A 1931 trek through England by a non-fabulous author

English SummerEnglish Summer by Cornelia Stratton Parker
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I wondered why I found my fabulous copy of this book for such a low cost, and now I know: Mrs. Parker takes turns looking down on and swooning over England, complete with jarringly flowery language and unreliable history....My favorite bit of this book by far was that my copy had been owned by someone who followed Mrs. Parker's itinerary and had penciled in her own impressions, such as re the Feathers Inn in Ludlow, that she agreed it had a charming dining room, "but the BEDS -- awful, window wouldn't close -- FROZEN."

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Very miscellaneous thoughts on learning -- and typing -- a foreign language

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...Sorry, it's long, but may be of interest to anyone starting out learning another language.


Gleaned from a talk with a fabulous grad student in history.

I've been TERRIBLY distracted with a sick kitty, but of course a sick loved one really trumps everything else, doesn't it. Though actually I started studying more German to get my mind off my worries, though of course not off caring for her....There's a lexical tool at http://www.canoo.net (hmm, not working in 2017 so far...) with conjugation stuff that sounds SO helpful! In French I finally had to buy a Starter French Dictionary by Oxford which had some things like that, but computerized is so much better. Now I finally don't need that French thing, but it really helped!...www.dw-world.de has vocabulary podcasts that sound absolutely perfect! I'm trying to restrain myself for a couple more lessons before diving into German podcasts, but the prospect will keep me going....Before our little old lady got sick, I felt like my brain was finally adjusting to learning a new language, much more quickly. Somehow I just could get into a better learning frame of mind. I could feel when I could take in new stuff (best in the AM for me). Though it could also be, one gets to a point when a language really makes sense, and it's easier to build on it then. But I think it was more than that; somehow my brain opened up and was happy to take in new words or whatever. On our patient's good days I'm able to do this again....Though one thing that definitely helped me was -- I used to have stacks and stacks of flashcards, but I would find it so hard to get the info into my head. Finally I realized (everyone's different!) that I needed to see words in context, and then they stuck in my head AND were ever so much more interesting then. Also -- and this has ALWAYS helped me IMMENSELY -- I choose a very manageable number of high-quality resources and use all of them, so they're teaching me some of the same stuff in different ways. I used to read, e.g., 3 biology textbooks for high school biology, and the same time spent studying 3 texts 1x worked much better than 1 text 3x....Flashcards still work for some things for me, though. (My old problem was I put everything I didn't learn in a day or two onto a card, and that was frustrating -- now my much-loved reward for learning is not needing to make a flashcard.) I had a sample flashcard software that was flaky so I didn't buy it and now it's gone, but it'd be nice to find a great one....Lastly -- I used to have lists of things to learn and would go merrily down the list without mastering the earlier stuff. Now -- trained actually by how my French for Reading textbook is set up -- I don't go on without learning whatever it is I have to (plus I occasionally review, at the very beginning of a new lesson, anything from earlier I marked as needing help, or whenever I am really bad at something). The only exception is, e.g. when I've been studying a certain conjugation and it's just not getting into my head and I need a break, I will go on just to the next thing on the list, but then will go right back. If it's still difficult I'll approach it differently, look for help online, whatever. Or just sleep on it and tackle it the next day.



Lastly, he taught me how to make umlauts! He writes, "they are SUPER easy to do on the Mac.  Just press ALT + u (that is, hold down the ALT/OPTION key while pressing 'u'), then release both keys, and then type whatever vowel you want to put the umlaut over (a, u, o).  Check it out: ä, ü, ö.  Simple!!" AND other stuff: "also, did you know you can do all of the letters for French/Spanish, etc, similarly?

I don't know all of them, but... ALT+e + a vowel = é, ALT+i + vowel = â, ALT+~(the tilda) + vowel = è, ALT+n + letter = ñ

And I forgot the esset!! ALT+s = ß

And I think French uses this, right? ALT+c = ç

Anyways, pretty much any letter you need is really easy to type on the Mac.  just google it if there is something i'm not showing you that you need."

Oh dear, now I don't have an excuse to be so sloppy in my typing!
Current time travel apparatus location: New Delhi, India

English word du jour

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


begarlanded
(from Jataka No. 535)
Current time travel apparatus location: New Delhi, India

Another idea for when you're bored

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



Be like the princess in Jataka No. 458: "sitting quiet...meditating upon her own virtue."
Current time travel apparatus location: Pondicherry, India

And you thought your(?) preacher was long-winded

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



"Then the Bodhisatta's preaching went on for 60,000 years." (from Jataka Tale No. 388)
Current time travel apparatus location: Pondicherry, India

I was away, time-traveling

A glimpse at life in India, as chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



I was away, time-traveling.

