What I Did on My Summer Vacation
August 7, 2002 So recently MetaFilter had a thread about people's favorite steampunk authors. Now, since I have been unable to register with MetaFilter despite my attempt to donate $5, I have decided to just post my link here. If you were reading my site back in the fall, you will know that my current favorite steampunk author is Kage Baker.
July 31, 2002 If you really love clothes, like me, you can check out all of the runway shows at style.com, although the pictures are often too small and/or too dark to see any really interesting details. In case you love clothes but have no money(also like me), you can always make your own clothes, provided you can find a pattern to make something you would actually want to wear. Here are websites for the 4 big pattern companies (actually now just 2, but still maintaining their separate identities)
- Simplicity -- this website has the most functionality of the bunch
- McCall's, which has the least functionality of the bunch. When you click on the thumbnail images, allegedly to bring up a larger image, the larger image is often smaller, but you can't access any front/back views or pattern information, often more helpful (to me) in determining what a garment actually looks like, and a feature which definitely obtains at all the other pattern websites. You'd think they could get a clue.
So, to satisfy my mysterious and inexplicable preference for bagpipe music over something normal like Enrique Iglesias, I am going to the Canmore Folk Festival this weekend. In grand folk festival tradition, it has already started to rain.
Just so you don't think Canmore is some place the Royal Canadian Air Farce is making up, they're not. They're also not making up Kicking Horse Pass. You have to wonder, though, why the Air Farce never makes fun of funny sounding places in Ontario.
July 30, 2002 My second to last day at this job is almost over, which is good, because I ran out of things to look at on the web about a week and a half ago and I'm not allowed to read a book (or, presumably by extension, embroider or spread out my drawings). There are some scholarly articles at findarticles.com and more pseudoscientific nonsense at The Hall of Maat, Maat being of course the ancient Egyptian goddess/symbol of truth.
In a similarly ironic vein, there is (in Calgary) the Truth Church. This particular Truth Church does not have a website, but here are some others that do. I had some piano students who went to the Truth Church. They told me that they had been to the Tyrrell Museum, but that dinosaurs had never really existed -- those were all just big dog and cat bones. In contrast, I once worked with a girl who was very capital-C Christian (a word I use to refer to people who, when asked what religion they are, reply "I'm Christian" as though being Anglican or Lutheran makes one not Christian) who told me that she did believe in dinosaurs, because there was scientific evidence for them, but that she didn't believe in evolution.
On a related topic (World Heritage sites in Southern Alberta), I used to think that humor columnist Dave Barry was just making stuff up, even when he specifically said "I am not making this up", but then one day I was reading a column of his in which he said that he was not making up Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, and that's when I knew he really wasn't making stuff up, because I've been there.
July 26, 2002 Finally, get an honest answer to "Does this dress make me look fat?"
July 23, 2002 In the "This Is SOOO Weird" category, back in the fall my friends and I at UVic concocted a giant conspiracy theory after watching "From Hell", a movie which attributes the Jack the Ripper murders to Masonic activity. In our theory, the Canadian Masonic HQ are located in a giant catacombs underneath the Legislature building. This, of course, necessitates a giant generator-driven pump to continually pump the water out of the catacombs because the Leg. is right on the waterfront. Just to add a touch more weirdness, based on a couple of articles I had recently read in the Fortean Times about the Taos hum, I decided to invent the "Victoria hum", which would be inaudible to a large percentage of the general population and which the city would inexplicably (to the people whose lives it was destroying) decline to investigate further. This Victoria hum would be caused by the pump keeping the water out of the Masonic catacombs.
I stress once again that we were making this ALL up as a joke. I had never read anything about any kind of Victoria hum or anything. I have never heard a Victoria hum. But here it is, nonetheless. Weird.
July 22, 2002 The Fortean Times is back up and running -- yay!
July 19, 2002 Two new arts and sciences projects I just finished:
Hmm. Maybe I should try and enter Kingdom A&S after all...
