Although my blog has thus far been a class-work receptacle I’d like to begin branching out more and more into lifestyle blogging. This absolutely doesn’t mean the essays will stop, but rather that I’d like to try out some other content as well! While I’ve queued up a number of “Get to Know the Blogger” lists like this one, I’m also planning on posting my bullet journal spreads and note-taking methods! Studying is always more fun with friends, and I’d like to emulate that here!
As for the reasoning behind this change: as I mentioned in my Surprise! Pearls post making money in university while disabled has been difficult. In the last couple of years I’ve struggled with financial set back after financial set back, and in order to be able to continue schooling I need to have a stable source of income. While I’m working to build a freelance editing portfolio I’ve decided to go back to my roots and hustle the heck out of my life. This semester I’m taking courses part-time, and will thus hopefully leave me the room I need to get this blog moved in the direction and with the reach I need to be successful at this whole writing gig.
If you have any comments or suggestions shoot me a comment or let me know in a Tweet! Now on to the fun stuff!
My favourite food is applesauce! I love it because it works as a condiment, a side dish, or a snack! Truly an all-in-one, ultra-versatile deal. Unfortunately because of my absolutely terrible memory I never get to eat it because I don’t ever go down the snack aisle at the store! A tragedy if I ever heard one.
I always feel like I’m about to be late for SOMETHING, but I never know what! It’s like having a built-in Rememberall at all times!
My minor is in English literary studies, and I’m so so so thankful for my literary education! I feel like I talk about my anthropology education all the time, and never enough about my other interests!
My favourite colour is purple! That said, I never seem to buy purple things. I’d love to rectify this, but there are so many other colours I love that I don’t want to ignore either!
Despite all my dog-related Tweets my favourite animals are actually turtles! That is, if I even have a favourite animal (all animals are good in their own ways)!
I used to wear lolita! I fell out of the lifestyle when I began living my life more authentically with respect to my gender identity because I couldn’t parse for myself that type of hyper-feminine presentation with my non-binary-ness. I’ve since discovered this is an absolutely bullshit reason to quit doing anything you love, and I’d love to get back into it when I finish up my degree!
I drink iced coffee and frozen drinks year-round despite living through snow every year because I always run super warm! What would be a fever for most people is pretty much par-for-the-course for me, so I have to cool down somehow!
I can’t sleep if I don’t have at least two (read: 2) comforters folded upon themselves on my feet at night. Yes, even in the Summer! I’ve looked into weighted blankets before, but I’ve thus far found the cost prohibitive. I’d like to take up sewing now that I have a Craftsy Unlimited account, though, so if I ever get around to borrowing my sisfriend’s sewing machine I’ll definitely be trying to DIY my way through!
My glasses don’t actually do anything! I had a mass last year in my left eye that ended up changing my prescription literally overnight, and I just haven’t had the money to replace my lenses yet! I tried going without glasses for a couple of days when it first happened, but my anxiety got the better of me when people started asking where they went so back on my face they’ve gone!
I’m honestly a mostly open book, so thinking up this list has been super dang hard! I’ve kept to myself for most of my life, and in the last couple of years I’ve been making a conscious effort to begin working to talk about myself and my interests more and more. While I live with anxiety every day, working through small things (like openness!) has been invaluable for me in working to live comfortably with myself.
What are some things people might be surprised to learn about you? Let me know! I look forward to reading your comments here and on Twitter!
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Making money while in university is tough. Making money while in university with disability? For me it’s been near-impossible. I’ve always known that freelancing is/would be the best fit for me in the long run, but when my mum and sisfriend approached me with an idea for a Facebook Live business I was still wary. Shucking oysters live? It honestly sounds ridiculous (maybe because it is!), but eventually I agreed to come in with them as a social media admin.
Let’s start with some introductions first!
Who are we?
Existential contemplation time (jk but kinda not).
My sisfriend, Deanna, is the Shucking Mama!
With 3 kids going on at home Deanna super enjoys the flexibility being her own boss affords her. She’s able to wear Elliott for the most part during shows, and Jordyn and Ryleigh have made guest appearances on the show when they’re not too busy playing! She also loves the community being built around our shows, and really enjoys seeing the same names pop up on her screens week to week!
My mum, Annette, is the Shucking Grandmama!
