If I Made The Rules

As someone who has watched all* of the Oscar-nominated movies for the last four years, if I could make some additional rules for the Oscars, they would look like this:

  1. A category needn’t nominate a certain number of movies if there aren’t enough qualified movies to fill the category.  I’m looking at you, Animated Features.  This year, all of the movies nominated for Animated Feature were mediocre.  Perhaps only three animated movies this year deserved to be able to say they were Oscar-nominated: Wreck-It Ralph, Frankenweenie, and Brave (and really, I’m just including Brave because it won.  It wasn’t a good movie, and it sucked even more because it was a Pixar movie, and Pixar should do better than put out a mediocre movie).  ParaNorman wasn’t terrible, but it certainly doesn’t deserve the “Oscar-nominated” title.  Pirates! Band of Misfits WAS terrible.  Please, Academy, don’t feel like you have to nominate five movies just because there are five slots.  Have some standards.  [So, after doing some research on this category, I've found what I think is the problem.  Animated movies are scored numerically by committee members, with 10 = excellent, 8 = good, and 7 = fair.  A film has to have an average score of 7.5 in order to be nominated.  In my view, movies that can only be described as "somewhere between fair and good" have no business being nominated for Oscars.  Ideally, all nominated movies would be excellent or very good, but I can see how some movies that are just "good" might slip in.  But really, movies where the average vote is less than "good" simply are not worthy of the honor of having an Oscar nom to their credit.]
  2. In order for an Academy member to be able to vote in a category, they need to have seen all the movies in that category.  Otherwise, it just becomes even more of a popularity contest than it already is.  Seeing every movie in a category should be a minimum qualification to be able to vote in that category.  The Foreign Language category has this standard, and it adds an additional element of integrity to the category.  If it’s not too difficult for me to see all of the nominated movies in a category, surely it’s not too difficult to ask the Academy members — who often get free DVD screeners of the movies mailed to them — who want to vote for movies in that category to do the same.  
  3. No presenter should be associated with a film that is nominated for the category in which he or she is presenting.  The cast of The Avengers, including Samuel L. Jackson, presented for Best Visual Effects, for which The Avengers was a nominee, and for Cinematography, for which Django Unchained was a nominee.  I don’t want to feel like the presenters have a horse in the race.  It really wouldn’t be that hard to mix up the presenters and the categories.
  4. All of the nominated movies should be available to be seen prior to the Oscars, whether in the movie theater or released on DVD.  Because I live in DC, I’m able to see all of the Foreign Language nominees at National Geographic and all of the Documentary Features at the National Archives.  Two of the short film categories — animated and live action — have been available in other theaters for a few years, and for the second year in a row, a local theater has also played the documentary shorts. Nevertheless, there are generally a small handful of movies that I am not able to view through Netflix, On Demand, or in the theater each year.  I — and I believe others — would be willing to pay to see these movies in some form.  Please make that an option for us.
  5. Make a damn decision already on whether to have performances for all the nominated Original Songs.  The nominated songs traditionally have been performed at the Oscars since 1946, with only three exceptions: 1989, 2010, and 2012 (thus depriving me the pleasure of seeing Jason Segel, Jim Parsons, and some Muppets together on stage at the Oscars).  Making the decisions on whether to have the performances on an ad-hoc, year-by-year basis makes it seem as though the Academy is making a judgment call on which songs are worthy of being performed.  Either all Oscar-nominated songs are worthy of being performed at the Oscars, or none of them are.  But you know what NOT to do?  Don’t perform some of them live (“Skyfall”, “Suddenly”, and “Everybody Needs A Best Friend”), and then just play a few second snips of the other two on the big screen at the Oscars.  It’s in bad taste.

</Oscar rant>

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*I’ve missed about half a dozen films in these four years, mostly because they were not available via Netflix, On Demand, in theater, or elsewhere.  I missed it this year by one movie (damn you, Chasing Ice!) and last year by two movies (I think).  The prior year I successfully (though not easily) saw all of them.

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Much Ado About Nothing: My (Very Un-PC*) Thoughts About the Reaction to the Sexism in Simon Borg’s Statement

Today my Twitter feed blew up because Simon Borg, who is a writer and editor on the league website and co-hosts two podcasts, said on Extra Time Radio that women who were super-fans (to be distinguished from “casual fans”) were not appealing to potential male partners.  The people I follow on Twitter, including Women United FC, proceeded to tweet about it all day.

