Sidereal ramblings

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

And the Oscar goes to...

Apparently like most of the rest of the free world, I watched the Academy Awards broadcast last Sunday. As a big film buff, I usually do. And I like to try to pick the winners ahead of time. I don't have a chance to see many of the nominated films or appearances, but I read a lot of entertainment news. Of the 24 categories, I disqualified the 3 short film ones, as those are films I don't have a chance to see and there's really nothing written about them. So, for the remaining 21 categories, I picked 16 correctly. I even picked a couple of the "upsets" right. The biggest ones I got wrong were Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Film. The others were things like Sound Mixing (and how that differs from Sound Editing I don't know). Entertainment Weekly ran an online contest, picking 12 of the big categories. I got 10 of those right, missing the two I mentioned above. According to their results board, I was 35th overall. Out of over 10,000 participants. Granted, I was probably tied with multitudes for 35th place, but only 34 people actually scored better than I. I was pretty pleased with that.

Now if I could only get a chance to see some of those movies...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Speech shirts

Our speech team attended their first invitational of the season today. We did...okay. We had one person break finals, and she finished sixth in her category. No one else did exceptionally well, although a few people racked up some decent scores considering. We've got something like 28 people on our team this year (about three times what we've had the last few years) and 21 of those are in their first year in speech -- and those were at their first-ever tournament today.

We got speech team sweatshirts for the first time this year. We finally came up with a cool slogan, which is printed on the back of the sweatshirts:
"Public Speaking
"America's #1 fear
"My Varsity sport"
The slogan was my idea, but tweaked into its current form by my good friend and professional advertising (and other stuff) writer, K. We got a lot of compliments on the shirts today, both from other coaches and judges and from students from other schools. I overheard one judge saying, "Every year I look for the best speech sweatshirt. That's definitely the one this year." I was standing near him when he said this, but he had no idea they were from my team. Pretty much made my day.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Super Bowl tradition restored

Many years ago, my friend Mark Fawcett, who worked for me at Face the Music in Winona, and I decided one Sunday afternoon to take in a movie. We drove down to La Crosse and saw...something. All I really remember about the film was that it starred Molly Ringwald and that she got pregnant; the opening credits of the film, in fact, showed spermazoa swimming through the fluid to do their duty. It struck us as odd at the time that we were the only two people in the theatre -- until we realized at some point that it was in fact Super Bowl Sunday, a fact that neither of us had taken into account, not being football fans. We had a good time, and Mark was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of doing somersaults down the movie theatre aisle. What can I say? He was young.

This led me to establish a tradition that I followed for many years: of going to the movies on Super Bowl Sunday. This tradition served me in good stead, especially when I had roommates (K, and later, Bro) who watched the game and often had people over to watch with them. I remember once when K and I lived together, returning home just as the game's final play was underway and asking what I'd missed. In recent years, I kind of abandoned the tradition. I like going to matinees (what can I tell you, I'm cheap), and the Super Bowl seemed to start later and later in the day. And I lived alone, so there was no danger of a TV blasting out the game that I wasn't going to watch anyway.

Today, however, for whatever reason, I did go to see a movie during the Super Bowl (or at least the first half of it). I saw Freedom Writers. I wouldn't highly recommend it, though it wasn't bad, just typical for the genre: young, idealistic teacher encounters a group of unmotivated, troublesome high school students who everyone else expects to fail. She perseveres, and somehow -- in this case, by getting them to write about their lives -- the kids manage to succeed. Based on a true story, sure, but we've seen it all before. The best part for me was Hilary Swank's costume choices.

There were a few other people in the theatre this afternoon, four in total, besides myself. The movie I saw last Friday afternoon after school, The Pursuit of Happyness, didn't attract much of a crowd; I was the only person at that show.