Billions and Billions of years ago, our universe began...no wait...this isn't a Carl Sagan retrospective, this is my blog. Sorry about that folks, I kind of got lost in the universe.
Every once in a while normal routines in life take detours. Such has been true for me in 2009 so far, but in a good way. I will be returning to blogging on MTMD, but probably with a curtailed schedule through the year. Gone is the year of 200+ posts. On this blog at least.
So let me catch you up to date:
INSIDE GOVERNMENTInside Government
is my other blog and it's developing a life of its own. In the first four months of its existence, we have been syndicated by Blogburst, built a Facebook community, and a Twitter Follower Network of close to 1200 which grows daily. The really cool thing about our Twitter Network though is that it includes United States Governors, All Major News Networks, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, personalities like Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly, David Gregory and Nancy Pelosi's Daughter, Senators Chris Dodd and Claire McCaskill, Representative John Boehner, Governor Granholm of Michigan, Governor Arnold of California, and so many other state and local news media, television anchors, pundits and people like you and me. It's a great mix.
We're working hard on raising the bar on Inside Government and with the direction the site is taking and its growing readership, it is becoming my primary blog for a whole host of reasons. I encourage you all to check it out, especially our recent post that explains what a Trillion Dollars
is even in terms that Carl Sagan would understand. And even Henson
had a video that made a guest appearance with one of our posts.
International Whitewater Hall of Fame
There are a number of projects at work that take up a large portion of my time, including being the project manager for the International Whitewater Hall of Fame (IWHoF)
. It's one of those awesome things about working in the whitewater industry. I get to do some really cool stuff. Administering IWHoF and the Annual Election Process is one of them. But this year, we decided to revamp our website and develop a Facebook Community to extend our reach in the US and Worldwide especially. So not only is this a labor of love that I happen to get paid for, it's taken a huge part of my time that I used to spend blogging on MTMD.
We migrated from a really old and clunky website to a Wordpress-based blog platform for ease of content management. We also migrated web hosting and mail servers. There were a number of reasons for this, and every one had a time-saving and cost-saving advantage. I encourage you to check it out at http://www.iwhof.org. The site is 100% better than it was, but we're looking forward to adding a great deal of functionality and interactivity in the coming year. We've even installed an awesome translation plug-in that automatically translates our blog into 42 languages completely in the background. It's a plus when your organization is an international one.
Nantahala Outdoor Center
This, of course, is where I work. NOC
--the largest whitewater rafting and outfitting company in the United States and perhaps the world. It's truly an awesome place, and guess what, now we're getting into blogging. We've just started a few new blogs for Rafting
, a General
Blog to pull all the info together, and still to come an Outfitter Store Blog. We're adding twitter, we're adding widgets, we're tweaking themes, and you guessed it, I'm in the middle of this one as well.
It's really exciting to be able to do all this awesome blogging and networking building and get paid for it, however, it IS a lot of blogging, and that's why MTMD is suffering just a little bit.The Future of MTMD
MTMD is NOT going away, however. I'm just going to scale down a bit. I have a number of posts to make, or to incorporate into other posts, such as this one:HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!
Yes, today is my mother's birthday. It's also the Ides of March, so Beware the Ides of March!
I also have a few coffee reviews to post. Recently I was lucky enough to receive a pound of 100% Kona Coffee and a pound of 100% Jamaican Blue Coffee. I guess if you blog about coffee, coffee distributors appreciate you tipping your mug to them, and I'm happy to write honest reviews and express my thanks for the generosity of these distributors every chance I get. Thank you Chad! The reviews will be up soon.
Plus the usual mix of content that MTMD is known for, as well as the honoring of the next Pulsar.ENTRECARD
However, in terms of dropping cards, there just isn't enough time in the day. That doesn't mean I won't visit EntreCard blogs any more, of course I'll still read my favorites. But I can't take two hours out of my day to drop 600 Cards, and with Graham's new EntreCard economy, it looks like Inside Government will be dropped from EntreCard anyway because on a site like that, I just can't put the EntreCard widget above the fold. Dropping 300 cards is more manageable, but still a major time committment. I will try to drop on my favorites at least a few times a week though.
So that's where we are, where I've been, what's been keeping me busy. Blogging, twittering, facebook community building. Oh, and Twilight.
I am absolutely hooked on Twilight. I've read the first two books and I'm halfway through the third. I am captivated by the story that is unfolding, the unique take on the vampire/werewolf lore, and like Snow Falling on Cedars
, the incredibly palpable atmosphere that permeates every page of the writing. There's a lot to admire in the Twilight
series and I can't wait for the second movie.
