Tuesday, July 17, 2007

General fatigue on the furnishings

Check it out (courtesy of Nico):

Investigation Nights

Dr Jason Braithwaite has been investigating this case exclusively for a number of years and is now in a position to invite others in to assist with the scientific research project. With the full support of the owners Dr Braithwaite and his team plans to invite sensible, professionally minded individuals and teams to help gather data on this fascinating case. Unscientific séance type activities play no part in our investigation and are not welcome at the location. We hope you will respect our wishes on this matter.

The Location
The location in question is an ancient Pele tower in Cumbria (circa 13th -14th century) with a strong reputation for being haunted. It is not well known nationally and we are protecting the identity as much as possible at this point. This is mainly because this allows us (and you) to control, to some degree, prior knowledge and suggestion influencing individuals. Furthermore, in the case of testing self-claimed psychics (in the context of a scientific experiment) this also controls for any detailed prior research being carried out. The tower is set in private grounds and you will have full and exclusive access to all tower rooms for the duration of your stay. You will need your own car / transport to reach the location as public transport is some distance away. The location is also fully equipped with a functional kitchen, sitting room, fitted bathrooms and furnished bedrooms. There are 5 large bedrooms in total with most containing 3 - 4 beds (some doubles, some twins, some mixed). The tower can sleep up to 14 people with people sharing rooms and beds. As the tower is very spacious, more can be accommodated though these extra people would have to sleep on sofas or the floor. This location is ideally suited to serious investigations, training investigations and teaching. At the moment only weekend days (Friday / Saturday) are being offered though others could become available on request.

The Price
For total and full access a fee of £45 per-head, per-night is required. If you would like to stay for 2 consecutive nights, a reduced fee of £70 per-head, per-night for investigators is required. This price covers location hire, electricity and hot water used, and general fatigue on the buildings furnishings. The location can also be booked for more extended stays - please ask for details. This option might be preferred if you are travelling some distance to get to the location. Please also note that this location has fully fitted bathroom facilities including bath and shower contained in the tower so it is fully self contained. A minimum of eight people are required per booking. Payment will need to be given in advance to secure the location for your personal needs. Once a booking has been made and payment received, you will receive confirmation and details of the location can be sent to you. Alternatively, you may want this withheld and you could be met in Cumbria at a nearby location and taken directly to the location either by Dr Braithwaite or a member of his team.

What to bring
Although duvets are provided we recommend you bring your own bedding / sleeping bags. Furthermore, you will need to bring your own food / drinks to last the evening or weekend. If you are an investigation team, please feel free to bring any equipment you like as long as it generally conforms to scientific research (i.e., no ouija boards etc).

If you are interested please contact information@mysteriousbritain.co.uk

{Please note that Dr Jason Braithwaite receives no financial profit from this location. This would question his impartiality. Dr Braithwaite is director of research at the site and has chosen to invite other researchers in to help with the project. The price is kept low by Dr Braithwaite running the administration of bookings rather than the owner spending considerable time on the matter}

I particularly like the idea of training investigations! This premise would make a great young-adult novel, eh?!?

Hmmm--it occurs to me very powerfully just now, and not for the first time, that my underlying malaise is resulting from the fact that I--completely unrealistically, by the way--thought I was going to be able to write a new novel this summer, but my time's otherwise committed till I finish this academic book and submit tenure materials at the end of August.

Needless to say, the anxiety (writing a new novel is both an internal and an external need, I just miss something when I go too long without writing something new, malnutrition of the soul!) gets displaced onto obsessiveness about triathlon-related training.

I have taken a positive step on cycling-related stuff, I hate asking for favors but I've asked a friend who's a very good cyclist to help me out with a bit of coaching, and we will have a couple sessions in the next few weeks so that I am not a timid and incompetent bag of nerves when the New York Road Runners bike-run class starts in August. I am figuring that there will be at least a few other people who are as inexperienced as I am on the bike, it is perhaps not the kind of class a very accomplished cyclist would think about taking, and the running part should be fine--in any case it is more exciting to be one of the worst people in the class, it's not so fun or challenging being the fastest or most accomplished. At the open-water swim clinic I did on Sunday at Coney Island (the wetsuit thing is great btw!), there was a girl who really was having water phobia, she was clearly a good pool swimmer and had even done a couple triathlons already but was just freaking out. It was impressive, the way that she steeled herself in the end to do it anyway, and it reminded me that though I am a bit nervous about all this bike stuff it is nowhere near being an actual phobia, just timidity, and I will easily be able to deal with it.

I had a good swim workout last night, and the coach told me afterwards about this which I desperately want to get involved with. But there are a couple short-term obstacles, which I must figure out how to address once it's September and I can actually spare the attention.

I really only can do front crawl--well, backstroke's pretty obvious, I guess I can do that too though in practice I never do because of the risk of bumping into people when you're sharing a lane--I never learned breast stroke when I was a kid, let alone butterfly, not even in the most rudimentary fashion. I had a couple brief bits of lesson on breast stroke this winter, but decided that in terms of priorities I had to concentrate on front crawl till I got a lot better--the body movement is so different, it was really throwing me off to try and learn it at the same time as totally reconfiguring the front crawl (the theory of swimming just changed since I was a kid!), and front crawl is both what I like and also the relevant thing for the triathlon stuff.

