January 30, 2018

Movies as Incentive
Hi, my name is Larry Hodges, and I'm addicted to going to the theater. Yep, I'm a movie buff. (Today's blog is only partially table tennis.) Along with reading and writing science fiction (oh, and table tennis!), seeing movies are my favorite "escape." I often go to the local theater directly after I finish coaching at the club, or sometimes late at night. (Now you know why I sometimes need extra time to finish my blog in the morning.) It's great - popcorn, a Mr. Pibb (because they don't have Mountain Dew), and two hours where there's no email, phone calls, or work to do. (Side note - as of Jan. 1, I stopped drinking soft drinks at home - only at theaters and occasionally at restaurants. From that and dieting I've lost 13 pounds since Christmas, from 200 (my highest ever) to 187. Should hit goal of 180 by end of February.)

On the other hand, my brain often won't turn off, so I'm often jotting notes during movies on possible Tips of the Week or blogs, on USATT or MDTTC issues, or (in my other sideline) a possible science fiction story. But I do it while munching popcorn. (Easy on the butter.) I always keep a pen and mini-notebook handy.

The movies serve a table tennis purpose as well. I always have a big todo list of things that need to get done, and most of it is table tennis related. Each day I decide in advance what I need to get done, and promise myself that if I get it done, I see a movie. If I don't, then after I finish coaching, I go home and finish the work. Guess what? I usually get the work done, and am munching popcorn that night.

So how many movies did I see at theaters in 2017? Um . . . 105. Full list is below, along with this month's so far. (Saw "Hostiles" last night.) It seems like a lot, but it's actually about two per week, so once every 3.5 days. That's not so bad, is it??? (I also got a lot of discounts because I see so many.) I would say that about half the movies I see I really wanted to see, and the other half I enjoyed, but mostly wanted to just "get away."

In 2018 I was planning to see a lot less movies, but I recently discovered MoviePass (John Olsen first pointed this out to me), where I can see one movie per day (not 3-D, which I rarely see anyway) for $10/month - and last year I saw about nine movies per month. Guess what? I'll be seeing 100+ movies again in 2018! So far in January I've seen nine movies. Tonight, since there's absolutely nothing important going on :), and assuming I get all my work done (and I've got a long todo list for today, alas, starting with the MDTTC February newsletter and some USATT work), I'll likely see "Maze Runner: The Death Cure" - not because I really want to see it, but to get away.

January (9)

  • Molly’s Game
  • The Room
  • The Commuter
  • The Post
  • I, Tanya
  • Paddington 2
  • 12 Strong
  • Den of Thieves
  • Hostiles

January (11)

  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Passengers
  • Why Him
  • A Monster Calls
  • Fences
  • Hidden Figures
  • The Founder
  • Split
  • A Dog’s Purpose
  • Sleepless
  • Gold

February (6)

  • The Space Between Us
  • John Wick: Chapter Two
  • The LEGO Batman Movie
  • Fist Fight
  • The Great Wall
  • Get Out

March (7)

  • Logan
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Life
  • Power Rangers
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • The Zookeeper’s Wife

April (8)

  • Going in Style
  • Aftermath
  • Gifted
  • The Lost City of Z
  • Norman
  • Born in China
  • Free Fire
  • The Circle

May (8)

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
  • Snatched
  • The Wall
  • Alien: Covenant
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
  • Everything, Everything
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

June (12)

  • Wonder Woman
  • It Comes at Night
  • Megan Leavey
  • The Mummy
  • The Hero
  • 47 Meters Down
  • Cars 3
  • The Book of Henry
  • Baby Driver
  • Despicable Me 3
  • The House
  • 2:22

July (8)

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Wish Upon
  • Dunkirk
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • First Kill
  • Atomic Blonde
  • An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

August (4)

  • The Dark Tower
  • Kidnap
  • The Hitman’s Bodyguard
  • Logan Lucky

September (11)

  • Unlocked
  • It
  • American Assassin
  • Brad’s Status
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle
  • The LEGO Ninjago Movie
  • Battle of the Sexes
  • Stronger
  • American Made
  • Flatliners
  • Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House

October (8)

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • The Mountain Between Us
  • The Foreigner
  • Happy Death Day
  • Geostorm
  • Only the Brave
  • Wonderstruck
  • Suburbicon

November (13)

  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • LBJ
  • My Friend Dahmer
  • Daddy’s Home 2
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • Justice League
  • Wonder
  • Roman J. Israel, Esq.
  • Coco
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Marshall
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

December (10)

  • Lady Bird
  • The Disaster Artist
  • Just Getting Started
  • Darkest Hour
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: the Last Jedi
  • All the Money in the World
  • Downsizing
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
  • The Greatest Showman

2018 US Youth National Ranking Tournament Homepage
Here's the USATT news item, by USATT High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio.

Lin Gaoyuan Forehand Loop Technique
Here's the video (4:23) of the world #4 in training.

Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Anton Kallberg in Training
Here's the video (2:40) at the Dusseldorf Training Center in Germany, by Arnaud Scheen.

Great Lobbing and Chopping Point
Here's the video (33 sec) between Melek Hu of Turkey (world #79, previously #10) and Yang Haeun of South Korea (world #27, previously #11).

Australian Team Play the Public
Here's the video (56 sec) as they promote the Commonwealth Games.

Pongstarz Pacific City Beach Ping Pong 2017
Here's the video (4:20). "Pongstarz partners with Pacific City, American Cancer Society, Cornilleau, Kitchen Table PR, and KTLA Morning News to produce the largest beachside ping pong tournament in the country!"

Liu Gouliang vs Ma Long play In Small Table
Here's the video (38 sec). The Men's Singles Champion at the 1996 Olympics and 1999 Worlds vs. the Men's Singles Champion at the 2016 Olympics and the 2015 and 2017 Worlds. Here's more on Liu Guoliang and Ma Long (from Wikipedia), including their medal record (on right).  I think I posted a similar view, but I think this is a new one - perhaps they play mini-pong a lot. 

Little Pony Pong
Here's the cartoon.

Non-Table Tennis - "Redo" Makes Recommended List
My science fiction story "Redo" (6300 words, published in Compelling Science Fiction) made the Featured Features Recommended List! Sorry, no table tennis. It's the story of a large, caterpillar-like galactic alien census taker who has spent the last 83,000 years doing a door-to-door census of earth - and he's only halfway done. After each interview, he hits a redo device, and while time doesn't stop, all the matter and energy on earth and around it zip back to where they were at the time that interview started, the one he interviewed has no memory of the interview, and he goes on to the next house. Then things go wrong, he gets killed by a Doberman (sort of), and another group of aliens (who've been caught in sort of a time loop those 83,000 years) is about to annihilate Earth, as they have unknowingly been trying to do for 83,000 years. Can he and a resourceful human scientist save the world? And why in the world does he need that fire extinguisher?

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