July 1st, 2006

krazy koati

Hey, Mister Tambourine Man

Landed, safe, sound, and in spaceroo's clutches. This is the buildup to his wedding, and I'm hoping to have enough time to see and do some interesting things, although in hindsight I should have allowed more time for it. I've proven beyond whatever faint doubts I might have had before that one week just isn't enough time to be back home, and it probably won't be enough time here, even though it's actually eleven days. Back home I didn't have the time I needed to see half the people I wanted to see, although we were able to make enough time for a big family gettogether and eat. When that includes one vegan, one ordinary vegetarian, one person who's very suspicious of this non-meat stuff people keep slipping on his plate, and other people of the usual range of tastes you can imagine that big dinners aren't common affairs. But now I can go through a similar rush of not really having enough time to see all the west coast folks I mostly know from online. That's fair, isn't it?

The Railway Journey, my recent read, mentions some interesting phenomena such as people quickly acclimating to the joyous flight sensation of railroad travel up to the point that they find it dull to spend so much time seeing backgrounds change either too quickly or too slowly to process. There's some obvious parallels to the airplane experience. Then there's also the discovery of just how tiring a long train journey could be; it's hard not to wonder if the plane might be tiring for the same cause. An 1850s Lancet article speculated that such long travels were tiring because the regular jolts and shocks of the trip caused muscles to get excited in trying to correct the motion, so that even though you weren't obviously doing anything, you were doing enough work to get rather tired. I'd be curious what the current thinking on travel fatigue is. Every other medical idea from the 1850s is now seen as either hilarious or dangerously wrong, but the constant-muscle-stimulus idea has a molecule of plausibility to it.

Trivia: First prize for the Abbé Croze's calendar reform contest was awarded in 1887 to astronomer Gustav Armelin, who proposed four quarters of 91 days each, a leap day of December 31, and every year a January 0. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar And Its History, E G Roberts.

Currently Reading: The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century. Wolfgang Schivelbusch.