in_stead: (coffee)
Just had a relatively severe coffee mishap. With a careless sweep of my elbow, I knocked my coffee cup (which was full) off the edge of the counter and into my open bag sitting below.

Upside: I did not smash the BF's lovely coffee cup.

Downside: I spilled coffee over everything in my bag, including my heretofore pristine, red leather bound copy of my Master's thesis, which I had in my bag due to my going up to Cambridge yesterday to do a little more research on Stead.

It's not too bad, just a little bit of splashing around the edges of the pages at the binding. Some of the other stuff in the bag took the worst of it -- see: my now swollen-paged, coffee-coloured, coffee-smelling new H.P. Lovecraft book that I hadn't even started reading but bought new a couple of days ago.

However, the splashes on the thesis is what really upset me.

Betrayed by coffee -- how can I ever trust again?!
in_stead: (homework)
After an epic THREE DAYS apart, am back at BF's. We are going to Cambridge tomorrow. My BC Whores (which is to say, the two out of sixty-five people I live with that I actually like) went in to London yesterday to buy a dress for the occasion. We are having fancy dinner. And things. With people that are important to said BF and who I must therefore not offend or alienate in any way. My greatest hope is to keep my foot OUT of my mouth.

My dress is very nice, though.

*does not panic*

That said, I will also be spending time with the Stead papers for the first time since last October. I anticipate crying. A bit. Y'know. As I do.

In other news, the old laptop seems to have tanked a little...with all my old Stead and Master's stuff on it still.


BF says his dad can fix it.

*crosses fingers*
in_stead: (drift away)
Oh, dear.

Very tired.

The hot weather is bringing out the worst in my kids. We are in the middle of exam revision, which even I find to be equal parts boring and stressful and I'm not the one sitting down to write an exam, and the combination of the heat and the emotional turmoil is proving too much for their squishy little brains. Almost every class this week has felt like an uphill battle.

There was a chair thrown by one student at another student yesterday.

Added to that, we had a Parents' Evening last night that was my busiest yet. I teach 99 students in the year group that was coming last night (yes, exactly 99, and I counted), and 22 of those I teach both History and English, so I had to do double duty with them. I had a massive line at my table from fifteen minutes in that didn't disperse until almost an hour after it was supposed to end. Only I and the Head of Year were left at the end. I would have snuck out a little bit earlier -- the Parents' Evening was already scheduled to be three hours long, and I stayed for another forty-five minutes beyond, which brought me to a total thirteen hours straight in school -- but my table was positioned in such a way as I would have had to sneak past the line of waiting parents to get out.

There were a couple of parent interviews where this setup made me feel distinctly trapped. It's all very well to have your back to the wall, but that's only a comforting position if you also have a clear path to the door. And parents kept sneaking up from the side, anyway.


Anyway, one more day. I can make it through one more day, can't I? Yes. Then it is half term and I get a whole week to nap, excepting the overnight trip up to Cambridge I am taking to get stuck into the Stead papers again. But, no. Mostly sleeping. And riding my bike. And getting caught up with work that I've been letting slide all this term because I've been just so tired all the time. And geeking out over movies with the BF. And seeing the friends that I've let slide for as long as I've been letting the work slide for much the same reason.

I am looking forward to it immensely.

Just need to get through tomorrow.
in_stead: (journalism is the rough draft of history)
As it is my last day here before heading back to London, I have decided to pull out all the stops. I have ordered up the (wow -- really, really, REALLY huge!) file of letters of condolence sent to Mrs. Stead following Mr. Stead's death on the Titanic.

*lays out the tissues and prepares to be weepy*
in_stead: (journalism is the rough draft of history)
Norman Angell = Ranty McRant Pants.

Good lord.
in_stead: (OH coffee)

Particularly the bits where drunken people stagger in to the dorm room at midnight, crash about, make a lot of noise, turn on lights, and wake me up from a dead sleep. Then, at 6:00am, when I have to get up, I am too nice and polite to return the favour and so struggle along in the dark so as not to wake those same people up at the other end of the clock.

