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By TheophileEscargot (Sun Jul 30, 2006 at 12:52:52 AM EST) Me, Reading, Ireland, Photo (all tags)
Reading: "The Time Traveller's Wife". Ireland notes.

Back from Ireland. Had a good time. Two nights in Dublin, two nights in the countryside in Louth, two nights staying with my sister's family in Belfast. This time did the notes electronically using the Stowaway keyboard and phone: works pretty well for typing, though getting the notes onto the PC is stupidly difficult. (Wants to use Microsoft Office for the transfer, doesn't seem to encode the files to unicode correctly). Will keep trickling out the daily notes though: bit much for one diary.

Bit disappointed by some of the pictures. A few of the ones that I thought would be OK are afflicted by motion-blur, which you can't see on the phone-camera screen. Also the phone isn't ergonomically ideal for photography. To click the button on the right, you need to hold the left side firmly between forefinger and thumb, but since the lens is on the far left the most natural position puts your little and ring fingers directly in front of the lens. Maybe should get a proper camera.

Also having some computer problems: one of my peripherals seems to be intermittently sending my computers into an endless reboot-loop. Gah. Thank you USB, this never happened to me with serial ports.

What I'm Reading
Started The Time Traveller's Wife, and nearly put it down again straightaway: seemed pretty slushy and sentimental, with a gimmick mostly lifted from Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and the difficulties swept under the carpet

Also reminds me of the Diana Wynne Jones book (Fire and Hemlock) where the little girl falls in love with an adult man, and ends up marrying him. Kind of happened to Jones in real life apparently, but I don't think he was specifically targeting her in that case.

Finished it. Better than I thought it would be, but still a bit too romantic for me. Disliked the ending which makes it seem that she did a Greyfriars Bobby and waited her whole life for him to come back, which seems like a colossal waste of time: get over it and move on, woman. Or maybe the thing was supposed to be that she's gotten too conditioned to endlessly waiting for him, and that's why she can't move on. Anyway, a suitably tragic death scene goes some way towards taking the offensive sweetness out. Still, not recommended for anyone unless they have a high tolerance for romance

Thought they overdid the tragedy of running around naked though: seems to me like it would be a small price to pay for a limitless supply of winning lottery tickets. And the dangers of it seem somewhat contrived: getting locked in a freezing car park with no way out seems a bit unlikely, and the hunting accident was a bit stupid. Couldn't he just claim to be some kind of epileptic or sleepwalker: explain that he just gets these seizures, wakes up naked with no idea how he got there. A few indecent exposure charges wouldn't be too bad, and cops seem to deal with enough pointless timewasting that I doubt it would bother them that much to keep a blanket handy for the local nutty nudist every month or so. The Naked Rambler and that Californian guy who insisted on walking around naked both did deliberate, provocative, full-time public nudity and managed to cope with their regular arrests, so I don't see why occasional, intermittent nudity by a guy who's only seeking to cover up would be such a big deal.

Ireland Notes Day 1: Dublin
Staying in the Temple Bar area: Seems to be the equivalent of Covent Garden. Journey was easy enough: paid through the nose to fly from Heathrow, so the journey in was less of a nightmare than normal. Got the luxury bus into Dublin which was pretty easy, then a short and roundabout walk to the hotel. Took a stupid route as usual, but in this case that just meant 800 metres instead of 400.

Being a dork and typing this in a restaurant on my phone and keyboard: oh well, will never see these people again

Dublin looks strangely English apart from a few oddities like power masts, licence plates and pedestrian crossings. At least they drive on the correct side of the road here. I suppose the places I've been so far haven't been much different to anywhere else in International Touristland. Not really going to have time to do more than take a cursory look at Dublin: there's a lot here, but it's all very London-like and I need a holiday

Seems surprisingly busy for a Sunday: suspect it's not that much busier on other days, with tourists making up the bulk of the trade.

Hotel room pretty good, done in a smart, dark 1930s style. They gave me a small double, which might be a little cramped for two but suits me fine

Eating: had pan-fried veal with potatoes and veg. Did me OK since I'm not too fussy, but would have been too greasy for lots of people. Well, maybe that's what you get for eating in a tourist trap. Had lemon meringue pie for dessert: obviously mass-produced, but tarted up with lots of drizzling of stuff on the plate

Guinness was pretty good: smooth and seemed less bitter than it sometimes is, but not that much different to the way you get it in one of the few remaining decent UKian pubs.

