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Oct. 7th, 2015

Felt so bad for the basses last night at rehearsal. Something I've noticed in various choruses is that the basses tend to get used to always singing the root of the chord and having fairly simple, predictable harmonies, but this is not the case in Britten's St. Nicolas. They ended up being told to practice a half dozen times, and the director even told the guy seated in front of me to stop singing twice.

There's too much stuff to do/potentially do this month and it's making me avoidant! Why does everything happen so fast!

So in cataloguing, I use the term "bodice" for something that appears to be the bodice to a dress that has lost its skirt (although technically, it may be a separate bodice). I use "shirt" for men's shirts and for more manly/utilitarian shirtwaists. I use "waist" for bodices that I'm reasonably certain were conceived of as separate entities. This partly feels confusing and overcomplicated but the only other option is really to undercomplicate and pick just one term for all of them, isn't it? "Waist" seems like the biggest stretch but I didn't feel comfortable with any of the other options for these.

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Oct. 6th, 2015

In today's installment of "huh, history": I'm still working my way through the collected works of Wharton, and I came across the short story "The Dilettante", originally published in Harper's in 1903. There's pages of mental wankery from the protagonist about how awesome he is for having a non-mistress that he's trained into emotionlessness and introducing his fiancée to her, and then his non-mistress basically tells him, dude, she knows we've never been together and you're an emotionless jerk and says along the way, "Girls are not what they were in my day; they are no longer forbidden to contemplate the relation of the sexes." Again, 1903.

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Oct. 4th, 2015

I've gained about 1000 karma on Reddit this weekend! A bit from the AMA I did on 19th century clothing, then a ton from a Bad History post on why the corsets in Downtown Abbey are all wrong (people really like posts about historical fashion there), and cleaned up the rest because I was alerted to answer a question about the whole married women-breakfast in bed thing from DA as well. Normally the questions I answer on AskHistorians are barely upvoted and I get basically no attention, but this question ended up on the front page and so my answer is getting lots of attention! It's nice to be appreciated every so often.

My right foot has been hurting so much lately in my bunion joint. I thought for a day that it could be the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, but then realized my shoes are extremely worn out. It's funny, your shoes look a bit tired but you don't notice that the sole is totally unbalanced until you go into it with the mindset of checking to see how worn out they are.

Still haven't watched any of the new Doctor Who. Can somebody tell me, does it have a lot about death and the end of time and all that kind of thing like the last season? I just wasn't handling that so well, I don't want to get into it if it's going to make me anxious.

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Sep. 30th, 2015

I want to write a whole post but I really can't right now. I've been practicing the talk that I'm giving tomorrow and it's terrible. There are so many places where I kind of trail off and it's hung together in this really unstable way. I don't have a single unifying thread. I'm not really sure what I'm doing.

Just feel crappy tonight about it.

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Sep. 28th, 2015

Thoughts on Downton, 6.01: behind the cutCollapse )

Now, Daisy (Being Human)/Lizzie Siddall (Desperate Romantics) playing Merida on Once Upon a Time, that has potential.

Workers came today to put up my pictures and calendar (it's a 1910s Costumes Parisiens one that I wish had been up all year but I didn't remember I had it until recently) and fix my windows. They open and close smoothly now! And my walls aren't so bare! There's also a bulletin board, so I was able to take a bunch of papers off my table, which is nice.

Put up my AMA at AskHistorians. Oops. Forgot it was my day and they only reminded me like ten minutes ago. Now watching Philomena while I finish sewing down the piping on my bodice. (Hemmed and put waistband on the overskirt yesterday; didn't get much done today because of the workers.)

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Sep. 27th, 2015

Feeling really pessimistic about this bustle dress. :/ I try not to judge my sewing project ts until they're fully finished because the fastenings, hems, etc. so often seem to make a huge difference to the way things hang. But right now the only good things are the bodice piping and the fact that the heavy flatlining on the skirt makes a petticoat less necessary to unnecessary. (It's SO heavy, I'm an idiot.)

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Sep. 26th, 2015

So this weekend I'm going to finish up the non-trim aspects of the bustle dress. But I'm also thinking about making a one-hour 1920s kind of dress for after the ceremony ... that would be really simple, the only more iffy bit would be that I would also need a flattening brassiere, the kind that's more than just a light bandeau. Sort of like this Mrs. Depew pattern. Think I can self-draft it? I suspect I can. Then again, I could probably just get a sports bra.

Saturday work. It's so cold in here that when I need to write (I was putting in membership renewals, and you have to put the check number and date on the renewal slip they sent in) my right hand is all stiff.

There's this Local Living Festival going on that I would love to partake in ... sigh. They're doing talks on beekeeping in here.

