choco_frosh: (Default)
(Mostly scribbled down at about 8am this morning.)

On the fells, pastures slope up to heather--but some part of my mind expects forest. And I don't know whether that's a medievalist who's read Nicola Griffith one time too many, or the New Englander who's used to a landscape that's pine trees by default, or whether it's some other cause that accounts for the fact that my gut-level expectation of a landscape is the fields slope up to the forest.
We're going through Elmet, but the wood is long gone.
The heather's in bloom; the decaying/ex- mill towns look almost exactly their counterparts in New England.

There's something, I muse as we roll toward (or maybe out of) Caer Loidis, past what's probably about to be a mall, there's something especially ugly about Development in Britain. Maybe it's just the fact that I know there's so much /less/ land here, and so every bit that's actually still woods or fields is that much more precious; or maybe it's the knowledge that any given chunk of land once belonged to someone, may have two thousand years of history and owners beneath it, and now the topsoil that contains whatever minimal traces that left--if nothing else, the plough furrow, the soil chemistry because /this/ was sheep pasture and /this/ was in barley when Robert Aske's Pilgrims marched on York, or Fairfax passed by on the way to Marston Moor--being untidily bulldozed.
Or maybe it's just that development usually makes me disgusted, and I'm just less used to seeing it here.

I ramble: then and now. Then on the Trans-Pennine Express with Peter, who still finds the view out the window utterly too boring to bother with; or now in my Mum's library, the books all packed in boxes for a move that hasn't come yet, Mum reading Country Life of all things, Peter having utterly crashed after a day of constant energy. Both times utterly sleep-deprived, so much so that five hours of jet lag is a secondary factor at best: our plane caught a tail wind and arrived an hour early, and that in itself is great--but it means I slept for maybe an hour on the plane, then another hour uneasily napping in a real bed when I realised I just couldn't any more. Either way, safe across the Atlantic.
choco_frosh: Bede, from a MS in Benediktbeuern or someplace (baeda)
occasioned by a visit to Shaws


“What do you think about racism?” one of my coworkers asked me on Friday. He’s one of Yale’s token minority students, and very self-aware about it. (He’d previously played the same role at a rather snooty prep school. Who knew?) But for me, as for many WASPs, it was a weird question: both to big and too simple. “Well, the simple answer,” I said, after flailing for a while, would be ‘It’s bad.’”

But of course it’s more complicated than that.
Read more... )
This problem sort of oddly parallels what I think about Williams’s admission policies of actively recruiting more minorities and students from disadvantaged backgrounds in general. Unlike with people who move to NE but stay southern, I think that the end of Williams as a white middle class liberal (WMCL?) bastion is a Good Thing; but I think that, since the new student body will come from such a different backgrounds, that the Williams culture of being overwhelming involved with outing club stuff and a capella will also be at an end, and that something valuable may be lost there.

Also like Germany’s more troubling problem of What to Do about Immigration. I have a lot of sympathy for the people who worry about the birthrate and the influx of Turks, Poles and miscellaneous who can’t or won’t assimilate. (Again, this puts me in the same boat with some rather unsavory types: in this case, neo-nazis, for one.) However irrationally, I worry that the FRG will, in some way, gradually cease to be German. Which leads to the even thornier question of “What is it to be German?
Hmm. I’ll save that digression for another post.

Snobbery Useless Superpowers )

Pride/gluttony: Thanksgiving

Tabloid Headline in the checkout:
Prophecy Reveals: World Will End on Thanksgiving!!

Hey, maybe I just have atypical family dynamics, but I can think of far worse days for it to end on. You’re well fed, enjoying yourself with your dearest friends and/or relatives, and at love and charity with your neighbors.
(Well, unless you have the kind of group where you have meltdowns over the stress of cooking everything and being forced to spend time with your nearest and dearest. Like I say, maybe I have a weird family dynamic/excessively rosy view of the whole thing.)

