Monday, January 02, 2006

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by bthemn.

A remnant photo from a pre Christmas trip to Ikea with Ang's dad. Fun, fun.

thoughts on the new year...

I've never been much for resolutions. I generally work towards goals.
Sometimes those look more like resolutions like the fact that I need
to work on my climbing this year. Working on that climbing is going to
mean, at the very least, trying to tackle some of the weight. I think
that's always a goal though... weight loss. I don't know when working
on losing weight has ever not been part of my goals. Inevitable I
sabotage myself and never actually go past a certain marker (which in
my case tends to be 225) but it stays as a goal.

At the Y yesterday I did a weigh in for the year. Last year, I started
out around 237. I hit the holidays WAY too hard and the cycling off
season lasted a little too long. This year, with a much more active
off season (though I did get so busy last month that there was an
almost month long gap) I'm starting off at 232. With cycling season
scheduled to start in a couple of weeks that should start coming down
soon. Who knows. I'd like to drop 20lbs or an equivalent amount of
body fat, but we'll see if that happens.

My main goals for the year, sporting wise? I want to get back to
long-distance tri racing. (though racing might not be exactly the word
to use). I was hoping to do an Ironman, but with paying off debt, I
think the local half-ironman in Boulder is going to be a lot more

I'd also really like to run the Pike's Peak Ascent this year. It's my
challenge to the Triathlete Alliance to come out to Colorado Springs
and do it with me. I don't know that there's a more challenging half
marathon in the country. 13.3 miles up 7,000 some odd feet. It sounds
hellish, but it sounds curiously fun. It would be great to run it with
some tri-blogger friends.

Cycling wise, I'm hoping to get a few centuries in and one double
century. I've only completed the 200 mile distance once. The second
attempt I made on it was the year I had defective spokes on my
then-new Fuji Team and broke a half-dozen of them within a couple
month window. Last year, I was hoping to do the Paul Bunyan for the
first time in a couple of years, but it got cancelled due to road
construction. This year, I really hope to change that.

I don't think I'll be attempting Triple Bypass this year. It's still
on the list of things I want to accomplish, but I just don't think I'm
ready. Plus, I hate the fact that it's not an out and back, so you
have to have someone drive to the other side of Vail to pick you up.
Not fun.

Anyway, those are my sports goals for the year. There are professional
goals too, but I don't think those are nearly as interesting.

More later.

New Years wrapup pt2

the rest of the lineup Ang, myself and a couple of others watched New
Years Eve. After the first three, we finally got a chance to watch
Grizzly Man. If you haven't had a chance to see it, it's a really
interesting study in mental illness. At first you think Timothy
Treadwill is just a little too interested in bears. Then, after a
while, you realize that he really wants to BE a bear. It's actually
kind of a sad movie. I felt bad that his illness led him down the path
he went down... and I can't imagine anyone wanting to end up bear

When Grizzly man finished, we headed off into the foriegn part of the
evening. I picked up a Criterion Collection edition of the Norwegian
version of Insomnia a few months ago and hadn't had a chance to watch
it yet, so we paired that up with my favorite find of the year Elling.
While Insomnia was interesting (I have the remake and haven't had a
chance to watch it yet) Elling still stands up to repeat viewings.
It's the story of two guys living in a Norwegian institution together
who are moved into an apartment to see if they can live on their own.
It doesn't sound like too much of a setup, but the way things played
out led to it being optioned in the US for Kevin Spacey and Ed Norton.
The film is so Scandinavian though, that I can't imagine how it would
translate to the US, but I'd see it if it ever goes into production.

