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20.11.01

Today I read. A lot.

When I got home I felt really lost. Zeke was using the computer, so I couldn't be online. I certainly couldn't do non-computer things while signed on to IM in case someone decided to talk to me. So I felt really disconnected when I went up to my room. I don't even have a stereo there (not that it would do me much good, as my CDs are all at school anyway).

So I got lots of reading done, having no distractions. I finished Seeing Like A State. It wasn't that much reading, and I would have just left it until I got back from break, but I need to use it in my anthropology paper that I'm writing over the next few days. I'm using it in my geography seminar paper, too. And as I think about my honors thesis (more on that in a bit), I think it will be key there as well.

Then I picked up Gold of the Gods, by everyone's buddy Erich von Däniken. I'm not entirely sure why. I think some part of me just needed to read something -- a book, preferrably -- that was inconsequential and had no bearing on anything for any class. Crackpot archaeology is always good for that. Although I could probably rationalise it somehow -- maybe saying that since von Däniken is unfortunately more widely known than, say, Tom Dillehay, I should be familiar enough with his ideas to be able to point out how patently absurd they are.

Then I started in on background research for my thesis. I decided suddenly a few weeks ago that I was going to do my project on Aboriginal fire ecology. I've had mixed luck with the sudden inspiration system of picking topics. My summer research fiasco started as an inspiration. So did the Oneida Land Claim GIS project that gave us so many problems. But my geography paper on the Aral Sea, which is working out ok, was conceived 20 minutes before I committed to it. So we'll see.

What I can say now is that, contrary to expectations, I'm finding myself interested in this. I don't mean to say I expected the whole project to be drudgery. But I had thought there would be a lot of boring background reading on how fire ecology works before I got to the good stuff about Aboriginal burning practices. Anthropology is great, but I thought the biology and physics of it would be a pain. But that isn't proving to be the case. Maybe it's just a matter of Rob Whelan being an accessible writer, as I'm sure some of the more technical papers on the subject would bore the crap out of me, but I'm genuinely interested in how fire works. I just need to keep this up for a few more months.

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