July 17, 2002
More Illuminated fun at Warehouse 23
While it's true that the Fruitarians could be a clever and satirical hoax, there are several sites dedicated to Fruitarianism and only one to Bonsai Kittens. As an additional piece of evidence that there are actually people out there who only eat fruits, nuts, and seeds, I first heard about Fruitarians in late 1995, when the world wide web was still in its infancy. Crackpots, on the other hand, have been around forever.
July 15, 2002 I had zero inspiration for my story today, but I did complete a new A&S project today, hopefully the documentation will be done tomorrow.
More things I am not making up:
July 12, 2002 I just saw the Longhorn Limo, possibly the most conclusive indication that Calgarians are rednecks and have no culture.
A few days ago, MetaFilter posted a link for baby names given in BC last year. I thought it might be instructive to see how my name and my friends' names ranked.
The most popular girls' name was Emily (310) and the most popular boys' name was Matthew (320), showing that most parents still have the sense to name their children something solid and respectable. However, Madison, Mackenzie, and Taylor were also in the top 20 for girls. Jessica and Jenna are also there, but Jennifer has dropped right off the list (only 70 parents named their baby girl Jennifer last year). Below, compared for your edification, are the frequencies of names of people I know compared with names given by parents who have had too much pop culture.
|Good, solid, respectable names
||Too much pop culture
||Phoenix 9 (this was listed as a boy's name)
||Jean fewer than 5
July 11, 2002 You might be turning into a grownup if you think surfing Real Estate listings is fun.
July 10, 2002
There once was a landsknecht named Hans
Who wore the most brilliantly slashed pants
His codpiece was puffed
Some said it was stuffed
But oh! How he wielded his lance!
--Bjar the Blue
July 9, 2002 Apparently tripod users now have an option to put a message board on their page, so visit mine and if lots of people (ie more than 2) post stuff I might keep it up, otherwise it is probably just a waste of bandwidth.
And some sites to visit today:
- Okay, no sites to visit today. I had a bunch listed to look at, but none of them were very compelling, so I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon adding to my list of books I want to take out from the University Library.
- Check back for more random thoughts you didn't think you needed to know about later.
July 8, 2002 Wow, do I love my job as a receptionist. Here is an actual quote from a guy I just talked to on the phone: "I don't have a pen to write that phone number down with. Hang on, I got a bullet here, that'll write." Anyway, you can read about my weekend at the Stampede, or check out this newly published costume book I got from the library, or my annotated bibliography of non-costume books, which I expect to keep adding more to.
Some sites I thought were cool today were
- The Blackwork Archives, all original designs in-the-style-of by (it looks like) a former Rennfaire lady.
- La Couturiere Parisienne, a site with costume pix sorted out by era. Unlike many costume sites on the web, this features period sources for the periods it's covering, rather than images from reprints of 19th-century historical costume books. The index page is in German, but don't worry, as soon as you start following the links it switches to English. It looks like she also maintains an Early Music website but unfortunately many of the links are broken.
- Medieval/Renaissance Brewing Homepage
July 5, 2002 Yes, folks, it's time once again for the annual Calgary festival of Giving Off the Impression to the Rest of the World (Toronto) that Calgarians are a Bunch of Rednecks and Have No Culture -- oops, sorry, I meant the Calgary Stampede. Of course, just because I think that the Stampede gives Calgary a really bad image doesn't mean that I'm not planning to go Stampeding. Just to prove that Calgary has cultural diversity as well as calf-roping, tomorrow I am going to the Ismaili Muslim Stampede Breakfast, at which will apparently be served traditional Muslim foods as well as the requisite doughy pancakes, nasty coffee, crunchy hash browns, and charred sausages. Oh, hang on, maybe there won't be sausages at a Muslim breakfast. I'm also going to Stampede breakfasts on Sunday and Monday, and I think another one on Thursday. Yum, yum. All those doughy pancakes. I just can't wait.
July 4, 2002
- VillainSupply.com for all of your sinister-plot-to-take-over-the-world needs
- Just fill in what's on hand in your kitchen and Betty Crocker will suggest recipes for you. It probably only works if you fill in at least one item in the "Betty Crocker merchandise" column.