Well, sort-of. I experienced life for some days, until just a half hour ago, without electricity, TV, refrigeration, phones, or computers. I rediscovered candles (and which uninvited guests in India eat candles) and was thankful we had gas for cooking. First our TV died, then our battery backup for all our lighter appliances died, then there was a short circuit at the electric pole on the street, which made it so we did not have a refrigerator even when the power was on. Our battery backup is also our voltage stabilizer and surge protector for all the lighter appliances, so it was not safe to plug in cell phones, iPods, etc. to recharge. One lighter appliance, thankfully inexpensive, we did plug in was killed. Everything is fixed now

-- Um, no. Actually, our water heater (backup to the solar power for cloudy days) just died.
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Another little trip to my past

Cape May in Vintage PostcardsCape May in Vintage Postcards by Don Pocher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the pictures of where I lived ages ago, but I found it distracting that they seemed to be barely in any order, even on the same spread. I also wondered why they cropped so many postcards. Also, I would have had a hard time figuring out what they were talking about in their captions/notes if I had not just read a history of Cape May -- and had an even harder time when they referred to elements of the postcard that apparently had been cropped. However, if you have an interest in this area, you may enjoy this book for its rare illustrations.

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An idea for the next time you're bored

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...




Do some krida -- Sanskrit for "working miracles for one's own amusement."
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Using the Latin

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



Yikes, when older English translators ran across a passage in Sanskrit or Pali that had way too much sex, they translated it only into Latin, so that kids couldn't read it (though any educated older kid could). A whole Jataka tale I just got to is completely in Latin! I've just gotten out my old Latin books to see what sense I can make of it, just to get an idea. I don't look forward to the story, judging by how gross the English stories often are, but it will be fun to use my old Latin (though I've not used it half enough so have forgotten a lot -- let that be a lesson to anybody who's studying a language!). 

Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

I've been time traveling to my own past...and it's been lovely

The Summer City by the Sea: Cape May, New Jersey--An Illustrated HistoryThe Summer City by the Sea: Cape May, New Jersey--An Illustrated History by Emil R. Salvini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I lived in Cape May for about a year when I was much younger and have become very interested in its history, which makes me feel like I'm there again with the ocean breeze on my face and loud ocean sounds in my ears. It was so fun to learn the history of the building where I lived, which I'm happy to hear is now a beautiful bed and breakfast -- as well as the history of most of the other gorgeous buildings I would walk by every day on my way to work...

View all my reviews Voilà, where I lived, from their official site https://www.angelofthesea.com/ :

A useful but not fun time travel source

Women In Print: Writing Women And Women's Magazines From The Restoration To The Accession Of VictoriaWomen In Print: Writing Women And Women's Magazines From The Restoration To The Accession Of Victoria by Alison Adburgham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am extremely interested in the topic of this book, and very much enjoyed discovering periodicals I didn't know...but I didn't enjoy the weird sermonizing against sermonizers (perhaps to be expected in a book of this date).

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To get through the icky bits

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



Had a good idea -- I'll double up on the French I do (anyway I'm behind) when I'm having to spend time with the gross ancient writings I described in the last post. The French doesn't usually take that long, and it will be a Beauty Break in the midst of horrors I need at least to skim. (Of course I'm sure there are horrors available in the French language as well, but what I read and study is either practical or beautiful.)
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

An unforeseen problem

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...Note it needs a * GROSS ALERT *



As I mentioned, I often find ancient writings difficult to get through because of how they recommend treating women, and because they're religious. However, I'm now running across even worse problems -- graphic descriptions of beating women, child abuse including incest, and unbelievable stories of religious "devouts" defacating on other humans. Totally unsurprisingly, it's coupled with an apparent hatred of beauty. I'm beginning to wonder if it was a group of completely uncultured ruffians who wrote these stories (earlier works I read were by highly educated -- for their time -- scholars). Oh, well; I'm getting lots of (other) information and it's yet one more goad (too literally for my taste) to speed toward the finish line.
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

History sources

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



Just wanted to mention (again?) that I'm fully aware that sources like the Jataka tales are not historically accurate by any means -- but they are very valuable for hints on what existed in its time, especially for someone such as I interested in day-to-day life as opposed to say political history. E.g., I'm running across interesting descriptions of the work of salespeople...
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Some thoughts on translation

As chronicled in your researcher's 2010 journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



Translation is a whole academic field, with whole journals as well as of course books devoted to it. But I just read some interesting thoughts also at the December 27, 2009, post at http://rickmarshall.blogspot.com/ . By the way, my 2nd volume of Jataka tales so far which is from a different translator (W.H.D. Rouse) is more enjoyable -- he says he made a real effort to reflect the feel of the original writing's sentence length etc. (from the Pali language).

Also, so far he as well as the 1st volume's translator (Robert Chalmers) point out any interesting parallel stories they know from other Buddhist writings as well as other culture's tales. Which is fun for anyone interested in folklore.

Though my Jataka tales translations are from the late 1800s, they are based on a critical edition. However, I need to re-check before I do much more work to make sure there isn't a newer and better translation out since I made my lists and choices years and years ago (and when I knew much less about South Asian literature).