I get — and agree — that someone who even arguably represents MLS shouldn’t make such statements.  

However, the extent of the reaction to it implies that instead of being the perhaps-misguided opinion or badly-phrased rambling of one person — which it was — the statement represented the feeling of many and was a normative statement that women should not be soccer super-fans and instead they should be focused on finding a potential mate — which it was not. 

If Simon Borg feels that women super-fans aren’t attractive, then all that it means is that he won’t go out with a superfan.  Women superfans clearly wouldn’t want to go out with him — or anyone who shared his thoughts — anyway.  I don’t think that there are any women out there today who think “Oh crap, if being a soccer superfan isn’t going to help me catch a mate, then I really shouldn’t be a superfan.”

Perhaps I’m being too harsh.  Perhaps it is harder for women in some soccer circles to fit in, and they feel that they have to fight their way in and justify their position there.  That has never happened to me.  I have neither felt ostracized nor special because I am a woman soccer super-fan.  There are lots of women soccer super-fans in my group, most of them much more knowledgable about soccer than I am.  

I went to undergrad at The College of William and Mary, and while I was there, Margaret Thatcher was our Chancellor.  During our orientation week, we had a Q&A session with her.  Someone asked how it felt to be the first woman Prime Minister.  She replied “I do not consider myself a woman Prime Minister.  I consider myself a Prime Minister.” **  

I do not consider myself a woman soccer super-fan.  I consider myself a soccer super-fan.  

By harping on how outraged we are by one person’s statements, women emphasize the “otherness” in us — an otherness that I have never really found to exist.

I’m not saying that there are no differences at all between men and women.  Men’s soccer jerseys don’t fit women as well.  Yet US Soccer, until this year, hasn’t put out its men jersey in a women’s cut.  And even this year, when the women’s jerseys match the mens’, US Soccer isn’t releasing the women’s jersey until July, so those of us who would like to wear one to the USMNT World Cup Qualifying games (or local viewing parties for them) are just out of luck.  There are pictures on Facebook for the women’s jerseys, but they are not on the US Soccer website yet.  Where’s the outrage over that?  Instead of focusing on something tangible, the pro-woman energy has all been focused on one person who put his foot in his mouth.    

And really, if one man isn’t attracted to women soccer superfans, so what?  I don’t think the general sentiment is limited to the male gender.  Plenty of women (and I think I’m allowed to say this because I was one of them, prior to finding soccer) aren’t attracted to male super-fans (of any sport) either — the term “sports widow” exists for a reason.  My schedule is dictated by soccer games.  It takes up my weekends.  It takes up my free time.  It takes up my vacation time and money.  I’ve told close friends and family that I can’t take vacations with them because I’m saving money and leave time for soccer trips.  I can imagine that that might not go over so well with a non-soccer-supporting partner.  If any non-soccer superfan didn’t want to date me because I am a soccer superfan, then 1) he isn’t someone I would want to date anyway, and 2) I’d kind of understand it.

The unique aspect is that this statement is coming from (what I presume is) a fellow soccer superfan.  I would think that soccer super-fans would be more attracted to other superfans, not less.  But if for one person it happens to be less attractive, then … to each his own.

* I can see how this post might be offensive — I’m sorry.  I’m not a feminist, and I always feel kind of guilty for my anti-feminism, like I’m betraying my peeps.  So again, sorry.  

** This is not a wholehearted endorsement of everything Margaret Thatcher says, I just particularly like this statement and this sentiment.

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The Happiness Project

Lately I’ve been in a bit of a funk.  I’m blaming it on the earthquake.  And I’m telling myself (and my friends who have been nice enough to listen to me complain) that all the life changes that have happened recently — losing my mom, losing my job, realizing that “good” friends sometimes aren’t really what they seem, fighting with the movers over moving my mom’s stuff, realizing that I’m going to have to give notice to move out of my place way before I’ll find a new place to live, thinking about moving again in November — are finally starting to catch up with me.

