November 21st, 2004

Quick, sotic

Flicking between TV channels early this morning (7ish), Channel 4 was showing coverage of a Triathlon, and I was reminded of an observation I had made to myself before but forgotten that there is something distinctly odd and geeky, for want of a better term, in appearance about a lot of the Triathletes. They certainly look nothing like Marathon runners or swimmers, maybe more like cyclists.
It is not readily apparent to me why this is so. A search for some of the traditional 'terms used in Internet searches for flushing out hard core geeks' (TM) (pmcray will know the ones I mean :-) ) and 'triathlon' yield some interesting web pages.

I assume that there may be some element of the 'geeky people tend to get into sport after school if not later in life and then, possibly because there are no unhappy memories of it, choose something not done at school' syndrome.

Alarmingly, I can see the appeal and if you had asked me 'so tell me Mr, Weasel, which sport would you like to be good at, though obviously given your lack of application to, well very much really, it is frankly highly unlikely?' then I would have probably had this at the top of my list. This would have been true before I made this observation consciously and therefore the answer would not be out of any desire to conform to the stereotype. I shall add it to the more quixotic end of my list of ambitions, for the upcoming new year's list on the lines of talking_sock's list for 2004 here.

(I feel I should explain that I didn't particularly enjoy sport at school but not in any dramatic 'ohmygodthishasf***edupmylife' sort of way. In my case it was not being picked last or almost last when people were lined up to choose teams in PE at school that discouraged me from sporting activity - I was, but I didn't give a shit, basically. The biggest influence I think was that none of my family were remotely into sport.)

(if you do a search on Google for 'sotic' you get, inter alia,
Sport On The Internet Consultancy
Special Operations Target Interdiction Course (WTF???)
Societe Technique de l'Indutrie Chimique
Società di Ortopedia e Traumatologia dell’Italia Centrale

I think I like the last one the most.)

... the next summer I returned to St. Pierre, but Marie-Claude had gone, and with her my childhood

As you can see, I am working my way up to writing an entry about my trip to Australia (possibly even separate public and friends-only posts if I can be bothered to write the friends-only one).

Anyway, Singapore Airlines has video-on-demand with large numbers of films. As some of you know, I hate flying and my preferred strategy involves sitting with my eyes shut for as large a proportion of the flight as I can manage, however when the flights are 14 hours and 8 hours in one day, the exciting possibilities of sitting still with ones eyes shut begin to wear out, so I watched a couple of Japanese films with English subtitles.

The first one was Sekai no Chushin de, Ai wo Sakebu, rendered into English as a number of different things, mainly 'Spirited away to a romance from the past' and 'Crying out love, in the centre of the world' (and variations). Many of you will have heard my second hand witticism of lots of French films ending up with a voice-over saying something on the lines of the title of this entry (I will be hiding from dotty now, obviously). Well, this film has all this and more so - cute Japanese teenagers in a peaceful seaside town, doomed love, flashbacks, funerals and arty scenes where characters from the flashback interact with characters from the present day story. It is based on a novel by Kyoichi Katayama which unaccountably doesn't seem to have been translated into English despite it allegedly being the best selling novel of all time by a Japanese writer. The voice-overs are achieved by having the teenagers recording messages to each other on cassettes and playing them back on their Walkmans (there is an amusing scene in the present day where a character tries to buy a Walkman to play the old cassettes and has difficulty getting one that plays cassettes as opposed to MDs / CDs / solid state.).
It is let down by the present day story making little sense - the main reason I would like to read the book and/or to see it again when not in the lowered state of consciousness entered into on long plane journeys is to see if it does in fact make more sense than appeared to me at the time.

The second film, Heaven's Bookstore was so bizarre I was beginning to believe I had dreamed it. I cannot do better than this synopsis:
"Kenta, a young pianist, loses his job and wakes up the next morning to find himself in a bookstore in heaven. He is told that he is not actually dead, but has been given a temporary job there in order to learn lessons about life from his customers and colleagues, including the beautiful Shoko. Kenta discovers that Shoko was a talented pianist who came to heaven without finishing the piano suite she was composing to accompany a fireworks display created by her fiancée, Takimoto. Kenta resolves to complete the suite.

Meanwhile, on earth, Shoko’s niece is attempting to restage Takimoto’s fireworks show, which ceased the year of Shoko’s death twelve years ago. As heaven and earth intersect, a miracle is about to begin."