Mum especially appreciates the flexibility offered to her as well (see the theme forming?). Being able to pop on and off tasks as she has the opportunity is lovely, because it makes more time to hang out and play with the grandkids! With two kids already raised of her own being able to sit back and relax with her grandkids is one of her favourite things to do. She especially loves to see how excited people get over their pearls!
I’m the Ban Hammer!
Working for myself, with family, has been so rewarding. Even on days where I can’t seem to get any editing work I know that I can throw a message into our Shuck Squad group chat to renew my resolve for the coming Tuesday. Because I’m always responding to messages and comments in-show I’m so appreciative of the community that’s forming around our shows! That said: because we’re an entirely independent business the part that I’ve struggled with the most is getting people to really understand what exactly our business is all about!
So what do we do, exactly?
Short-form: Deanna shucks oysters over Facebook Live, and people get to keep the pearls!
Long-form: We work as a team to tailor a consistent experience of fun and community around the shucking of pearls over Facebook Live where people order lovely pearls and pearl cage jewelry!
We’re an entirely independent business which means that all of our planning, ordering, photographing, messaging, inventory-ing, sorting, shucking, etc is done by one of the three of us. While other people choose to go the MLM route through a larger company we wanted to be entirely our own bosses! While this has resulted in some extra work (… A LOT of extra work) it’s been worth it for us because we can tailor our business to meet not only our needs but also the needs of our fanbase!
Because we’re a Facebook-only business all of our show preorders are done through Facebook messaging. This means that one of us needs to have our phone on us at all times in order to keep track of inventory! Although I work as the social media admin due to my school schedule the person who most often responds to messages and makes posts throughout the week is Deanna, while my responsibilities are primarily in-show. My mum, Annette, works hard to keep track of our inventory and book keeping, and works as Deanna’s assistant in-show! She makes sure that Deanna knows who gets their oyster opened next, and keeps track of shipping everyone’s orders! But all of that would be for nought if Deanna didn’t shuck oysters Live! Right now we have a weekly show every Tuesday at 7pm PST/8pm MST during which Deanna shucks individual and giant oysters to reveal the awesome pearls inside!
All that said: our positions are made up and the points don’t matter! We all work all of the positions based on our abilities and time available. Everyone has done everything at this point, regardless of if it’s their wheelhouse or not!
How do we get our awesome pearl colours?
A lot of the fun of our shows is that you never know what colour you’ll get until Deanna shucks the oyster. Every oyster contains a pearl, so the only risk is colour result! This also means that although there are jewelry options for pearls a lot of people end up collecting the pearls as-is.
A couple people on Facebook wanted to know more specifically about how our pearls get their colour as well! Our single pearls are beautiful Akoya pearls. This means that each cultured oyster is implanted with an irritant or two (a graft of mantle shell–otherwise known as the pearl nucleus), around which nacre forms evenly to create a fairly consistent round pearl. We also sometimes order oval shaped pearls as well! This method of culturing means that we’re able to get pearl colours which (perhaps obviously) don’t exist outside of this method.
We additionally have begun ordering cultured giant oysters! These huge oysters hold 20+ natural ivory/cream/white pearls! Because of the number of pearls being implanted and cultured at once we’ve stuck to the natural colours as the “rainbow” giant pearls are implanted with coloured plastics as opposed to mantle grafts. This results in a less resilient pearl, which doesn’t hold up to our high standards (yet! anyways).
Why does all this matter?
We LOVE being our own bosses, and are so looking forward to taking our business further! As people just starting out we’re striving to be as upfront about ourselves and our business practices as possible! We’re three people who have come together to work hard, and we hope that others are interested in said hard work!
I hope this has cleared up some of the more common questions we get about our business! If you figure I’ve left something out please don’t hesitate to message us on Facebook!
We are our own best investments. Time for some self care!
On Thursday I was a panelist speaking on Linguistic Violence at Macewan University, and it got me thinking about self care. Too often I don’t take care of myself. With the hustle and bustle of school, freelancing, and Just Being sometimes I need a reminder to slow down!
