Saturday, 20 January, 2001
Debra and I rented Gladiator this weekend and spent an enjoyable few hours watching it. Good performances all around, I thought, and the action sequences were quite good. I liked how they sped things up during the fight scenes to give the illusion of things happening faster than normal. The effect was almost like watching dancers under a strobe light, and jibes well with what I remember from my boxing days. When the action gets fast and furious, you seem to see only snapshots rather than fluid motion.
The same thing happens when I'm bombing down a hill on my mountain bike: only the important parts register. The rest is lost in my reactions to the trees and big rocks that are in the way. It's this ability to discard unimportant sensory input that seems the first thing to go when I've been off the mountain bike for a while. When I get back on the bike after a few weeks or more, I find myself noticing little things that don't matter and as a result completely miss (or notice too late) the big bump that causes the fall. I wonder if this is the essence of being "out of practice" in any endeavor. Not so much the inability to see everything, but rather the inability to differentiate between the important and unimportant and automatically ignore those things that are of no consequence.