Finally managed to catch this movie today. I had been waiting for it to arrive at a theatre I frequent and this past weekend it did. I only really knew the premise of the movie going in, author goes to small town to document a murder trial. That’s about all I knew. I had heard of Truman Capote, but didn’t really know anything about him other than he was an author.

Assuming you enjoy truly good movies and go to movies that are more than popcorn/chick flicks on occasion, this movie is definitely a must see. Philip Seymour Hoffman is a phenomenal actor and nailed his role. This is kind of a hard movie to describe, the movie documents what an author went through to write a book and I’ve gone and added that book to my wish list on Amazon. I’m not sure if this’ll win best movie/picture or whatever, but Hoffman better win best actor.

As good as this movie is, I’m not real sure how it’ll do when it comes to repeat viewing. But you better see it once.

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Best Ski Team Memories

Yes, I know the weather is still cold here in Wisconsin. We had a blizzard last Thursday which is still melting away, but ski team season is rapidly approaching. For those not in the know, I’m talking about water ski team. I’m on the Mad-City Ski Team, a water ski show team. Our shows consist of pyramids, jumping, ballet, barefooting, doubles, trios and swivel set to a theme. We perform our shows weekly throughout the summer in front of our home crowd at Law Park in Madison. We also go to tournaments at the state and national level to compete for state and national championship.

Since the season is approaching, I got to thinking about some of my best memories from ski team, and skiing in general. There are some group accomplishments like our state and national championships from 2004, but even more than that, there are small personal accomplishments that mean even more.

One of my best personal memories is from a couple years ago at Nationals (2003 I believe). I was in the middle pyramid between 2 four highs. The person next to me who was in the four high fell on the start and I was going to have to carry the four high. We put the pyramid up and I carried it through the show course and made it back to the beach with my girl. That was the first time I had carried a four high on water and it was at a Nationals. I had help through it though. The person to the inside of me was shouting words of encouragement, telling me suck it up. The person who was going to be in the middle pyramid with me had managed to pick up the ropes that were dragging the water and made my job much easier.

Another of my best memories is from quite a while back, 1991 to be exact. I had learned how to barefoot earlier that summer and I was admittedly still a little rough around the edges when it came to my barefooting prowess. It was our last show of the season and in typically Law Park fashion, we were going to skiing in what would nearly be white caps. No one was jumping up and down saying I want to do the barefoot flyer of the dock. I said I’d do it, but might not make it. We had a small contingent of skiers left so they decided to right me in to the spot. Show time comes, I’m standing on the dock watching my rope feed out. It comes tight and I run of the dock throwing my feet in the air. I hit the water, the boat goes up to speed and plant my feet and manage to stand up, at least just a little bit, still buried in a ball of white spray. But I had stood up, barefooting, making it through the show course in the rough water before ending my run with a face plant. This is the first time I had successfully barefooted in a show.

My next best memory is from just last year. I had always just kind of been the bit skier. Skiing fluff in the four highs, conventional doubles and other small parts in the show. It was at a practice last year on a Saturday morning in June. We had originally been scheduled to compete in a tournament in Beaver Dam, but were no where near ready so we cancelled our tournament appearance and stayed home to practice, we needed it. Since I was running sound, I arrived, took a quick barefoot run while others were still getting ready. During my run I had taken a bad fall and injured my shoulder. My right arm was pretty much dead weight for the next few days and in excruciating pain. It was an injury that lingered even through the winter and into the spring. (It was only recently that the pain had finally disappeared.) I was sitting there running sound as they were setting up to practice pyramids. Four highs. They ended up being one person short and came over and said, “Wedge, we need you in this pyramid.” Until that time, they had never asked me to be in a four high in a position other than fluff. It was painful to put my skis on. I couldn’t really move my right arm. But did manage to ski my position holding the rope in my right hand, carrying the pyramid on left shoulder. The pyramids were all very painful, each time the girls would transfer over, briefly standing on my right should, jolts of pain went shooting through my arm and shoulder. But they had needed me for the practice and that made it all worthwhile.

I have some non-skiing memories as well. The good times we had every time we went over to the Essen Haus or Come Back Inn after practice and shows with Bugs, John, Tristan and Mike. Getting stuck on the side of the road with Tristan and Mike and the Mad-City truck half way to Janesville waiting for the tow truck in the hot and humid weather. Finally, at Central Regional a few years ago, a small group of us went out for some food and had a really good time.