So with all that in mind I made a short list of things I do/can do to practice self care for myself:
talking about it
reconnecting with community
reaching out to people
doing readings on-time
taking meds on-time
putting on pants
playing a videogame
having a bath
getting out of bed
listening to music
playing with putty
listening to audiodrama
looking at family pics
doing my hair
looking at pictures of cute animals
brushing my teeth
doing my brows
reading about cool shit
listening to podcasts
What are some strategies you have to practice self care?
Disclaimer: This post was written as part of my ANTH 320: Archaeology of Gender requirements in October 2016, and may or may not reflect my current assessment of the archaeogaming blog. That said I’d love to do an archaeogaming blog review in the future, which is why I’m posting my previous thoughts here today! 🙂
The blog I am choosing to review is Archaeogaming, which has been written by Andrew Reinhard since June of 2013 (Reinhard, 2016). Archaeogaming is a blog which I have been regularly reading since November of 2015 after having been introduced to the concept of archaeogaming via the Twitter account of the same name (@Archaeogaming). I have found it influential not only as a student of the social sciences and humanities, but also as a person who really just enjoys playing video games. The most prominent reason for my choosing of Archaeogaming for review beyond familiarity, however, is that I believe the blog has the opportunity to directly influence my final research paper in ANTH 320: Archaeology of Gender via focused reading into the construction of a definition of archaeogaming as practice, as well as exposure to methodology within the sub-field of archaeogaming.
The first post I decided to focus on is the “Archaeogaming Map (Revised)” (Reinhard, 2015). This post was originally published on December 18th, 2015. I chose this post as, in my opinion, it provides the clearest definition of what archaeogaming actually is as a field of practice. The intent of the post is clearly to provide a vehicle for the map itself to be presented. Reinhard explains in the blog post that the intent for the map is to perhaps act as an inspiration for those already in the field of archaeogaming, or as definition for those curious about the field. The tone of this post is very short and to the point compared to subsequent posts considered for this review. This being said this works in the favour of the content as the blog post acts only as a vehicle for the map to be presented, and allows for Reinhard to keep reader focus on the image of the map itself which is a clear description of several archaeogaming topics arranged as heading > subheading > topic (Reinhard, 2015). Additionally, the map uses an appropriate image from a secondary source (the webcomic xkcd), and the secondary source is linked to with licensing information in-post. The word, grammar, and spelling choices of the map are additionally appropriate, and in at least one instance clever (Figure 1).
The use of a spelling error in this situation not only forces the reader to pause to reconsider the thought, or re-read the line, but it is also mimetic to the “glitch as artifact” described in the line immediately above. The idea of creating a visual representation of a field of practice is not unheard of, and having the map be so detailed is ideal for an emergent field where many theories, ideas, and methodologies have either yet to be defined or yet to become standard practice. The information within the map presented appears to be accurate based on my own understanding of archaeogaming, however no explicit sources are given. This being said Reinhard makes clear in the blog post that the map is based on lived-experience, and an assumption can thus be made that the Archaeogaming blog itself is the source.
The second post which I decided to look at is “Archaeogaming’s Grand Challenges,” which was originally posted on January 25th, 2016. The introduction establishes a clear purpose, and provides tonal reference for the “Achievement Hunter”-esque (Rooster Teeth) body of the post. The purpose of the post—to define “Archaeogaming’s Grand Challenges”—is explicitly outlined in the title, and in the prompt Reinhard attributes for the post. Tonal reference is found in the use of the Xbox 360-style achievement image at the outset of the post, and subsequent explanation: “Because archaeogaming is so new (at least in the formal, academic sense), we have a number of mountains to climb, or, to keep this on-topic with video games, we have a lot of achievements to unlock” (Reinhard, 2016). The introduction additionally provides background information on the history of archaeogaming as a field of practice, and provides links to other blogs and websites on the subject. While the introduction fulfills the purpose of what the post is about, and some history on the subject, the tone isn’t consistent with the rest of the post. While Reinhard explicitly demarcates where the achievements are to begin the demarcation seems oddly placed at approximately one third of the post in, as having the image at the outset of the post makes it seem as though the entire post will have the achievement-hunting tone. Having the demarcation so late also causes pacing issues as the body of the post thus seems comparatively short to the introduction. In my opinion the post could have been improved—and had more impact—if the tone were to remain consistent, and the introduction be edited for length. This being said even the seemingly brief use of a writing tone which is mimetic to video game play is fun and appropriate considering the topic of the post being “challenges to [your] archaeology,” (Reinhard, 2016) and it works to bring the reader into a state of mind which connects both archaeology as practice and video games as subject.
