I’m a huge fan of The Martian, I first read it in eBook form and loved it so much that I bought the audio book and I’ve just been to see the movie in 3D. It’s one of those rare experiences that has worked perfectly in all three media, but the movie was the crowning glory and captured the essence of the book and improved on it, especially in the portrayal of Mark’s emotions. The book had time to throw a few more challenges Mark’s way, especially during his long journey in the rover, but the movie captured the splendour of Mars in a way the books hardly touched on. I’m really looking forward to sharing the experience again with Debbie, but this time it will be in 2D as Debbie can’t cope with 3D.
While the movie marked the high point of my day, I needed a pick me up because I had a pretty grotty night. I stepped down my medication doses again last night and as a result had to face the withdrawal. I didn’t get to sleep until 2:30 and woke in a glum mood. I did my best to lift my spirits, breakfasting at the Beach Terrace Cafe and writing a blog post – A New Microsoft - at Caffe Nero. I also decided that the movie would be key to keeping my mood elevated in the afternoon, especially as Debbie is out with friends this evening. But how to get there? I talked myself in and out of cycling several times, each time I looked at the wind speed I decided to watch it at St Annes cinema, but finally I forced myself into my bike having made a deal with myself. Cycle at least as far as Blackpool and then decide. In the end the route to Blackpool was exhausting and I was resigned to watch at the Odeon (not my favourite) but as I reached the comedy carpet I felt my second wind developing and powered on to Cleveleys. My dithering indecision at home meant I only just made it with a few second to spare, but I felt great.
Aside from the sheer excitement of the movie, which had me on the edge of my seat the whole time, the real lasting impact was the result of seeing what can be done when the world commits to a challenge. Although saving one man is a rather trivial challenge, the underlying message of the movie seemed to be that the best minds in the world, all working together, using the best that science has to offer and with the political and financial backing can achieve the seemingly impossible. In the end of course inspirational people make all the difference, but it’s a positive message that’s much needed if we are going to tackle some of the global challenges we face, loss of top soil, dwindling reserves of fresh water, climate change, population growth, religious tensions etc.
What really got me on the bike though was listening to the book Finding Ultra, as I left home Rich Roll had just completed five iron man distance triathlons, on five different Hawaiian islands in seven days, each one 140 miles in total, some of them against gale force winds and strong ocean currents, most with way too little sleep and food. What an amazing accomplishment and I was baulking at a single 24 mile cycle ride, because it was windy! I finished the book on the way home and overall I really enjoyed it, he’s on determined guy and he must have a special kind of body to thrive on the sort of punishment he puts it through. Listening to him talk about his vegan diet doesn’t tempt me to emulate him, but it does reinforce my current plan to east less meat and of only the highest quality.
The journey home was of course fantastic, a strong tail wind, a motivational movie and book and fantastic views (see the photo above). When I got home I enlisted Tessa’s help to get my bike in the boot of my car and packed some food for tomorrow, I’m planning a trip to The Lakes. Right now I’m watching the last series of It’s Not Easy Being Green, which I’m really enjoying.