Two Thumbs Like Siskel & Ebert

I know gene Siskel has been dead for ages and I am no movie critic, but we have watched the fourth installment of the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise and just yesterday evening we watched the hometown shop Hangover 2. So without much ado, here is my summary of the two movies.

POTC On Stranger Tides is not a bad movie, it just falls short of the previous three. In fact, one could argue it’s a good thing that Hollywood released the movie not in 2003, when the original was released and revived a whole genre. Would that have been the case, the movie would have been a moderate success, but wouldn’t have created the followership the first three did. The writing is poor – possibly suitable for the 4-8 year old demographic, but even these kids are not challenged following or predicting the plot. The jokes a reheated repeats (and even Ceasar said more than 2000yrs ago: “Repetita Non Placent.” I don’t like repetition.). The plot is way too simple, no surprises. I read that the goal of the writers was to simplify the story, because the previous three movies were too convoluted. To that end the mission was accomplished, but the writers did not do a favor to the movie or the audience. In summary, it’ a pirate movie, that rides on the successes and coattails of it’s the three predecessors, however with predictable jokes and a very thin story line.

The Hangover 2 is a different animal. Do you remember in the 80s all the really big hits came in different versions and so-called maxi singles. 1984. Frankie Goes To Hollywood and released “Relax” followed by “Two Tribes” There must have been 10 different mixes for each of these two songs. It was still the same song, but you loved dancing to he different mixes anyway. Of relax along, there was a Radio Edit, a New York Mix, an Extra Beat Mix, a Long Version etc. Same thing with Two Tribes and who can forget the “Young Adult Version Of Rage Hard”. Anyway, The Hangover 2 is a carbon copy of the first Hangover which took place in Las Vegas. The Hangover 2 is The Bangkok Remix. The problems, jokes, the paranoia, the characters and the plot is the same as its predecessor. The variation comes by weaving any Bangkok and Thailand stereotype into the movie. If you laughed hard in the Hangover, you will laugh in the Hangover 2, ….well, too. Caution: This is not a children’s movie unless you want your children to ask you many, many questions over the next 10 years.

 

That’s it, I will not provide any thumbs, but the Hangover 2 gave me clearly more entertainment and laughs … and I love pirate movies.

 

Enjoy this movie Summer of repeats, reheats and sequels, prequels and what appears to be a general lack of imagination and risk taking.

Markus \m/

P.S.: The Hangover 2 will explain why bangkok is called Bangkok and not something else.

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When Kitsch Rocks.

Two weeks ago we had a Buddhist holiday here in Thailand and we seized the opportunity  to go to Krabi (personal and business travel are one of the reasons, that I have been tardy posting here). We stayed at a small family owned hotel outside of Krabi (http://www.krisdavilla.com). And even though there is no beach immediately available, I can highly recommend the place. But not to despair, we were mobile thanks to a close by pier and a motorcycle.

First of all, unlike Bali, the beaches and the waters were pristine. The region does an outstanding job – at least in Krabi and its surroundings – to deliver the perfect beaches and clear waters with lots of underwater live….top shelf!!!

The first day we explored the Phi Phi islands and their beaches and underwater worlds by tourist boat. You book a trip, that includes pretty much everything. They pack you and 50 other paying customers butt-cheek to butt-cheek on a speedboat (powered by 3x 250HP outborders) and then you zoom over the water from one site to the next. Among the places we visited was the bay and beach where they shot the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio. Everyone’s expectation is to see the place deserted and abandoned – to find some serenity (as in George Costanza’s “SERENITY NOW!!!”). Well this is what the place looks like when too any people look for the same thing in the same place.

The big boat towards the left in the background is a Thai Navy boat (yes there is a Thai Navy) that checks documents, supposedly to make sure boats don’t exceed their passenger capacity.

We had lunch on the larger Phi Phi island (forgot the name, you go look it up). After said lunch on my way back to the boat walking along the beach, I saw al this fishing long boats dragged up on the beach and I couldn’t resist.

The trip was overall great – good snorkeling, when ever we stopped in the middle of the ocean in shallower reef spots.

The second a third day we took a long-boat from the pier near our hotel and went to Railee Beach. To me this was the best beach I have ever been to. Granted I am not a beach expert, but this ranks definitely as my #1 beach. There were not too many people, the water was clear, emerald and warm, the beach just a tad off-white and excellent snorkeling. We rented an ocean kayak ad paddled around giant monolithic islands with their overhanging ceilings and stalactites.

Yeah, I know it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

The nice thing is when I am in the water, I get so oxygen deprived from all the diving and swimming, that my mind just falls into total relaxation, it’s great. These moments charge me up for the things I do and deal with at work. I think I would start to suffer from relaxation overload, if there was wind, too and I could kite surf there as well…..what to do first?

Finally, my moment of Zen for you, which I call “Intersections”.

Meditate on that…

Ooohm Mani Padme Ooohm

Ooohm Shanti Shanti

Write To You Later

Markus \m/

Out Of Retirement – Into Training Mode Again

One of the buddies I have found here outside of work is a Welshman – Stuart. He is an insanely fast runner and would probably give my friend Adam a run for the money – finally someone who could….but that not the point. The point is that he has been working on me to sign up for Ironman Phuket, held in December in Phuket. The distance is really “just” a half Ironman, which I have done a few times at Wildflower. So four weeks ago I signed up and have since then switched from my more casual workouts to training mode. So, I guess I am out of my comfortable Triathlon retirement. Scott Tinley finished in the top ten overall  at the tender age of 42  in Hawaii – so it’s still possible to kick ass and take numbers.

The difference between working out and training is that in working out, there is not much purpose, not much pressure. You miss a session, you probably had something better to do – big deal. Training, you miss a session and you will pay the difference on race day – not very pleasant.

The hardest part for me here is still running. I am trying t run 3 times a week.  We swim 3 times a week, Yoga once and then I try to squeeze in some biking, too.

As I said running is the hardest thing for me here. So much that it effected my psyche into believing I was never a good runner. Not True. I am no Adam or Stuart, but I lay it down. Anyway, the running here forces me to change my approach to running completely. It’s slow steady stuff until the cows come home, because else I melt in the heat and humidity. The biggest challenge for me s to get my body used to managing heat. I have not had a run or race that I felt my muscles the day after because I went out hard, all heat management – which can be hugely frustrating…but I’ll get there practicing patience.

Last week then, I had my first race – Olympic distance (1.5k / 40k / 10k) in Rayong. At the start the water was a cozy 32C (90F) and the air temp was the same. My goal was to get used to performing three events consecutively. I had a good swim in ~27min, a decent bike in 1:21h (riding my 29er MTB against speed demons on drag eliminating time trial bikes) and a great first 2.5k run  followed by what can only be described as a death slog of 7.5k, hat felt more like 750k. My friend the sun was providing great company, watching over every step I took. What made the run manageable was that Barbara and her friend Tatjana were doing the run course on inline skates up and down and their words o encouragement as they watched me sweat. Once I saw the finish line, I barreled down the finish chute, since I had energy left and smiled. There is always a great sense of accomplishment when you finish a triathlon, always.

Now, I am off down to the pool, we are doing 10x 100m and 5x200m all-out to determine our new times for intervals.

Until the next

Markus \m/

 

P.S.: Just completed my swim: 1:35 / 100m is my new time – based on 10 100 at 1:33 to 1:35 with 1min rest between each 100. My new PB for 100m is 1:23. Sure no Michael Phelps, but I have a day job to perform at as well.