Research distractions

Hello, hello! Unfortunately, this is not that post I might have hinted at last time I posted. You know, that one where I’ve been researching for months and months and yet still haven’t made more progress? I don’t really want to dive into why that is or what it’s about, but I came across an interesting tidbit of Milwaukee history today on accident, while not researching, might I add.

Apparently, on January 10, 1883, a fire broke out in Milwaukee’s Newhall House Hotel. It was a terrible fire which not only killed many people, but ruined the building. From what I understand, the Hilton is now there and I guess there are reports of ghosts? In specific rooms? I’m using so many question marks because???? I don’t know, I’m not an expert in ghosts and the paranormal (like, I know more than the average person, I guess, but I don’t call myself an expert) and….????????????? I am probably wrong, and I only found one site that actually mentions the Hilton being haunted, but the “hauntings” were so boring and non-ghostly. You know, run of the mill hair pulling and temperature drops? But, I guess if that house that’s supposedly haunted by Sharon Tate, even though she died a block away can have her show up, a ghost could show up in a building that didn’t exist until much much later, and choose specific rooms to haunt. It’s just the specificity of the haunting that gets me. Why only two rooms? And why those rooms? This is besides the point, however and I have now suddenly become very interested in this story. I kind of want to write a novel about it! But seeing that I can start a blog post and still not have it finished months later, I don’t see myself really committing to a story… Also, you should see my google docs and evernote notebooks. Both are very full of projects unfinished. Think of all the shows and books I never finished! I’m just one big ball of unfinished business.

So, that was my little note of the week/month/year? I do want to do more research into the Newhall House Hotel and it’s demise. It might derail that other post that is starting to sound like this epic, omg-plz-read,it will be the best!!!!!- article. Look  at my stupid grammar! I can’t even write proper english, how do I expect to finish that stupid post? It’s haunting me, guys! Haunting me! Which is funny, because it does have something to do with ghosts. OOOOOOOOO SPooooooooOOOOPpppy.

Hope you’re all well, and that you’re not getting distracted from personal endeavors or even homework or your job or life. Or relationships.

By the by, you ever come into contact with someone in public that you just can’t shake the feeling that they’re bad. Okay, let me rephrase that. You have an interaction with someone, a social interaction, and just from their expressions, choice of words, hell, even their eyes, you just get a weird feeling in your gut? Like they might have done something bad, or will do something bad? I don’t know, maybe I’m overreacting, but there was a guy in my store the other day. He didn’t do anything bad to me or anything terribly rude. I mean, he wasn’t the best customer. He wouldn’t just take the fact that I couldn’t give him more than the 4 coupons he was using because not only was it not allowed, but it wasn’t physically possible because the computer wouldn’t allow it. In addition to that, we were CLOSED and he wouldn’t get out… I tried to shake it off, but since Monday, I’ve been thinking about him and I just don’t feel good about him. Like a gut feeling. An intuition? Who knows. It’s probably my anxiety trying to take control. This is exactly why you should make sure you always take your meds, kids. Comment below if you’ve ever had this happen! (The interaction that keeps nagging at you, not forgetting the meds)


The 30th Anniversary of Chernobyl

Due to popular demand by me, this is my obligatory Chernobyl post for the 30th anniversary. I’m not going to write a large, 5,000 word essay about the event and it’s consequences, because I know that you’ll be able to read several articles from major papers online from the event. Not only that, but there are many scientific reports on the incident if you’re into that kind of stuff. Instead of a long-winded post, I’m going to create kind of a mini-masterpost about the event. I’ll include articles you can read, books I’ve read/am reading, even pictures.

Chernobyl Children: This is an organization that helps with the children who are still living in the zone are are still suffering from Chernobyl.