To add insult to injury, I stubbed my toe trying to get dressed in the dark this morning.

On the other hand, have had COFFEE and am once again sitting with a big pile of letters to Stead in front of me.


I am spending today and half of tomorrow here, then hopping a train back to London so I can go in to the school and start getting set up for Monday.

eta: This archive is the coldest place I have ever been. I am going to have to buy some survival gear -- heavy-weight sleeping bags and Inuit boots and things -- if I intend to make it through two days here.
in_stead: (journalism is the rough draft of history)
(I am in the archives with collection 1/folio 1 of STEAD'S PAPERS in front of me. There are 61 volumes in 9 boxes.)


(*very tiny flail so as not to upset the papers or otherwise call attention to myself so that the archive people realise what they have done in letting me in and come to their senses and kick me out*)

(ps: they have wireless here.)
in_stead: (take my bearings)
I realised, as I went to update, that I have been seriously negligent in explaining certain aspects of my life.

What I was going to say was: I'm in a hotel in Dorchester that unexpectedly has internet! Fortunately I have brought my laptop along due to my later plans for October half-term break. Oriana is learning to knit behind me and we're watching NCIS on tv. Fun!

Then I realised that A) I have never mentioned what my October half-term break plans are and, B) I have never explained ORIANA.

So. To begin with, the October half-term plans. Oriana and I have rented a car and are driving through southern England until about Tuesday morning. She picked me up at home this morning and we have wound our way down and west from London. We stopped at Fishbourne, a Roman palace. I took tons of pictures and bought a couple of resources to use when I start teaching the Romans next Monday.

We then drove on, quite intentionally going by way of exceptionally minor highways rather than the major routes in order to see more of England than the London city parts we've seen so far. The high point? The village of Cocking, which includes the Spread Eagle Hotel.

Oh, my.

We are going to continue on, wrapping around the south bits and looping up into Cornwall before cutting across and up to Cambridge for Tuesday morning. Oriana is then going to continue on while I stay in Cambridge and attempt to talk my way in to see the (*cue choirs of angels*) Stead papers. I'm heading back home by train Thursday night so that I can go into the school on Friday and sort out my classroom before I start teaching on Monday.

As for the explination of Oriana... Well, perhaps the short form, as I haven't got volumes to spare here. Oriana and I met when we were 11 years old. We met in a multi-school enrichment program in grade 4, then I switched elementary schools halfway through grade 5 and ended up in her class and we became good friends, which carried on until I moved provinces at the end of grade 9. We kept in contact but didn't see each other terribly often until we ended up in the same B.Ed. program this past year. We then independently decided to apply for positions in England through the same agency. I got my job at the end of June. Three days before school started in September, she was offered a position at the same school.

So. Here we are. In a hotel room in Dorchester. I am checking my email, she is learning to knit. It is now CSI on tv.
in_stead: (brolly)
So. Hi. Eight days.

I am told that I will not be able to get internet in at my place of residence. I have also heard, on the sly, from people who were staying there in February that there is someone in the area that has WiFi and that internet may be bootlegged so long as you are willing to spend all your time balancing your computer on the window sill.

Which, of course, I am, particularly as the other option is an internet cafe that is many blocks away.

I am not sure how well I will manage with possibly very limited internet access. What will I do without email? LJ? Fandom? Porn? Unlimited information on every single topic in existance right at my fingertips? Did I mention porn?

