Skip to main content

wrong turn

as some of you are aware, i have a long-term project building a family tree. this has led me to some really interesting discoveries, like the fact that i am partly descended from crazy cat people, including the patron saint of crazy cat ladies, that a progenitor of mine once defeated a french naval assault with an army of scarecrows, that my well-established scottish roots are just as much norwegian as scottish, and that a relative of mine from the early middle ages let one rip with such ferocity that that's basically all he's remembered for. but this week, while i was in the midst of adding some newly obtained information, i found that some of my previous research had gone in an unexpected direction: the wrong one.

where possible, i try to track down stories of my better-known relatives and in doing so this week, i realised that i couldn't connect one of my greatĖ£ grandfathers to his son through any outside sources. what's worse that i found numerous sources that connected father and son to entirely different families. generations of the family tree were screwed up, entire branches had been wrongly included while others were absent. something was terribly wrong and that something was me.

probably the most embarrassing thing about this whole debacle is that the mistake should have been obvious if i'd paid closer attention to the document that forms the very basis of my genealogical research, a family history typed up by my grandfather that stays with me always, even though i never had the privilege of meeting the man. [he died the year before i was born.] while a little unclear at times [there are a lot of macdonalds in my past and they're often from very different branches], it does have some solid information on the origins of the clan and the origins of our particular branch. it should have been a red flag that the person credited with founding our branch was nowhere to be found in my goddamned tree.

now that i've found my error and have also found the correct information to replace it, i get to embark on the enjoyable task of entering the new information one person at a time. it's like data entry without getting paid! the trickiest part is actually removing the incorrect names because, as often happens with large extended families from sparsely populated areas, some of those people appear multiple times in the tree. they might be wrongly placed in one position, but they are rightly placed in another. so i have to make sure that i delete only the instance where it shouldn't appear, rather than deleting the entire record. i know me. there's basically a 0% chance that i don't screw this up. [you mean screw this up more -ed.]

the added wrinkle is that, at a certain point in the past, the wrong bit becomes right again. huh? well, since scottish clans come from a common progenitor, after a few centuries, you get back to where you started. so all the stuff in the middle is wrong and there are lots of branches in between that have to be removed, but the beginning and the ending are fine. so i've built a ten story building from which i now need to remove floors four through six. an architect would recommend razing the whole thing and rebuilding because doing it any other way is stupid and dangerous. luckily for all of us, i'm not an architect, which means i'm still going to try fixing it while keeping the stuff that still belongs. i shall be doing this during the copious amounts of free time i absolutely don't have.

one possible positive outcome of this is that one of the branches to be removed comes from the savage family. the savages remain part of my heritage, but only in one half, which means that at least my parents won't be cousins anymore.

if anyone's looking for me, i'll be in front of the computer, typing names and dates, probably cursing a lot. always check your work, people.

p.s. :: yes, i will be doing a final dinner for eat the cup 2018. it's coming shortly because i'm gonna need something to distract me from this disaster. 


Martin Rouge said…
So Haus der Luge

as long as you're here, why not read more?

white trash

yes, my lovelies, i have returned from the dead, at least for the time it takes me to write this post. this is not just another piece of observational drivel about how i haven't been taking care of the blog lately, although i clearly haven't. on that front, though, the principal cause of my absence has actually been due to me trying to get another, somewhat related project, off the ground. unfortunately, that project has met with some frustrating delays which means that anyone who follows this blog [perhaps there are still a few of you who haven't entirely given up] would understandably be left with the impression that i'd simply forsaken more like space to marvel at the complexity of my own belly button lint. [it's possible you had that impression even before i disappeared.]

ok, enough with that. i have a subject i wanted to discuss with you, in the sense that i will want and encourage you to respond with questions, concerns and criticism in the comments or by em…

i'm definitely someone altogether different

about a hundred years ago, i remember having a partner who told me that, rather than writing the sort of ambiance-oriented crap [he didn't say crap, i'm saying it] that i was naturally driven to write, i should just compose something like the harry potter books. this wasn't out of any sense of challenging me to do new things but because of the desperate hope that my love of writing could be parlayed into something profitable.

my reaction at the time was "i just can't". and that was honestly how i felt because i didn't believe that that kind of story was in me. for the record, i still don't think that anything like the potter-hogwarts universe is in me. i'm not a fan of fantasy literature generally speaking and i feel like there's a richer experience to be examined in looking at our experience as regular humans being part of the rational, limited, everyday world and at the same time being able to feel connected to something that, for lack of a…

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…