Pneumonia and Oscars

Still Sick

I’ve had pneumonia before. It was terrible. It’s not that the pain was unbearable; it’s just that I was extremely uncomfortably for prolonged periods. I had a raging fever. I was vomiting. I couldn’t sleep. Let’s not forget the incessant coughing. It was the kind of annoying cough that forced you to try sleeping while sitting up if only to use gravity to pull the mucous down into the lower half of your lungs so you could use the rest to breathe with. I don’t have any of these symptoms.

The one similarity I am experiencing, however, is that I’m coughing up bloody mucous. Sometimes it’s just a fine hairline of blood streaking the frighteningly greenish yellow glob spat into my sink. Other times it looks like my lungs are disintegrating into bite-sized chunks that go swirl down the drain. I should probably go see a doctor.

My company just switched medical providers this year to Anthem Blue Cross. I picked a doctor and I was issued an insurance card. I called my doctor’s office to schedule an appointment and I’m not sure what the difficulty is, but the woman who answered said she had to check her system to see if they took my insurance. I heard a child screaming in the background and the lady said she would call me back. She never did. So I guess I’ll try again tomorrow.

In the meantime, even though I can still feel an obstruction in my lungs, I’ve resolved to behave as if I’m completely well and force myself to get back into routine. Enough of this going home and just getting my rest. People are counting on me to blog, dammit!

Successful 81st Oscars

Every year for the past few years, I spend Oscar night with a friend and her family watching the awards show on television. Before the show, we fill out respective sheets, guessing who will win what and see who did the best job guessing. After all, we typically don’t watch every movie that gets nominated, so I completely sympathized with Hugh Jackman when his dance for The Reader had nothing to do with the film. Furthermore, even if any of us had watched every nominated film, none of us have the expertise to make any kind of educated prediction as to who will win in categories like Sound Editing. Still, we have a good time. I think I have a better time than most since I can’t help but add running commentary, which probably annoys everyone around me.

Getting back to Hugh Jackman, I have to confess that I expected him to fail as an Oscars host. I like Jackman and I think he’s a fine actor. I just think that the Oscars needs a veteran comedian to keep the show’s pace brisk, deflate any tension caused by too much politics injected into acceptance speeches and basically just be funny. Since I know Jackman primarily through his action films, I had no reason to expect that he could be that kind of host. In the end, I guess it didn’t matter since the format of the show was geared more for Jackman’s experience in musical theater.

Overall, I enjoyed his numbers and, had this been the Tony Awards, I’d have no criticisms. Since it’s the Oscars, I’ll say that I thought the opening number was entertaining, clever and funny. I think the second big number with Beyoncé became a little overwrought. I felt like I was watching The Hugh Jackman Variety Show. On a side note: As soon as Beyoncé crooned the first line of At Last I had hoped that Etta James would come running on stage and drop a flying elbow on her. Now that would have been comedic gold.

I’d also like to add that I’ve always enjoyed watching Anne Hathaway, but after seeing her little bit on Sunday, I’m a fan. I wish I could explain what was so special about it, but words are failing me, so let me just write what’s expected and point out that she’s gorgeous.

Kudos to the producers of the show for the tight pacing. The only times I can recall winners being played off were when there were multiple recipients and someone other than the first person to speak foolishly approached the mike. Regrettably, I didn’t like a lot of the camera direction. For one, a lot of the clips shown to the audience at the show were presented to the home audience as the live audience saw it: on the jumbotron sitting on stage. I’m sure it looked fine if you were actually there. At home, we saw double as the image on the jumbotron was reflected on the shiny stage floor. Also, the In Memoriam was nearly ruined for us watching on a regular 4:3 television. The camera kept swooping around the on-stage screens, cutting off the names of whoever we were looking at. I’d like to think the camera was trying to mimic the ethereal spirits floating on stage, but it still doesn’t make for practical viewing. I’m told that widescreen, hi-def viewers had no problem during this segment. I was also reminded that Heath Ledger died before the last Oscars, which is why he was honored commemorated here.

One format change that I did enjoy this time around was how previous Oscar winners came out to honor the nominees for the actor awards. It added a kind of extra legitimacy to the award in the way that juries are supposed to lend legitimacy to verdicts.

Watching this year’s Oscars, I’ve picked up three don’t‘s to winning an award.

Don’t act like a nut during your acting career and become a professional boxer, get your face rearranged and then undergo shoddy plastic surgery to correct it. The Academy will reject you.

Don’t make a film that can be construed as being pro-George W. Bush in any way. Despite your film being lauded as ground-breaking and a masterpiece, the Academy will reject you and give the director of the film a really crappy seat to boot.

Don’t get nominated during a year when a fellow nominee dies. You will lose and the dead guy will win.

I think Robert Downey Jr. understands that last one the best.