Monday, September 22, 2008

USAT board meeting, Movie Review

Like bowling and golf, meetings some time really suck, and then again sometimes they don't. This past weekend I spent my time at a USAT National Board meeting in Portland, Oregon. You ask, why Portland since the headquarters for USAT is in Colorado Springs? Well USAT was also holding their annual triathlon National Age Group Championship so it made since to pool our time and see the athletes in action as a treat. Our meetings went as planned and I am still amazed as to how the sport has grown and is continuing to grow. When I was on the board in '93-'94 we were just able to hang on financially and had a staff of 5 people. Now the Federations is so strong financially we have to have a financial advisor to watch after our rainy day fund of $2.1 million. Our staff is now over 30 people with an executive director who has taken the Federation to new heights and has solidified us with the USOC with his progressive leadership. He was given the task of moving the Federation "forward"(even though I am sure we really didn't know exactly what that meant at the time) and he has certainly done that. If I were to go up there and sit in his chair, as I did in 2004, I am sure I would not recognize this organization other than the fact is I understand swim, bike and run. Skip was just given a very nice raise and the good news is that he earned it, and deserved it. From what I can gather on the work place scene now, this just is happening a lot in the CEO category of business and non-profits. I commend him and his team and look forward to watching the Federation continue to grow and take care of the triathlon business of the USA. Our board worked hard this weekend and our Board president, Rob Kasper, did a great job in curtailing the type A group of narcissistic leaders and athletes. These folks are sometimes very hard to control in a meeting, something like herding cats, and Rob does a good job of being patient and not losing his cool. In 1994 I sat in his chair and I know what a challenging group this can be. I do commend Rob for his job as the President of the Board and will continue to support him in his leadership position. In response to my opening sentence I would say that the meeting sucked for 10% of the time and the remainder 90% was very productive.

Movie Review: "Righteous Kill", *...**...***, To properly rate this movie I just installed a new rating method. This movie started out as a one star then progress to two star then to the ultimate three star. I just couldn't go higher than 3 because it just wasn't a four star movie, even with the two big stars in it. With De Niro and Pacino acting side by side as New York homicide detectives it made it hard to see how they were going to be cinema productive and present a good movie. In the past they have been in a movie or two together but they were adversaries, not partners. The story line was about two detectives who were partners very close to retirement. But before hanging up the badges they must investigate a series of murders committed on suspected criminals, especially if they had been tried and set free. A serial killer is suspected in the case since all of the clues are similar and there is a poem left by the body each time. A lot of the attitude as to who the killer is comes forth in the opening scenes with the goal of really confusing the audience on who the real killer is. In the beginning Pacino just tags along like humoring De Niro and you wonder, what the hell is he even doing in the movie. Then as it progresses to two star you start to see the interaction and then the three star comes out. Side note: there are some interesting sex scenes with De Niro and his female police admin assistant that really throws in some interesting speculation. Go see to satisfy your own curiosity. Rated R for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bowling, Lubbock(new Triathlon mecca), Movie reviews

The bowling pins were smiling tonight as they laid down on that lane like good little boys and girls. As I have mentioned in the past bowling sometimes sucks and sometimes it doesn't suck. Tonight it did not suck, quite the contrary. Those little penguin looking pins were very obedient and allowed me to bowl my highest league game in history, a 200(yea I know, just 100 more and I would have had a perfect 300 game). But, I was able to carry a 165 average for the night and our team would have been very victorious if the team we were bowling hadn't got so hot it was beyond belief. The one team member bowled a 246 the first game, and he had a 112 average, then he had a 200 the next game. So, we didn't win the team battle tonight but did edge out one game. Oh, I can't wait until next week!!! My new formula for success was to not exercise at all during the day, especially swim, have a few beers and enter the bowling jungle feeling real loose, and it worked. Move over Don Carter(a Hall of Famer from past years) I am on the way.

Word was received in Lubbock yesterday that we have been selected to host the USA Triathlon National Collegiate championship for 2009-10, with 120 colleges and 1300 college triathletes coming to Lubbock to compete for the honors. We appreciate Visit Lubbock/The Sports Authority for making this possible. This will be a good thing for the community and will put more spot light on the sport. This is a fact, Lubbock is the only city in the United States and possibly the world, that is hosting a World Ironman qualifying event and a National Collegiate championship event. Thank the folks at our Visit Lubbock office, without them it would have not been possible. Let's all start training now so we can do the community race that will be held the day after the collegiate race. Remember the date, April 18, 2009.

Movie Reviews: "Beer For My Horses" **, Toby Keith drew me to this one since I knew it would be another useless, singer gone haywire trying to act type movie. Sure enough it was, but somewhat entertaining. The plot was typical and the conclusion was obvious, but entertaining to a degree. We do have some villains and a kidnapping, so Toby and his side kick leave for Mexico to rescue the damsel in distress. Only spend matinee money or the $2.00 movie house. Rated PG-13 for some violence, sexual humor and dialogue, language, drug content and brief nudity.

