Monday, February 28, 2011

The 83rd annual Academy Awards

Two Oscar parties combined last night into a 12-person affair that left the best forecaster $80 richer. That wasn't me, but I came in second, thereby receiving $20, which helps soften the blow of having provided food and drinks, which of course I was happy to do. I made these, a more traditional version of individual portobello mushroom cap pizzas I made a few years ago.

Basically you remove the stems and dark gills from under the cap, turn them over, fill them with stuff and bake them for a bit. You can do pesto, artichoke, pepperoni, olives, whatever interests you. It's pretty easy and appreciated by those who like mushrooms.

I enjoyed the Oscars and the party, although I have subsequently read general dislike of the telecast. I think realistic standards are in order. It's an awards ceremony, thus is somewhat boring at times. But I thought it was nicely done and moved along at a good pace. I went out on a bit of a limb and predicted "The Social Network" for best picture, even though the experts were generally expecting "The King's Speech." I thought maybe, with 10 pictures in the running, enough of the Academy would have gone for the superior, more modern, more interesting movie. But no. I liked "The King's Speech" well enough but am not sure what larger impact it has, or will have in the future. Maybe in these times of short attention spans and questionable taste, a family-friendly movie about a king who tries to overcome a stammer is just what the doctor ordered, so to speak.

One of the guests at this Oscar soiree was my friend Paul, who was in town from Ann Arbor, where he's getting an MBA at Ross (the University of Michigan). He was one of my fellow "business associate" interns from last summer, at the Associated Press. Paul and a few of our co-workers are looking for full-time jobs in the media/technology space. That's a tough field to break into as an MBA because there isn't as much structure around the recruiting process as there is for, say, banking, consulting or marketing. So you need to do more leg work and be a bit patient.

Sometimes people ask me whether I feel like a "traitor" for leaving media and going into consulting. Especially former co-workers have commented that I'm moving into "the dark side." I'm not sure what's so dark about it. In the purest sense, I'm going to be helping companies find the best ways to make their employees be happy, productive and fulfilled. Maybe that's a bit Mary Poppins, but I sort of like to think of my upcoming job as being along these lines. We'll see how the reality matches up. And, indeed, some of the companies I help may be media and technology companies; there's a whole industry division of Deloitte called TMT, which stands for technology, media and telecommunications.

Maybe someday I'll end up being deployed to help the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences make their annual awards ceremony more interesting to people.

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