Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sex, Gender, and One Angry Medievalist Blogger (NB: mostly non-medieval content)

One of my many research interests is the study of women and gender in the Middle Ages. About half the time I mention this to a non-historian, they often express the conventional perception that women were basically treated like chattel in the Middle Ages. Understandable: I'm sure I do something similar for interesting subjects with which I have only a passing acquaintance. In the field of History, the difference between the expert and the interested amateur sometimes boils down to a self-congratulatory impulse: in this case, the assumption that there is a huge divide between the way that women were treated in the Middle Ages, and the fully human status that women enjoy today. Yay, Us.

Then I read something like this, and I want to scream. Twice. First time, for what happened; second time, for the fact that the local laws appear to be letting them get away with it, at least in part. It's the second bit that brings home that the problem is not just one or two "bad apples," but an entire culture that allows this to happen, or at least quickly turns the other way when it does.

Jesus fucking wept.

[h/t to Twisty at ibtp]

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Fame, No Fortune

Anybody read Ms. Mentor's latest column about academic nightmares? The first response? It's me.

Oddly enough, the second part of my e-mailed response got added in separately, further down: that none of my academic nightmares had ever even come close in frequency or intensity of anxiety to the many, many work-related nightmares I experienced as a waitress. Brrrrr....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Outside projects

Once upon a time, as a callow young grad student, a professor whom I admired made me an offer: come work for ten hours a week as my research assistant on this nifty web project. I jumped at the chance: I could earn $100 extra a week (ask any grad student how much this can mean), and because it's related to Things Medieval, it could go on my CV. Plus, keep in mind, this was 1997, so working on a medieval web project was pretty novel, and I thought it would help when job market time came around (New media! Novel approaches to learning about the Middle Ages! She knows HTML as well as Latin!).

Fast forward to 2003. I get my Ph.D., and so am promoted from graduate assistant to assistant editor. This means that I keep working on the project, but am no longer eligible to be paid.

I have mixed feelings about Outside Project. On the one hand, it's only vaguely related to what I'm working on (say, I'm working on yams, then outside project is kale – they're both vegetables, but there's not much else overlap). As such, it's always on the back burner, because Outside Project is never going to get me tenure, or make me one thin dime. On the other hand, it is something I've been working on a long time, and I really do enjoy the people I work with, especially Project Director, who I has poured more of her time and energy into this than I thought one person actually had, and still manages to be a super-productive scholar. I even think occasionally about developing a project of my own around Outside Project, just because I've learned the resources inside and out because of it. The problem is, I have about half a dozen things I'm more interested in pursuing.

But… right now, Outside Project is undertaking Major New Initiative, and I'm more or less in charge of it. And I feel like I'm actually pulling my own weight a bit, and in a way that doesn't impinge too much on my writing time.

Speaking of which (thank you for asking!): that's coming along swimmingly. Saturday, I got another 600 words or so, and I'm counting on more tonight. I'm starting to feel like I have my shit coming together. My mantra over the past few days, no matter what I'm doing, has been "I can do this. [deep breath; more confidently:] I can do this."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Forward motion

Today, I did a detailed outline for a subsection of the next chapter. Currently at 2100 words, I'd like to see it expanded to 3,000 or so. That's what I'm going to do tomorrow: write 900 new words.

I'll let you know.

(Oh yeah -- there's a conference paper coming due, too. Luckily, I think I can use some of the material I'm writing to help cover it.)

UPDATE: Done. 3,892 words. Which means that there are over 1500 new words. Some are still in square brackets, and it's all pretty much at the verbal vomit stage, but it's good to be writing again.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

If you are going to write a book on a topic like "Abuse" or "Cruelty"'s probably best not to dedicate it "to the memory of my father," no matter how well-intentioned you may be.

Of course, that's just my opinion.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Alive, and getting aliver every day

Hi All --

Thanks for your concern. Sadly, it was not misplaced. A third visit to immediate care on Sunday led to an emergency room visit, a "procedure" on my throat that I won't even describe (except to say that it was both painful and disgusting), and a two-night stay in the hospital on a constant antibiotic drip. I'm home now, and hoping to be writing soon.

Negative: I still haven't managed to get a latte.

Positive: I appear to have quit smoking.

More work-related dispatches soon. I'm going to go eat some soup now.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A sign of just how bad it's gotten

Still sick.

How sick?

Monday morning, I purchased a latte, but couldn't get through it because swallowing hurt too bad. I transfered it into a travel mug and put it into my fridge to finish later.

As of this writing (Wednesday evening), that remaining one-third of a latte still sits in my fridge. Not only have I not finished it; I have not had any other coffee beverages since that Monday morning attempt.

Those of you who know me know that this is a sign of the end times...

Monday, March 3, 2008



So very sick.

Can't swallow, so have been subsisting on liquids and things dipped in liquids for two days. Spent nineteen consecutive hours in bed last night/this morning. Woke up every two hours either shivering or drenched in sweat. Feeling dehydrated, but even drinking water hurts.

Went to immediate care facility yesterday afternoon (thanks to Interesting Development, who insisted on taking me, waiting around, and taking me back home, even though he's on a push to write 1,000 words a day for 25 days), and they're doing a Strep culture even as we speak. In the meantime, I deal with it. They even offered me a Vicodin prescription for the pain. I turned it down, but now I'm regretting it, just a little, because constant nagging pain will wear you down.

And I'm not working. Fuck.