Oscar Night Picks…

Tonight is Oscar night, and I have to ask, Has anyone seen these nominees? I guess I’m just bitter because my Oscar pick, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, save for a Best Actress and Best Screenplay nomination, is no where to be found. (Michel Gondry, Jim Carrey and Jon Brion all deserve nods.) I’ve only seen two of the Best Picture nominees this year (Ray and Sideways), normally I try to see all of them. This year, Million Dollar Baby turned me off from the start, even when I realized that it wasn’t just a remake of The Karate Kid, I still have no desire to see it. The Aviator looks interesting but formulaic, I’m sure I’ll eventually end up seeing it. Finding Neverland looks like it offers me nothing but a chance to dream about Kate Winslet.

That said, armed with the knowledge of my ignorance of the major players this year, here are my picks for who I think SHOULD win:

Best Actor Jamie Foxx Ray
I saw his performance, and I have to say that Mr. Foxx (no relation to Redd Foxx) was completely transformed into Ray Charles. And he played the piano and sang all of the music himself, which had to make the other actors in the film feel bad for lip syncing.

Best Supporting Actor Alan AldaThe Aviator
Didn’t see this performance, but he is a favorite of mine and I hope he uses this springboard to best Jimmy Smits for President in the general election on The West Wing. If he loses, I think he should pull a Fred Thompson and run for the real Senate. I can see it now, Alan Alda, (D) – Crabapple Cove.

Best Actress Kate WinsletEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I love Kate and this movie. This one is a no brainer for me.

Best Supporting Actress Natalie PortmanCloser
As long as I’m picking favorites, have to go with Luke and Leia’s mom. Actually, I’m picking her for her performance in Garden State, a movie with timing problems but a movie that packs a serious emotional punch. I’ve always felt that Oscars should go to the actor’s entire body of work for the year rather than an individual performance. No matter how good Halle Berry was in Monster’s Ball the year she won, she also was in Swordfish, and those should cancel each other out.

Animated Feature The Incredibles
Pixar, Pixar uber alles. Eisner delenda est. Carpe Oscararium. I have to say that Shrek 2 was thoroughly entertaining, but won’t stand the test of time. I have a feeling that my grandchildren will watch Pixar movies like kids watch old Disney movies today.

Art Direction The Aviator
Because I like planes and stuff.

Cinematography The Aviator
Zoooooommmmm. (That was what I imagine the plane looked like flying by.)

Costume Design Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
I arrived at this one by process of elimination. All of the other nominees are period movies, which means that they just had to shop at thrift stores to find costumes. (Except maybe for Troy, but I’m sure they have thrift stores in Greece.)

Directing Martin Scorsese The Aviator
I predict the Academy continuing their tradition of awarding the right people for the wrong film.

Documentary Feature Super Size Me
I’m sure that Michael Moore thinks that he has graciously stepped aside to let another generation of filmmakers into the spotlight, but really Fahrenheit 9/11 wasn’t very good, it did more harm than good. Morgan Spurlock’s film isn’t perfect, but just try and order a Super-Sized value meal at McDonald’s.

Documentary Short Mighty Times: The Children’s March
I picked this film based on it’s Technical Oscar win as Best Use of Punctuation in a Movie Name.

Film Editing Million Dollar Baby
Actually the movie was just nominated for the trailer. It made this movie look like a boxing movie.

Foreign Language Film The Sea Inside
This film is from Spain, and I took Spanish in high school, so it’s the film I’d have the most chance of following along without subtitles. Surprisingly this movie is about the same subject as one of the Best Picture nominees. Will Oscar support two euthanasia movies?

Makeup Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Only three movies nominated for this category, but I’m glad they only nominate movies that are deserving rather than just trying to fill up the card.

Original Score Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Some of you may notice that this film isn’t nominated for t
his award. Did I mention that Jon Brion rules? I did notice that The Village was nominated, as far as the the “score” goes, it would be M. Night Shalaman – $8.50, Tim’s Level of Surprise During the Third Act of The Village – 0.

Original Song Shrek 2
I did end up buying this Counting Crows song off of iTunes, so it has to win. Or maybe it was just a free download. Hmmm.

Animated Short Gopher Broke
Picking just off the name, I love a good pun. The last Gopher nomination to occur was Fred Grandy in the 1994 Iowa governor’s race. (Before that, Caddyshack.)

Short Film Live Action 7:35 in the Morning
Could this be considered a period movie?

Sound Editing & Mixing The Incredibles
Ok, these are really two categories, but I always get them confused.

Visual Effects Spiderman 2
Another missed opportunity for ETOSM, but thanks to twenty-five years of Industrial Light and Magic, camera tricks don’t count as Visual Effects anymore. The best visual effect in Spiderman 2 is Kirsten Dunst with red hair.

