Archive for June, 2009

Thar Be Thesis Gold!

Yesterday went pretty well at the library. I didn’t do a whole lot of work (perhaps a case of the Mondays?), but I did strike gold with my thesis, as it was Anna-approved. 🙂

Today has been the day of work, as I’m currently plowing through the indices and volumes of the Thomas Jefferson Papers to get some good quality primary source material for my eventual, massively awesome documented essay. It feels pretty good to get back to the nitty gritty of historical research after my semi-vacation with Scott last week (I did take Thursday off, after all! :P).  So we’ll see how this progresses.

I don’t really have much to report today in terms of tasty tidbits (I really should copyright the phrase). But there has been some nasty grass pollen floating around in the Charlottesville atmosphere lately that has my sinuses all ‘a hurting and my arms (for whatever reason) all ‘a itching. Boo. It’s nothing a little Claritin can’t fix though.

That’s all for now, more to come later!

P.S. – I know that some of my readers come here for the Picture of the Day, and that I have been slacking in that area. I just haven’t had any good photos lately, but I will make up for it soon. There is just only so much of cute Charlie photos that one (even I) can take! 😛



June 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

Ah, Sundays.

Sundays are generally one of the best days of the week. It’s the day that I like to kick back, relax, and enjoy doing next to nothing. All day. However, today was different.

I began the day with some websurfing courtesy of a few tasty (literally) links that Lisa had sent me. They were all very interesting (and sometimes even かわいい!), and I spent a good hour or so just perusing for interesting eats and drooling at the food porn. Since TJ was reputed to be somewhat of a foodie himself, he probably would have enjoyed a few of those tasty links as well. 😛

I also did some laundry, but it was really tedious and boring.

Next on the daily agenda was something that I usually prohibit from Sundays – research. I went to the library today because it was the first opportunity that I had to dig into the resources there after I had concocted my thesis on Friday. I had been sweating bullets for quite awhile at having not thought of one by then, and then it had dawned on me as I was driving down I-64 to take Scott back to the Richmond airport (boo 😦 ). I’m pretty sure that its a solid statement/thesis/sounds like the title of a book whichmaybeabadthingactually thing. I just need to run it by Anna on Monday to see if it will be solid enough to withstand her professional critique. Wooty woot! 🙂

One thing I love about the potential of Sunday work is that there is no one there. No noisy old (and sometimes young) ladies gawking loudly at the exhibit, no one (okay, so there was ONE other person, but he didn’t bother me).  It’s closed to the public, but since I’m special AND a research intern, I can get in if I need any research-y stuff.

After I had spent about two hours at the library looking up and printing a few more articles for research reading, I made my way home just in time to treat myself to watching a few shows in Japanese. Scott got me hooked on one show called Hana Yori Dango (in English, Boys Before Flowers; but still doesn’t make much sense to the non-nihonjin because its a pun on an old Japanese saying that I’m too lazy to explain right now) and I can’t stop watching it, its so good. The story line seemed a little tacky at first, but as with most really good shows it doesn’t matter how tacky the story reads because somehow there’s more to it when one actually watches it. Or at least that’s what I think. 😛

That is all for today, more to come later!

June 28, 2009 at 8:52 pm 3 comments

What a Riot – Studying the Happenings of William and Mary During Jefferson’s Student Years.

This morning, I decided to dig into the last and largest of 5 articles that I had printed out yesterday for background reference. At a whopping 38 pages, Mark Wenger’s 1995 article from the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography — Thomas Jefferson, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Virginia — does not fail to disappoint. As is the norm with a lot of historical writings, the first page or few can be quite dry, as was in this case. However, when the author began to delve into the tensions of the mainly clerical-led faculty and board of visitors (of which TJ mentor Peyton Randolph was a member), it seemed like all colonial hell broke loose.

The article outlines a melee and all-out war over control over the proceedings of the school and clerical outrage over the Two Penny Act. The clerical faculty of William and Mary wanted president Dawson to allow them to convene and make a case to the Archbishop of London in the event of their suffering heavy financial losses due to the Act. Dawson refused, and there was a lot of unrest among the college faculty. There then was a fight involving a faculty member’s student brother which resulted in none of them testifying due to their dissatisfaction with the president’s and the board of visitor’s influences over how campus happenings were run. Most of the faculty were expelled, and within the new crop of professors came William Small, TJ’s much admired academic mentor and Jacob Rowe, who (ironically) was appointed the professor of moral philosophy.

Rowe turned out to be a bad choice for the college, as he was given to bouts of public drunkenness and instigating large fights with the Williamsburg townies. This gem from Wenger’s article gives the reader a tiny, tasty morsel of dirt on what was only a fraction of the debauchery:

“…Rowe had involved himself in the ensuing dispute [as a result of a second wave of the Two Penny Act] and was hauled before the House of Burgesses for publicly suggesting that certain members should be hanged and for vowing that he would deny any burgess (sic?) applying to him for the sacrament. To secure his own release, Rowe had to submit a written apology and pay a fine.”

