Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The emotions of getting on Facebook

A few months ago I took the plunge and signed up for Facebook. Mainly to see what it was all about. Afterall, I'm in marketing and should be up on the latest trends, right? Secondarily to see what everyone in the office was spending so much time on. Also, to see if I could generate new business out of it. Why not!

So, I signed up. And then started spending time and finding people. Became a bit addictive. Talked my sister into it.

She finally got Robert, her husband, to sign up and she summed it up perfectly below:

I was going to email you this morning because robert finally got on facebook and is totally addicted. it's really funny. he's going thru the same range of emotions I did. 1) There's no way I'm joining Facebook. 2) Disdain for others on facebook. 3) What, my Mom is on Facebook? Guess I gotta do it. 4) Okay, can't figure out the damn thing- how do i set up my profile? 5) Look at these people I'm finding! 6) Running upstairs to check the Wall & to change status. 7) this is fun!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday Night Football: Cowboys vs. Eagles

Note: finally figured out how to get my photos off the phone (thanks, Brian and Shane). Found out that my computer didn't have the right "stuff" so we used Shane's mac to get them retrieved. As you can see, I'm also not very good at using the camera phone (notice I took a self portrait and didn't even know...)

Eventually MORE visual aids will be added to this posting, but I am phone challenged and haven't figured out how to make the photos go from my phone to my computer to upload. Jason isn't as technically challenged as I am and provided these two.

My first Cowboys game.
My first Monday Night Football.
The first home Cowboys game.
The last MNF game at the old stadium before the new one opens.

Pretty historic (or, as Jason said -- "you're an elitist"). Not a bad game to get tickets to, thanks to John Hampton, Xpedx (thanks!).

I'm going.
Tony's going (he's at least a Cowboys fan)
Jason Landkamer is going (he's a fan)
Jason LeFebvre is going (he's a Bears fan like me).

"Get there early," John said, so our plans are to leave from Eisenberg And Associates around 430. Think by the time we got lost and then found a Cash parking lot (note to Cowboys: better wayfinding signage is needed at the new stadium) and waited in a long line to park in a field, hiked a mile to the stadium. Boy, that first beer was pretty good. Seats are great -- section 14, row 38 (thanks, John!).

Have to say that I'm glad we went and we all had a good time. Have to say that I'm glad it was up until the end before an outcome -- no big routes. Close until the end. Yes, I know -- the Cowboys won. I have to say I'm happy. And I have to say that it was well worth the traffic and the crowds and the LATE night.

After the game -- three million people all left at the same time. What did we do? Went to the Corral and drank until it cleared up (better than being in a crowd, parched, with no place to go). That must be why we made it through college. EDUCATION.

Yes, I stayed out until 2 am and made it into work. Yes, I'm tired. But it was worth it. Not going to do a play-by-play because most of you know that I like football, but I'm not obsessed by it. I'll fill in with pictures. Maybe find a few stats to sprinkle in that make me sound like a football nut.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Last Days in Michigan

Friday morning we got up, leisurely packed up the car -- seemed more packed than before. And made the drive down to Holland. No golf today. Seems weird, but relaxing. Stop in Cadillac for breakfast -- try to go to the place we went last year. But it's closed. The Big Boy looked packed so we headed back through Cadillac to Bob Evans. I'd never been to a Bob Evans-- great coffee.

Off we go. Frank's driving. He knows the way. Get to the motel and check in. What do do? Decide that we need to show Ryan Lake Michigan and head to the Holland state park. All of those years in Michigan and I didn't realize that Holland had a beach. Only thought that they had a Mejiers Thrify Acres. Ryan is impressed -- not just with the beach, but the young girls. Have to take a picture of the seagulls since that's what Ryan called Tom during the week when it came to food. Perfect nickname for him, even though all I can hear is that seagull in the Little Mermaid that sings really really poorly!

