sienamystic: (eiffel tower)
A movie I had been waiting to see, and which is actually my first Woody Allen movie. I was attracted to it for two things: A) lush shots of Paris and B) a storyline that revolved around several of my big interests, Paris in the twenties, time travel, and fluffy adorable-ness. It did not disappoint on any of those grounds. It is just a sparkly bit of fluff, but that's just fine. I liked that the time-travel setup wasn't overworked or explained, it just happened. And of course, I was really excited to meet so many people I enjoy reading and reading about, even if it's mostly a lightning quick moment with them. A few quibbles. I think I get why Owen Wilson was chosen for the lead - he's so aggressively American (Californian) that he contrasts well to everyone in the past. But lord have mercy, listening to his nasal voice and drawl throughout the movie camethisclose to spoiling it for me because I found it so unpleasant. I wonder if they asked him to play up his usual manner of speaking for the movie? Also, his present-day girlfriend and her family were so unpleasant that it got me thinking about why they had ever gotten together in the first place. I could handwave most of that, though. Finally, what it made me realize is that I actually want a movie focused in on Hemingway and Fitzgerald and the rest of that crowd, the Murphys and Zelda and Picasso and the whole rowdy crew. Here, the past is mostly standing in for a lot of stuff (the point of the movie, really) but just like I wanted Julie and Julia to stay with Julia Child for the whole shebang, I wanted to stay in the twenties (and hell, a separate movie in the Belle Epoch would be fine with me too) and dig further into those people as main characters.
sienamystic: (aikido)
Have just been told that my grandmother has passed away. She had undergone surgery for a broken hip a few days ago, and complications began to creep in, as is not surprising for a 91-year old lady. She died peacefully, with some family members with her when she went.

I remember visiting her in the tiny Missouri town along the Mississippi where our family has been since their arrival in the country from Germany several generations back. Catching fireflies in her backyard. Crawdad fishing with a string and a piece of chicken liver from a packet of butcher's white paper. Eating Oberle Dog on crackers. Making ewww faces at my dad's love of liver dumplings. Reading away the hot summer days in her cool, dim basement, on the old orange and brown sofa with the springs that stuck you if you turned the wrong way. The books all smelled musty but they were great - a wild assortment of teenage romances, science fiction, children's books - a rummage sale of reading material. We'd sometimes walk to the library, where she'd wait patiently for me to make my selections. Sometimes there'd be a double-dipped chocolate cone from the ice cream shop. It was like being in a little oasis, a bubble of summertime that seemed like it lasted forever.

She was my last living grandparent. I don't feel sad, exactly - we had inklings that this was very likely so I've had time to brace up - but I feel a little unmoored. Well, no...there's the sadness.
sienamystic: (book and heart)
So recently I've been listening to a bunch of podcasts from Matthew Herbst, a professor out of UCSD. (Their podcasts can be searched here. Unfortunately, I think they take their podcasts down rather quickly after the course is over - the excellent Development of Christianity series from 2009 I've been listening to seems to not be there, although I have the files on my computer if anyone is really interested. Although hmm...his 2010 series on the Byzantine Empire seems to still be up.

Anyway, I find his stuff really engaging. I have his Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome stuff kicking around on my Itunes as well, and they were perfect for the long roadtrip to Kentucky we just got back from.

I have a dental appointment scheduled today. Bemo has an appointment at the same time, amusingly enough. Although as I said, we won't be in side by side dental chairs, like some incredibly messed up Cialis commercial.
sienamystic: (jello horror)
Gourmet Magazine seemed to thrive on ads for booze, boy howdy. So of course, you have to learn how to use all that good stuff...here are some drink recipes from a 1959 issue. Trader Vic's, ahoy!

Flour Rum Song 1 1959

Flour Rum Song 2 1959
sienamystic: (outlaws)
1. I did the first day of the first week of couch to five K on the treadmill at the gym today. Will be doing my best to keep going with it.

2. Resentful that my favorite coffee shop and cupcake supplier will be closing its doors in another month or so. Hopefully they will find a retailer for the cupcakes, as the baker intends to keep on working; still, they lost the lease on their cafe space near me, and I really liked hanging out there.

