Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another bloody dissertation post...

So, I dragged myself through this French article and all I gotta say is, sometimes scholars really just phone it in. And then other scholars obviously don't read all the articles they cite. So while I'm trying to discover what fish mean in Roman art right before they tip over into Late Antiquity, I certainly did not find the answer where *someone* said it would be. The article I read was a collection of other similar pieces of art that had fishing and still-life as a motif. Oh well, I'm not going to now spend the next two months researching xenia for one lousy sentence suggesting how fish might be related to life, the universe, and everything. I'd really like to stop writing now, thank you very much.

I did find a new silver treasure in it though. Much to my dismay. But the transliteration from Georgian to French meant that google gave me nothing. Ever entered something into google and gotten NOTHING?? Madness!! So I emailed a scholar at my husband's urging (he's like that, telling me not be scared of scholars with jobs and just ask them what I need to know) and found out what I needed. And now I gotta let that guy know when I finish, because he's interested in what I'm doing. Sigh.

The German article surprised me. It was easily read and VERY useful. It was well organized and thought out and the scholar actually said "we can never know for sure what these symbols mean" which comes a shock. Scholars never admit they don't know. If all else fails, they cite some really early random German article from some feschrift or another. I pondered the wonder of it all and then noticed something rather important. The article was published in 1946. Um, who the hell was in Germany publishing articles in '46? OH! It's SWISS!!

Dear Swiss scholars, THANK YOU for not out-Germaning the Germans and keeping your German as non-German as German can be. Keep up the good work! Oh and thanks for the chocolate and the funny clocks.

Finished all that off and a crazy section on the Scriptores Historiae Augustae in which I got to cite "America (The Book)" and use the word "maleficent." Not to mention "apotropaic." Apotropaic is NOT in my real-world dictionary, as I discovered when I wanted to use "apotropaism," but is in my computer dictionary. "Apotropaism" is in the dictionary on line, but by then I'd lost my excitement over the word and went with "apotropaic ritual."  "Tyche" on the other hand isn't in my computer dictionary at all. One of the things I lost in the computer disaster of '08 was the Word dictionary I had carefully created after adding numerous Greek and Latin thingys. I have to do it again and every time I panic right before I push "add." What if I've spelled it wrong??

So one last time through this chapter and POOF, there it is, another highlighted note to myself (this is WHY I highlight notes to myself, I'll never find them again unless they're bright yellow), "get this book for the description of this plate, no it is NOT in the catalogue you think it is, you damn fool!" Is what I should have written, seeing how I spent the rest of the day trying to
A) find the damn catalogue and
B) prove to myself that it was in there and
C) kick myself a lot before ordering the damn book it IS in
Thankfully I had at some point already found the citation and put it for myself in the dissertation.

Sometimes rereading notes to myself is like that scene in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure where Bill decides that what he'll do is steal his dad's keys in the future and leave them for himself in the past and then BANG, the keys are there. Only in reverse.

I spend too much time indoors, don't I?

Right, so ordered book, hasn't come yet. Gotta check on that. Meanwhile... I'm sort of out of things to do other than that conclusion. So I need to read a bunch of conclusions and see what I can come up with. I hate writing conclusions. Usually my conclusion becomes my introduction, with the tenses changed. That's already happened and now I have a lovely introduction. So... in conclusion... I need to learn how to conclude.

Can I write: "I hear the creature creeping towards me. I don't know how much time I have left. If you find this, know that I tried to do my best and give my love to AAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHH...."

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