Monday, February 26, 2007

Office Outcast - Week Two

The second "Office Outcast" video is up, take a look.

If the video's not working for you here, try it back on the main site.


Well, good news: I won the pool. Even though I only managed to predict 15 out of the 24 categories, that still put me comfortably in line for the gold. The runner up was Peracchio, who had the misfortune to predict The Queen as Best Picture. Sucker. You can click over and read his thoughts on the matter, which are pretty similar to mine: how the heck did some of those films win?

Let's look over the scoreboard.

I correctly nailed Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. So out of the six big categories, the only one I missed was Best Supporting Actor, and I don't care about that because I was rooting for Alan Arkin to win it, I just didn't think he had a chance.

I also correctly nailed Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Score, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Documentary, Short Film (live action), Make-Up, Costume Design, and Art Direction. Not a bad night out. Here's where I went wrong:

Animated Feature Film: That overlong Coke commercial, Happy Feet, beat out Cars. I guess people really do love penguins.

Animated Short: The winner was a Dutch film named "The Danish Poet." It looked impossibly dull, compared to Disney's flashback to better times "The Little Matchgirl." On the other hand, I don't care a smidgen about animated shorts.

Cinematography: Pan's Labyrinth is a fine choice, it's a beautifully shot piece of cinema. But Children of Men absolutely deserved this award. Remember, the American Society of Cinematographers named this film "Best Picture."

Documentary (Short Subject): The winner was "The Blood of Yingzhou District," a short about the effect of AIDS in China. I should've done more research on this one, because as soon as I saw a clip of "Recycled Life" when they were announcing the nominees, I said "wow, that's terribly shot." It's also generally unwise to root against movies about the effect of AIDS in foreign countries. Wow, I really shoulda done more research on this one.

Film Editing: I was hoping that there would be collective sympathy for the mostly non-nominated United 93. There was none. I forgot that Best Picture winners usually take this category, and I chose The Departed for Best Picture, so why not for Best Editing? Also, United 93 was cut by three different people, while The Departed was cut by only one, and the Academy tends to honor that. And finally, Thelma Schoonmaker, who edited The Departed, won two years prior for her work on The Aviator, which I felt was a terribly shoddy piece of cutting. So why shouldn't she win for The Departed, a crisp and inventive bit of film editing?

I should of seen this one coming a very long ways away.

Foreign Language Film: The Academy acknowledged Pan's Labyrinth in three different categories, including the undeserved Cinematography category, gave it a wild amount of applause every time it won, and then decided not to honor it here. Strange. I guess The Lives of Others was a pretty good dark horse after all.

Original Song: I guess Dreamgirls did split the vote. Huh. More love for An Inconvenient Truth at the same time, as Al Gore got yet another shoutout from the stage, as Melissa Etheridge thanked essentially just her wife and him. Y'know, if it was only this crowd responsible for all the voting come election time, we could finally see the unanimous election of a president this time around.

By the way, while I'm stepping into shady territory, the selection of Etheridge, combined with DeGeneres hosting, the selection of Judy Dench as a nominee for her role in Notes On A Scandal, and the positive comments of a couple different presenters, lesbianism had a pretty good night out. Male homosexuality got no support from the stage. Guess it's not their year. It's a shame, they did so well last year.

Sound Editing: And it looks like Flags didn't split the vote, either. I'm not very good at guessing vote-splitting. I'm glad, though, because Letters From Iwo Jima was my favorite bit of sound editing of the year. I know that sounds idiotic, but it really was.

So, a mixed bag: 63% accuracy for the night, but I think I did pretty well considering. One of the Oscar hosts kept saying things like "I bet your scorecard's got more scratches than circles on it!" and "If you picked An Inconvenient Truth for Best Song, you probably don't have to buy the donuts tomorrow!" and "Did you see who just won Best Cinematography? I guess Hollywood still has a cocaine problem after all!" (Alright, I made that last one up).

See you next year! And if your name is Peracchio, I'll expect that fiver in the mail shortly.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

First "Office Outcast" is up!

I've got the first of the "Office Outcast" clips up, either watch it here or back on Youtube.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007


By the way, I've created a group on where everyone who wants to can predict the winners against me. Winner gets $5 from everyone. Let me know if you want in.