3. Speaking of, will have to go hole up in a coffee shop this weekend to polish up Paleolithic/Neolithic/Ancient Near East for my class on Monday.

4. Drove out with co-workers to the Homestead Monument about an hour away in Beatrice, NE. Really beautiful area, and an interesting and well-developed museum. The prairie area they keep maintained is one of the oldest around, apparently, and they do a decent job of integrating the Native American perspective into their exhibitions, instead of doing a thoughtless, "and then white people settled here, and it was tough but they were tough also, and they were our ancestors, yay America!"

5. Am plotting how to spend my $25 Amazon gift card. It'll have to wait until next month though, we're broke right now.
sienamystic: (Mystic in red and orange)
The trip to DC was relatively smooth - no travel delays, and good service on Delta (nicer planes than I've seen recently, too) a nice time with my family and friends, some visiting time for favorite museums, an interesting and productive work conference, and a very comfortable, fun to drive, so-ugly-it's-cute Nissan Cube as our rental car (despite my overwhelming anger at how much the rental actually cost).

The conference was hosted at the National Archives:
DC May 2011 010

around town photos )

It was a short, but very good trip.
sienamystic: (This is art)
A former curator of mine has been, for the past five years or so, researching a journal written by a woman named Sylvia Lewis Taylor. She began the journal at the age of fifteen, in 1801, and continued writing it until she was forty-six, in 1831. In the journal, she chronicles her life in Bristol, CT, and, later, Ohio. Alden has been transcribing the journal and researching Sylvia and her family, and has written a short article about it here at Common-Place.org. Taylor was particularly detailed in writing down the routine of her day, and there is a lot of information in the journal about her work with textiles - knitting, quilting, spinning, etc. (The journal remains unpublished but researchers can request a transcript, I believe.)
sienamystic: (Mystic in red and orange)
Currently reading Caroline Walker Bynum's Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond and finding myself fascinated by some of the small details that crop up as she's telling the rest of her story. She's looking into blood miracles, specifically things like consecrated hosts that bleed, and the huge theological interest in them that both the educated priest and the uneducated peasant possessed. Tracts were written in support of the relics, against the relics, by Protestants pointing out how idolatrous Catholics worshiped them, by Catholics who pointed to them as evidence of Jewish evil, by Catholics who scolded other Catholics for believing in obvious frauds...and everything in between. And then little tidbits like this paragraph pop up, and I'm just fascinated all over again. It's about the larger worry people in the late medieval period felt about transubstantiation and the Eucharist, and some of the things that happened because of this worry.

"Both laypeople and members of religious orders felt increased reluctance about a sacramental reception that would, because it placed God objectively in their mouths, damn them if any element of their spiritual intention or preparation was flawed. The faithful were urged to encounter with eyes where encounter with lips was dangerous and rare, to "eat" by "seeing." By the thirteenth century, we find stories of people attending mass only for the moment of elevation, racing from church to church to see as many consecrations as possible, and shouting at the priest to hold the host up higher. An account even survives of guild members bringing charges against a priest for assigning them places in church from which they could not see the elevated host." (p. 87)

The mental image of a back pew of people yelling at the priest because they can't see clearly just makes me boggle in the best way.
sienamystic: (hitman fetish)
There's nothing like getting excited by a new, presumably well-researched book on the Black Death, settling down to read it, and immediately getting smacked with the "Ring Around The Rosy" is *totally* about the Black Death! Never mind that the rhyme's first appearance in print is about five centuries after said Black Death, which means that none of the other collectors of folklore, rhymes, and other children's circle games noticed it, but it was still popular enough to get handed down through the generations. And never mind the fact that there are a bunch of versions of it, most of which are obviously plague-free.

The author of the book is a good one, so I'm hoping that this was just a one-off oopsie. After all, we can't get our docents to stop telling visitors that "Good night, sleep tight" is a reference to rope beds.

In other news, I have perpetrated fic. A short Constantine one, to be exact. I'm just not sure if it's any good. It's sitting on my computer, blinking quietly at me, asking what I want to do with it.

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