  • USA Today’s AMAZING Interactive Article
  • Wall Street Journal’s article: This article is really interesting because it visits the topic of the new cover for the reactor. Currently, the sarcophagus is the only barrier between people and the contaminated reactor. Except, the sarcophagus was built in a hurry, so it wasn’t built well, or with good materials. It’s been falling apart for years, and was only expected to last for about 30 years (so, basically it’s expired). The new cover will go over the reactor sometime in 2017.
  • History Channel’s article: This gives 8 facts that you might not have known about Chernobyl. Not to toot my horn or anything, but I already knew all of that. You might not, however! It’s a quick and interesting read which visits facts such as the wildlife boom after, the cleanup process, and even talks about how the Soviet Union tried to cover it up.
  • US New’s article: This article gives a quick look at the numbers (i.e. deaths, amount of land in the exclusion zone).
  • Nat Geo’s article on the new tomb: This is another article about the new tomb being  constructed. They interview a Liquidator (someone who was n the clean up team after the accident), as well has showing some really cool pictures.
  • Nat Geo’s other article about the animals of the exclusion zone.
  • An Interview with Gerd Ludwig: This is an interview with a photographer who was one of the first Western Photographers to get access to the reactor. He also created a book with pictures of Chernobyl called “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl”, which has been on my wish list for years. I remember holding it once while I was a Barnes & Noble. It was kind of a religious experience for me.


  • The Sky Unwashed by Irene Zabytko: A fictional story about an old woman who is displaced from the explosion.
  • Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexivich: Gives first hand accounts of people who were effected by the accident.
  • The Boy from Reactor 4 by Orest Stelmach: Book one of a series about a boy who lived in the exclusion zone. A really interesting story that also involves the Ukrainian mob. FUN STUFF! I don’t know about the newer books in the series, or if this is still happening but when I bought it, some of the money was donated to Chernobyl Children, which was the number one reason why I bought it. It ended up being a good read. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to read the second one, which I do own. I need to finish that…
  • All That is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon: A book that I have yet to read, but own. It apparently looks at the collapse of the Soviet Union, using Chernobyl as a focal point.
  • The Long Shadow of Chernobyl by Gerd Ludwig: I mentioned this book above. It’s a collection of photographs of Chernobyl by Gerd Ludwig and its kinda expensive, which is why I don’t own it. Yet.

Besides these, I’ve read several other books on the topic for essays, but won’t list them because there are MANY and a lot of them are really boring if you’re not that into it. However, if you go to your local library, or your universities library, I’m sure you’ll stumble onto a jackpot of resources.


Good Photography:

This wasn’t as long as I was hoping, but I am going to have to conclude it there. I’ll probably add on to as time goes on, because I am always on the lookout for more stuff on Chernobyl. Hope this was helpful and also remember that if you say that Chernobyl Diaries is your favorite movie I will judge you hard.

Until next time!




Nathan Hale and dreams

Hello all! This is a small post to tell you two things: The first being that I have rediscovered the amazing web-comic The Dreamer. Check it out. It’s about a girl who time travels in her dreams to the American Revolution, where she meets

My personal favorite cover.

historical figures like Benjamin Tallmadge, Alexander Hamilton or my personal fave, and love of my life, Nathan Hale. Because of this, it has come to my attention that I may have to write my essay proposal on him because I’ve been fascinated with him longer than I have even known about Benjamin Tallmadge, and even though

One of the issues with Nathan on the cover.

the two knew each other, and one was a successful spy, and the other wasn’t, I still have a spot for Nathan Hale in my heart. So, my second thing to tell you guys was how excited I am to be reading about Nathan Hale.  Every time I think of him I get sad, so I guess I’ll just have to write a really great essay proposal so he’d be proud! Or he’s probably thinking I’m creepy, but I mean, who doesn’t already think that?

In other news, I’m going to go and read a few chapters in the Nathan Hale book and then watch Saving Mr. Banks to increase the tears. Hope you’re all doing well, and that you’re excited about fall! I am! October is my birthday month, and Halloween happens this month too! So, basically October is the best. On the 30th is the Twenty One Pilots concert, and then on Halloween Sarah Vowell is going to be in Milwaukee, so I am going to try and go because she is my hero, and her new book is about the Revolution (kinda), so I’m pretty stoked about that! So, until the next time I have more stuff to recommend!

