I spent about an hour last night writing a long blog post about research techniques. Why did I bother?
At the time, I thought it was because I’m still processing all I learned, and it would help to set it down. Late last night, I realized that there was another reason:
Isaac would have loved this.
This is more proof that is a genius. “Social capital”? I work for Columbia University! Why don’t I make use of that fact?
A friend of mine calls me today. They ask, “Have you read any Jules Vernes?”
It’s not a question I get asked every day. I pause a moment then answer, “I’ve read his most popular works: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mysterious Island, From the Earth to the Moon, Journey to the Center of the Earth. Why?”
They respond, “How about the Morte d’Arthur? There’s a new English translation.”
I’ve completed scanning Isaac Bonewits’ calendars. I thought the process would take longer, but I followed the advice of : Put on some music on full blast when no one else is around, and the task will pass quickly. I should have known.
This does not remove the need for calendar parties. It means that they can go substantially faster: Just put the key stuff into the calendar. I’ll have images of the calendars for the details.
This may also represent the last of the material I’ll have to scan for the biography. Of course, these could be “famous last words”; tomorrow Phaedra Bonewits could call me with news that she found five more boxes of Isaac’s papers.
…and one step back.
Isaac Bonewits’ big wall calendars take twice as long to scan as I thought they did. I thought an entire page could be scanned by my big scanner at once, but the images are chopped off at the top or bottom. I’ll have to rescan those calendar pages in the flipped orientation so I have the entire image in my computer.
Isaac had the strong sense of personal history to keep all his old calendars, but not enough predictive power to get smaller ones for easier archival storage. Please, old friend, in the next lifetime buy smaller wall calendars.
(Of course, in his next lifetime all the calendars will be computerized, password-protected, and inaccessible to biographers. Isaac foresaw this issue, and printed out copies of his computer calendars. I don’t how historians of the future will function when all the key information may be behind unbreakable encryption.)
I have to vote for Barack Obama in 2012. The Republican slate consists of people with such an anti-intellectual stance that I cannot vote for them.
But with the President’s decision not to veto the NDAA, I dearly wish there was a Democratic contender running to oppose him.