But wait, it gets better:

“Within a short time… Rowe… became notorious for public drunkeness, outbursts against the authorities, and ‘horrid oaths and execrations in their common conversations…’ [Rowe was] accused of trying to ‘destroy the regular authority of the President of the college, and to create and keep up Differences and Parties between the President and Masters.’ ”

On this incident, then Lieut. Governor Fauquier (who later as Governor was known for his outrageous gambling habits) let Mr. Rowe go. Rowe had promised to be a good egg and reform his behavior, but as is with most “badasses” this pledge didn’t last very long. Rowe incited a large-scale fight between townies and college students which resulted in Visitors’ Board member Peyton Randolph confronting him about the incident. This immediately resulted in Rowe shoving a loaded pistol to Randolph’s chest, and resolving to “[threaten] the lives of all who obstructed his efforts to redeem William and Mary’s honor”.

Then, Wenger gets to Rowe’s fate, in which he apparently “suffered immediate dismissal [from the William and Mary faculty]  for his part in this adventure and returned to England in disgrace”. To add salt to the wound, the man who carried out his censure and expulsion was Lieut. Gov. Fauquier. Awesome.

Pictures of the Day (another two-fer!)

My feet, Monticello, April 2007.

My feet, Monticello, April 2007.

The Reprisal - June 2009.

The Reprisal - June 2009.

June 23, 2009 at 12:31 pm 3 comments

Still Buzzing.

As has been the norm for the past week or so, I’ve been very, very busy with my research and working at the bookstore. Things are still going quite well, even in light of some confusion on my part last week. While I was studying the people in TJ’s life during his schooling years, I realized with some fear that I hadn’t even developed a thesis for my essay yet! So I sat down with Anna and discussed where I was heading with the project and what needed to be done. I recieved some very valuable (albeit I’ll admit a little confusing) input from her and an ICJS research fellow, and it helped calm me down a bit.

I also called Scott with my concerns as well, and he informed me that I just needed to sit back, relax, and start cracking open more books. Which is basically what Anna and the research fellow had said, but when I was talking it all over with them my head was spinning in 50 different directions of “oh s***” and I had to struggle to pay attention.

Anyways, what I also had learned from the experience was that one must do A TON of background reading on their subject before they can even think of crafting a thesis on their own. I was embarassed to admit that in trying too hard but also taking the matter too lightly I had just expected that a thesis would just pop up out of nowhere and fast. I realized that if I was going to create a stellar essay on (in my opinion) an understudied facet of Jefferson’s life, that I needed to get my act together and start plowing through the book that Professor Miller had lent me (if you’re reading this, thank you so much – it’s been a massive help! :)) and also through the several books that I had checked out of the library.  So this is most of the reason that I’ve been so busy lately, with the other being that I fell waaay behind in my Kanji studies, so that’s been eating a massive chunk of my free time as well.

As for the weekend, I worked at the bookstore and then picked Scott up at the Richmond airport late Saturday night. He is visiting me (yay! :)) for pretty much the entire week, and thus far it’s been fabulous having him around. He is a large wealth of knowledge and fun, as well as a great source of comfort. I’m hoping to do some minor historial sightseeing while he is around, so hopefully I’ll be able to drag him either up to TJ’s place on the mountaintop for a while or to James Madison’s Montpelier for a poke around to see all the new and exciting renovations that have been put in place since the last time I had been there two years ago. Back then the house was stripped down to its colonial skivvies – nothing but the original brick and old wooden framework on the inside, so it’ll be exciting to see the house finally restored to what it may have been like when Mr. and Mrs. Madison were living there.

Onward to today, things have been running smoothly as per usual, with the minor side task of trying to wake Scott up, at his request, at 8 AM (no doubt he has fallen back asleep by now, kid’s a heavy sleeper). I myself am currently at the library, digging through the interesting find of a book on Mr. Jefferson written by one David Saville Muzzey. I somehow was fortunate enough some years ago to have obtained a 1911 copy of his infamous textbook American History as a gift from my mom, after my copy of James P. Boyd’s 1888 Political History of the United States was ruined. Muzzey’s book  apparently is well-known in educational circles as “the book” that defined how American history is percieved by the masses in general today. From what I’ve read it had been used as a standard textbook up until the 1940’s. There is a decent blurb here about the book.  Given the apparent patriotic and intellectual idol worship nature of Muzzey’s writing in that volume (and fascinating lack of political correctness, as one passage compares the Native American to “the Mississippi negro” who “loved to bask idly in the sun” [Muzzey, pg. 20, available on Google Books]), I’m not too keen just yet on citing his work on Jefferson. But it seems to be decently written thus far, minus the complete omission of foot- or end-note documentation. Hmm. We’ll see.

Pictures of the Day (As promised, a two-fah):

Ah, the relaxing view from... my parking spot. :)

Ah, the relaxing view from... my parking spot. 🙂

Majestic Charlie.

Glowing Charlie.

June 22, 2009 at 12:12 pm 1 comment

Business as Usual.