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Oscar Predictions!

Hey there, crew, it's that magical time of year again: The Oscars. That special time when movie studios pound and pound away at you the merits of their movie through every available media outlet, completely ignoring the fact that you've never seen virtually all of these movies.

I'm still a bit behind in my Oscar films myself, but I've seen enough and heard enough that I feel I can make some fairly accurate predictions. Heck, I was about 90% accurate last year, but I skipped some races that I didn't know anything about, and I missed The Big One: I had Brokeback Mountain winning Best Picture.

This year, I'm throwing down on all the races. If I find a race boring, I'm casting my vote and moving on fast before I fall asleep writing about this stuff. These columns get boring quick, and anyway, these things always end up becoming an exercise in "Y'know, sure, he'll probably win, but don't discount..." so that the writer can cover all his bases. This time, I'm not worrying about hitting to all fields. I'm going all in for the power stroke. And hopelessly muddling my sports metaphors. So here's my predictions:

Picture: People go on and on about how it's an even race, any one of these films could win, it's all up in the air, yadda yadda yadda. Here's my call: The Departed edges Babel by a nose. The Queen is gonna steal too many of Babel's acting-conscious voters away, and also, Babel has too many detractors since it's, y'know, weird. But I'm discounting The Queen, too, since it features two dynamic performances around what's otherwise a somewhat slight movie; while everyone acknowledges the film, I don't think anyone was blown away by it. I certainly wasn't. It's a deserving Best Picture nominee, but not a winner.

Letters From Iwo Jima is too low-budget and not a grand enough vision to be honored, and not enough industry voters will acknowledge the value of Little Miss Sunshine for it to be a truly credible threat. Sunshine's not nominated in the two categories that tend to foretell Best Picture winners: Best Director and Best Editing. The last time a movie won Best Picture without a nod in either of those categories? Never. Not a good sign, guys.

Director: Martin Scorsese. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you, Alejandro González had a grand vision, Paul Greengrass was mesmerizing, whatever, I don't care. This is Scorsese. He's been dissed in this category so long he's become the Academy's gold standard of the running joke. He created a wildly popular film with nuanced performances from people who don't really give nuanced performances on a regular basis, he's a legend and he's due, so who's voting against him?

Actor: I loved Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson (and I think he's a good dark horse here if you're a dangerous gambling man), I loved Will Smith in Pursuit of Happyness, I think Leonardo DiCaprio and Peter O'Toole are credible threats. But no one's beating Forest Whitaker. The guy played Ida Amin and scared us all to tears. Done and done.

Actress: Helen Mirren. Moving on.

Supporting Actor: Tough call. I think that this category is actually pretty lame this year. Mark Wahlberg and Alan Arkin are credible threats, but they were barely in the movies that they're nominated for. Jackie Earle Haley hasn't been in a movie in who knows how long (hyperbole alert: he was in one earlier this year. But it was a long time before that one), and Djimon Hounsou ranted for pretty much the entire two hours he was on screen. I think Eddie Murphy's got it in the bag for resurrecting that ol' SNL James Brown impression and putting some Serious Actor funk on it.

Supporting Actress: The girls from Babel split their vote, so it's between Abigal Breslin's little girl cuteness and Jennifer Hudson's "Hey, I used to be on American Idol but now I'm a serious actress" vibe. I'll give my vote to Hudson, but my heart belongs to Breslin's performance.

Animated Feature: Cars is a lock. Moving on.

Art Direction: Tougher category. I give it to Pan's Labyrinth - c'mon, they had a monster who wore his eyeballs in his hands - but I fear that reverse Dreamgirls backlash (it was overrated, but then it got snubbed by the Oscars, so people might vote sympathetically) might give it to them. That would be really lame if that happened.

Cinematography: If anyone besides Children of Men wins this, it's a travesty. There has not been a film more technically groundbreaking in this category in the last decade (I have no idea if that's true. I made that up. But it feels like it's true). Go watch that movie and try not to gasp.

