School’s Out for Summer (sorta)

While it won’t officially summer until June 21st, it sure has felt like summer as of late.  And summer quarter at Wright State started today.  I’m looking forward to this summer.  I’m not signed up for any lectures or seminars.  Instead, I am starting my internship at the Wright State University Special Collections & Archives.  I started today.

I spent the first part of my 5 hour shift getting acquainted with the reference desk in the reading room.  The last part of my shift was the exciting part.  I started processing a collection!  Is it weird that I like processing collections?  I don’t know.  I think I like to organize things, so maybe that’s why it appeals to me.

I was given some of the boxes containing the George “J.R.” Wedekind Aviation Collection, to start assessing.  Wedekind was one of the organizers of the Dayton Air Show who helped to turn it into a major event.  So far I have found a lot of aviation magazines, books and pamphlets, numerous VHS tapes of air shows and other aviation-related titles, some slides, and Wright Brothers materials.  I think I’ve only looked through half of the collection.  I’m curious to see what the other half contains.

I think this is going to be a great summer.  No studying, I get to put a nice dent in my 300 hours internship ( I can only work at the archives 10 hours/week, but in this 10 week summer term, that will be 1/3rd of it completed), and I’m thinking about getting back to my art roots with some charcoal drawing and photography at Cox Arboretum.   Life is good!



Finishing Spring

The end of spring term at Wright State  is fast approaching.  For some lucky students it may already be over, but I still have to get through finals week next week.

This has been an enjoyable term.  I’ve learned so much in my archival technologies class.  We have had the opportunity to experience a little bit of everything that we might be asked to use as an archivist; from building a website using Dreamweaver to writing blogs.

I think my favorite part was creating the encoded archival description (EAD)  for the Paul Webb Collection.  I worked with another student, Kasey Eichensehr, during winter quarter to process Dr Paul Webb’s research papers, notes and charts dealing with human calorimetry.  Putting our finding aid into a digital form that people will be able to search was a great skill to learn.  It was also rewarding to see this collection that we worked to hard to organize through to this final step.

I went to Detroit, MI, on a field study trip.  There we visited the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village and the Motown Museum.  Not only was this a fun learning experience, but a fun social experience, as well.   It was a chance to get to know a few fellow public history students outside of class.  I think we are a pretty fun bunch!

I’m taking a history of architecture class, as well.  I’ll admit I signed up for it not so much because I like architecture, but because I needed the credits and it fit into my schedule.  However, I’ve really enjoyed the class.  I’ve learned a great deal and now I look at buildings in a new way.  It has truly increased my level of appreciation for historic buildings.

Now, on to summer and the start of my internship at Wright State’s Special Collection & Archives.  Wish me luck!




Harry Baals and Butt Drugs

Did I get your attention?

A couple of weekends ago I traveled to Corydon, Indiana with a couple of friends.  We went to visit a drug store.  Why drive 3 hours to a drugs store?  Because it’s Butt Drugs, that’s why!  One of the locksmiths at work told me about it and how he and his girlfriend now have “I ❤ (heart) Butt Drugs” t-shirts.  And because I have the sense of humor of a juvenile boy, I thought it was funny and a good excuse for a road trip.

As it turned out, Corydon is a historic town.  It was the first capital of Indiana.  So I got a lot more out of the trip than I expected, but it also reminded me of Harry Baals (last name pronounced just like you think, balls, though the family name pronounces it bales).    There was much to-do online and among my Facebook friends a few months ago over this former mayor who was in contention to have a government building in Fort Wayne, IN named after him.  Despite being a well-respected local politician in the 1930s, the city did not want the ridicule and jokes that would come with using his name.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine who works in a public library posted on Facebook that a patron came up to her and told her that her shirt looked gay.  In today’s slang, saying something is gay is meant to be derogatory.  However,  the lady who said it was older and meant it as a compliment, that my friend’s shirt was bright or lively.  She was using the word gay like it would have been used in the 1930s.

I’m by no means an expert on slang, but I think it is interesting how names and words can change their meaning over time.  The Butt family who owns the drug store have embraced the comedic aspect that comes with a store called Butt Drugs and probably does a better business than most mom & pop stores that have a more “normal” name attached to their store.  And I think it is sad that honorable people with what are now unfortunate names can’t get the recognition due them, such as having a civic building named after them, because current leaders worry about public ridicule.