And I guess it would pretty much suck if the world ended before dinner. ;-)
choco_frosh: Bede, from a MS in Benediktbeuern or someplace (baeda)
…the assumption that free men and women are genuinely self-governing, personally responsible citizens, able to run their daily affairs without the intrusive therapies of the bureaucratic, social service state. Consequently, [we] will seek to reinvigorate and revive the authority of the traditional institutions of civil society - families, schools, churches, neighborhoods, and entrepreneurial enterprises - that cultivate and provide room for the exercise of citizenship, individual responsibility, and strong moral character.

One of my coworkers is a libertarian. Not one of the fairly sane ones either: the kind who thinks, for example, that the privatization of the courts and the military would be a good idea. Basically an anarchist by any other name. He came to my mind as I was reading the above passage, which I came across while searching through the Foundation Directory the other day. Read more... )
choco_frosh: (Default)
8:15 PM

The chair in my carrel seems to have acquired a cushion. It’s light blue polyester, and rather stained, but it unquestionably does keep my behind more comfortable as I sit here typing this. I guess it belongs to the undergrad who was usurping my work space yesterday evening, who was rather surprised when I showed up to reclaim it, and still more surprised when I nonchalantly reached over her to grab my gloves and hat from the shelf, and asked her to pass me the book on the end of the row. I expect at some point she’ll return to reclaim it, trying to remember where she came to study in peace and quiet a day ago. But for the moment, it’s keeping the calluses on my butt under control. Read more... )
choco_frosh: (Default)
(Written late one Thursday night, when I really should have been getting my beauty sleep.)

Friends, I have decided, are a lot like socks in some ways.

If you are anything like me, you have a lot of socks. Some old, some new, some that you had forgotten about until they show up again in the most surprising contexts. And naturally, you want to pair them up. Socks are happier in pairs, however odd the socks--and the combinations of socks--may be.
Attempting to do this, however, usually leads only to frustration. Most of your socks are probably already in pairs. And while you have more than enough other socks to make more pairs, this is generally doomed to failure. There are some socks for which you just can’t find a match, leading you to wish--usually in vain--that another sock will suddenly turn up in the wash or in the back of your drawer. There are other socks that would probably work together, but one’s already folded up with another sock with which it’s a better match. Other socks seem to want to be paired up with a bunch of different socks successively; still others don’t seem to want to be paired up at all.
Most of the time, when you have a lone sock, if a quick search through your drawer doesn’t find a pair, it’s best to just wait, and hope that in time, a mate will turn up. Trying to go through all your old boxes or ask friends for help is generally only irritating to all concerned. But it’s frustrating when a sock is left unattached for long periods of time: so much so that, while one obviously doesn’t want to have MORE unmatched socks, you’re tempted to go out to a tag sale or something and get some more socks, just in the hope of creating some more pairs. But that’s assuming too much for the desire of socks to have you interfering in their personal lives. As evidenced by the phenomenon of the Migrating or the Disappearing sock, socks have minds of their own. Really, one should just be thankful for the socks--and pairs of socks--that one has.

I was going to make some point about friends, but I forgot what it was.

(And yes, I’m sure someone has made this joke before, but I was contemplating relationships and laundry, and I felt I just had to get it down.)

Meantime, today I slacked off to go to a wedding. Well, sorta. Germans are REQUIRED to get married before a government official in an office, so weddings tend to be a bit more low-key. But the Konstanzer Rathaus is a pretty cool place to get married (being 16th century and all) if you have to do it in a government building. A bunch of us from the Uni-Chor came along to sing, and I came too, since a) Chris and Christina are cool (otherwise, we would have ditched this choir for some group with a less annoying conductor), b) free champagne! c) I felt that SOME American had to come along to help sing "Have a Nice Day" properly. (No, not what I would have chosen, but...)
But then it was back to the archive, to try to finish up the "Verzeichnis der dienende knechte". 600 entries on all the non-local apprentices and journeymen in Konstanz at the turn of the 16th century, so very useful, but also very long.
"...We'll make him read obscure sources (lala la)
The weirdest we can find (lala la)
He'll have to data-entry them all
Then we'll monitor his mind!"


choco_frosh: (Default)

September 2017

101112 1314 15 16
17 181920212223


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 03:20 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios