Observation #1: Pre-committing works. As much as I’d like to attribute the fact that I am writing this post to my self-control, it is more due to pre-committing to it on my Living Time Facebook page. Pre-committing works – first lesson of the day!
It is 5.36am and I have not had my coffee, which is largely accountable for me taking ages to write the above paragraph. (10 minutes, if you were wondering) That’s an average of 3 minutes per line, which is very slow. (This paragraph took 2.)
Let me go make some coffee.
5.48am. I am waiting impatiently for the cafétière to work its magic. It smells good.
5.53am. Coffee has been pressed. I took the first sip. I can feel the caffeine rush. Observation #2: I feel (the inside of) my head most vividly in the morning, when I’m taking my coffee. I can feel it throb. I can almost feel the coffee working its psychological and physical magic on my neurons, though that’s probably more psychological than physical. I would switch to decaffeinated coffee to prove my point, but it just doesn’t taste as good.
5.58am. So yes, for those not yet aware, let me explain what this Red Carpet Challenge is about.
I am a fan of the Oscars. I used to watch it every year (or almost) when I was a kid. Then I went to study abroad and no longer had access to the live television broadcast. After six years of not being able to watch it, this year – finally – I am back home for the Oscars. So there was no question that I would get up at 5am to watch it. Thing is, the Oscars is long. You have the Red Carpet, Counting Down, the Oscars itself. Today’s broadcast, according to mom, will last until 12pm, which will make the entire ceremony 7 hours long.
Spending 7 hours watching the Oscars seemed perfectly fine in high school. Not so much when you’re revising for your final-year undergraduate exams while working a three-day week. So I had to find a way of making myself feel that this is time well spent, hence the Red Carpet Challenge.
If you’ve seen a live broadcast of the Oscars, you’d know that not much happens during the Red Carpet. You get a glimmer of stars arriving here and there, but it’s mostly prepared footages on movies and stars in pretty dresses from previous occasions, commentaries, and interviews of people from the US entertainment and fashion business (read: I, never having lived in the US, have no idea who they are).
The idea of the Red Carpet Challenge is to spend the two and something hours of Red Carpet broadcast time blogging. Now, I’m not a fashion blogger and will never be. (I know, never say never… but me and fashion?) The challenge is therefore to write a post that will keep you reading until the end, while avoiding it turning into a succession of commentaries on stars, fashion, movies – you get the idea.
How am I doing so far?
6.17am. Viola Davis arrived! I cannot say I am a fan of The Help (the movie), but I liked the book. It is no To Kill a Mockingbird or Uncle Tom’s Cabin. But those classics are in a class of their own and it would be unfair to judge other anti-slavery books by them.
Have I told you I actually won’t be able to watch the end of the awards ceremony? When all the big winners are announced: best leads, best director, best movie. I double-booked myself. I know. (cue bitter laugh) Taking grandpa out to lunch. One must get one’s priorities right. Hoping the re-run this evening won’t finish too late – have to go to bed early for work tomorrow.
Nothing quite like the university student life, is it? Minimum obligations and maximum opportunities. Once you start working, there’s no going back to that carefree life where you can wake up late. One-way ticket to retirement. Why, ain’t that depressing.
The second “love it” being gushed by one of the fashion commentators brought my attention back to the broadcast. Let me guess: he’s loving the dress. (cue roll eyes)
6.41am. I know I just rolled my eyes at the fashion commentator, but my oh my: Amy Adams is gorgeous in that dress.
7.38am. Where did one hour go? One minute I was gaping at Amy Adams, and the next thing I know an hour has passed. During which time: updated a post, booked my flight to London, arranged arrival in new flat, and what else now? Time does fly.
Are you familiar with the concept of flow? Of the concepts in psychology I’ve come across in recent years, flow is the one I’ve found most powerful. Probably because I find it very relevant to my life and to me as a person. The wiki entry does a good job of introducing the concept here. If you ask me, it isn’t worth spending time on a task if you’re not feeling the flow. I spent most of my university life forcing myself to spend disproportionately large amounts of time on tasks that could have been accomplished much faster and better in a state of flow. That’s probably the state I was in during the past hour.
Am I in a state of flow when I’m writing? Hell yes. After the first few paragraphs, I usually am.
8.09am. What? Half an hour? This is fascinating. 21 minutes to showtime. Ellen DeGeneres is hosting this year, and I am looking forward to seeing how she’ll do. The host is a large part of why I enjoy the Oscars (the other large part being the Red Carpet – I do love seeing stars arrive. There is something satisfying about witnessing the moment when it happens (ish), makes me almost feel a part of it). Back to hosting – I think the success is half-script, half-delivery. And I do hope Oscars have the host this year.
8.19am. Kevin Spacey is looking dashing in that navy (?) suit (?). (I did hint I’m hopeless at fashion.) I recently started watching House of Cards, after multiple recommendations. And I am not disappointed. I really like it. I should start watching more series of this genre. It doesn’t help with revision – I am not known for strong resolve in the face of a series. I finished Season One in three days. I’m almost half-way through Season Two now. Fear not: no spoilers from me. No spoilers from you either please!
A little over 5 minutes to curtain rising, the excitement is palpable. I cannot imagine the kick, the thrill, the satisfaction of pulling off an event of this magnitude. Months of preparation, they say. It must be challenging. And it must be fun. Who knows? Maybe in twenty years I’ll know what it feels like. There is certainly an event organiser in me.
Just as there is a writer, a dreamer, a reader, a…
Life is full of possibilities, isn’t it?
It is 8.27am. I shall get myself settled to watch my first Academy Awards live in 6 years.
I have enjoyed this little challenge.
Thank you for being with me,