July 3, 2002 Links for today:
- Medieval Names Archive Maintained by SCA people, so all names are acceptable to the SCA college of heralds. Also potentially useful for naming characters in stories or games.
- Memetic Lexicon definitions of terms relating to the theory of memes. So very postmodernist.
- The Met's Onliine Collection is one of the most extensive I've found to date. Not a lot of stuff from SCA period, let alone "late-period", but a fun site to surf if you just want to look at stuff
- Neanderthals and Modern Humans - A Regional Guide Basic info on Neanderthal/Modern Human relations and population models. No weird theories or strange agendas, unless you count evolution as a weird theory or strange agenda, in which case you probably wouldn't be visiting this site anyways.
- Circolwyrde Wordhord Many SCA people could probably use this site.
- The Online Books Page A whole bunch of texts, many of them old, but some new, and about 10 new texts added daily
- Physics Limericks
- Sonnet Central has some interesting features, like Random Sonnet and Sonnet vs Sonnet
- The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for people who like to come up with worse opening lines for bad novels than the ubiquitous, "It was a dark and stormy night." (I used to prefer "It all started innocently enough" myself).
- Marc Carlson's medieval garments page lots of scholarly info on various tunic types, as well as some other stuff
- A Milanese Tailor's Handbook Mostly sketches, a few pattern guides. Not so exciting, but it is something approximating a primary source.
- Tudor Portraits A couple of new ones I haven't seen before, a few I haven't seen in color before, covers all of Western Europe for the time period of the reigns of Henry VII through James I.
- The Elizabethan Costuming Page of Drea Leed, much fabled in song and story. Now at a different url than it has been forever and ever.
- The Museum of Costume, Bath, most notable for finally having a picture of my shirt (it's the one on the right), not to be confused with the lady's embroidered jacket they tried to tell me I had seen
- 17th Century Prices and Wages
- Stefan's Florilegium another site fabled in song and story
- Spices and their costs in Medieval Europe scholarly article by some economics guy
- Elizabethan to Modern US Currency approximator on a RenFaire site
July 2, 2002 I had a pretty good Canada Day. Today I think I am going to work on my story some more, especially if the long weekend hasn't caused me to forget all of the extremely brilliant and literary ideas I had for it. There is also Medieval Drama Links on line, where if I'm lucky I might find some information on the Elizabethan "maske", which was something I decided on the weekend that I wanted to research after listening to a bunch of Gilbert and Sullivan. Hey, the connection makes sense to me...
Well, I think I've used up all of my creativity for the day, especially since, as usual, what I was writing took on a life of its own and didn't go quite the way I intended. The drama links did contain some interesting material that I might make a project out of when I am back in front of my own computer and not having to answer the phone every 5 minutes. For now, though, here are some more links:
June 28, 2002 So because I am pathetic and have no life I have spent the last 3 days reading synopses and quotes of all of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes that have ever been made. I feel so much more culturally literate now that I know why Spike likes Weetabix. In real world news, I was remarkably unaffected by any sort of protesters in my daily journey from suburbia to light industrial park and back, but I am glad the G8 is over because now I can go back to hanging out in the park with a bunch of guys in armor without worrying that I might look like a protester myself.
June 25, 2002 Some sites to look at today:
June 24, 2002 Well, I had a pretty good weekend, I got a really big haul at Value Village and then again at Costco, so that should keep me happy for a while. I also watched the first 8 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I can definitely see why people are so enthusiastic about it. Sure, it has a dumb-sounding title, but it is very true-to-life. Vampires excluded (they were all in my head), my high school was exactly like that. Now I can't wait to see some more episodes. Does this make me shallow? Maybe. But I don't really care.
Sadly, it looks like The Fortean Times is no more -- the link hasn't worked in more than a week. Now where am I going to go for my source of news about unusual phenomena on the web? Anyway, today I think I am going to start with The Historical Text Archive and Isidore-of-Seville.com, and then if I have time I might go on to some other historical text sources.
