decked
out in white furs with the Pimp Cane and all, he said "Potter!" like he
thought it was Harry with a Polyjuice potion or something. I groaned
inwardly.

Then I WAS Harry, instead of me, but still in a body
that looked like Draco accompanied by Lucius. Someone had kidnapped me
and thrown me into the back of a truck, and for a few seconds I had
control of the body and I looked out of the back to see my grandparents
(who were muggles, and ran a bakery), who recognized me. Then Lucius
took over again. He was the dominant individual the whole time.

The
thing I remember the most about the dream was struggling to keep
control of my consciousness, because Lucius was obviously stronger than
me. And that they were torturing - er, us - by tying rubber bands
around the body's fingers.




































SuGOI.

Feb. 13th, 2004 03:19 pm
elaby: (Default)
This page is SO bloody useful.

I definitely just found Mei's family crest.

Shibata is down there on the second row.

I've
got all these samurai running about in my head because of my history
class, and the most interesting idea that during the Warring States
period (which ended in about 1600 with the unification of the country
by Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu) the daimyo
and other high-ranking lords had very close emotional relationships
with their retainers. According to my class, this changed during the
Tokugawa period because the lords now concerned themselves with
learning and cultural things, as opposed to warfare, and didn't spend
time with their vassals nearly as much since all the daimyo had to be
going back and forth to Edo for that alternate attendance thing. So,
lengthy explanation equals samurai in my head.

There's two, the retainer-type younger one, Honda Masahiko (See
the Honda family crest, third line down) and his lord, who has yet to
receive a name and a concrete rank. He can't be an actual daimyo
because there were records of all of them -_-;; And I've been looking
up names all day. I've found a few that I like, but none of those are
actually families on this page, and I want to have family crests and
kanji and things. This page also has the kanji writings for various
samurai names, although both the computers I've been on today don't
have the capacity to view kanji.

elaby: (Default)
So I'm finding out all sorts of interesting things about Mei by doing
the reading for my History of Japan class. For example, her family was
opposed to (well, ended up being opposed to... worked with at one time)
Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was the ruling power before Tokugawa overthrew
him and changed everything. That would make it logical that her family
would have sided with the Tokugawa clan, and would have been one of the
samurai who lived under him.

Also,
Tokugawa put a strict prohibition on anyone travelling outside of
Japan, and the only traders that were allowed to come into the country
were the Dutch, and only at a small island port near Nagasaki. So Mei
would have had to jump one of those ships and taken it to Holland, and
then take another one to France. She'd have to do the same thing when
she came back to Japan, unless the ban on trade had been lifted by
then... which I don't think it was, since she returned before the
Bakamatsu and the reinstatment of the emperor.

No fun if it's not illegal, right, Mei?

Mei - Damn straight.

elaby: (Default)
It's no wonder we want to give Thomas a puppy. They incite the fuzziest feelings.

I
met one on the way home today... a little chocolate cocker spanial who
was incredibly friendly. She licked my hand and was very excited to
come and meet me when she saw me coming down the street. Her owner was
this nice old British lady, which made it even better. *jiiin*

But onto the main point of this post...

I present:

A Concise History of Russia Until 1570.

Before 800 -
Invasion of the Goths.
Invasion of the Huns.
Invasion of the Alans.
Invasion of the Avars.
Invasion of the Khazars.
Invasion of the Varangians (Vikings, later to yield Rurik, the first Grand Prince.)
Varangians settle in Novgorod.

Late 800's - The Rurikids establish Kiev as capital.

945
- Queen Olga buries alive, poisions, and burns to death her
husband-murdering suitors, then sets fire to the city they were sent
from.

1054-1237 -
Attacks by Swedes.
Attacks by Teutonic Knights.
Attacks by Lithuanians.
Attacks by Mongols (Tatars.)

1240 - Kiev sacked by Mongols.

1242 - More attacks by Teutonic Knights.

300 years later - Mongols still rule Russia, but leave when Ivan III refuses to pay any more tribute.

1471 - Novgorod sacked by Ivan III.

1570 - Novgorod sacked by Ivan IV (the Terrible.)

Needless to say, this is one oppressed little country. Okay, so maybe not so little.

My
teacher says that they have huge vast impenetrable forests with trees
as big around as half our classroom, and so dense that present
archaeologists have stumbled across villages of people who fled the
State in 1917 and have not been stumbled across since.

I wanna see the forests! *crazy Legolas look in eyes* Oh Kiiiiiirov...

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elaby

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