After the beach, then off to a blueberry farm -- Frank's good friends with the owner. We graze. Graze some more. Learn about the blueberry pickers. Graze some more. LOVE blueberries.

Drop Frank off at Linda's mom's and then off to play miniature golf. Tom, Ryan and I all start off with hole in ones! But that was just the first hole and we proceeded to get eaten up by the course. There are hazards (Tom found), four putts, and more. Tom took $1 from me and $4 or $5 from Ryan.

Dinner then bed. In the morning, we're playing the Ravines and have to leave before 6 am for our 7 am tee times. The Ravines is in Saugatuck. I'm carting Tom around this morning and playing the womens tees -- just worn out and want a relaxing round. Not even playing in the game. I manage to shoot a respectable 82. This is a great course that I hope we can play again. Saw some turkeys. This trip hasn't been as full of wildlife as other years.
The greens are in excellent shape -- even though you have to be on the proper side of the hole or three putts are definitely easy. Ryan's putting saga continued. Until the 17th hole -- a par three. He four putts.

And then proceeds to hurl his putter into the ravine in between the tee box and the green. About time. Time to buy a new putter!
The golf vacation is over and we pack up the car and head to the Grand Rapids Airport to drop them off and then head to Chicago. Stop by and buy blueberries and peaches and a blueberry pie on the way at the exit that would take me to Glenn Shores. It's not a bad drive to Chicago, except for the construction zones that slow me down. And all of the cops on the road preventing me from going 80 mph.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wheels are off

Well, Thursdays the wheels are really pretty much off - except for Tom. Well, maybe also Tom but he's so much better his misses aren't as bad as our duffs. But, we're at Bay Harbor. My favorite. Breakfast first at Sagamore (sp) at the hotel. First real meal I've had in a few days. No gurgling stomach. Get to the club, check in, check out the pro shop where I quickly decide on what I'll purchase later this afternoon.
Morning: Preserves/Links

Beautiful day. Not too windy, sunny, not too cold or hot. PERFECT. I know I haven't been really good about blogging this trip, but we've had a lot of fun, despite my ickiness. Ryan is a great addition. He started off as a legit 26+ handicap and has improved tremendously. Good enough that we don't mind having him as our partner (especially with all of the strokes) in a robin. Good enough that he's taking all of our money with all of his strokes. And I guess we can say that his putting has improved. Each of us has a different way of helping him with putting. Tom gets him all aligned. Frank works on his stroke. I just tell him in my own way where I would putt it and kinda how (i.e. dink, tap, easy). Depending on where he is on the green, it works. Sometimes...

Frankie is good at giving him nicknames. If only I wrote them down. Let's see: Dingleberry, Fuzznuts, Doofus, Baby, Lug nuts, Big Foot... all in love, not meanspiritness. And he takes it well.

Lunch on the patio in our regular spot on the Quarry 9th hole overlooking the water. Perfecto.

Afternoon: Quarry/Preserves. But, we have a problem. A deloitte "outing" that makes the round five and a half hours long. Killer. And no beer cart woman. Ugh...

Another beautiful day, but we're all dragging. Decide on pizza for dinner. And then at dinner decide that golfing isn't mandatory and we're going to sleep in (read: 530), pack up, have a nice breakfast and head to Holland early to goof off, play miniature golf and enjoy the day. How 'bout that? Yes, no golf one of the days. Just one more on Saturday in Holland at the Ravines.
Michigan trip almost over and time to head back to Chicago to see the family. And have more Aurelios!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 2, 3 and 4: True North/Little Traverse Bay, Hills/Heather, Ross/Moor

I'm usually pretty daily about my blog, but haven't been this trip. For the past three days I've been suffering some sort of "intestinal malady." Don't know whether it's food poisoning or a bug, but yesterday afternoon Powerade became my savior and made the gurgles stop. Sitting next to my computer now with that same wonder beverage, hoping that today the gurgles will end. Sorry, but the photos are a little lacking too. I'll try to fill in with new "color" later, but I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things.