Costume Design: Three films are in this one with a legitimate chance. Curse of the Golden Flower actually had the best costume design, but it's a foreign flick and not that many Academy voters saw it. Dreamgirls had great costuming, but the design is very modern and it's unlikely to create any real stir among voters (unless there's - da dum dum - reverse backlash). So the award likely goes to Marie Antoinette, which was mostly an exercise in fun-with-frilly-clothes-and-80's-music anyway.

Documentary Feature: There's no way An Inconvenient Truth could win. Hollywood hates liberalism and agendas.

Short Documentary Feature: "Recycled Life." Because... that's what everyone says will win. Heck if I know.

Editing: United 93. Because the actual best picture of the year oughta win something.

Foreign Film: Pan's Labyrinth vs. A Bunch Of Films No One Saw. I don't care if The Lives of Others is "the new media dark horse," this race is over.

Make-up: Pan's Labyrinth vs. A Mel Gibson Movie vs. An Adam Sandler Movie. I'm pretty sure I don't need to vote on this one.

Score: My favorite is Thomas Newman's score for The Good German, but I hear that it has no chance in hell. Ah, well. I'll vote for Gustavo Santaolalla in Babel. I know Alexandre Desplat's evocative score for The Queen is heavily favored, but I didn't think it was all that good.

Original Song: You might think that the fact that three Dreamgirls' songs are in the mix means that they'll split the vote. You're probably wrong. It's just because the Academy couldn't nominate only Dreamgirls songs, and they would've if they could've. This has happened before: Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King both got three nods in this category. They both took home the final prize. Prediction: Beyonce's "Listen" will end up taking it.

Still, why three nominations for Dreamgirls? Sure, the songs aren't bad, but - as a number of Oscar buffs besides myself have been harping - it wasn't exactly a weak year for original songs. Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name" fromthe completely overlooked Casino Royale would've been a deserving pick, Devotchka's breezy "Til The End of Time" from Little Miss Sunshine was a standout, and pretty much anything Jack Johnson recorded for Curious George could've been in there. Hey, the man went #1 on the Billboard chart with a collection of kids' songs and no radio airplay whatsoever, and he gets no love in this category? Shame, shame, shame, shame.

Short Film (Animated): "The Little Matchgirl." Apparently it's a powerhouse.

Short Film (Live Action): "West Bank Story." I don't even know what it's about.

Sound Editing: Clint Eastwood's two films split the serious-movie vote, Pirates of the Caribbean wins.

Sound Mixing: Reverse backlash wins Dreamgirls this prize. Plus, there was music in it. Oscar voters tend to vote this subject with a "hey, which one of these was a musical again? Musicals are hard to mix. I should vote for that one."-type mindset. This means 19-time nominee Kevin O'Connell will get sent home empty-handed, again, which is a real shame, especially on the night Scorsese is finally getting his props. Of course, O'Connell mixed for Apocalypto, which is everybody's favorite to win no awards whatsoever.

Visual Effects: Pirates of the Caribbean. Because it made the most money of any film this year. And the Academy likes to show that they're hip to what everyone likes.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): The Departed. None of the other films will be able to gather enough votes to form a formidable threat. Though it's not the best screenplay of this lot. That probably belongs to Little Children.

Writing (Original Screenplay): A Best Picture nominee that won't win any other awards? This prize has to go to Little Miss Sunshine.

You didn't even read this far, did you? Yeah, I didn't think so. I'm lucky if I got you to "Sound Editing." Still, come back after Oscar night and double-check me. I'm prepared to take any sort of beating you throw at me. Because I think I've got a good chance to go 75, maybe 80% accurate this year. Bring it on.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

And Again!

I haven't done any work whatsoever in the last hour.

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Celebrity Lookalikes

My many thanks to Renee, who found this site and and posted up her and her fiancé, John's lookalikes. I thought it looked fun, and potentially ego-boosting, so I loaded up a picture that I thought flattering and decided to see what I would get.

Renee, by the way, got Kristen Kreuk and Alexis Bledel. John got Hugh Jackman and Ron Livingston. I had the audacity to laugh at him for getting Michael Palin, too. Then I got this:

The rest of my workday is going to be spent trying to do better than this.

