Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Absolutely Uninformed Oscar Predictions

If I've managed to see three films that are nominated for an Academy Award this year, I'd be surprised.

But my complete lack of exposure won't stop me from telling you who I think is going to win.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Another Year
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winters Bone

Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
Iron Man 2

Sound Mixing
The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Sound Editing
Toy Story 3
Tron: Legacy
True Grit

Short Film (Live Action)
The Confession
The Crush
God of Love
Na Wewe
Wish 143

Short Film (Animated)
Day & Night
The Gruffalo
Let's Pollute
The Lost Thing
Magadascar, a Journey Diary

Music (Original Song)
Country Strong "Coming Home"
Tangled "I See the Light"
127 Hours "If I Rise"
Toy Story 3 "We Belong Together"

Music (Original Score)
How to Train Your Dragon
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network

Barney's Version
The Way Back
The Wolfman

Foreign Language Film
In a Better World
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)

Film Editing
Black Swan
The Fighter
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network

Documentary Short Subject
Killing in the Name
Poster Girl
Strangers No More
Sun Come Up
The Warriors of Quigang

Documentary Feature
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Inside Job
Waste Land

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
David Fincher, The Social Network
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, True Grit

Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland
I Am Love
The King's Speech
The Tempest
True Grit

Black Swan
The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
The King's Speech
True Grit

Animated Feature Film
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Actor in a Supprting Role
Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech

Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

Best Picture
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
127 Hours
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

Friday, February 25, 2011

I want to ruin your company's reputation

So, as is usually the case when parents come to visit, something went wrong with the HVAC unit in our house. We suspect that one of the additional electric coils that kicks in when the Emergency Heat is activated on our Heat Pump system burned out. Currently, the unit is running, but it's not maintaining the top temperature we are aiming for. It's not bone-chilling or anything, but it's not entirely working at top efficiency.

So, this happened on Tuesday night. The next day we confirmed that something was not working properly and called our home warranty company to put in a claim. The system called us back and gave us the name of Allison Heating and Cooling to come out and fix the problem.

And nothing happened on Wednesday.

Lynda called back yesterday (Thursday) and finally got someone to respond to us. They scheduled an evaluation and repair visit for today (Friday).

Lynda just got off the phone with me saying that the jackholes at Allison Heating and Cooling apparently can't maintain their scheduling system intelligently enough to know that they had some sort of installation conflict and can't make it to our house. Or perhaps they don't have enough staff to be an effective service provider. Whatever their source of incompetence, they wondered if we could perhaps reschedule for Monday? (Which, in case you aren't doing the math, is five full days after the problem was indicated and the lack of enough heat began.)

Lynda probably politely told them to screw off and now we have to go back through the home warranty system to get another company to come out. And considering it is already midday on Friday, the chances of us getting someone before the weekend begins is slimming. But I'll be damned if I'm going to give any money to Allison Heating and Cooling. They are incompetent and I would like anyone who reads this to retweet and Facebook it and talk badly about this company whenever you have the opportunity.

Allison Heating and Cooling sucks. (And I'm not the only one who thinks so.) They don't know how to operate a business and they don't care about treating customers (no matter where those customers come to them from) properly.

Don't use them.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday night

For the first time in weeks, the weekend comes and I don't feel completely overwhelmed with the needs and demands of the 9 to 5 workload. That is not to say that I don't have work with me this weekend, but it isn't a depressing amount. Not at all as bad as last weekend.

Now, I usually take Friday nights off anyway, so I expect tonight to involve relaxing and watching Fringe, plus other shows from the past week. (Too bad I don't have any beer to relax with.)

So far we've had our dinner and are waiting out the time before Hannah goes to bed. Then the older girls will watch a movie of their own. And I'll just have to keep waiting to do any relaxing of my own.

Lynda isn't feeling great, so she'll fall asleep as soon as she can. So it looks like a solitary, quiet night ahead for me.

-- Posted From My iPhone (so, I apologize in advance for any typos I missed)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


  • My youngest daughter has only three letters in her first name: H - A -  and N. When combined together (excitingly . . . in EITHER direction!) that gives you Hannah.
  • Both I and my oldest daughter only have four letters in our first names. For me, they are D - A - V - and I. I get to repeat the initial consonent. For her, they are S - A - R - and H. And she repeats the only vowel.
  • For my wife and my middle daughter, they both have five unique letters that do not repeat  in their first names. L - Y - N - D - and A, then G - R - A - C - and E.
  • All of us share the letter A in our names.
  • The only other letters shared between individuals are:
    • H's in both Hannah's and Sarah's names. (Both of which are shared as terminal letters in the name.)
    • R's in both Grace's and Sarah's names. But no other commonalities between those names.
What does all this mean?

I have no idea . . . but I'd love to hear your theories on the matter.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


We've had a "weather event" here in the Midwest today. A good amount of ice has coated all flat surfaces and made life generally inconvenient.

School was cancelled, so the kids stayed home. Luckily, Lynda was able to stay home with them, allowing me to go into the work, where the office was NOT closed. (When does it ever, I wonder?) I was expecting it, but the driveway was a treacherous sheet of slippery ice this morning when I had to get the trashcans down to the curb. (To no avail, it seems, as the sanitation department decided not to risk their workers and trucks and didn't pick anything up today.) I managed to get up and down the front slope by avoiding the driveway altogether and using the crusty snow for better purchase. But getting across the 18 inches of sidewalk wasn't easy for me, who is always balance-challenged.

Driving to work was easy, but walking across the parking lot to get into the building wasn't exactly simple. But the people who had come in to work before me had crunched up the surface enough that I could walk pretty well.

And then I stayed at my desk all day and worked, worked, worked. (This routine was only interrupted once when the power went out temporarily. But it came back on about thirty minutes later.)

Coming home tonight, however, was a much different story. I knew there was trouble when I saw that someone had slipped and hurt their leg at the entrance to the office lobby. She looked to be hurt pretty bad. I assume she fell awkwardly and might have been lucky not to break something, judging by the way she was grimacing.

So cautioned, I stepped out onto the sidewalk and started gingerly making my way across the 60 yards of ice to get to my waiting vehicle. I had several close calls where I was losing my balance, but I held on. About halfway to the van, however, my luck ran out and I fell onto my backside. Nothing was hurt. I momentarily considered sliding the rest of the way across the ice to get to the car, but managed to stand back up and make it the rest of the way.

The van was, of course, coated in ice and I had to defrost and chip it away to be able to see and drive home. As was true in the morning, the drive on the roads was not bad really. I just took my time. But when I got home, I knew I'd be in trouble. The slippery driveway had only gotten worse over the course of the day and there was no way I'd be able to drive up the slope to get in the garage. This was proven when I tried to just pull into the bottom of the drive, to get the van away from the street. The nose of the van started skidding to the left even though I was barely moving forward. So, I got the van under control, backed out gingerly and parked by the side of the road.

And that is where we are now. I think snow is going to come and cover the ice tonight, making tomorrow even more of a dicey situation. I just don't know if I'll be able to get into the office tomorrow, meetings or no meetings.

But the weirdest thing of all is how mad I am about leaving the van parked along the side of the road in front of the house. I keep thinking about all the ice and snow that is going to accumulate tonight and how hard it will be to get out there and get it functional, assuming I even try tomorrow. And I worry that someone might lose control of their car driving by and hit mine. Or that a tree limb might fall on it. Or that I just didn't anticipate any of this well enough to make the driveway a usable surface before it got this bad.

It's weir how I am making this a failure on my part. I need to just get over it and be glad that I made it home safely. I've got plenty of work to keep me busy tonight and tomorrow if I choose to stay put.