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It's like people are conspiring to annoy me

Not internet related, people on the internet definitely conspire to annoy me. Volunteers, man. People on the phone. People wanting to buy really cheap tat. I have to finish these object labels! I kind of need to fill in another shelf of objects! I have to have a talk ready for next Thursday!! Without even a costume to wear for confidence. I'm crippled with worry that Sue's going to walk into the exhibit and be like, "Yeah, none of this is going to work"! STOP TALKING TO ME

I've joined a game of Diplomacy with people from AskHistorians and it's terrifying. I have barely any idea of how to play and there's an improv-like element that I'm not totally comfortable with. I already worry that everyone else there thinks I'm a creampuff and now it's going to be confirmed, because I'm so bad at complex games. I have won Settlers literally one time. France told me that Turkey wanted to invade me and then when I turned down Turkey's invitation to join with him and Russia to invade Austria, Turkey said France wanted to invade me! I feel more sure that Turkey is lying but this is hard, guys. For my first orders I just kind of shuffled my units around because I have no idea of what's a good strategy.

because it"s apparently 2003 I did the meme :DCollapse )

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I have now downloaded all of the plates from the Journal des Dames et des Modes up to 1830, La Belle Assemblee to the same point, and all of Ackermann's Repository (1809-1828)! Ha! Is this useful to me? I don't know! But I have it and can reference it whenever.

I think I missed some December embroidery patterns behind the indexes, but they tend to be very samey anyway.

Now, I still have to do a whole exhibition in two weeks, but I do have the main writing done and I've started picking out objects and putting them in the display cases. I'm going to have to date a bunch of jewelry, though. Nobody's going to come who would ever know the difference, but still ... It came in with no information at all.

Also scheduling a collections committee meeting to deal with some of this clothing I've separated out for deaccessioning. And the Quarterly editor has asked me to write a little piece about my position (<1400 words). And I need to create a talk for the exhibit opening at the arts festival. Nothing else just yet. That's enough.

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Sep. 16th, 2015

Oh, I should probably not have gotten this tablet ... but I love it. Quite nice.

I finally got all of the quilts down and put away, and Sue suggested I just pack up all the loans (the lender is on the board, another town's historian, and a private collector - I mean, it's one person who is all of these things) because the lender is blowing off the board meeting and won't get back to me about setting up a time. So I did that today! Now the space is totally open for me. I don't think Sue realizes how little exhibition experience I have, though. I get the impression she assumes that I basically know what I'm doing, ha!

So, sewing. The bustle bodice is all done bar handsewing; skirt needs hem facing; overskirt needs to be sewn but is totally pinned. That's pretty good imo. It also seems to fit really well! Very happy with it.

Edit: I can't believe I forgot! Today I finally read these Silas Wright bio pamphlets we had printed up in the 1980s. They're priced at $4 and nobody looks at them. Sue's let me put them in the bio room for fifty cents each (honor system)! I hope my fresh ideas balance out how stupid I am on a regular basis.

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Sep. 11th, 2015

I've been working on e-labels again and I've written way too much for e-labels, but it's very helpful so I'm considering doing self-guided tour binders instead. We have a lot of didactic labels up about Silas and Clarissa Wright (WHOSE ANNIVERSARY WAS TODAY, YAY), and Silas's life was what I was reading about and synthesizing into a one-page "label" that's now just useful for helping me to give the two tours that I have to give on Tuesday. (WHAT.)

But now ... I have a little bit of a crush on Silas Wright? Some of the early biographies on him were apparently written by Elphias Doge, and they're all "He was such a man of the people! The youngest senator of the time! Sterling reputation and full of integrity!" And he ended up marrying the daughter of the friend of his father who helped him settle in Canton, which is adorable. According to a biographer, according to local lore literally every person in Canton voted for him in his first election except himself, he voted for the other guy. *_* They tried to make him be Polk's running mate but he felt the party had treated Van Buren badly and he was super loyal to Van Buren so he refused. His death caused the party shake-up that led to NY becoming a Republican state before the Civil War. Yeah, I'm ready.

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Sep. 10th, 2015

Spent the evening writing a riposte to all the op-ed pieces tearing down Sarah Chrisman's Vox piece because I've been mad about it all day. Well, whatever, better out than stewing inside, that's how I am. People generally don't seem to realize that the things she's being accused of for saying that there are benefits to her lifestyle can all be applied to all reenactors/costumers/living historians, and it's frustrating. I snapped a little on the ALHFAM FB page and predictably nobody said anything after, I am the thread killer, it's amazing.

Was more productive today than yesterday - worked on the e-labels. That was basically it, yes.