So, recap:
Monday, normal morning. Wake up, stretch, get in car, drive to McDonalds, get to True North. In the fog. Lots of fog. True North is a private club just past Boyne Highlands and is beautiful. Today, Frank didn't shoot a 78/79 -- I definitely didn't either. But I enjoyed the course more time #2.

Then off to Little Traverse Bay Golf Club, 995 Hideaway Valley Road, Harbor Springs, MI 49740, (231) 526-6200 (Golf Shop), (231) 526-7800 (Restaurant), http://www.ltbaygolf.com/

Get a little lost, but find it. Then off to the snack shack for brats and beer. Have to say then that it didn't sit really good on my tummy. But nothing was that day. Little Traverse Bay is a really pretty course. Great views. Like most of the Michigan courses, lots of elevation.

Dinner on the patio. I still just wasn't hungry, but ordered something thinking it would go away. Needless to say, after a really really long wait for our food -- plus the darkness and chill setting in outside -- I took two bites and ran to the golf course. No more dinner for me (Tom said it was pretty good). We get back to the condo and I promptly retire to chills and ickiness. Sleep pretty much none and then find I can't hold down pain reliever in the morning (that really sucks)

Next morning is Hills and Heather. I'm still not feeling great. Definitely not hungry, gurgling stomach. But, we head out into the fog (which looks like driving rain when you're in it). Hills is one of my favorite courses. And it definitely becomes Ryan's -- he shoots an 80-something (wonderful considering his handicap is about a 26 and he's been shooting 100s) -- and takes all of our money. Fewer three putts helped that score. I dont' shoot that bad either -- Tom thinks because I purged the night before.

Heather. I like this course too. I always forget which course is which until I start playing.

Dinner at Bob In.

Wednesday: Ross and Moor. Up again and still can't hold down pain reliever and have the gurgling stomach. I actually contemplate NOT playing golf. But the idea of golfing feeling awful, or watching the Olympics and Oprah at the condo. Well, golf of course seemed better. So, off we go again. I don't really care about golf in the a.m. and it shows. Oh well. The view is at least nice. Moor. Last time we played, we only made it through about 3 holes and it was so slow that we went in. So, I haven't really played this course. First cart girl I decide to get Powerade. SMART move. It made the serious gurgling stop that was so distracting (and a bit alarming).
I started playing better, but not great. It's nice just to not hear the gurgles. Moor is a pretty course. Lots of little marshes. The wheels have fallen off most of us -- this is round nine.
Dinner: Bob in.
Tomorrow, Bay Harbor.

First Two a Day - Alpine and Monument

Our first two a days began with an easy day at the mountain without much driving. Alpine and Monument. Start off with heading to the lodge for breakfast -- and we discover that there is no more buffet! We like the buffet at Boyne. Especially grabbing a couple of apples and some cereal for the course. But don't really need that much food.

Then off to golf. I won't retell these courses since I did last year -- in fact, don't have many photos yet. Maybe today at True North and Little Traverse Bay (new course).

Will tell everyone that it was CHILLY all day. The marshalls and cart girls (from Michigan) had on gloves and sweatshirts and were talking long underwear. And then there's this group from Texas all wearing shorts. But, as we kept saying, it's not 107 degrees!

Dinner and then watch a bit of the Olympics. Then bed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Chicago to Michigan

Okay, seems like old times, only this year I'm blogging sitting on the floor in the loft of the Bowne Disciples condo we're staying at. Haven't figured out if this is going to be the place.
The adventure began uneventfully. Upgrade to first class. Flight gets in on time. Pick up Mini Van at Hertz (it's a Kia), and head to Al's. Lots of construction in the area, but I make it there in good time -- in such good time that noone is home. But, it's only 80 (yes!) degrees so I sit on their front porch and rock in the glider. I'm on vacation.