Seriously, by the way - Carrie Fisher. Did anyone else catch that? My second most accurate lookalike is Carrie Fisher. What's creepy is that if you look at it, you can absolutely see it.

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2nd Try

And here is my second try, though I could play this game all day. How amazing is that last one?

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I told you.

My latest fortune cookie said "others enjoy your radiance." I told you I was good at this.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I guess I accidentally put up a "before" picture.

That weight loss post was probably a bad choice to put up right after the monster truck picture, since most people don't make announcements that they weigh more than they have in their entire life, and then put up a snapshot, just for fun.

Particularly since I look like such a douche.

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Weight loss.

I'm putting this information out there because it's time to finally do something about it.

A week ago, I bought a scale; I felt it was time. I'd known that I was gaining weight, since I was working at a desk all day, and watching DVDs in my off-time. And sure, maybe I go out, but a lot of that is going out to eat, or to a movie, or to somebody's house. I very rarely get a call that says anything like "who's up for wind sprints?" Also, my diet featured fried food almost entirely, and sometimes, if I was up for it, ice cream.

So I knew what I was getting into. In fact, I ate a whole bunch of food before I hopped on the scale, so that I would be able to say "woah, what is that? I've never weighed near that much."

Three years ago, I was rail-skinny. I weighed 133, my face was so angular I would often compare it to a wedge, or a piece of candy corn, and amazingly, I was on average considerably paler than I am now.

Two years ago, I was in the shape of my life, not a big accomplishment but still worth mentioning. I was 160, was an adventure course leader, playing intramural basketball, weight training twice a week, and I spent spring break clearing brush and playing with kids at a children's home. After showering I would often flex in front of the mirror for a fairly extended period of time. I felt pretty good about myself.

A year and a half ago, I was 145 and lean, living in Romania working at the orphanage, playing pick-up, and mowing lawns with a rusty mower. I was also not really eating anything except bread, which probably was a factor.

One year ago, I was 165, chunking out a little bit, but mostly in solid shape. I shot hoops once or twice a week, weight-trained once or twice a week, and spent February in the Alps hauling equipment. I was just starting to notice my metabolism slow down, and wondering why I was looking chunky.

Last summer, I was 170 to 175, clearly not in my best shape, but still going for long walks, swimming or rowing as much as possible when we went out to camp or to the town pool, shooting hoops in the driveway, etc. Not in amazing shape, but I would comfort myself that I was "close." I would have described myself as a little "out of shape." I was convinced that if I wanted to, I could lose the weight in a week or two without a problem.

But then I moved to Texas and got sedentary. And sure, I would try to use the treadmill or the exercise bike, but both of them just bored me to tears. I hated it.

And I went from "out of shape" to "Geez, I should really get back out there and get some exercise" to "I'm starting to develop a little bit of a paunch" to "no matter what angle I stand at, I have a double chin" to "I do not have a single shirt that can disguise this figure as muscle." And then I bought the scale.

I weighed in at 190. One-ninety.

So I'm going to start dropping weight. It's official. I'm planning on dropping 10 pounds a month, and be back to 160-165 by May. Most people would worry about that being too fast, or running out of steam, or decide to take it slowly while they're "getting back into it." But I'm not worried. I'm not gonna take it slowly. I'm just gonna do it. It's decided.

I'll keep an update in the sidebar (if you aren't reading this on the main site, click here), and I'll let you know my progress.

165. By May 1st. I mean it.

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Amidst complaints that I haven't been posting:

Here's me at a monster truck rally.


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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Apparently, I'm rooting for the Colts

You can click on this link (I'm sure it's too late for you by the time you're reading this) and discover which team you should be rooting for during the Superbowl. It's actually quite streamlined and well-done, though... strange and unsettling that any sports nut of a webmaster should spend time on something like this.

Apparently, my love for independent films makes me a Colts fan.* Who are you going for?

* I actually am going for the Colts, but only - only - because I want Peyton to win one. Because I like Peyton. And I don't want to feel bad for him the next time the Patriots face him in the playoffs, so I can root for them to rip him apart. Literally, I think.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Here's something that's no surprise.

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

you should take the quiz, too.