Critical editions are marvelous, as they compare ancient manuscripts for the hopefully most authentic original text and also point out which are later additions or changes (which in itself is very interesting in my work). Critical editions are one reason I'm improving my French, as one good translation of an important work for my work is only available so far in French. Of course I also learned how to utilize such work when I did ancient Greek in grad school...
Current time travel apparatus location: Institut Français de Pondichéry, Pondicherry, India

That's a wonderful place, by the way, both intellectually and aesthetically -- I can still feel the cool breezes from the nearby ocean and see the shady rooms when I look at photos from there, and I treasure the books we got in their bookshop: http://www.ifpindia.org/ .

Musings on work

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...including 2010 musings on computers, sorry!



The purpose of this "diary" is not to complain about say a flu that slows me down, or to grovel with self-loathing on the days when I'm less productive; I try not to do that too much in "real life," and writing about those things only seems to make them worse. (I hope that I do not sound even more arrogant than I am as a result!)

So far this week I finished the 1st of 7 volumes of my copy of the Jataka tales! Though still have a few pages of notes to write up.

I also finished our South Asian history library reorg a few days ago. It's already been very helpful to know where all my sources are.

But I am having to adjust to my much more normal very varied routine. It's less efficient, though I think necessary, and really as I said more enjoyable. It was more predictable to sit down every single morning to zillions of archaeological reports and see what they had to say about the sites in which I was interested, with planned breaks for Sanskrit and French and German study. It's easy to get efficient at similar stuff you do over and over. Now there's still the language stuff, but the rest just depends on where I am in researching my current period in approximate chronological order.

I'm not only less efficient but much more easily distracted as a result of the variety. It doesn't help that I rarely really enjoy the religious ancient writings, which most is for ages here. So many are so abusive of women, for one thing. And it's so sad to think of the past humans who must have swallowed some of the nonsense. In the past I came up with all sorts of tricks to keep me focused (including a reward of x minutes of break for x minutes of work, though I hate having to keep such tedious notes); maybe I'll return to some.

But overall what I really think I prefer is simpler: Just do my best for that day, making allowances for feeling under the weather, and keeping in mind that one page can be packed full of fabulous information and implications for my projects whereas sometimes I can get through 50 pages with almost nothing -- so I either have the thrill of getting loads of new information, or getting through zillions of things on my to-do list, and rarely both on the same day.

I also need to budget not only my money but my time for pleasures like digital music, possibly my chief distraction! Though also my chief ally against distraction when I play certain playlists that help me focus.

Next week may also be easier not only because of getting used to my more varied routine but because I usually break up my physical activity ("exercise") over the week. Physical activity helps one's brain work so much better, but of course the effects wear away so it's better not to do it all in one day. But this week I did it all in one go on Monday, with several hours of carting heavy books all over the library, including up and down to the mezzanine.

I got distracted today with a very long presentation by Steve Jobs et al on the new iPad. I've decided that in its present version it won't be my next laptop. Though I adore its lightweight-ness for travel! But I need something that runs lots of software at once and that supports the trillions of digitized journals and archaeological reports I have and happily brings up loads of documents at once across as large a screen as I can afford so I can compare sources as well as my own notes, written chapters, whatever. I adore Macs and have always had one at home and in my most civilized jobs, and I love my iPods, but this doesn't fit my needs right now though I hope it will in the future because small is wonderful as long as I can still see the print or can make it larger...
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Class!!! Friends!!!!!!


A glimpse at life in India, as chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


Yesterday I actually attended a class!!! I too seldom get the chance here. Also met several really nice Indian ladies there -- one just back from like 20 years in Germany, another 20 years in Australia, another 20 years in Boston, USA, another who still lives in PARIS, ahhhh. Friends are hard to meet here for me, and I'm totally delighted.
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Library work of a different nature


A glimpse at life in India, as chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...





I've been more erratic in this journal lately due to illness, family time, and now because I realized my own Gupta sources were all over the library. I didn't even know how many Kalidasas I needed to source yet, can you believe it. : ) So I'm as quickly as possible putting things into order and even making a rudimentary catalog just for our South Asian sources -- all made easier by our getting yet another old glassed-in bookcase -- when windows are open here, the dust is unbelievable, and it's a shame for the nicely printed/bound books to get damaged as a result.
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Using lots of primary sources

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...when I was able to do more than months on end of reading archaeological reports to use a wider variety of sources.


Let's see, yesterday and so far this morning I organized some old writings I hadn't yet, from some (translated) South Asian languages I hadn't used yet. Also did 10 Jataka tales including writing up some of the interesting social tidbits available in them (the only reason to read them for me); only like a million tales to go (it's one of my multi-volume writings to do; mine is 7 volumes). Also did Sanskrit and French.
Current time travel apparatus location: New Delhi, India