Al shows up and gives me a tour of the house (hard to believe how long it's been). Looks great -- so much roomier than before. Before I know it, the girls are home. A little shy at first, but then -- I'm their buddy. Don't know what they say half of the time, but they are adorable. Can't tell Lily and Clara apart at first, but get the hang of it. Good thing is that Clara likes green -- green clogs. And Lily likes blue -- blue clogs. That helps a lot!

They're having neighbors over for a pizza party in honor of Lily and Clara's birthday -- number 3. Robert makes yummy margaritas. After they leave, we give the girls a bath (they definitely aren't modest!) -- and then they help me get ready for bed and proceed to dress up in my golf clothes and high heels. Note to self: ship them old party clothes for dress up.

Off to bed. Don't sleep much at all so I slip out the door at 445 am and head to Michigan. My goal was to stop by the golf course and the cottage. Don't get that opportunity. Easy drive and find Glenn Shores without any trouble. It's amazing how much closer things are when you're older.

Glenn Shores is for sale. I walk around, look around. The course is in pretty bad shape -- actually, the main house more than the course. That's the sad part. Cars all over the place, weird fences. So, I get in the car and drive around to the cottage. Again, no more red house that you can see from the road. It's now behind stuff. And brown.

Enough of that. I head to Grand Rapids to pick up Frank, Ryan and Tom. Jason calls on the way. We'll miss him this trip. And he's missing us already.

NOTE TO PEOPLE READING THIS BLOG FOR THE FIRST TIME: Yes, if you don't golf, you'll be BORED. Yes, if you don't know these people, you'll be BORED. And, I'll edit postings and add photos as I find the time. It's hard to blog on the floor. And when you don't have time, since you're doing two a days.

On the way there, I stop by the HD store in Grand Rapids and then Mejers for sodas, pretzels, cherries (yum) and gas. By the time I get to the terminal, Frankie's here and Linda's already gone. Next: Ryan.
Now the adventure begins. Ryan's here. No bags. Don't know which flight. OK, now for Tom. We head to the bar and have lunch and watch golf. Pete calls to talk about Saturday at the club and "equitable play" (that's worth another blog). Tells me I suck because we had Aurelios. Tom shows. His bags too. Decision time: hang around GR until about 330 and get Ryan's bag. Let them find Ryan's bag, possibly ship to Chicago, then to Traverse, then drive to Boyne. 50/50. Tom sits down on the floor, boots up the computer and finds a course near the airport - Thornapple Pointe (www.thornapplepointe.com). Tom did say something about the movies -- but we nixed that idea.

We decide to hang out. Ryan's wearing flip flops and a tshirt, but they let us on. The internet calls it a nice, but "strange" course. Wonder what that means. The course is right next to the freeway and the airport -- and the wind is kicking!

We're in Michigan so the games begin: robins and trash! Ryan gets us a bit worried with a par, net birdie on the first. We didn't see much of that after that hole. Frankie's playing well. Tom... Me, not so good. The strangeness of the course is that if you haven't played it before, you have no idea -- even with the GPS -- what's over the hill. Note to newbies: GUNK -- thick GUNK.

But, the back nine I woke up and shot a 39. So far: Tom's a three time winner in Robins. Frank's killing in trash (12). I'm not doing bad. Ryan's trailing.
So, off to the airport to pick up Ryan's stuff. We pull up to the pick up drop off and drop Ryan and Tom off and pull over. Think the security guard is going to make us drive around. Instead, he chats us up. Just moved here from Idaho and Phoenix of all places. Hates Texas. Used to live in San Antonio and thinks it's an armpit. Oh well. He still lets us stay on the side. Tom and Ryan come out 10 minutes later -- emptyhanded. Seems that the competent airline (Delta) decided to ship them up to Boyne. They're on their way (we think). Tom and Ryan talk about the intangibles. Whatever that means. We'll see.
Drive to Boyne. Yes, bags are there! Check in. Shower. Sleep. Wake up. Blog. Pretty soon: breakfast. Today begins our two a days at the Mountain -- Alpine and Monument.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Vacation time

In about 30 minutes, I'll be heading to the airport for some time out of Texas. First, off to Chicago to spend the night at Al's house. Hard to believe how long it's been since I've seen them. Just was alerted that I've been upgraded to first class, so I'm even happier.