Adapted Screenplay Sideways
You have to appreciate a good buddy flick.

Original Screenplay Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Charlie Kaufman so deserves this.

Best Picture The Aviator
Gotta go with a movie that I still want to see.

OK, show starts at 7:30. We’ll see how I do.

Fifty-seven channels and I know exactly what’s on…

I spend about twice as much money on my cable bill each month than any other utility. I don’t have any of the “premium” channels, but with my cable internet, my digital cable service, my DVR, and my HD service, Comcast is happy to get my check. I justify the DVR because I end up watching more of the TV that I’m paying for (the whole pause button rocks), the HD is luxury but it’s really a wash because it’s the same box as the DVR and I spent all that money on the TV, so really it it’s something I have to have. (I’ve always been a master of rationalization.) Before I bought the TV, I was seriously considering getting rid of the cable entirely, but once I took that plunge that idea went right out the window. Bottom line, I spend a good portion of my entertainment dollars programming the home theater.

However, everytime I go and visit the neighbors, I’m amazed at the amount of channels that they have compared to my setup. I should preface this…they have the same cable company that I do, but they don’t have the digital service, the DVR, or even the cable box. They actually have less channels than I do. They don’t have HD, they have a coaxial cable that goes from the wall into the TV without going through a converter, a stereo, a DVR, or even one of those cable amplifiers you can buy at Radio Shack. They have the most the most basic setup, and they pay the basic minimum each month. What’s the difference?

The damn program guide. With my setup, flipping from channel to channel is so slow (it takes at least three seconds between each channel), it’s a lot more efficient to browse through the program guide. Doing that, you see the channel name, the program name, and a four word description. When you flip through the channels, it really doesn’t give you as much information as you can visually discern what’s going on, who’s on the screen, and whether or not you want to watch the crap you see. I noticed this today when I (painfully) used the underused channel up button. The words “Barefoot Contessa*”on the guide offered me no reason to stop, but the smoked salmon dip she was making surely did. With the guide, I find that I’m more likely to stop on something I’ve seen before, rather than getting to play that game “What the hell is this show?” or even, “Who is that actor, I’ve seen him before somewhere?” The guide takes that fun away. At the neighbors, I can quickly (lightning fast channel finger) scan through each channel until I see something interesting to watch.

But I’m not giving up that DVR.

* The Barefoot Contessa is named Ina Garten. In a Garden? As a name for a chef that focuses on fresh vegetables? C’mon, you can make up a less obvious pseudonym than that, Ms. Contessa.

Separated at birth?

I guess not. I don’t really drink coffee.

My hair has never been this long. I’ve got to do something about it, feral hair is not something that I am used to dealing with. Normally when I need a haircut,I walk into one of the chain establishments, tender the admission price and politely ask for a haircut. Then I’m asked the question that I never really have a good answer to, “How would you like it cut?”

This time, I want to find a stylist (or other professional, whomever will take me) and let them try something new. I’ve surely given them a lot to work with. Ideas?

No thanks, I can roll my own…

Went tonight to the Home Depot and acquired supplies for a little IT project at work. We’re getting all new systems furniture, it will require that I run all new ethernet to all of the new stations. Tonight for the first time I successfully made a patch cable, all while watching The West Wing.

Maybe do-it-yourself cabling will overtake knitting as the latest fad cottage industry.

My First Moleskine or: How I learned to stop worrying that I am a victim of marketing.

Tonight after I visited Green Hills’ latest eatery, I wandered over to the Davis-Kidd for the express purpose of buying a Moleskine notebook. Now, as a survivor of architecture school I’ve had my share of little black sketchbooks, so the allure of a little pocket sized black book is not foreign to me. Of course, it’s just a notebook, regardless of what they say.

Why did I do it? I find that I don’t ever write anything down anymore. Consequently, I don’t ever remember anything either. I bought the book as a way to keep track of things that I tell people that I’m going to do. It’s not a to-do list, per se, those seem to be only handy for keeping track of things I’m told to do (my email inbox, for example.) This stuff deserves it’s own category and container.

Hopefully I will find myself in more situations where I’ve actually followed through with things that I said I was going to do, rather than have to come up with excuses. I also hope it will get me to learn how to say “No” sometimes, once I see all of the ways I’ve overpromised things all written down in one place.

Now all I need is a good pen.

“Forward,” says the cow…

I heard on NPR that some the Wisconsin quarters have been showing up with an extra leaf in the ear of corn. As coin collectors love this sort of thing, they are selling on Ebay for hundreds of dollars.

I didn’t think much of it until I got back, when I realized that I had three pristine straight-from-the-roll Wisconsin quarters that had been given to me as change from my twenty at Marble Slab Creamery at the San Antonio airport. One of these quarters (shown above) turned out to have the extra leaf.

I guess I can stop saving those bicentennial quarters. See you in Aruba.