The third post which I decided to look at is “Archaeology in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.” This post was originally published on October 25th, 2015. I chose this post as I played 2013’s Tomb Raider, and is one of only two posts which comes when using the on-site search function with the term “gender” as of October 10th, 2016. The post is a summation and analysis of the 2014 Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, which is itself an update of 2013’s Tomb Raider. The practice of reviewing games is by no means anything new, but what sets this post apart from other summaries and reviews lies in the focus of the post on archaeology. Reinhard clearly identifies archaeologists as characters, artifacts as in-game items, and archaeological methodology as game-play. In the process of identifying archaeologists as characters Reinhard also makes note of gender representation, and gender disparity within the game-space through the characters of Lara Croft and James Whitman. In focusing on characterization Reinhard notes that the gender dynamic between Croft and Whitman mirrors real-life gender dynamics in archaeological field-sites, and makes reference to the Every Dig Sexism project which “[catalogues] every day sexism in Archaeology and Heritage” (@everyDIGsexism, 2015). With reference to the in-game world and items word choices are appropriate, and work to bridge the virtual archaeological space with real-life terminology and practice. An example of this is defining the game’s use of the term “relic” as “a generic term for an artifact of interest” (Reinhard, 2015).
Images are used to positive effect, and at various points in the post. While a “note” appears at the end of the post attributing screen-captures to Reinhard there are two images which are a) not screen-captures, and b) not otherwise annotated to their original source. These images include a comparison of James Whitman, and James Wright (Figure 3) and later on a comparison of graphical output between Sony Playstation console generations (PS3 to PS4) (Figure 4).
Table 1. Archaeogaming 2016 Post Frequency
# of posts
In seeing the consistency with which Archaeogaming has maintained posting updates in 2016, with the exception of June 2016-present day (Table 1), my initial expectation in conducting a close reading was that there would be more posts which would be directly relevant to discussions on gendered archaeology and the archaeology of gender. While many of the posts may be forced to fit into a discussion on gender, few explicitly address gender as either an aspect of gaming or of archaeology. This being said in my general survey of the blog I found that the blog periodically links out to other blog posts on the subject of video games, archaeology, and archaeogaming respectively which are written by women. Of the three posts summarized here, this only occurs in “Archaeogaming’s Grand Challenges,” however. Gender is also incorporated via open comment sections. As of October 12th, 2016 the three posts summarized in this review contain open comment sections, and based on my own Euro-Western analyses of the names of the commenters all comments are made by women. Despite the concerns which I have outlined above I believe that Archaeogaming is an invaluable resource of theoretical and methodological archaeological data, albeit more generally within the field of archaeology than specifically within the scope of gendered archaeology or the archaeology of gender.
Disclaimer: This post was written as part of my ENGL 366: English and Anglophone Literature requirements in March 2017.
Summary of “The Invention of Cultural Traditions: The Construction and Deconstruction of Englishness and Authenticity in Julian Barnes’ England, England“
In the article, “The Invention of Cultural Traditions: The Construction and Deconstruction of Englishness and Authenticity in Julian Barnes’ England, England,” Vera Nünning considers the ways in which Julian Barns’ novel England, England comments upon and deconstructs notions of English identity and Englishness. By isolating several constructions of Englishness Nünning comments not only on/to the tradition of postmodern English literature to which England, England finds cohort, but also comments upon the effect such a narrative has within cultural studies at-large. Specific to Nünning’s arguments are examples of moments where England, England juxtaposes and contrasts discourses on what construes Englishness, considers the intent and effect of the “invention of traditions” (59), and deconstructs questionable notions of historical authenticity. An example of the juxtaposition of discourses Nünning describes includes a close reading and deconstruction of “the ‘primal English Myth’ of Robin Hood” (63), and the ways in which the Merrie Men are attempted to be made more palatable to England, England tourists (and the Merrie Men’s subsequent disavowal and revolt of such a reconstruction). An example of how Englishness is constructed is found in discussion of Sir Jack’s rejection of several poll responses. An example of deconstructing questionable notions of historical authenticity is in considering the analogy between the memory of the individual and a country in the “Countries of England” jigsaw puzzle (61). The provided examples are not exhaustive, and are referenced here merely to showcase several defenses of Nünning’s thesis.