Other points of concern to occur to me as the date of my flight out looms ever nearer:

- I am a creature of extremely predictable nutritional habits. I've had Bran Flakes for breakfast almost every single day for years. I always buy exactly the same kind of jam and peanut butter and coffee. I have one thing at every restaurant I go to regularly that I always, always order. I am going to have to get all new regular things when I move to England. This is a daunting task. I am not sure I am equal to it.
- I do not have slippers. I need slippers. It's England. It's damp there. My feet will get cold.
- What if I am a terrible teacher? I'm not -- I am, in fact, a very good teacher. I have the evaluations and glowing letters of recommendation to prove it. But they are, perhaps, wrong. What if I screw up the lives of all the children I come into contact with? I believe I would feel bad about that.
- London is VERY BIG. On the other hand, Stead once lived there. As did Wellington. I'm sure I'll manage.
- I will have to learn how to ride my bike on the other side of the road. I am bound to get confused. I must see if I can find a handbook of some sort to guide me through this transition.
- What if I forget something very important?

That is all I have to say about that.
in_stead: (text)
Ah, me. And back to school I go.

About a month ago, I was invited by one of the history professors at the university to come and give a presentation on my thesis to her fourth year Victorian British history seminar. That's next Wednesday. I'm very excited. I've made a powerpoint presentation and everything. I am now at the deciding what to wear stage of preparation for the presentation.

Exciting news: STEAD STILL ROCKZ!!1!
in_stead: (text)


Last year, my mother warned me that the time would come when I would be good and sick of my thesis topic. Well, I'm good and sick of my thesis, so she was half right. I've yet to get tired of Stead. Give me a few more days, though, and we'll see how I feel.
in_stead: (text)
Thesis Progress Update:

Introduction: Historiography
Chapter 1: Stead's Editorial Theory
Chapter 2: General Gordon
Chapter 3: Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon
Conclusion: Titanic

Total word count at this point: 44,384
Final draft due in to thesis supervisor: tomorrow
Final draft due in to the department: a week tomorrow
Cups of coffee purchased and consumed today: six
Number of those cups that contained decaf: one

Number of annoying cats on my lap, licking my elbow, resting the full of their not-inconsiderable weight on my forearm, stepping on my ovaries, and otherwise making it both painful and difficult to type: 1

In other news, I really need to try to stop thinking about the Tour de France now and go back to thinking about Stead. The Tour's over. It's time for me move on.

[ profile] lazlet and [ profile] the_oscar_cat, I want you both to know that I blame you two entirely for my current difficulties with concentration. many days until the next Tour, exactly? And what does one do to fill the time in between?
in_stead: (newspaper)
One hundred and twenty years ago today, the fourth and last chapter of W.T. Stead's "Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" series of articles was published in the Pall Mall Gazette. A hundred and twenty years ago Friday, a mob, rabid to get their hands on the day's issue of the Pall Mall, which was contained the third chapter of the "Maiden Tribute", threw a man through the plate glass windows of the newspaper's office.

I'm assuming the mob, with typical mob logic, figured the unfortunate gentleman would serve as a battering ram. I have not found any reference to the poor man's condition after his impromptu flight. One hopes he wasn't killed.

W.T. Stead, on the other hand, was at this time practically living in the Pall Mall Gazette offices. In part due to the difficulties of getting in and out past the mob at his door, and in part because he was writing the "Maiden Tribute" chapters right up to the minute of each day's printing deadlines. He slept on a couch in his office, leapt up at random intervals to write, paced the halls giving interviews out to those few journalists from other papers who had snuck in through the throng outside, edited and oversaw the publication of each day's issue, kept up with the multitude of newspapers and periodicals that he read each day, and wrote a staggering number of letters to his many acquaintances, supporters, and detractors. He laughed in the face of the government representatives who came and alternatively ordered and begged him to leave off publishing his articles. He fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon and stayed up all night.

I'll stop now before I give in to the urge to copy and paste the bulk of my third chapter into the post to explain what a wonderful and important bit of journalism the "Maiden Tribute" was. Instead, here's a picture of W.T. Stead from the "Maiden Tribute" era.