(I really do kind of love swimming, being in the actual ocean on Sunday was strikingly enjoyable--must find some more outdoor swim opportunities before the end of the season.)

But to do real master's swim stuff like I want to, I've got to know all the strokes--I think I could do without butterfly for now, in my experience people are pretty understanding of reasonable limitations on skills, but I've got to have breast and back or there is no point.

And while that club has an appealing-looking triathlete-centered i.e. mostly front crawl workout that I definitely could do right now, it has the fatal flaw of meeting from 5:30-6:30am at the John Jay pool, which would mean being on the subway by 4:50am.

I am not an early riser, but I am willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of advancement in learning!

So last night I was all, like, "I am going to insanely get up at 4:30 and swim three days a week in the early morning and it will be great!"

However prior experience of such commitments makes my rational brain tell me now (it was even telling me last night) that nothing I could learn could be worth the further erosion of already moderately disastrous sleep. I would love to switch onto a 10pm bedtime schedule, but it would mean going against an entire lifetime of nightowlishness, I think it is simply not possible--and I have learned my lesson on this before, I remember for instance the early-morning (well, early in context of undergraduate life, it was only 9am really but I always had to get up by 6:30 to finish the million hours of homework) intensive Russian course freshman year of college that tipped me over the edge into extreme sleeplessness; and also the Monday-Wednesday-Friday 8:15am freshman composition class I taught at Albertus Magnus College during the spring semester of my third year of grad school, I wanted the classroom experience and I badly needed the meager extra amount of money it would get me but it was a forty-five minute walk from where I lived, I had to leave by 7:25 at the latest, never went to sleep before 3 of course, and again it tipped me over the edge into utter exhaustion and depression!

I have the urge to take on these things as a kind of remedy for mild-to-moderate malaise, in other words, but they quickly become part of the problem rather than any kind of solution. And I've been getting up super-early lots of days for training-related stuff as it is--like for these 7:30 Saturday runs--the 5:45 waking time in fact has become a fairly standard feature of life, at least a couple times a week, and I am no closer to becoming an early riser or a good sleeper than I ever was.

So the real answer to the problem is that in September I must learn breaststroke and backstroke well enough that I can join the evening swim workouts in October.

Also, to take a more positive view, I think it's worth trying to be a bit of a purist on this sport stuff. I want to learn how to be a proper cyclist with all the cycling etiquette and training and group ride skills that triathletes sometimes neglect, and I also know that I will not have self-respect as a swimmer unless I can do those other strokes too and participate in a real swimming workout rather than just cheating and doing front crawl only.

My heart is rather with front crawl, I kind of don't see the point of breast stroke (it's so slow in comparison!) though I think back stroke is very enjoyable, but I will just have to learn better! And it will be an exciting day when I figure out how to do a dolphin kick. I had one very hapless attempt at it in February, but the teacher was perhaps somewhat inexperienced and I really couldn't get it at all. All right, more swimming lessons in September, money no object....

(Oh dear, I have a comical confession, too, which is that around the edges of work and training this week I have indulged in a ridiculous quantity of young-adult swim lit! Lynn set me off on it by making some book recommendations in the comments section on a recent swimming-related post, I immediately ordered the relevant books from Amazon and basically devoured them, it was pretty funny! The really great one is Tessa Duder's In Lane Three, Alex Archer--semi-autobiographical novel about a New Zealand swimmer in the late 50s trying for a place on the Olympic team--and then I found out that there are sequels also, but the only one I could get was the out-of-sequence Alessandra, where she wins a bronze medal in the Rome Olympics--must get hold of the other ones.... Also, very addictive but somewhat less to my taste as clearly written by a psychologist and with a bit too much family-issues-type stuff, but the voice and character stuff is good, and of course the swim workouts are the highlights for me, a bunch of novels by Chris Crutcher--perhaps I had better withhold the detail of how many, and I've still got one more here, too, must save it as reward for some work-related accomplishment...)


  1. I may be wrong, but I suspect once you master the other strokes you will enjoy them as well!

  2. Oh you must read Stotan by Chris Crutcher. My whole swim team had to read it.

  3. I did read Stotan! And a lot of others that are all almost the same as it! Kind of love 'em...

    And yes, Wendy, I do think that I am going to like those other strokes a LOT once I know them, including breast stroke. I like knowing that I am about to learn something interesting and different from what I know already, it is like signing up for a language class only less mentally stringent!

  4. It would be so much easier to design a training schedule if we could just drop off to sleep in an instant, regardless of having done intervals a half-hour before!

    Do I actually enjoy butterfly? Maybe for 25 yards... and we're in a 25m pool....

  5. Oh, yes, it would magically easier if sleep was within conscious command. This REALLY is a design flaw, where's the on-off switch that robots have?!? I could really use one of those...

    If I can actually learn how to do butterfly, my sense of accomplishment and pride will outweigh the horrors and tiringness of actually executing it...