"Bangkok Dangerous", ***, Nicolas Cage plays a ruthless professional assassin and typical of his movies he does a large amount of narration. Turns out he is a very troubled guy and is ready to scoot out of this profession for something a little less stressful. Of course he finds a girl, sets up what could be his last job, and then all hell breaks loose. I liked the movie while my local critic didn't. So, what we never hardly agree anyway. Go see, it is an interesting movie. Rated R for violence, language, and sexuality.

"Burn After Reading", ****, The Coen Brothers follow Academy Award winning "No Country for Old Men" with a bizarre spy comedy. John Malkovich stars as an ousted CIA employee whose memoir accidentally falls into the hands of the two naive gymnasium employees intent on exploiting their find. Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney and Tilda Swinton co-star. It is typical Coen written and produced, so expect some weird out things. Go see, it is fun to try and figure out how this will end. Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content(understatement) and language(another understatement).

Off to Portland, OR for a USAT National Board meeting, and the National Age Group Championship for USAT.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Race Directing, Bowling, Questions, Movie Review

This past weekend was the 7th triathlon race we have directed for 2008, which is a record for the BSLT Triathlon event production company. We had to start calling it that since we put on too many races for it to be just a "hobby." At any rate the Comanche Warrior Sprint Triathlon went off without a hitch and will be a very excellent triathlon for athletes to compete in for the future. While the numbers may seen low by some standards we felt that for a first year event it was well attended and gave the local volunteers and Chamber an opportunity to get the feel for race directing, since it is just a one year deal for us. Next year we will be competing, not directing. Many thanks that all of those who competed and for the hospitable way Big Spring hosted the event. They offered a great goody bag, a very challenging safe sprint course, great t-shirts for just entering and then a finisher shirt on top of that, plus an awesome post race meal and awards ceremony with quality awards. Note triathletes: be there September 12, 2009.

Have I mentioned that bowling sometimes sucks and sometimes it doesn't, but sometimes it sucks during a 3 line match and then it doesn't during this same 3 lines. Sound confusing? Just let me give you the numbers for our opening league night last Wednesday evening. My opening line was 146, which is not bad, then I rolled a 189 to get the big head, and these numbers don't suck. But, wait a minute I have to bowl the last line of the evening and was looking for at least a 190, since I had my mark down and I was hot. But, alas, bowling started to suck with 5 straight open frames(no spare or strike), and then I finished with a 109. But, the good news is that my average of 148 for the night was a tad bit better than overall last year. So, bowling doesn't suck after all, I love my little 8 pound blue tinted ball. My partner and I won 3 of 4 games, who says bowling sucks??

Here are some questions that might go through my head some of the times: 1. When I go up to a building and it has two doors to enter why do I always pick the one that is locked, since they never unlock both doors? 2. Why is it that when I have to go to the bathroom real bad I hit all of the longest red lights in town? 3. Why is it that when an elevator is out of order I always need to go to the 10th floor, not the 2nd? 4. Why is it when I go into a retail store to buy something and they have 15 registers to check out there is only one person working at one register and there are 20 people ahead of me? 5. Why is it that I can walk up to the check in counter of a hotel with reservations and they spend 15 minutes looking for my reservation, then can't find it, and then advise me that they don't have the reservations. I then ask, "well do you have any rooms?" and they reply, "oh yes we have plenty of rooms." I then reply, "well then what is the problem, just give me a room?" They always look so dismayed that their beloved computer didn't have the answer and a lowly human came up with it. 6. Why is it I would rather read, "What Would Kinky Do?" as opposed to a George W. Bush auto-biography? 7. Why is it that gasoline prices don't come down immediately when crude oil prices come down? 8. Why is it that I have entered the lottery and never won, doesn't make any sense so I just never enter any more and still don't win. 9. Why is it that self help books are written by people who need help? 10. Why is it that a rib eyes steak taste so good but comes from a real dumb animal, that is actually a vegetarian. Even seen a cow eat a steak dinner?

Fact: The descendants of James Buchanan, always ranked as the worst US President of all times, have fallen in love with the George W. Bush presidency, since Mr. Buchanan will move up a notch in January.

Movie review: "Babylon A.D.", ***, Our local critic gave this one star and I disagree. This was not a bad movie at all with Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, and Melanie Thierry. Even though Diesel has kind of turned into an action star, bad guy, turned baby sitter in many of his movies he is good in this one. The time frame is some time in the way future and I think it was 2237 A.D. or something like that and of course the world has gone haywire and needs a savior. Diesel has been hired to protect that future and escort it(Melanie Thierry) to a safe place in New York(has that got to be a joke or what). So, along the way on this 6,000 mile journey there is much action and fun. A little possible sex was thrown in just for kicks, but for the most part the movie was entertaining and well done. I would go on the matinee ticket or the $2.00 house, but no more. If you are collecting Vin Diesel's stuff then wait for it to come out on DVD. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, language and some sexuality.