Not so much exciting stuff on Isidore of Seville (all Classical and American history documents with no Early Modern Europe) but here are some other links for this afternoon:
- The Domesday Book is supposed to have information on all the settlements and major landowners in the Domesday Book, but it looks like a lot of the links are broken :(
- Info Please Quizzes on all manner of subjects
- History Walker where it looks like you can set up your own virtual home in Rome, Athens, an Egyptian city, or Macchu Pichu
- Hwaet! Old English in Context a University prof's course materials for an Old English reading course
- The Geek Travel Guide
- Angelcynn, one of the many single-period, single-culture reenactment groups out there, this one based in England. I just think Angelcynn is a really cool name for a group of people.
- Glossary of European Noble Titles I think SCA titles and precedence are based on English usage, but of course there's a lot more out there
- Hatch's Plot Bank Kind of mostly a lot of modern world stuff but there could be something marginally useful in here...
- Bloggus Caesari in the category of things I wish I'd thought of
- History of Beer
- And, closeley related, History of Bread
- History of eating utensils
- A history of the corset which it's a generic overview and then a bunch of pictures of fetish-style corsets, which is okay if that's your thing, but it probably wouldn't do for me to be looking at such things at work
- History of the English Language Page
June 21, 2002 Happy Solstice! Not too much happening around here today. The food site is enormous -- I've barely scratched the surface -- but it's pretty cool, so I'm going to stick with it for today. Yesterday I had a new task added to my already challenging job -- I was asked to search for off-colour jokes for my boss to give to a man-eating friend of hers who is turning thirty. Honestly, I don't know how they expect me to keep up with the barrage of tasks I already have to juggle.
There should be a special punishment for people who build websites that look like this. Maybe this person is color-blind?
And some more sites I looked at today:
- Ardalambion a site about Tolkien's conlangs
- Omniglot a guide to the world's writing systems
- Avesta, information about my favorite obscure but legitimate religion, Zoroastrianism (just so you know I'm not making it up)
- Coron's Sources of Fonts because 250 is just not enough fonts for me, I have to keep looking for new ones to download
- Reconstructing History doesn't have any resources on anything I really know anything about, so it's hard for me to comment on its value. I think it's pretty good, although some of their conclusions about Celtic costuming ("canary yellow isn't period") don't quite mesh with what I thought I knew about early period costuming. I highly recommend the articles listed under humor, however.
- The Old Cookery Book looks like it has recipes from most of the usual sources (Apicius etc)
- Old English Pages more resources for Old English on the web
- The Indo European Database
June 20, 2002 Today: The Food Timeline, which looks like it has links to outside pages about various foods and their history. The Salt link looked like it it had some weird agenda to bring an antitrust suit against organized religion of all kinds because -- well, maybe you'd just better visit the site. Some people carry anthropological theories TOO FAR.
June 19, 2002 I had a sudden flash of inspiration for a story I've been working on, so I spent most of the morning working on that. I don't know if you would call it an Aldous Huxley fanfic or what. Anyway, I'm now ready to spend a pleasant afternoon reading Gothic Literature. No, I don't mean Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton, I mean Sheridan le Fanu and Ann Radcliffe.
Well, some interesting stories on the Literary Gothic site, although one that started out to be quite promising devolved into a discussion of dog-fancying (a type of Victorian dog-napping) in dense Cockney. Anyway, I have since also visited English Through the Ages, a sort of whirlwind tour of the history of English, with a few useful things like declensions, conjugations, and pronouns for various stages in the development of English. Not very in-depth, but a nice overview.
We also have Essentials of Music, a not-very-in-depth overview of music history. It has some listening samples but the computer I am on right now has no speakers, so I can't vouch for their quality.
June 18, 2002 These sites ought to keep me busy for a while today:
Beautyworlds turned out to be mostly stuff I knew and not very in-depth. After lunch I tried:
- The Artchive, similar concept to the Web Gallery of Art but representing a wider range of styles like Escher, Aubrey Beardsley, and Edward Burne-Jones
- Beauty Worlds has all manner of scholarly-looking articles on the topic of beauty and grooming. We'll see if I have the patience to read any of them all the way through. This is, after all, my summer vacation.
