Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday morning things

* Lynn, I JUST got a batch of "pastel loops" that include buttery yellow and denim blue, and I already have some red,  so :)

in a couple weeks, be watching your mail. (Am pretty sure I still have the DM with your address)

* Getting a lot of random stuff done thing morning; one of them being moving the stuff (mostly some plastic tubs and planter trays) designated as "trip hazard" by Safety. (Never mind that it's a lab only I and one other colleague ever use, never mind that they were kind of out of the way, never mind that there's not enough space to store stuff if you have an active research program). Fortunately we have a "Butler building" (those pre-fab corrugated steel (?) buildings you often see on farms) that my colleague the ichthyologist uses for storing his boats and the like, and he said there was space in there.

He said "I would help you move them but my arm is kind of jacked up right now" - several weeks ago he was out on his motorcycle and he got hit by a driver, and while he wasn't BADLY injured at the time, apparently it messed up a tendon in his shoulder and he's going to have to have surgery to correct it. (And he's going to lose this summer's field season as a result).

(And at any rate: I had expected to carry the stuff myself, anyway: it's my stuff. And it's not that heavy. I figure the offer-to-carry is a vestige of chivalry and I don't get upset about that the way some women do; and anyway, when uninjured, my colleague is wirier and stronger than I am, so)

*While cleaning up my guest room, I found a copy of Robert Silverberg's "The Mound Builders" (the history of this people is of interest to me, largely because the "Hopewell and Adena peoples" were a big social studies topic when I was a schoolkid in Ohio). It's an older book - like, late 1960s, so I am expecting some of the information to be inaccurate, but there are some interesting perspectives. A big one being how early 19th century European Americans wanted to believe *any other group* other than Native people built the mounds. I presume that is partly because they wanted to continue to believe the "savages" idea, as a way of dehumanizing and telling themselves, "It's really OK to take their land, they're not using it to its full potential."

Then again, the Native people living in the areas where the mounds were apparently by and large shrugged when ethnographers (who might have less of an ax to grind) asked them if they knew who built the mounds.

(And yet - there is tons of stuff about what my great-great grandparents did that I don't know ANYTHING about. Shoot, one of them could have made statues or something and unless it was written down somewhere, I'd not know.)

So there are all these wild ideas - that they were displaced Welshmen (why Welshmen? I don't know. Maybe the Welsh were known in that era for engineering feats?), or descendants of an exiled Phoenecian couple (hello, inbreeding!), or one of the Lost Tribes (this seems to have been a common idea).

And there was even, for lack of a better term, Moundbuilder fanfiction - one author wrote a novel portraying the Moundbuilders as sort of a pre-lapsarian people who lived in harmony with the land, until they were menaced by a giant mammoth (literally a Behemoth) and it had to be killed by a hero among the Moundbuilders. (And you probably thought Syfy Channel had flimsy and weird premises for its story lines. I'm surprised they haven't picked up on that one, other than it's an obscure novel from the 1850s).

I dunno. I find what you might call the pre-pre-history of the US interesting, especially the various cultures who made earthworks (you might remember that a few years back, I made the long drive up to Spiro Mounds just to see them. I was, I admit, disappointed to learn that most of the artifacts that were from the mounds were in a different museum - one in Norman. And someday I want to make a trip to go see the Toltec Mounds in Arkansas. And maybe even see what remains of Cahokia some day, though that's a longer trip).

But I also find it interesting to see the blind spots of people who were closer to my own ancestors - I mean, to me, it seems only reasonable to say, "Yeah, it's most likely these mounds were built by ancestors of the people living there now (for "now" = 1820), and for some reason, perhaps an environmental one, the culture shifted from a more-agricultural one to a more hunting-based one, and so other things changed as well" instead of contorting around and saying "Well, maybe there were these dudes who got kicked out of Wales for some reason, so they got in a boat, and came here in the 1100s, and they set up shop and built serpent-shaped earthworks...."

I also like the little callback to my childhood, when we learned about what was then called the Hopewell and Adena peoples. (Of course they did not call themselves that; we are unlikely to ever know what they called themselves, and they may not be called "Hopewell and Adena" by anthropologists any more) The only "contact records" we have are of the very, very last descendants of some of the Southern moundbuilding cultures with (mostly) French priests traveling through the area....and even then, it's the few last vestiges; absent time-travel or finding and being able to decipher written records the people themselves kept, we will never really know much about the cultures in their full flowering other than what can be discerned from the artifacts.

* I have half a plan Saturday (after New Pony....and yeah, I am still watching the new season) to go do "big" grocery shopping (i.e., in Sherman, and go to the Natural Foods store as well) and maybe break my "buy no yarn" pledge, because I want the specific yarn for this pattern amuses me in sort of a "If Claes Oldenburg wanted to go twee" sort of way. It's a giant (well, FSVO "giant") crochet hook that is crocheted out of a fat chenille yarn. (And I admit: I hate knitting with chenille but crocheting with it might not be too bad.) I know JoAnn's has the yarn called for, so I could make a stop there and get some. (It would be $10 or less, so it won't break the bank).

I am still debating getting the biggest pair of googly eyes I can find and sewing them on the "head" of the hook when it's done to humanize it a little more.

I am quite sure I already have a J hook (will have to look but I am quite sure I do) and I have TONS of stuffing, so I'm set there.

* I do need to work more on Heartthrob though. I have her head not-quite half done.

Unfortunately, tonight is Elders' and Board meeting, so nearly all my evening is already spoken for, and tomorrow night I have to take money at the Childrens' Play, so a chunk of that evening is gone....but I have decided to take this weekend off; I should have no grading and all the nagging little tasks (typing up minutes, moving the "trip hazard" stuff, the "alert reporting" about grades) is done...

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