Sunday, April 8, 2012

I don’t write about my personal style, because I don’t have any. Wait, someone who loves clothing as much as I surely must put time and effort into dressing to thrill, right? No. In fact getting dressed is such a challenge I once showed up for work wearing two different shoes. My first job in sales was at Bonwit Teller and the store would organize fashion shows to demonstrate how we should dress to properly represent the Bonwit image. These shows were like a live “Glamour Do” and “Glamour Don’t” page with both girls on the cat walk at the same time. Sort of like Goofus and Gallant of the runway. The employees were the models and once I was asked to participate. I was picked to wear a nice pastel skirt suit, and my “don’t” counterpart wore one of my typical outfits—including a pair of self made oversized earrings they had borrowed from me, and that I considered part of my ‘look’.What? You thought girl bullying stopped at graduation? You thought wrong.

I thought there was something wrong with me, until I found this post on Fashion Incubator.

You don’t know this yet so I may as well tell you; I don’t like clothes. For the most part. Actually, I don’t like going through the bother of acquiring them via shopping or sewing. I’d rather prefer that they grew on bushes and one could snag what’s needed in passing. The clothing I like best are items that miraculously appear. A friend mailed me a pair of cover-alls that he found in his dumpster and I wore them for years. Anyway, while my views are extreme, you’ll find that garment industry people largely do not care about clothes. We are the first to cheerfully agree that we are the worst dressers. There is a reason (!) that some design houses semi-dictate the wearing of either all white or all black. It’s because the designer knows we’re such losers taste-wise, that we need some sort of fashion guidance. I swear. All of the garment industry people are laughing themselves sick at this point because they can’t believe I had the nerve to say that. I wish you could hear them.

I read this, laughed out loud, and felt a bit less like a misfit. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

The vortex:

 The search function in is a quick way to save source citations to your tree, but the system is not designed for quick and easy browsing, or in-depth reading of histories. Plus, the search results are often hit and miss. Luckily, many of the databases on Ancestry are compiled using books available in the public domain and can be found online.  One of my favorite places to find research materials is the internet archive:

I usually end up at the Archive after getting frustrated with the slow loading images on Ancestry, so I look first for the specific title in the texts section.  That way I can search the document text, or download a copy to browse through later. I also browse other books with the same subject, author or publisher, just in case. I also recommend searching various related key words, and exploring titles by subject. Searches for the state and county are a good place to start. If that brings too many results, add the name of the town. If your ancestor was involved in one of the early wars, there are many books of muster rolls, regimental histories, and even books of miscellaneous records and memos.  Other records can be found in probate records, abstracts of wills, registers of birth, and passenger lists. All available on the Archive.

At this point you may realize you have 20 tabs open and you've downloaded 4 gigabytes of DAR journals.You're hooked. Since your day is already shot you may as well give up any pretense of work and dive into the Military service records, and pension applications. All 5269 books of them.  And stop by the moving images section to watch some early health or marketing films, Lego stop motion movies, even the first kiss ever filmed. Or stream the ever popular Grateful Dead bootleg concert recordings. Whatever piques your interest, there will be something for you to enjoy. Best of all, the site is free, and more stuff is constantly being added, so there is always something new to read or look at.