Constructions of Self and Nation in Julian Barnes’ England, England
Ideologies regarding the ways in which identities may be constructed and expressed are persistently present and colour the ways in which peoples (and by extension: characters) not only interact with one another, but also interact with and within the spaces and places to which they inhabit. In Julian Barnes’ novel England, England characters are routinely either unaware of—or unwilling to admit to—the ways in which their ideologies are similar to one another. With this in mind: in considering Vera Nünning’s article “The Invention of Cultural Traditions: The Construction and Deconstruction of Englishness and Authenticity in Julian Barnes’ England, England,” I found myself caught by a phrase: “[England, England] is self-consciously concerned with exploring both the nature of national identity and the question of how established versions of Englishness have come to be invented and upheld” (62). For the purposes of this essay I will be exploring some of the ways in which Sir Jack (and by extension: those around him who are willing to submit to his vision) adhere to biased performances in the processes of personal identity creation. Subsequently I will explore how those same methods of personal identity construction are used in the construction of Englishness within both England, England and Anglia.
Early on in Part 2 The French Intellectual states that “[…] the world of the third millennium is inevitably, is ineradicably modern, and that it is our intellectual duty to submit to that modernity, and to dismiss as sentimental and inherently fraudulent all yearnings for what is dubiously termed the ‘original.’ We must demand the replica, since the reality, the truth, the authenticity of the replica is the one we can possess, colonize, reorder, find jouissance in, and, finally, if and when we decide, it is the reality which, since it is our destiny, we may meet, confront, and destroy” (Barnes, 57). While not addressing the existence of the French Intellectual explicitly, Nünning offers the following in response to considerations of ‘the authentic’: “By calling into question the existence of anything that might be called ‘authentic’, England, England also undermines the notion of historical truth” (Nünning, 72). To consider the above two quotations with reference to the construction of history void of authenticity: Sir Jack’s constructions of self and Englishness therein are here turned to for insight. Sir Jack removes the poll responses which he finds to be either of less or no use to the concept of Englishness he believes he should provide as Quality Leisure for tourists. While this may seem to be counterintuitive to the purpose of the poll, it is in fact congruent with the purpose of the England, England project in that it renders the poll responses more palatable for the general audience. By cutting away that which may cause people to be uncomfortable in their experience there is thus a higher chance that tourists will enjoy their stay on the island, and subsequently fulfill the capitalist ideal of spending more money.
This editing continues on an individual level with Paul—Sir Jack’s official “ideas catcher”—as he records and edits a series of Sir Jack’s best ideas for posterity (Barnes, 31). This record is meant to express the personal history and identity of Sir Jack, and is thus appropriately constructed to present an incredibly specific and highly stylized version of Sir Jack, which at times necessarily bends or omits information: “One for the road, eh, Paul? That you may record” (Barnes, 35). Outside of Paul Sir Jack also constructs his expression of self through the manipulation of text provided by a Times profiler: “[Sir Jack] had deleted references to his age, appearance and estimated wealth, had the whole thing pulled together by a rewrite man, and ordered the final text to be carves on a swathe of Cornish slate” (Barnes, 31). With reference to information which is omitted: Sir Jack’s personal history (obviously) does not contain information or recordings of the trappings of his age regression fetish. This creates the situation wherein Martha and Paul are able to push Sir Jack out of his position of power with three words: “Titty. Nappy. Poo” (Barnes, 180). The danger of these words is constructed by Sir Jack himself, as he does not wish such information to be included in his “authorized version” (Nünning, 67). Upon returning to his position in firing Martha, Sir Jack’s intended legacy for the above-described personal record is to construct a place of memento mori upon the isle (Barnes, 258). This, however, backfires as visitors find the area to be uncomfortable in its reminder of death, and not conducive to Quality Leisure. Though Nünning specifically references Doctor Johnson in the following quote, it is nonetheless relevant here: “Tourists are evidently less than delighted when they are actually confronted with the real thing” (Nünning, 65). In deciding to turn Sir Jack into a character of England, England Nünning’s argument that “[…] the ‘real’ thing is not as well-preserved, readily accessible and pleasing as the copy” is supported—just as tourists come to be biased toward the perceived superior accessibility of the England, England theme park so to do they become biased toward the seemingly superior accessibility of a Sir Jack who is once again alive (Nünning, 69).