I started considering getting a tablet again, as the conjunction of birthdayish time and anticipated advance is doing bad things to me. Don't know if I want one or not. There's nothing I need a tablet to do, but I didn't think I needed a smartphone until I got (a crappy) one and realized how great it was. There's a lot of reading and social media-ing that I think would be much more comfortable on a tablet than on my laptop. And the tech blog reviews are always so ridiculously nitpicky, it's impossible to tell when complaints about the camera or pixel density are serious issues or when they're only discernible to people who are paid to discern these things.

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Thinking about work tomorrow and I'm totally overwhelmed. There are still a few quilts from the quilt exhibition to put away (one was donated after the exhibition went up and so has no designated location, two go in boxes I've already taken out and put back, one I simply can't find the box for) and a TON of stuff that was loaned to us from one guy. I'm giving a talk on the exhibition during the Remington Art Festival at the beginning of October, and I should make a connection between it and Remington in some fashion but there's nothing beyond the date range. They also want me to give a talk on Regency Women's Dress (now on Amazon) before I give one somewhere else locally.

When I think about the wedding I get chills but actually that's coming along all right. I've put in a waist tape, which I've never done before, so that feels like a big accomplishment. Next step is darts but D:

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Sep. 8th, 2015

O, it is nice to sing again. Very hard singing - Britten's St. Nicholas - but it was still very nice. This chorus is smaller than Binghamton's University Chorus, and works harder, and the sopranos don't seem to get lost as much. I'm a first soprano! Awesome. It's nice to be the most important part of the chorus. (That's a joke.) (No, it's not. I'm a soprano.)

The side seam of my dress split at some point today, I think before lunch, and I didn't realize it until like fifteen minutes ago! Thanks, world.

Disgustingly hot and humid still. Ugh. Enormous flies have taken up residence in my apartment and fling themselves constantly at the windows. It's awful.

Getting a bit tired of the discourse on some of the CCWC posts on Facebook. Okay, bad enough that people take offense so easily at being corrected - especially people who normally are sticklers, sheesh - but the passive-aggressive comments afterward by people not involved in the drama to complain that people in general make complaints ... ? I just want to slap everyone involved. (I kind of wish Sharon were into Civil War because it would be too, too good to see her get into it.) If I had to choose between this recurring wankery and the people who come to r/BadHistory to complain about history being a shitty field because it doesn't work like science ... my head would explode, you can't choose.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/861295.html - comment wherever you please.

Sep. 5th, 2015

The one thing that was able to get me to sew in the sleeves on my black silk: treadle! In one sense it was terribly hard, as the machine is set into the table, but in another sense it was easier, as I could make it go much slower. Because I'm using black thread I got to wind another bobbin, WHAT FUN. I'm going to try to get the front edges finished so that I can fit and sew the darts because I don't have anything else right now to do on the treadle.

I'd like to be the kind of person who names things, I've wanted to ever since I read Anne of Green Gables, but I'm just not. If I were, I would call it "Ella" after my great-great-great-grandmother who was a dressmaker/dress saleswoman all her life and was probably using a V.S.2 just like this one.

(I am having one problem, which is that when I wind the long bobbin after a few passes it starts to throw the thread over the nub at the end. I'm going to have to try starting the winder at different places on the bobbin's shaft.)

After lunch, I went to see The Gift because it's been forever since I took in one of the cheaper matinees and there was nothing else that called out to me more due to Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall. (It has something like 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, too.) Most of the movie was great - I really appreciated that it was from Hall's perspective and a good part of the creeping horror was realizing that spoilersCollapse ) - but I was REALLY disappointed in the ending. spoilersCollapse ) But I was really impressed at how they costumed Rebecca Hall with high necklines and racerbacks and hideous sweaters that emphasize her broad shoulders and make her look thick-waisted, and give her this very '90s boyish haircut, in contrast to all the female characters with longer hair and cleavage and curves. There was a lot of effort put in there. Compare her in Parade's End with her in this.

Valor came yesterday! It's amazing! So beautiful! I'm very glad I backed the Kickstarter. There's a fantastic variety of art styles, story styles, and both f/f and m/f relationships (as well as some non-romantic stories). You should definitely try to get your hands on it.

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Sep. 3rd, 2015

The migraine is ebbing away ... it came back after breakfast and I took an ibuprofen before I went to work, which took the edge off it. Mom says she's had one as well, because of the air pressure system. Sounds legit so I assume that's my problem as well. Hopefully tomorrow I won't have any pain at all.