After Elling, we watched an import DVD of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.
Ang and I got the chance to see Oldboy a couple of years ago at Butt
Numb A Thon. There was ONE 35mm print with subtitles created
specifically for Harvey Weinstein's viewing and it got shipped to
Austin before it got sent to his desk. To say that Oldboy is intense
would be an understatement, so I was excited to see what he'd cooked
up in the third edition of this Revenge Trilogy. It's a slow burn.
Midway through the movie, you might even begin to have doubts about
Park, but then you start to see how things play out. When the revenge
comes, it comes heavily. I'll have bloody raincoats burned into my
brain for a while. It's being released in the US sometime this Spring.
Make sure you see it if you get the chance.

Now on to the butt-kicking. I had two more import DVDs on the
schedule... and after a little nap we got to them. Reading the reviews
of Butt-Numb-A-Thon, it seemed that one of the biggest hits of the
fest was this film called Banieu 13, written and produced by Luc
Besson. I love Luc Besson. Luc Besson is one of my favorite directors.
He's also one of the most prodigious forces in French cinema. The man
has his hands in all kinds of things. He hasn't directed in a while
(he has a new film coming out soon that will change that) but he's
produced all kinds of action movies recently. Anyway, after hearing
about it at BNAT, I started to hunt down a foreign edition of the
movie. The film gets released here in March(?). While it's not a GREAT
movie, it's fun... and watching Leito, the main character, doing his
acrobatics and knowing that there aren't any wires is unreal.

The final film of the morning was an import disc of Tom Yum Goong, the
Ong Bak follow up from the director and actor of Ong Bak: Muy Thai
Warrior. To quote Harry Knowles of, "TOM YUM GOONG
is the single most kickass asskicking film I've seen in 2005 or 2006."

That might be a little bit of hyperbole, but it's not far off the
mark. It's also not a good film, but you don't watch these films for
the plot, you watch them because you get to see Tony Jaa participate
in insane fight scenes. On that count the movie works and there are
too many to try to describe them all. Who knows if it will ever come
out in American theaters, but it will probably get a domestic DVD
release at some point.

Yesterday evening I saw my first great film of 2006... though that's
not to say that it's a 2006 film. I've been sitting on a copy of a
Japanese film called Ping Pong for a couple of years now. I just never
seemed to get around to watching it, and Ang and I buy too many DVDs
to keep up with what we've seen and not seen anyway. We forget to
watch things that we've picked up and then discover them later on.

It takes a lot to make one care and invest in a couple of high school
ping pong players. At first, you can't even figure out why they'd
create a movie entirely about the world of high-school ping pong.
Eventually, you forget about the fact it's ping-pong and just let the
genre's formula wash over you.

The movie basically narrows down to Table Tennis as life. All the
extraneous stuff is cut out of the movie. You never meet Peco or Smile
(named because he never does)'s family. There are no love interests,
just table tennis. Everything in their lives revolves around the sport
and I couldn't help but think about triathlon parallels. For the
coaches involved, they know they'll never be world class professional
ping-pong players (even saying that sounds humorous) but they love the
game and they love to instill that joy that they find in their sport
into the lives of the students they coach. I know I'll never be a
world-class cyclist or triathlete. Even if I had my life to devote to
it, I don't have the physiology to compete. I'm a big guy and it's my
guess that I'll always be a big guy. That doesn't change the fact that
I love my sport.

I love cycling in a way that I'll never love triathlon, but I still
hold a special place for long distance tri stuff. The weird thing is
that I'm not really all that interested in short-distance Tri. I'm
hoping to get a couple done this summer, but I think I'm going to
focus on the Boulder Half in August and then maybe start to look for a
double-ironman to take on. As extreme as the 140.6 is, I think it
would be fun to go 281.2. That seems more exciting and more
unreachable. This is about movies though and not triathlon
specifically, so I'll pick this up in another post.

I wish I could tell you that you should see Ping Pong, but it's never
had a domestic DVD release. It's a shame, because it's surprisingly
accessible and it plays with Hollywood sports cliches in a way that
makes them new and refreshing. I'm really happy that I finally had the
chance to see it. Hopefully Ang will go through her thoughts over at
her blog, I'll bug her about getting that done.