So, what have all of you been up to? Ken, Amy, Rox, Margaret, Ms. Mecomber? I do miss you guys.
Thanks for reading.
Now that I have seen all the nominated pictures for Oscars this year, it's time to take a stab at predicting the results. As it's very rare for anyone to get them all right, I definitely expect some surprises come February. But for now, let's engage in the discussion and the dissent and the fun. My picks are in bold. Do you agree with my choices? I'd love to hear your views!Performance by an actor in a leading role
While Mickey Rourke revived his career with a win in the Golden Globes and his performance was in deed dazzling, Oscar tends to favor more serious fare. Not only was Frost/Nixon an amazing motion picture encapsulating a key time period in American History, every performance in this movie was award-worthy. Frank Langella turned in the performance of his life as Richard Nixon and I predict he'll upset both Mickey Rourke and Academy Award Winner Sean Penn for Milk.
* Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor" (Overture Films)* Frank Langella in "Frost/Nixon" (Universal)
* Sean Penn in "Milk" (Focus Features)
* Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
* Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler" (Fox Searchlight)Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Every performance in this category is deserving of an Oscar win, but this is the year of the Joker. Heath Ledger will win, and expect a fitting tribute for this actor who's life tragically ended far too soon.
* Josh Brolin in "Milk" (Focus Features)
* Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder" (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
* Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt" (Miramax)* Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.)
* Michael Shannon in "Revolutionary Road" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)Performance by an actress in a leading role
Six-time Oscar nominee Kate Winslet emerged as the favorite to win this year following her double-victory at the Golden Globes. She is also the sentimental favorite to win after being denied for so long. No one has been Oscar-nominated more without a win than Kate. Expect that distinction to end this go-round. While Anne Hathaway gives a breakout performance in "Rachel Getting Married," the feeling in Hollywood is simply it's Kate's turn. Oscar Winner Angelina Jolie's performance in "Changeling" is not as weighty as Winslet's. Meryl Streep's performance in "Doubt," while excellent, does not rate with her Oscar-nominated role for the "Devil Wears Prada." If there is to be an upset, it may come from Melissa Leo's nuanced performance in "Frozen River," but that remains a longshot. Expect Winslet to take home the Oscar as much for her body of work as her brilliant performance in The Reader.
* Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married" (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Angelina Jolie in "Changeling" (Universal)
* Melissa Leo in "Frozen River" (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Meryl Streep in "Doubt" (Miramax)* Kate Winslet in "The Reader" (The Weinstein Company)Performance by an actress in a supporting role
This category is wide open since Kate Winslet's performance in The Reader has been put in with the Lead Actress Category instead of the Supporting Category for which she competed in the Golden Globes. Doubt's dynamic duo of Amy Adams and Viola Davis will probably take away Support for Amy Adams. Davis' role was outstanding, but far too short for true contention. Oscar Winner Mrisa Tomei turned in a stellar performance for The Wrestler, but this category should come down to Taraji P. Henson's multi-nuanced performance as Brad Pitt's mother in Benjamin Button and Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I predict it will be a good night for Benjamin Button.
* Amy Adams in "Doubt" (Miramax)
* Penélope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (The Weinstein Company)
* Viola Davis in "Doubt" (Miramax)* Taraji P. Henson in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
* Marisa Tomei in "The Wrestler" (Fox Searchlight)Best animated feature film of the year
When Pixar is on their game, no one can compete with them. WALL-E is even a better bet than Heath Ledger.
*"Bolt" (Walt Disney) Chris Williams and Byron Howard
*"Kung Fu Panda" (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) John Stevenson and Mark Osborne*"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Andrew StantonAchievement in art direction
This is one of those categories that Oscar likes to reward pictures that didn't quite make it to the Best Picture Category. With it's innovative and completely original sets and art direction, The Dark Knight should do well here, but all pictures in this category are worthy. Benjamin Button might ride the wave of its most nominated status, and Revolutionary Road could also win as a consolation prize. The Duchess has an outside shot, but period pieces such as this one have been much honored in the past.
*"Changeling" (Universal) Art Direction: James J. Murakami
Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt
Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Art Direction: Nathan Crowley
Set Decoration: Peter Lando
*"The Duchess" (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) Art Direction: Michael Carlin Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
*"Revolutionary Road" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) Art Direction: Kristi Zea Set Decoration: Debra SchuttAchievement in cinematography
There's a strong correlation between Best Picture and Best Cinematography. I think The Reader is poised to be the upset film of the night and take the highest honors.
*"Changeling" (Universal) Tom Stern
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Claudio Miranda
*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister*"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Anthony Dod MantleAchievement in costume design
Kate Winslet particularly was stunning in the 1950s costumes created for Revolutionary Road. The entire cast looked 50s sharp.