For most people like myself, Monday is usually the worst day of the week. However, today it wasn’t so bad. I went to the library at the usual hour, and began typing out information into a Word file from my index cards on the people that may have had an influence on TJ during his schooling years. I’ve also finally narrowed the “schooling” time period for my research down to beginning in 1748 (When TJ began schooling at Tuckahoe) to 1767 (When he finished his “apprenticeship” under George Wythe and entered the Virgnia Bar). I haven’t started on the portion about his later years just yet, but things are still sailing very smoothly.

I’m also excited to report that my research hours will, from tomorrow on, be longer at the Library. I’ll be working on my research on an awesome full-time schedule of 40 hours a week. I’m very excited, and I can’t wait to see what the final result of all of my hard work will be at the end of the summer.

I have no Picture of the Day for today (especially since I’m sure my readers are most likely Charlie-ed out by now), but that always means that tomorrow will be a two-fer! 🙂

June 15, 2009 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment

Ah, Sweet, Sweet Sundays.

Today was a pretty relaxing day. I didn’t do too much, and I was relieved to be able to sleep in until 11 this morning. I mainly just hung out with Charlie and studied Japanese kanji all day, but I also snapped a few quick photos in between.

Charlie doing what he does best - bein' cute.

Charlie doing what he does best - bein' cute.

"What do ya want?"

"What do ya want?"

This bird was perched just outside my window for most of the afternoon, just chattering away. Jen - If you're reading this - QUICK What kind of bird is it?

This bird was perched just outside my window for most of the afternoon, just chattering away. Jen - If you're reading this - QUICK What kind of bird is it?

Charlie watching our feathered friends just outside the window. Now wonder he sits there so often. :P

Charlie watching our feathered friends just outside the window. No wonder he sits there so often. 😛

Also, I found this fantastically interesting video of Christopher Walken humbly showing the viewer how to prepare “Chicken with Pears” or “Chicken on a Throne”. Enthralling stuff! 🙂

June 14, 2009 at 10:01 pm 1 comment

I’ve Been a Busy Lil’ Bee.

Alright, so most of you have by now noticed that I’ve been ‘a slackin in my daily postings. There IS a good reason for this, I assure you. I’ve been having some major problems with misunderstandings and whatnot with the woman who I’ve been subleasing from, but all of that has FINALLY been resolved today. All is now very well in the land of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (and sometimes James  Monroe too!). I’ve also been very, very busy with my daily Japanese lessons as well. They’ve been taking up a considerable chunk of time as well, but not nearly as much as the first thing.

As you can tell by now, this week  was really stressful. It began with frantically trying to solve the leasor/rent problem, then onto solving the problem of my housemate’s puppy having an accident (twice!) on my bed. Thankfully I sleep on an air-mattress and laundry doesn’t cost too much to do. On Thursday this problem was solved by Susan from the Library, who is loaning me a fantastic wooden baby gate to keep the little leaky puppy out of my room. Awesome! 🙂

As for my research (oh yeah, I remember that! :P), in spite of all the shenanigans, it’s been going very well. I’ve been getting a lot of work done researching and taking notes on the people in TJ’s life while he was in Williamsburg and while he was being tutored in his earlier years as well. It’s pretty fun and interesting stuff, but it’s also hard work as well.

This weekend so far has been fantastic. I had two very wonderful and productive days at the bookstore, and I even got to leave 1 1/2 hours early today since I did such an awesome job in restocking shelves. I even got paid for those 1 1/2 hours! What can I say, I love my job. 🙂

On to the juicier bits – the Pictures of the Day that I’ve missed for the past few days.

Comfy Campeachy chairs inside the Jefferson Library.

Comfy Campeachy chairs inside the Jefferson Library. TJ had a few of these made for himself, he liked them so much. He also liked to give them as gifts as well, if my memory serves me right.

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Reading Room at Jefferson Library, where all the magic happens.

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Reading Room at Jefferson Library, where all the magic happens.

An Interactive Monument to the First Amendment at the Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall. Unfortunately I had no chalk at the time, so I couldn't write a huge I <3 Scott Wilson or I <3 TJ on it. :'(

An Interactive Monument to the First Amendment at the Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall. Unfortunately I had no chalk at the time, so I couldn't write a huge I ❤ Scott Wilson or I ❤ TJ on it. :'(

The other half of the First Amendment Monument.

The other half of the First Amendment Monument.

The Big Three of Charlottesville: TJ, J-Mads, and President Monroe.

The Big Three of Charlottesville: J-Mads, TJ, and President Monroe. Presidents Monument on the side of City Hall in Downtown Charlottesville.

Lastly, for good measure, a healthy dose of cute in the form of a Charlie nap. :P

Lastly, for good measure, a healthy dose of cute in the form of a Charlie nap. 😛

June 13, 2009 at 9:21 pm 2 comments

Older Posts

Flickr Photos



Click for Charlottesville, Virginia Forecast
Click for Sunderland, Massachusetts Forecast

Where My Readers Are

Geo Visitors Map

Posts From Another Time

June 2009
« May   Jul »