Ski team has given me so many good memories, it would be hard to name them all. The commitment made to be involved in a ski team is great, but the rewards are even greater. The friends and accomplishments can never be replaced. During the summer, I look at every day I get out on the lake as a good day. Luckily, I get out on the lake just about every day.

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When a Stranger Calls

I headed out last night and saw the movie When A Stranger Calls. Earlier in the week I had watched Final Destination 3, so my expectations for this second “horror” movie in week were sufficiently low. I never expect much from this genre, but usually end up enjoying them for either their intended purpose (to scare me) or for their unintended purpose (to make fun of). Seeing as how Final Destination 3 had kinda of been a bit disappointing, I didn’t expect much.

I was actually pleasantly surprised. Now by no means I’m I saying go watch this movie now, but they did take a pretty basic formula and churn out a movie that kept me entertained for nearly 90 minutes. It was short, but I’ll just assume that they kept it short because they didn’t have anything else that was decent to add, and realized that, making it a very wise move. If they had tried stretching this out another 10 or 15 minutes, it probably would have been painfully bad.

Well worth watching at some point in time if you like a horror movie every now and then. Put it on your Netflix queue or catch it on HBO (or whatever) when they’ll likely be playing it quite a bit this Halloween.

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The Day the Music Died, Part 2

So I’ve been anti-ipod. I admit it is well designed, I’m just not a fan of how Apple is controlling the their format. It is pretty tightly locked down. I kind of see it similar to the idea that if I needed a TV made by NBC to watch shows on NBC. If I wanted to watch something on ABC, I would need a different TV made by ABC. That is kinda of what Apple has done with their format. I have no desire to be locked into their format.

So, in that light… when I went shopping for my first MP3 player a few years back, I ended up purchasing a Rio Karma. Truly a sweet little player. It’s about the size of a hockey puck. At the time, it was smaller than pretty much anything else that held 20 GB. I bought it at Best Buy, and thinking, hey, this is essentially a hard drive that I’ll be carrying around, I’ll get the extended warranty. It paid off. About a year or so later, it died.

Now I was still a fan of the Karma and wasn’t willing to give into the ipod mania. But this was the tail end of the when they were making Karma’s and when I went shopping, I couldn’t find a replacement. I decided to wait… Finally, I found them at Amazon, on clearance, at half-price. I picked my replacement and have been happy ever since.

Tonight, I’m sad once again. Driving home from Monona tonight, the replacement died. I’ll try to resurrect it once again tomorrow, but the prognosis doesn’t look good.

[02/27/06] Update:
Looks like my player may not be completely dead. I managed to get it running again tonight. I guess I’ll have to see if it keeps working.

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Final Destination 3

Just got back from watching this movie. Now I didn’t expect to be wowed, I just looking for the corny, bad, horror movie. Even with those expectations, it is still kinda a mixed bag when I try to decide was it good or not. The first 2 Final Destinations were alright. I had to give them credit for originality in the way they would “off” the various characters. But I just didn’t think they managed to keep their level of creativity up. I don’t know if it is the novelty has worn off after two movies, or now, having seen Saw and Saw 2 (which I have to give kudos to for creative ways to torture and kill people) that there is just a higher level of creativity I demand now.

I guess I’ll just say that if you enjoyed the first couple Final Destinations, you’ll probably enjoy this one, just don’t go drop $10 at the theatre. Probably just bet to wait for it on Netflix. It’ll be there in a month or two.

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I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring, because that also means that waterski season has arrived. This past weekend’s weather hasn’t helped my cause. We received nearly 12 inches of snow and had temps around zero for a good portion of the weekend. The snow and extreme cold aren’t helping spring get here any sooner. Hopefully, this is only a temporary setback.

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Sci-Fi Movies

I’m a pretty big sci-fi fan. I read a lot of it and sometimes enjoy the movies that come out about it (The Matrix was good, the sequels bad). Found a nice little article on the net about the best sci-fi movies we’ll never see. Here’s a link to it. I especially like the idea for a Snow Crash movie. I read the book a while back (high school I think), and thinking back to it, it would be a pretty kick-ass movie.

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