To try to counteract my funk, I picked up a book called The Happiness Project that a friend gave to me for my birthday this year.  I figured I could use a little happiness in my life right now.  It can be pretty cheesy, and the author’s cheerfulness annoys the shit out of me, and there are whole chapters that aren’t applicable (cough — husband, kids — cough) but the basic principal is sticking with me — no matter how much seems to be wrong externally right now, there are things I can be doing that will make me tangibly happier.

Such as: Get my ass out of the house and go to the gym.  Spend some time clearing the clutter from my life.  Spend time with good friends.  Engage in intellectual growth.  I can handle the last two things; it’s the first two things that I need to work on.

Earlier today I found out that a friend had been put on the “travel team” at work.  I’m incredibly happy for her, of course, but also insanely jealous.  I’ve thought about sending her work an unsolicited resume and cover letter begging them to hire me.  (If anyone at C’s office is reading this now: I’d be perfect for your travel team.  I don’t have a husband, kids, pets, or houseplants to keep me from going places.  I would go anywhere — everywhere — with not only acceptance but enthusiasm.  I’d go to India as quickly as I’d go to Geneva.  I’d work a gazillion hours a day.  You wouldn’t have to fly me back and forth every few weeks — I’d be happy to stay in ____ ON MY OWN DIME during my “off” time.  Though, of course, some back and forth would be nice, because I could really use the extra frequent flier miles. ;-)  )

I’m not a strict believer in karma.  Bad things happen to good people for no reason.  Nevertheless, I can’t shake some sense of “things are happening this way for a reason.”  That doesn’t mean that I actually believe that there’s a divine being up there watching out for me and pulling the strings certain ways.  Maybe it just helps to remind me that I should make the most from a situation instead of complaining.

My point is that it occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t supposed to have a job right now that lets me travel 100% of the time.  Maybe there are things here that I need to stay here to do.  Maybe it’s so that I can go on vacation with S over Christmas; if I had a travel job, I would bet that I couldn’t dictate that I have that week off.  (Granted, at this point, if I have any job, I can’t dictate that I have that week off.  But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.)  Maybe it’s so that, in preparation for going on Christmas vacation with S (Bonaire, anyone?), I can take a class and get certified in scuba.  Maybe it’s so that I can take a class in Portuguese.

When this last thought hit, I went online and pulled the trigger on the Portuguese class I’ve been eyeing for the last week.  Registered, paid for it, bought the books.

I think the author of The Happiness Project would give me a gold star.

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I’d hire me.

So, as most of you probably know — and by “you” I mean the 1.5 persons who actually look at this blog (I know who you are) — I am currently in the job market and looking for work.  As part of an application for a contract attorney (ie, document review temp work) position today, I had to write my own bio.  It had to be centered around my doc review experience, of course, but I found that I could still use my bio from my old employer (which I could still find on its website, though not very easily).

I think I actually look pretty good on paper.  I mean, I’d hire me.

And I’m not saying that in a “I look good on paper but when I get to work I goof off” kind of way — I am consistently (five out of my last six jobs) hired on a temporary basis, and then, by showing that I don’t mind putting in the time and hard work, given a longer term position, more responsibilities, offer to stay on past my original commitment, etc.

So here’s my bio.  If you know anyone who might be in a position to hire me, please let me know!

Molly Thompson has worked in the e-discovery field as a contract attorney in Washington, DC, and in Charlotte, North Carolina, for many projects since 2007.  She has reviewed documents for substance and privilege in cases involving antitrust and mergers, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, communications law, and municipal derivatives and SEC regulations.  She is proficient in many brands of e-discovery software, including Concordance, Relativity, Ringtail/Axcelerate, and iConnect.  She is often selected from a pool of reviewers to help conduct the second-level, quality control reviews for a project, and she also has served as a team leader, providing technical and substantive assistance to other team members.  Previously, Molly served as a law clerk for federal judges in Greenville, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington, and she practiced law in a medium-sized law firm in Los Angeles, California, focusing on general business litigation.  She is a member in good standing of the State Bars of the District of Columbia, California, and North Carolina.  Molly holds a B.A. in History and Philosophy from The College of William and Mary and a J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law, where she was a Staffwriter on the Washington and Lee Law Review.