W.T. Stead, 1885 )
in_stead: (the great london escape)
I meant to get a little more work done tonight, but, instead, found myself doing the office cleaning, file organising, and general paper shuffling that I always end up doing when I finish one chapter and get ready to write the next. All my Stead eulogies are stacked on my desk next to my computer, my books on the sinking of the Titanic and the contemporary media treatment thereof are stacked on the floor next to my feet, and the handful of books I took out on Victorian mourning practices and trends in writing memorials are close at hand on a shelf above my head, propped against the most oft-used of my Stead biographies and general press histories.

I am so ready to get to work. I am organised. I am psyched up. I have thoughts and things to say and quotes. I have a fresh pencil, an eraser, and a stack of lined paper. I am ready to create.

However, after all that sorting, I'm far too tired to anything of the sort. I will, rather, be heading to bed.

in_stead: (newspaper)
A flaw in the Sunday plan:

I spent the day reading a collection of beautiful, emotional eulogies to Stead written by his many journalist and other writing-professional friends and colleagues. This means that I also spent the majority of the day sitting in a public space a) trying not to cry, and b) trying not to let anyone see that I am crying.

I fail at maintaining a stiff upper lip. The air conditioning was worth a little public weeping, though.

The eulogies were really quite evocative. All of them, even those written by the people who had openly opposed Stead's politics and opinions in life, remarked on what a wonderful man he was, passionate in his defence of what he considered to be right and equally fervent in his persecution of what he considered to be wrong. His sister contributed an excerpt from the last letter he wrote her, just before he got on the Titanic. One man wrote that Stead died just as he would have wanted to -- helping people (into lifeboats, in this case), with his boots on, and at the ideologically-appropriate midway point between Britain and America.

With the last, the gentleman was being a little free with the truth, as the Titanic sank significantly closer to North American shores than to her British moorings. But the sentiment is quite nice and blatant artistic licence is perhaps the most appropriate of all possible tributes to Stead, anyway.

In order to break things up a little, in between Stead eulogies, [ profile] mcee taught me how to play gin, which I had never learned to play before and which, it turns out, I enjoy a great deal. We proved to have two kinds of gin -- slow gin and sudden-death gin. We have no medium speed gin.
in_stead: (newspaper)
The internet? Best thing ever.

(Honestly, this is work. Sort of.)
in_stead: (newspaper)
I just found a little autobiography of Stead that he wrote just after he got out of jail in 1886. It's very small, only 14 pages long. It was probably originally published in a Pall Mall Gazette Extra.

This is very, very exciting for me. It would probably be slightly more exciting if the only copy of it on the face of the earth (as far as I can tell) wasn't on the other side of a very large ocean from me.

I am not complaining, mind.

Mourning a little, perhaps.

But not complaining.

It is there and waiting for me to get to it when I start in on my PhD research. Something to look forward to.

in_stead: (text)
Chapter Three (The Devil's Shilling: Celebrity Journalism and the Hero's Perspective in "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon") is now done. It is 11,405 words long. It took me a month and a half to write it. Twice I threw out everything I had and started over.

I am so finished with child prostitution.

On to catastrophic boat accidents and the public commemoration of Stead.
in_stead: (the great london escape)
My dad's best friend, who my dad calls the smartest man he's ever known and I, out of love and loyalty, call the second smartest man I've ever known, after my father, sat out on the deck with me for three hours and let me talk about Stead. It was wonderful. I am sunburnt and confident. It's lovely.

Also, after not seeing my family for a month and a half, it's wonderful to be home again. My sister gave me presents from the school trip she took to New York a while ago and my mother made my favourite soup for me for lunch and my dad hugged me and let me steal his best friend for three hours.


Except for the heat, which is even worse in North Bay than it was in Ottawa.
in_stead: (text)
Dear historians who have written on the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon before now,

There are no wrong answers in history and other Arts disciplines, not really. We all know that.


You are all very, very wrong. I'm not sure how you managed it, but you have. You should take a certain degree of pride in the fact that you have accomplished the near-impossible.

I, on the other hand, am very, very right.

Glad we could clear this up.

[ profile] d_v_8


in_stead: (Default)

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