Tomorrow morning, get up bright and early and head to Grand Rapids to pick up Tom, Frank and Ryan. Then our golf adventures begin for a week.

After Michigan, back to Chicago to see Al -- Dad's coming in too, so we can celebrate Lily and Clara's birthday. That should be fun.

Last leg of the trip is NIRI SWRC in St. Louis. Happy to see that coming to an end. What a lot of work. We have a good showing and I'll be happy to see old friends. Ken from Aflac is making it in to speak and hang out with us.

Well, time to file the last few emails. Be ready for some pictures. Lots of pictures!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Small World

OK, I get to my 10th NIRI National Conference in San Diego. Happy that the trip was uneventful, if not easy (especially with the upgrade). Catch a cab to the hotel (Manchester Grand Hyatt -- please note that the rooms need upgrading and are a little dingy, but the view from my room in the Harbor Tower is pretty sweet). Have 20 minutes in my room to get freshened and meet Jason in the bar (oh, surprised?).

So, get to the bar. Vince White from Devon is there. Jason is there. I grab a cocktail and we're getting caught up. And then I look across the bar. That man looks familiar. Look across the bar again. He waves. He looks really familiar. And then realize that it's Mark Larsen from US Energy Corp. and his wife. Catch up with him and then Reggie comes down with his wife and baby (and another on the way). They've decided to come to NIRI (of course, Mark is asking me about sessions and which ones he should go to and I don't even know what the agenda looks like!).

Dinner and then -- Walter, Gaff, Terri, Ian and more and more of the NIRI crew show up (at the bar, of course).

Today: golf and then the Leadership Dinner. Wonder who I'll run into this time.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Davidson in the Elite 8

Hard to believe that I'd ever hear Davidson spoken out of so many mouths this past couple of weeks. First, defeating Gonzaga in the first round. Second, Georgetown. Third, Wisconsin (a route, I might add). Then, Kansas on Sunday. I thought about going to Sharkey's and watching the game. Or the Metro Grill, where they were having an alumni viewing party. But, superstition set in and I headed home to watch the game with the dogs. They gave it their all, but lost by two points to Kansas. The closest game in the elite 8.

And then, unlike the other three rounds, my cell phone wasn't buzzing with text messages and phone calls. Everyone knows I like to suffer alone, and not hear "sorry."

Go Davidson. There is always next year.

From USAToday.com: Davidson watches storybook run come to an end
By Kevin Allen, USA TODAY
DETROIT — The only regret Davidson Coach Bob McKillop had after a two-point loss to Kansas Sunday is that his players will dwell on the disheartening finish instead of their wondrous journey at the NCAA tournament.

"The sadness is that we can't celebrate the four months of greatness because we will reflect upon what finished the season," McKillop said after his team fell 59-57 in the Midwest Regional final.
"My father was a New York City cop. He used to always tell me to polish the backs of your shoes because that's the last thing people will see of you."

Holding Kansas 23 points under its season average, Cinderella team Davidson gave itself a chance for a storybook ending when it had the ball in the hands of the nation's hottest shooter for a possible game-winning three-point shot in the closing seconds.

But Stephen Curry, voted the Regional's Most Valuable Player, was too well defended by a Kansas double-team and was forced to dish to point guard Jason Richards who forced a long-range three-pointer that was off the mark.

"I thought it was a good look," Richards said. "Felt like it was in. Unfortunately it missed. Emotions through my body. It's tough to describe them."

McKillop clearly liked Curry's decision under pressure, noting that Richards has a history of success in big game. "He's the guy you want with the ball in his hands in that situation," McKillop.