Molly has also worked as a Program Manager for Meridian International Center, a non-profit exchange organization, where she managed logistical and programmatic aspects of Meridian’s Global Service Leaders Initiative and assisted with developing and implementing new initiatives, private projects, and Department of State grants.  Previously, Molly worked on political campaigns at the state and national levels and she interned for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois.  In her free time, Molly enjoys soccer and traveling, and she has recently visited Singapore, Paris, South Africa, and the Caribbean.

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Around the World in Books

The idea for this map came from a similar map I saw in the bookstore Politics and Prose, in DC, which indicated some of the best books set in each country around the world.  My goal is to read a book about (or set in) each country.  Green is for books I’ve read, red for ones I haven’t read yet, and yellow for ones I’m currently reading.

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When RFK’s A-Rockin’…

A sold-out RFK Stadium, in a sea of blue.

Dear USMNT, I love ya, I love ya, I love ya, and where you go I’ll follow, I’ll follow, I’ll follow….. but I was blown away by the El Salvador game last night.

The atmosphere at the El Salvador game was incredible; it was the most incredible in-stadium atmosphere I’ve ever seen.  The World Cup last year had a more incredible atmosphere outside the stadium itself — around the stadiums before the games, decked-out fans of all nations were partying and singing together.  But inside the stadiums at the World Cup, the supporters sections rocked while the rest of the stadium sat and clapped politely.  At RFK last night, many fans in the upper sections were standing.  Fans in the lower sections were standing on seats.  Dozens and dozens of El Salvador flags were waved when the fans got fired up.  40,000+ fans chanted “Si, se puede.”

El Salvadorian fans and flags... and the occasional Panama fan.

There wasn’t a specific El Salvador “supporter section” where the hard core fans sat to cheer.  They didn’t need it.  The entire stadium was filled with hard core fans.

The stadium stopped serving beer before the ES-PAN game started.  I didn’t hear one person complain.  They were here for the soccer.

An El Salvadorian fan wears an ES flag and carries a US flag.

At the tailgate before the game, my roommate and I wandered around, walking through the El Salvador section.  We got several chants of “USA!” from El Salvador fans.  Later, while walking to the stadium, groups of El Salvadorians came up to us and started chanting “USA!”  We answered with “El Salvador!”  It continued…. “USA!” “El Salvador!” “USA!” “El Salvador!”  It was beautiful.

Many El Salvador fans wore both ES and US gear and flags.

I was absolutely blown away by the way the El Salvador fans could pack a stadium, cheer on their team loudly even from the top deck, be gracious about the lack of adult beverages available, and be civil, polite, and even friendly towards the opposing team’s fans that were standing beside them — even after the opposing team won.

Ives Galarcep

@SoccerByIves Ives Galarcep
RFK Stadium keeps on rocking. Hope I can someday cover a USMNT game where a 45K+ stadium is rocking filled with USA fans. #SomeDay

 

I, too, dream of a day when the US can rock a stadium like El Salvador rocked RFK.  We have so much to learn from them.  Tragically, however, most of the US fans had left the stadium before the second game started.  (Also, unfortunately, once you left the stadium, you couldn’t get back in.  Any ideas of popping out for a breath of fresh air were thwarted.)

Of my immediate group of friends, a handful of soccer buddies stayed, and my friend-of-a-friend Will stayed.   Given the overwhelming number of El Salvadorian fans, we wanted to catch the first 20 minutes or so of the game to see what it would be like.  We loved it so much, we stayed for the entire match, including two 15-minute overtime periods and then the deciding penalty kicks.

Will speaks some Spanish, and so we talked to the El Salvadorian guy sitting beside us.  When the beverage guys came through our section selling Diet Cokes, our new El Salvadorian buddy bought both of us one, then wanted to get his picture with us.

When a guy with a drum came through, he and the drummer both encouraged me to go bang on it, so I did.  They didn’t even mind my lack of rhythm, only appreciating the fact that I had stayed to cheer them on.

(By the end of the game, I was wearing all three scarves that I had brought with me — my new AODC scarf, my new “Who’s Your Daddy?” scarf made by the Screaming Eagles in honor of the game being held on Fathers Day, and the USMNT team scarf from the last time the USMNT had played at RFK, against Costa Rica in October 2009 (my first soccer game).  During the US game, Cristina and Shaun each wore one of my scarves so they could hold them up at the appropriate moments.)

Speaking of the US game…. it also rocked.