- Bede Net All things Venerable Bede on the net, including a whole bunch of Anglo-Saxon texts, which I would have had more fun with if I knew how to pronounce Anglo-Saxon
- One Ring: The Complete Guide to Tolkien Online including links to various Tolkien-language pages and a page where you can get your Hobbit name
June 17, 2002 The Web Gallery of Art kept crashing on me on Friday, so I tried some other sites instead:
Here is some other stuff I found last week:
- The National Portrait Gallery has about half of their collection online for your viewing pleasure at a size of about 100 pixels by 100 pixels. If you want to see them at any higher resolution you have to purchase a print of it, and if you want to display their pix on your webpage you have to pay for permission.
- The Hermitage Museum in Russia has a really excellent website. Only 2 to 4 pieces of the collection per room are featured on the web, but there's one of those 360 degree room shots that you can move around in with your mouse for every room in the museum and the architecture is amazing.
June 14, 2002 I have been working as a receptionist for about three weeks. The people are nice, and the pay is okay, but it's not very intellectually challenging or demanding on my time, so I get to surf the web a lot. Here are some sites I'm intending to visit today:
- The Web Gallery of Art: This site has high-resolution images of many paintings, famous, and not-so-famous. I think it's a pretty good costume resource, even if you sort of have to dig through to find what you're looking for, because it's in color, it's high resolution, and it's free. Since I have become so suddenly enthusiastic about making wire jewellery, I have decided that this site is a good place for inspiration.
- The Seventh Sanctum has lots of cool phrase generators intended for gamer geeks but also of interest to language enthusiasts like me. No, I don't quite consider myself a gamer geek yet.
June 13, 2002 With nothing to do at my current job except surf the web, I have discovered a very large number of websites, ranging from the impressive to the retarded.
Alternative Viewpoints: This is really the only way I can classify this, because if I label it as "Actual Explanation Rejected in Favor of More Interesting Theory" then I'm being dismissive of viewpoints that other people might find totally valid, and if I label it as "You ABSOLUTELY MUST read this otherwise you will never know the TRUTH about how we are being LIED TO by the GOVERNMENT" then I'm a raving lunatic. In fact I like to think of myself as an informed skeptic, and besides, a lot of this makes for fascinating "what if" discussions as well as good seeds for an Illuminati campaign I'm thinking of running. Incidentally, many of the links I would have liked to include for this section led to "404 Not Found" or "You are not authorized to view this page". I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about that...
- Otherkin: For those for whom being a transsexual is just not strange enough
- disinformation: Coherent but paranoid
- Mind Pollen: Paranioa bordering on fanaticism
- Insight Magazine: American News magazine with some kind of agenda. I can't be bothered to read enough to discover what their agenda is, but they definitely have one.
- Common Dreams: "News and Views for the Progressive Community", whatever that means
- Masonic Info: Website apparently maintained by a Mason, is either a rebuttal of claims by, like, the entire rest of the world that Masons are trying to run the show, or is disinformation disseminated by Masons to throw us off their track
- Disaster Center: Keep track of everything bad that could happen to you in the United States. Canada does not exist on this website
- Metafilter: "More addictive than crack"
- Memepool: "Govertainment"
- Goth Babe of the Week
- Goth Boy of the Week
- Anomalies Unlimited
Humor: With most of these sites, we can only hope the authors meant them to be humorous. Otherwise the world is in much more trouble than we thought...
Satire: This is stuff that pretty much everybody can agree is not the way it really is, although some of it is pretty dead-on. There was, however, that freelance reporter in China who got hold of The Onion's story about the US Capitol threatening to leave Washington, failed to get the satire in it, and proceeded to have his story about this shocking development published nationally...
Science and Social Science: This, of course, is either "the truth" or "what THEY want you to believe", based on your choice of viewpoint. Having taken several courses in historiography and history of science at University, I have come to the perspective that even if there is some kind of objective reality somewhere, it is not observable in an objective manner by any observer, and therefore, there might as well be no objective reality at all, because what really matters is the way we _think_ things are.