The process of national identity creation closely mirrors the creation of personal identity experienced by Sir Jack as outline above. As a once-theme park, but now-nation England, England is constructed as a process of celebrating the approximation of an Old Tradition—a tradition of colonialist, capitalist gain—and repackaging said celebration as new. In creating a sense of crisis over and within the concept of English parliament the England, England project manager, Mark, is able to situate England, England as both referential—and yet simultaneously superior—to English society: “[W]e shall probably request the revoking of certain minor items of antique planning legislation, most of which have their source in the contemptible Palace of Westminster” (Barnes, 131). Nünning comments that “[a]ny attempt at finding the essence of Englishness in the past is bound to fail […] for it proceeds from the mistaken premise that an individual’s or a nation’s identity is located at some specific point in the remote past. Rather than being encapsulated in an earlier stage, a nation’s identity is shown to be constantly changing, with the nation constructing its history as it does along” (Nünning, 72-3). Though there is no actual crisis between England, England and the palace of Westminster in creating this distinction Mark is able to situate England, England as a superior capitalist force.
By contrast to England, England Anglia is shown as rather than celebrating an approximation of the Old Tradition, to be rather celebrating an approximation of the New Tradition. In “[e]xposing the processes through which marketable versions of England’s past and present are fabricated, England, England shows, albeit in a highly exaggerated fashion, that the invention of cultural traditions serves the purpose of coming to terms with the present” (Nünning, 68). In this way Anglia is able to create an identity and expression of agrarian Englishness by which people may adhere. That being said, it must be notes that this agrarian construction is yet a construction: “Showing that neither Martha nor the committee nor the inhabitants of Anglia are able to reconstruct the ‘true’ past, Barnes’ novel alerts the reader to the idea that our models of national or individual history are nothing but an intellectual construction” (Nünning, 72). The people of Anglia construct what it means to live in Anglia, and participate in Anglian culture just as much as the people living on the island.
In considering both the constructions of England, England and Anglia in comparison some questions arise: How does England, England “thematiz[e] and explor[e] the invention of cultural traditions”? “[B]y constructing and deconstructing both ‘Englishness’ and the notion of authenticity” (Nünning, 59). As per Dr. Max: considering that there is no such thing as real or authentic, there can thus be no such thing as “bogus” (Barnes, 134-5). In considering that the “[…] actual events of English history play a minor role both in England, England, and in ‘England, England’ [t]his cavalier treatment of ‘real’ historical events is in keeping with many constructions of Englishness” (Nünning, 65). While England, England and Anglia have vastly different outcomes, their constructions of Englishness follow much the same ideology in a rejection of any notion of authenticity.
The characters of England, England work not only to create specific personal performances of identity and Englishness, but also to create nationalist concepts of personhood: “[the remarkable achievement of England, England] can be located in the ways that England, England explores, parodies, and deconstructs those ‘invented traditions known as ‘Englishness'” (Nünning, 59). In constructing such detailed performances characters not only invent personally consistent traditions of expression, but when considered together also work to build notions of Englishness in the methods of their construction. In this way “[t]he […] well-known exploration of the limits of historical knowledge […] is not central to the novel, but ancillary to Barnes’ wider concerns: It highlights the impossibility of knowing what Englishness may ever have consisted of in the past, and it deconstructs the notion that there is either a continuity between past and present Englishness, or something like essential ‘Englishness'” (Nünning, 74). Both England, England and Anglia show the ways in which disparate ideals (those of capitalism versus social agrarianism) may be manifested in a very similar way: in rejecting notions of authenticity each nation is able to construct itself only as its inhabitants see fit, and nothing more.
Barnes, Julian . England, England. Toronto, ON, Vintage Canada, 1998.
Nünning, Vera . “The Invention of Cultural Traditions: The Construction and Deconstruction of Englishness and Authenticity in Julian Barnes’ England, England.” Anglia: Zeitschrift für Englische Philogie, vol. 119, no. 1, 2001, pp. 58–76.