McKillop blamed himself for not telling his players exactly what player he wanted to set the screen against.

"They had four guards out there and they just switched," Curry said. "That kind of defeated the purpose of the play. I gave them a pump fake to try to get a look, but I was off balance when (Kansas defender Brandon Rush) fell down. So I saw Jay open at the top of the key."

Kansas had harrassed Curry more effectively than other teams have in the tournament, evidenced by the fact that he was only four-for-16 on three-point attempts. He finished with 25 points, but Kansas hurried him enough that he had some important misses. "They did make me work hard," Curry said.

Richards said Davidson players were exhausted in the second half, but he believed they had enough energy left at the end to get it done. "Maybe you can say we could have got a better shot," Richards said. "At that point it seemed like the best shot. I felt comfortable taking that shot."

Said McKillop: "The agony of this is that we've come so far, smelled and touched and seen our dream, but haven't fully embraced it."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Davidson's run to round of 16 grows sweeter over time

OK, I have to brag about where I went to school. People either know Davidson, or think it's a community college. But, I'm proud of where I went (please note any Davidson students on the annual giving call list: I just mailed my check today). And now, I'm even prouder because they made it to the Sweet 16 this year. Made one of my decisions to go to Davidson (Division I in sports) even better. I had them beating Gonzaga (even thought even I had doubts because Gonzaga's a pretty good team). And then had them beating Georgetown (again, doubts because Georgetown has a pretty good team). Now I'm rooting for Wisconsin. [Note: I wasn't soooo loyal that I chose Davidson to win it all -- but now I'm crossing my fingers]

Here's an article from USA Today:
By Mike Lopresti, Gannett News Service

RALEIGH, N.C. — They do not act like a No. 10 seed.
They do not talk like a team from a school that until Friday, had not won an NCAA men's tournament game since the first year of the Nixon administration.

They do not play like a mid-major — refusing to obey the law that says if you fall behind a big brute such as Georgetown by 17 points in the second half, you're as dead as rotary dial.

It was about then Sunday — with Georgetown still ahead 14 — when coach Bob McKillop looked into the faces of his Davidson Wildcats during a timeout and posed a question.

"Are you having fun?"

Oh, they would.

Not long after that, Stephen Curry — the main man of March so far — would bury a long three-pointer while being fouled, and complete a 4-point play. It was as if someone had blown a bugle.
In the end, Georgetown's only hope was that Davidson would do what countless other underdogs have done before when it came time to close the deal — stop playing to win, start playing not to lose.

Fat chance.

"When we see light at the end of the tunnel, we have a killer instinct," Curry said afterward, slumped in the hallway on a table, an exhausted assassin after scoring 30 points — 25 after halftime. This a mere 48 hours after torching Gonzaga for 40.

Welcome to the new world, when a team from the Southern Conference takes on one of the behemoths of the Big East, and talks "killer instinct."

"There is a gap," guard Jason Richards said of the distance between the major powers and Davidson's world. "But that gap can be closed."

So Davidson wins 74-70 to go to the Sweet 16, and it is possible all 1,700 students from the campus outside Charlotte will never forget this day. Though they're still probably happier that the school provides free laundry service.

"I'm a dreamer," McKillop said, "And I've been a dreamer all my life."

A lot of upstarts with fine records have dared to imagine such thoughts, but Davidson has more than dreams and gall.

The Wildcats have a toughness forged by playing through fire. The insane non-conference schedule McKillop handed his Wildcats — North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, North Carolina State — now pays off. Each one was a loss. Each one was a tutorial. They haven't lost since four days before Christmas.

"We played not to lose against Duke and North Carolina. When we got ahead 18 on UCLA (before losing by 12), we freaked out and started playing not to lose," said forward Thomas Sander. "We learned our lesson."

So in the final, frantic minutes Sunday, Curry was not afraid to take and make a three-pointer. Richards did not think twice before slashing through the Georgetown defense for a layup.