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet

Z is for Zero

Finally, I’m at Z (better late than never, considering it is May and this blog is part of the A-Z Blog Challenge)!  Since I don’t know about any interesting people (okay, I do, but they might not appreciate appearing in my blog), places or things that begin with the letter Z, I thought I’d finish finish the alphabet with some randomness about zero.

Zero is a number = 0.  It precedes the number 1.  It is neither positive nor negative.  It can be used as a place holder in other numbers and weights.  Without zero, 101, would 11.

The Zero was a plane used by the Japanese in World War II.

The word zero is  in several song titles:

  • Saved by Zero, The Fixx
  • Less Than Zero, Elvis Costello
  • Zero, Smashing Pumpkins
  • Love Minus Zero /No Limit,  Bob Dylan

Zero hour refers to midnight (00:00)

Coke Zero is a new low-calorie soda put out by Coca~Cola.  The target audience for the drink is men.  Men apparently associate diet drinks with women, so this new campaign doesn’t use the word diet.  I personally think Coke Zero is better tasting than Diet Coke.

Z~end 🙂

Y is for Yellowstone National Park

I’ve only been to Yellowstone National Park once, but I loved it.  I didn’t get to see the entire park, so I really want to go back.

Yellowstone sits is the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.  Located on a caldera, the park is full of beautiful hot springs and geysers, with Old Faithful being the most famous of the geysers.

Castle Geyser

I don’t think I had ever seen a hot spring before this trip and I know I had never seen a geyser,  so to see so many in one location, and how vastly different they look, was amazing.

Some of the hot spring were so blue and clear and very inviting, while other features, like Bacteria Mat were not so pretty.  It was really something special to see how active the earth is and how potentially dangerous, too.

One of the many clear blue hot spings in the geyser basins

I know there is a lot more of Yellowstone that I didn’t have time to see during my first trip.  I hope sometime soon to get back there and see it all. I’ve been dropping hints that it would make a great graduation gift!

Bacteria Mat

Old Faithful

X is for the unknown

I’ve been pondering again.  What word could the letter “X” stand for that I can blog about?  I live near Xenia and a blog about the big tornado there in the 1970s would be timely, but I have no firsthand knowledge of it.   Then it dawned on me that “X” is a symbol of the unknown.  Being  a sci-fi geek, I know X gets used a lot in books, movies and crypto-zoology.

Hammer Studios put out several sci-fi movies using the letter X to indicate something unknown.  In fact, one of the movies is titles, X the Unknown.  The movie begins with soldiers investigating a mysterious source of radioactivity.  Naturally, they are exposed to it and eventually die without revealing much.  An unknown, radioactive entity comes out of of the ground where the soldiers had been and through most of the movie you never see what it is, just the characters’ horrified reaction to it.  And once the creature is shown, it is just an indescribable blob.  Hammer also used X in their first Quatermass movie, The Quatermass Xperiment.  In this movie, an astronaut returns from space infected by something than mutates him into an alien bent on human destruction.

There are people who think that there is a 10th planet (well, 10th if you still consider Pluto a planet) in our solar system.   This planet that it supposed to be beyond Pluto is often referred to as Planet X.

And how would the Power Puff Girls have been born if Professor Untonium hadn’t accidentally spilled Chemical X into the concoction the girls emerged from?

W is for Wyoming

Wyoming… What can I say about Wyoming?  Some might consider it the middle

Me at a Wyoming rest area on I-80

of nowhere, and I can see why, but my drives through this state have been interesting.

I drove through the state on I-80 quite a bit when I was driving truck.  It was in Wyoming that I saw antelope and prairie dogs for the first time, which I thought was pretty cool.    There is also an interesting rest area on I-80 in Wyoming.  What makes it unique is a large bust of Abraham Lincoln.  The first time I saw this bust was on a foggy morning as I was driving truck.  Visability was very poor, but high up in the distance was Abe Lincoln’s head!  I was puzzled as to why a sculpture of our 16th president would be in the middle of Wyoming.  I found out that this section of I-80 is part of the Lincoln Highway, which stretches from New York to California.

Bust of Abe Lincoln at Wyoming rest area on I-80

And more recently I received a speed warning ticket from the Wyoming State Patrol as I was driving home from a trip to Yellowstone.  I was doing six miles over the posted speed limit, which I will admit I do regularly when I drive on the highways at home.  So I was surprised by it, because it was only 6 miles over and people were passing me.  Maybe it was the red rental I was driving that caught the po-po’s eye!