The Illusionist   (22.8.10)

Went to see Sylvain Chomet's new animated film The Illusionist last night. It's the follow-up to his 2003 Les Triplettes de Belleville, a brilliant black comedy about the kidnap of a defeated cyclist from Le Tour de France by the French Mafia. Chomet's unique style seemed to me even more refined and accomplished in The Illusionist, with the movements and interactions of every character overflowing with both comic accuracy and tearjerking honesty. The film realizes a previously unmade screenplay written by Jacques Tati; a contrast with the fantastical Triplettes de Belleville, Tati's down-to-earth story of everyday human generosity and frailty finds its perfect storyteller in Chomet, truly a master of hand-drawn animation.


Peaking   (21.8.10)

What do you do when you wake up at 4am with a muscle in your leg that won't stop twitching? Cycle 120km before lunch, that's what. It's a beautiful day in Manchester, the first proper sunshine for about six weeks...1 always windy up the top of Long Hill though. I'm peaking in two months.

1 Il pleure dans mon coeur


Progression   (14.8.10)

See that satan pollarding a tree,
That geometric man straightening a road:
Surely such passions are perverse and odd
That violate windows and set the north wind free.

No doubt tomorrow the world will be too straight.
Five hundred miles an hour will churn our dreams
Like surprised whales, when we lie a dead weight
In an ignorant sleep, and things will be what they seem.

— Francis Scarfe, from "Progression" (1940)


Custard Creams Crumble   (10.8.10)

I enjoyed the Torygraph's phrase "ever more indulgent cookies". It's laced with an endearing moral regret. I wonder if they gave Conrad Black custard creams in prison?

Breakthrough   (7.8.10)

Last night I experienced my first breakthrough about phenomenology to occur in a dream (that I can recall). I take this as evidence that spending several drunken hours on the dancefloor at Cruz 101, then falling asleep on the sofa in front of Eddie Izzard's "Dress to Kill" on at full volume, are valid research strategies.

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How it feels to write a PhD   (5.8.10)

XKCD 731

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Obey   (2.8.10)

The Rules.

It never gets easier, you just go faster. To put it another way, per Greg Henderson: "Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired."

(Thx DC)