Dr. Price’s Delicious Flavoring Extracts and other adventures in the collections

Hello! I’m working on a post, but am having trouble finishing it. I also want to say that this school year, having only had one hectic week so far, is turning into a stressful year. I have to work much harder than some people in school because I’m awful at remembering things unless I think they’re interesting (which by the way makes being a history major hard!), or even getting the nerve to not be a mess in general when it comes to my anxiety. It also takes me an insane amount of time to do the readings assigned, so I might not even have much time.

On the bright side, I do have to tell all of you about the awesome thing I overloaded my schedule on! I get to deal with my schools collection of artifacts! We’re going to be cataloging items from the Grignon Mansion that we acquired from the museum down the road, History at the Castle (which in itself is insanely interesting since it’s also got a permanent collection on Houdini, but that’s another story for another post!). I thought I would do some research on the Grignon Mansion to better understand the objects I’ll be cataloging, which will be the next post after this. First, I want to explain the process of cataloging to you guys.

Before you groan and click away from this post, know this, it’s not as simple as it sounds! It can be quite hard, really. Sometimes the items you have are really hard to describe, which means you might not even know what they are!

While I haven’t done this myself (yet! I get to do it tomorrow morning), from what my professor showed us, this is how it goes: First you get the item you want to catalog. Then you need to go to the program you use for cataloging. Lawrence uses a program called Past Perfect, a very fitting name if you ask me. You select what kind of item you have. This may require you to look it up in a book. We have this book that lists basically EVERYTHING EVER. For the item he showed us, a glass bottle that was once filled with “Dr. Prices Delicious Flavoring Extracts”, we used glass bottle as the category.

Then you need to explain where its from, what lot it was from, who found it and when before giving  it a number for filing. Lawrence has a specific way of going about that. I can’t remember at this moment exactly, but I’ll come back and edit this once I’ve done this by myself. Once you enter all of this, you write on a tag or a sliver of white paint the item number. And there! Done!

So, it doesn’t seem that hard, but you need to know some things before doing it, like figuring out what the item is. I couldn’t read the bottle from where I was standing, so I would have never guessed it had held extracts at one point. However, upon closer inspection, the words were extremely clear. Something that probably doesn’t happen often.

Here’s one I found on etsy. It was sold out, but click through to see the page.

This got me thinking. Who was Dr. Price? Was he really a doctor? What were his delicious extracts exactly? And why did this mansion have them?

First off, fun fact! Apparently he was an ancestor of Vincent Price! What? Cool! He had an MD in pharmaceutical chemistry, and apparently invented baking powder. The company itself was located in Chicago, not surprising since the Grignon mansion is in Kaukauna Wisconsin, meaning it wasn’t hard for them to get a hold of this bottle. However, from what I’ve gathered, his items were popular! His extracts came in flavors such as vanilla, orange and lemon. I found a really informative blog post about this Dr. Price here, which is where I got this information. And yet another article on Dr. Price, but this one more about someone who somehow came across the fact that Vincent Price’s grandfather may have been even more well known in his time, than Vincent Price himself is.

Duke university also had a really interesting collection of scans of Dr. Price’s cook book from 1904, which the first lovely blog post I mentioned above also mentioned. Here are a few of the images:

Unfortunately, these bottles could possibly be littered just about everywhere in the midwest, so my school doesn’t have a really rare find. This thought it only confirmed from this discussion I found on a website. However, it’s still really cool to me. I felt like I was touching history. I guess it goes to show how much of a history nerd I am.

I’m not going to get too in depth on this search because it’s 2 AM and I need to get to the collections at 9 AM, so the smart thing to do would stop this right now before I get too into this search. I will definitely tell you guys more about what I discover in the collections. I’m sure there has to be more interesting things. I feel like the guys on American Pickers getting excited over dirty, broken stuff! Which, I mean, let’s be honest, I’m trash for early 1900’s trash!

By the way, bottle sellers appear to get a bit catty on forums. Much like scuba divers when debating diving on ships like the Kamloops near Isle Royale. Another post for another time.