American Outlaws Tailgate

My day started when my roommate and I arrived at Lot 8 at 10:00 am to help set up.  After I’d received several emails pleading for additional tailgate volunteers, I quashed my “but I’d rather just hang out with my friends” thoughts and decided to volunteer.  It was the best decision I could have made.  Even though it was Tiffany’s first game, she wanted to volunteer with me.  Because she’s awesome like that.

So after getting a bite to eat and wandering around the rest of the tailgate for a bit, we headed to the beer tent and went on PBR duty.  The Screaming Eagles know how to organize the hell out of a tailgate — one row of people poured beer into pitchers, a second row poured beer from pitchers into cups, and the third row handed the cups to the thirsty masses.  We got to be in that third row.

I couldn't help but stop to take a picture as we served beer to this guy.

I felt like a beer angel, handing out cups of tasty tasty adult beverages to appreciative and friendly fans of all shapes, sizes, and costumes.  Tiffany and I had a rhythm going, and we worked our best to get PBR in everyone’s hands as soon as possible.  Before the kegs of other beers (we had PBR, Miller Lite, Bell’s Two-Hearted, Bell’s Oberon, and Guinness) were kicked, we and the Miller Lite guy were promoting our beers like carnival callers. “Get your PBR here! No lines! Ready now!” “Miller Lite here! Chock full of hops!”  It was one of the best times I’ve had a tailgate, and I hope to be back to volunteer to pour beer in the near future.

And then there was the game itself.  Craziness.  I was a little shocked that Bradley didn’t start Donovan.  Yes, he got back into DC at 7 am from his sister’s wedding, and yes, he has been playing sub-par lately.  But he’s allegedly the star of the US team.  And we couldn’t bench the star, even if he is a Cristiano Ronaldo and has been experiencing an awful lot of C-Ron-itis in his general “fatigue” and “sickness” that has kept him from playing in several games this season.  But Bradley sacked up and benched him for the first half, and guess what — it worked out just fine.  (Whew.)

And on the wedding subject: according to Grant Wahl, 85% of people said “family first” and had no problem with Donovan and Dempsey going to their sister’s weddings the night before the Quarterfinals of the most important tournament except for the World Cup for the USMNT.  Where was this “family first” feeling from the sisters?  Were they putting “family first” by scheduling their wedding during the Gold Cup?  Their brothers might not have been allowed to go to their wedding at all.  If they could go, they would go at the expense of 1. missing the last US practice before the game, 2. arriving in DC weary after a long night and late flights, 3. potential career repercussions (Donovan finding that out the hard way — that he actually would be benched, and hey, what do you know, the US could play decently without him), 4. the financial expense of private planes, paid for by USSF?  ::stepping off soapbox::

Tiffany loves Tennessee.

Saved my favorite photo for last.  We sat right in front of a guy repping a Tennessee jersey.  Tiffany, being from Tennessee, LOVED it, and I was able to snap this awesome picture.

As a post-game note, I was browsing the Twitters after the game and came across this awesome shout-out:

Nutmeg Radio
NutmegRadio Nutmeg Radio
Excited for Bedoya. And some girl is rocking a TIM Howard goalkeeper jersey.

 

That “some girl”?  That was me.  :-)

Also, to those who did not make it to the game with me, whether through actual sickness (last minute flu, check; antibiotics-resistant strep gotten from the hospital after you got hit by a cab, check), interfering weddings (though you know what my feelings are towards that one — see above), or general C-Ron-itis (JOKE. It’s a joke.) — you were missed.

Onward and upward.

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Tripper Map

Let’s see if this works.  It’s a program that’s supposed to take my photos from Flickr and make a map out of them.  The main reason I’m trying this one instead of using Flickr maps is that I can get the pics to appear on the map just by tagging them with a city and country name.  Keeping my fingers crossed that this works and is as cool as I think it will be.

Update: Several hours after writing this post, I’ve gotten it to work. Apparently, WordPress hates Javascript and Flash and I can’t embed code for these, but there’s another website called Vodpod.com that will let me somehow embed Flash and gives me a code that will work for WordPress. … yes, I know, blah blah blah GEEK blah blah blah. I don’t really understand it either.

Now that I’ve gotten it to work, I’m going to go back and tag some pictures. Hopefully it will update dynamically. Update: it does. I’m impressed.

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