Tracking the Oscars and finding local treasure

John Gushue
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We’ll start the web tour in a moment with three sites to feed the cravings of the movie fan, particularly with Oscar season on our doorstep. Then, we’ll enjoy a feast of local material, get involved in an interactive bit of music-making, and use an array of virtual puzzles to mellow out at the end of the day. As well, stick around to the end for a personal note from me.

Gold Derby

Tens of millions of people will tune in to watch the Academy Awards on March 2, and for many people, that will pretty much do it for their commitment to the Oscars. But for some fans, that’s not nearly enough excitement … nor time thinking about who should win for which movie, and in all categories. Gold Derby takes the horse race for the Oscars as seriously as you can imagine, and allows you to get involved in sizing up the contenders.

Oscars on ABC

As the broadcaster of the Academy Awards, ABC has an edge on other media companies for Oscar-related content. Movie lovers will want to indulge themselves here.

Oscar database

I knew Morgan Freeman had won an Oscar. I just couldn’t remember for what. I’m sure my brain would have turned the answer (“Million Dollar Baby”) around soon enough, but I always get a kick out of this wickedly in-depth database, with information on films, performers, nominations, wins and so much more.

Elsewhere this week

Newfoundland Folkways

Storytelling, folk music and such may be the stuff of ancient traditions, but they live in social media, too, including this Tumblr account. Edited by Lisa Wilson and Justin Oakey, Newfoundland Folkways is worth a follow, and offers a fine variety of things: postcards, photos that are both historic and brand-new, a complete copy of the legendary silent film The Viking. I’m a fan of Tumblr for putting things before me that I might not have seen otherwise, and it’s especially nice to see things related to my home.

Be there, or B flat

It took me a while to figure out what this project is all about. You see 20 small YouTube videos, arranged in four rows of five, and are invited to play one, or all, or any number in between … at any time, meaning not necessarily in sequence. Each video features an instrument, be it a guitar or piano or woodwind. And, no matter what you do, it kind of works. It turns out to be a project of Darren Solomon, a music producer who arranged for multiple collaborators to noodle on an instrument in the key of B flat. But the real collaborator turns out to be you; each user can arrange the sounds to find a texture that’s unique each time. A little night music? Um, not necessarily, but it’s fascinating.


Do you like jigsaw puzzles? I find doing them online can be a little therapeutic at the end of a long day. The nice thing about Jigidi is the variety of options; you can pick one with a smaller number of pieces, or one that’s much more complex. Drag the pieces around to make sense of the puzzle, and you’ll likely want to zoom out to give yourself more room to work. In all, a fine way to relax for a few minutes.

A wave goodbye

This will be my last column with The Telegram, which is changing its mix of columnists. It’s been a pleasure to have been part of the paper over the years. Thanks to all who got in touch, and special thanks to editors Peter Jackson and Pam Frampton for their expertise and guidance.

John Gushue is a digital producer with CBC News in St. John’s. Twitter: @johngushue

Organizations: The Telegram, CBC News

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