Evening: Long walk along the river Liffey, took a couple of photos. Another pub, more Guinness. River Liffey

Liffeyside buildings

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The Time Traveler's Ending by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun Jul 30, 2006 at 02:29:19 AM EST
I read an interview somewhere with the author where she said she actually came up with the ending first, as a visual image (being an artist before being a writer) of the old woman and her younger, time-traveling husband coming to visit her. Strange to think that the book grew backwards from there, yet that scene seems almost tacked on, in the book.

Also, in the car park incident, as I recall the temperature was below zero Fahrenheit, which is way below freezing, so it doesn't take terribly long for that situation to become dire, I think.

There are other things that bothered me vaguely about the book, but not the same ones that you called out. It is a love story at core, and I was OK with that.

"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."

Weather by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Jul 30, 2006 at 03:22:02 AM EST
Well it certainly would get you in the end. But even so, it was an underground parking garage, protected from wind, snow and rain: I think a fit, healthy guy walking around would take a long time to suffer serious damage.

It just seems very contrived: no office to break into, no cars to break into to grab mats or blankets or rugs or upholstery, and yet they've bothered to seal this empty space completely securely from the inside.

What bothered you about it?
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Hmm by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun Jul 30, 2006 at 04:14:22 AM EST
I didn't remember it being underground, but he'd already been exposed to the elements for a while before getting there. Nor do I think he was trapped there, just that there was seemingly no better alternative at the time. Maybe it is contrived, but I didn't dwell on the details as I could buy the idea that, while randomly showing up in places naked is mostly an annoyance, sometimes you could end up pretty damn screwed.

The problem I had with it was the ol' time paradox of the fact that she loves him because he's visited her all her life and tells her so, but he only goes back to her in the future/past because they're already married. Narratively it is interesting because of what they do/don't know about each other (and themselves) at various times of their lives, but the way it's set up they seemingly have no choice but to be married, and I find that somewhat unsatisfying. I don't know why this bit of determinism troubles me when the more specific incidents of things working out just as they're supposed to, like the wedding itself and the pregnancy don't. I guess I just don't like Love by authorial fiat, but it's not quite enough to ruin the whole book for me.

"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."

[ Parent ]
0°F by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #4 Sun Jul 30, 2006 at 04:49:27 AM EST
At 0°F exposed skin is in danger of frostbite fairly quickly. Even if you keep your core temperature up, you're still in danger of losing extremities.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
esp. feet on pavement. by gzt (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Jul 30, 2006 at 10:38:33 AM EST
at 32°F, bare feet on pavement will get bad frostbite in a few minutes. i believe things get exponentially worse as temperatures drop.

[ Parent ]
I have personal experience by Alan Crowe (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 12:18:26 PM EST

I like to go barefoot. I live in Edinburgh, Scotland, and remain barefoot all but a few days through the winter. When the puddles are frozen it is obviously below 32°F. I wrap up warm so that my body has surplus heat to dump and my feet flush with blood. My toes remain pink, wiggly and happy, and I still have them all.

Far from getting frostbite in a few minutes, I do not find 32°F unpleasant enough to be bothered putting my shoes on, even when I will be wearing them later for social reasons and have them in my bag with me.

I don't know how big a role acclimatisation plays. Perhaps if you fly in from living in Congo and try going barefoot in the Scottish winter you will get frostbite. Also Edinburgh is on the Firth of Forth and never gets much below freezing so 0°F might be a different matter entirely, I won't know.

[ Parent ]
fair nuff. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 12:51:34 PM EST
some people's mileage may vary, but things do get exponentially worse. you're right, 32°F isn't so bad,  but some people will be frostbitten soon enough, and 0°F is quite dangerous.

[ Parent ]
more personal experience by LoppEar (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Aug 02, 2006 at 10:40:06 AM EST
Barefoot in wisconsin winters:
  1. Below 15 deg F or so it is unbearably cold after about 5 minutes - start to lose feeling etc.
  2. If there is existing snow that can stick to your feet, even a minute is enough to start to numb.
0F is decidedly different from 32F. But these are feet we're talking about, not core temp & death.

This abstract of a study suggests that nude exposure to 0F gives a survival time of 9hrs.

[ Parent ]
Time travelling love story by Phage (4.00 / 1) #6 Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:46:13 AM EST
Was handled better by The Forever War, and also as a sub-plot within The fall of Hyperion.
Relativity and relationships are never going to mix.

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