Nobody played safe and sat on a fragile lead.

"Coach has been waiting 19 years for this moment," Curry said.

McKillop has stayed at Davidson through 19 mostly successful seasons, ignoring the lure of bright lights elsewhere. He stresses a three-word mantra of caring, commitment and trust — "I stole that from Lou Holtz" — and does things like tell his team before the game Sunday about his tryout with the 1972 Philadelphia 76ers.

He was too tentative, just satisfied at getting the chance. "That team was 9-72, so I was cut from the worst team in NBA history."

The moral: Don't be happy just to be here Sunday.

But none of this works without Curry.

He scored only five points in the first half, against the most determined defense Georgetown could offer. Jonathan Wallace would guard him, and then Chris Wright, and then Jeremiah Rivers. Curry was handed from Hoya to Hoya as if he were a bowl of jellybeans.

"Most guys would start forcing the issue and rushing," Curry said. "I have absolute confidence in my teammates, so I let the game come to me."

His teammates marvel. Richards was asked his favorite Curry moment from Sunday.

"The 4-point play from the logo ... the spin three-pointer with two guys in his face ... the scoop shot ..."

He might have gone on forever.

Curry said it never crossed his mind that he would not ignite in time. "I try to have that feeling every time I shoot the ball. You don't want to shoot not to miss."

And you never want to play not to lose. This was no fluke. Here is a player and team with instant national credibility.

Somewhere, the members of the 2006 team from George Mason understand what might be happening.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Brookfield High graduate wins Academy Award

This is cool. Al emailed me this morning that one of our High School classmates won an Oscar (think she may have dated him...) Email to Chris Wysocki and Chris Amorossi. Amorossi said that the art direction was all that was award winning -- and she sees a lot of movies. Then, Wysocki emailed me this from the Danbury News Times (www.newstimes.com).

Brookfield High graduate Bill Westenhofer won an Academy Award for Visual Effects on Sunday night for his work on "The Golden Compass.'' The win for "The Golden Compass" was considered an upset over the blockbusters "Transformers" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." Westenhofer is the visual effects supervisor for Rhythm & Hues, and led the studio's team on "The Golden Compass.''

Westenhofer led a crew of 500 on two continents over a period of 18 months to produce nearly 400 shots featured in the movie, which stars Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Dakota Blue Richards. Lee Berger, president of Rhythm & Hudes' Film Division, congratulated Westenhofer last month after he received the nomination for the 80th Academy Awards. "We congratulate Bill, his entire crew and all of the employees of Rhythm & Hues in Los Angeles and India for this tremendous recognition, which acknowledges their inspired creativity, hard work and dedication,'' Berger said.

According to the Web site AnimationXpress.com, Rhythm & Hues' work for "The Golden Compass'' includes creation of the hero daemons, including Richard's daemon Pan in all his incarnations; the Golden Monkey (Kidman's daemon); Stelmaria, (Craig's daemon), the spyflies and numerous other characters. In addition, Rhythm & Hues' Academy Award-winning proprietary fluid simulation program was utilized for the creation of the mystical swarming dust clouds seen in the movie's Daemon Death and Battlefield sequences. This technology
was recognized by the Academy in January with a Scientific and Technical Academy Award. Recipients include Dr. Jerry Tessendorf, Michael Kowalski, Jonathan Cohen and UCLA Oceanographer and R&H Consultant Jeroen Molemaker.

Westenhofer is a two-time Oscar nominee. He was previously nominated in 2005 in the same category for "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Westenhofer is also nominated for "The Golden Compass" in the Special Visual Effects category by the Orange BAFTA Awards, and "Compass" is one of the Visual Effects' Society's nominees for Best Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture Category. Westenhofer's mother is former longtime Brookfield Board of Education Chairman Adi Westenhofer. His father is former longtime Zoning Board of Appeals Member Don Westenhofer.