*"Australia" (20th Century Fox) Catherine Martin
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Jacqueline West
*"The Duchess" (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) Michael O'Connor
*"Milk" (Focus Features) Danny Glicker*"Revolutionary Road" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) Albert WolskyAchievement in directing
It's rare when Best Director does NOT go to the film that wins Best Picture. This year will be no exception.
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) David Fincher
*"Frost/Nixon" (Universal) Ron Howard
*"Milk" (Focus Features) Gus Van Sant*"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) Stephen Daldry
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Danny BoyleAchievement in film editing
For all you Benjamin Button fans, the movie was just two darn long! The whole theater thought so Saturday night. But this is a close category. Because of the amazing action sequences, I give the nod to The Dark Knight, but Milk may win for some of the crowd sequences and Slumdog Millionaire is also in the running for the juxtaposition of the Millionaire game show and real life in India.
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Lee Smith
*"Frost/Nixon" (Universal) Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
*"Milk" (Focus Features) Elliot Graham
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Chris DickensBest foreign language film of the year
I have not seen any of these, but if you judge by the amount of previews, then I would think "The Class" is the front runner. But the Golden Globe Winner, "Waltz with Bashir" is my pick. I just think the foreign press knows something about foreign films.
* "The Baader Meinhof Complex" A Constantin Film Production - Germany
* "The Class" (Sony Pictures Classics) A Haut et Court Production - France
* "Departures" (Regent Releasing) A Departures Film Partners Production - Japan
* "Revanche" (Janus Films) A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production - Austria* "Waltz with Bashir" (Sony Pictures Classics) A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production - IsraelAchievement in makeup
Button was superlative, but The Dark Knight will win.
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Greg Cannom*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) John Caglione, Jr. and Conor
*"Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (Universal) Mike Elizalde and Thom FloutzAchievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
Button nearly put me to sleep. Elfman's Milk score was genius, but the originality of Slumdog Millionaire should carry the night.
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Alexandre Desplat
*"Defiance" (Paramount Vantage) James Newton Howard
*"Milk" (Focus Features) Danny Elfman*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman
*"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Thomas NewmanAchievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
I think the voting will be split for the Slumdog selections, allowing WALL-E a win.*"Down to Earth" from "WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
Lyric by Peter Gabriel
*"Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman
Lyric by Gulzar
*"O Saya" from "Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya ArulpragasamBest motion picture of the year
Benjamin Button is a sentimental film, but it's not really Oscar worthy. Plus it's just way too long. Milk and Frost/Nixon represent US history well, and in every way Frost/Nixon is more serious, more weighty, and funnier than Benjamin Button, but it seems to be missing the gravitas necessary for Oscar. Slumdog Millionaire swept the Golden Globes, but America likes to honor Holocaust films, and The Reader is a powerhouse with acclaimed acting performances by all three leads. I'll be betting on The Reader to achieve for Stephen Daldry what he almost achieved with "The Hours" in 2003.
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
A Kennedy/Marshall Production Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
*"Milk" (Focus Features)
A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers*"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company)
A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production Nominees to be determined
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight)
A Celador Films Production Christian Colson, ProducerAchievement in sound editing
Toss up between The Dark Knight and WALL-E. I choose WALL-E.
*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Richard King
*"Iron Man" (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Tom Sayers*"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
*"Wanted" (Universal) Wylie StatemanAchievement in sound mixing
The same. Again I choose WALL-E.
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty*"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
*"Wanted" (Universal) Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr ForejtAchievement in visual effects
Grafting Brad Pitt's face on to different bodies was an impressive and difficult achievement. I'm going to choose Benjamin Button in this category, but I wouldn't be surprised if The Dark Knight won.*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
*"Iron Man" (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane MahanAdapted screenplay
Button was too long. The Reader hit all the right notes.
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Screenplay by Eric Roth
Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
*"Doubt" (Miramax) Written by John Patrick Shanley
*"Frost/Nixon" (Universal) Screenplay by Peter Morgan*"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) Screenplay by David Hare
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Screenplay by Simon BeaufoyOriginal screenplay
This is the category where Milk gets its due. Although, after a surprise win at the Golden Globes, In Bruges may score an upset; and as brilliant as WALL-E was, the Academy may see fit to recognize the animated film here where it is loathe to do in the Best Picture Category.
*"Frozen River" (Sony Pictures Classics) Written by Courtney Hunt
*"Happy-Go-Lucky" (Miramax) Written by Mike Leigh
*"In Bruges" (Focus Features) Written by Martin McDonagh*"Milk" (Focus Features) Written by Dustin Lance Black
*"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon
Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter
Thanks for reading!
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