Napoleon's Feet

a graduate student's step(s) between the sublime and the ridiculous

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Apr 1st, 2009 1:43:17 am - Subscribe

i had the weirdest feeling waking up this morning. for a few moments i woke up feeling like i was in my attic bedroom in the two floor apartment i shared with my friend in toronto for a year before moving here. my room there was creamy orange, i had painted those walls on my own the week before moving into the apartment. it was one of the hottest days of that summer and i nearly passed out from the paint fumes and heavy heat.

i woke up this morning feeling like i was in that room, and the first thought i had was to call in sick, a thought that frequently entered my head when i was part of the workforce at this time. i do remember that the day i had to call pest control to deal with some mice my roommate had run into in the early hours of the morning, i was almost too happy to wait around for the servicemen to arrive. mice vs. work.

unfortunately there is no calling in sick for my current line of work. i have a meeting today for a larger project i have had on my plate for a while, and even though i have established where/when i am, i still cant help but feel out of control this morning.


Mar 24th, 2009 7:16:43 pm - Subscribe

working through the french sources.

Univers Israélite:

on nous écrit de Bayonne, 1858

un incident regrettable vient de se passer dans une pension de notre ville.

apparently some jewish kid was horsing around with his friends in the schoolyard of the local catholic pension and one poured holy water on him. the jewish community of bayonne was infuriated at the idea that the abbé could just watch this horrible incident occur on the playground, and even accused him of participating in it.

i think this story is interesting for some things it says about the school system(s) in 19th century France, how after many jewish schools had to close their doors due to lack of government support, jewish kids from the area dispersed into local catholic pensionnats. obviously the jewish community of bayonne is unhappy with jewish kids in catholic schools, and uses this newspiece to express the communal anxiety that jewish youth are in 'danger,' of conversion; that the jewish people of France are in 'danger' of dissolution and complete assimilation in the absence of a separate educational system tending to the jews' specific religious and cultural needs.

been listening to a series of really fantastic records the past few days. without them, i think, id be in a significantly lower mood.


Mar 20th, 2009 9:01:44 am - Subscribe

six weeks in france (hopefully) await me at the end of this semester.

the end of the month rapidly approaches, and so do a deluge of responses to semester-long requests.

i picked up my guitar and decided to continue my week in the key of brave. now back to hide in the comfort of my books? or have i turned a corner?

absolutely gutted thinking about springtime in toronto.


Mar 17th, 2009 10:12:11 am - Subscribe

it is about one hour train ride from paris to chartres, and a pretty one, at that. i wanted to see the cathedral on a day off from the archives, and stupidly forgot my camera in my bag back at the apartment.

i listened to bruce springsteen's incident on 57th street something like 80 times. i'm pretty sure it was on repeat the ENTIRE day. i walked around the little town pretty slowly and sat quietly in the cathedral for an hour or two. there was a wedding later in the afternoon and i watched the procession from across the street. i had about five espressos and tried to draw things i saw that i liked. i spoke to a lady with a little white dog in the back of the cathedral. the dog was trotting along a wall that swooped down into a tall cliff, over which there was a magnificent view of the entire chartres vicinity. it was scary to see the dog just walking on this old stone wall, but the woman didn't seem to mind.

every time i hear 57th st. i put it on repeat.


Mar 16th, 2009 8:15:11 am - Subscribe

have compiled most of the press sources i imagine i will use for the seminar paper. unfortunately, i have only a small clue as to what i'm going to do with them.

march break means the town has effectively gone silent, which is nice. it means i can go to the laundromat and get a seat at a table and grade. it means i can lie in bed with my window open and not hear the cars on kirkwood.

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