I might try setting in my sleeves with the treadle machine because I'm really itching to use it again! It's a little noisy, though, and I expected it to be quieter. it seems like it's the feed dogs or the

I've seen the previews for this horror movie, The Visit, set during two kids' stay with their grandparents, many times. I'm still not totally sure if it's supposed to be a parody. Please tell me one of you has the same reaction.

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Sep. 2nd, 2015

On Monday I remembered that the chorus was going to have the first meeting this Tuesday - right after the auditions, basically - but I didn't remember at all yesterday, or today until about 4. And now I'm just really, really down on myself about it. Firsts are very hard for me, I was an hour late to my grad school orientation. And the director lives in my building so now if I run into him before next Tuesday I'm going to look like an iiiiiiidiot. It's on my Google calendar now though. :(

SWORDIGO SWORDIGO YOU ARE THE WORST. I can't make it to chorus rehearsal reliably and I can't jump onto ledges with icy walls that slide back and forth, what a loser.

I've had such a headache every evening lately, and I'm not sure why - I'm getting enough sleep. I'm eating enough (basically enough). I'm not spending more time on the computer than usual, although since I am stuck in my game I guess I'm looking at my phone screen a little more closely, I guess. Hmm, you know ... when I think about it, I usually get these out-of-nowhere headaches on just one side and just behind my eyebrow, and they come with some nausea and neck pain. I've always thought they're tension headaches because Mom gets migraines and they're debilitating, last for days, and don't respond to anything but Imitrex, but I wonder if I may be prone to moderate migraines.

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Sep. 1st, 2015

It's a great thing I'm not usually very good at games, because I am obsessed with Swordigo and it would be terrible for me to always be like this. It's basically Zelda on your smartphone and with a walkthrough I'm 80% through it.

My FFC wool came and I don't remember what I intended half of it for. :/ The reddish one is for the dress with a pencil skirt, I remember that (because one example on the pattern packet is red). But the rest ... Ah well, it's in the high 80s again this week so it's not like I could touch any of this without bursting into flames anyway.

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Aug. 31st, 2015

Watching The Best of Men this evening - it's one of those that's been on my Netflix queue for a long time but never called to me hard enough for me to actually watch it. Eddie Marsan stars (an unlikely start to a sentence, I know) as a Jewish German doctor in an English military hospital who encourages exercise and a positive attitude for paraplegic patients during WWII. Rob Brydon's also in it and steals the show, expectedly. It's a pretty straightforward movie, but decent.

I finally got around to making napkins this afternoon!! I tightened the treadle belt and it worked like a charm, though I also had to take apart and clean the tension assembly and then the shuttle in the process due to tension issues. Now that's one less pile of fabric on the floor. Dad asked me the other day why I didn't just buy napkins, well I could do that, but all I had to do was get a $1 pillowcase at the thrift shop, unpick it and cut it up, let the pieces sit around for four months, buy a treadle sewing machine, service it, learn how to wind its bobbin ... and there I am!

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Aug. 29th, 2015

Inventoried another batch of clothes over the past few days - focusing on 1900-1919 right now. I think I'm definitely going to be able to deaccession a full rack at this rate! Some of them are in such bad shape. There are more than a few very decent 1900-1902 dresses/bodices, but so far nothing with a great, exaggerated 1902-1905 blousy pouf.

I finally finished the hem on my dress and wore it without technically finishing the inside of the cuffs. Walked to work with the petticoat on, but took it off once I got there ... I'm glad I bought it for when I want it, but I think part of my negotiating the balance between "clothing" and "costume" is not filling out the skirt in everyday dress. The only trouble with that is that for the petticoat to work, the skirt has to be hemmed juuust a bit below the perfect length for me, so to be safe just in case I ever want it, I have to hem it there. Initially I was worried about the cotton being a little too heavy, but it was perfect, so much warmer now that it's ~65 degrees all day; it supports the flare of the skirt very well, and makes it closer to okay that I didn't interface the cuffs and revers. It needs a slip, though.

Need to deal with my shoe situation. So okay. I have a pair of too-small flats, a pair of flats that chew up my feet unless I'm wearing historical stockings, Gibsons SOMEWHERE (probably Albany), high-heeled oxfords, chunky Mary Janes I hate but can wear to walk to work, and sandals. I want to put the too-small flats in a Future Garage Sale box, put the sandals away for the season, put the ouchie flats in the back of the closet, and get a reasonably flat shoe that I can both walk to the office in (in the fall, not winter) and wear in the office, and that I don't hate. This is proving impossible. All the vintage-repro shoes are so high! All the retro-styled shoes in regular shops look cheap and flimsy! I would get plimsolls/keds to walk in but I need a just slightly built-up heel because that's where I rest all my weight. And even in the museum I do a lot of walking, so more than a 1.5" heel is kind of much.

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