Showing posts from 2005

Christmas in Nemecek Land

Ah, Christmas! That special, magical holiday!

For me it meant a chance to spend some quality time with one of the adorable 3-year olds on the planet: my niece Giovanna.

I didn't do much on Christmas itself, but I was at my brother Mike's for Christmas eve. (He is Giovanna's Dad). I still can't believe that I managed to get her to hold still long enough for a photo with her parents.

Danielle (my sister-in-law), Giovanna and Mike.

The photographer in me wishes that I closed the blinds behind them in that shot because the extra light from behind kind of washed them out. Oh, well - live and learn.

Of course, after a snapped a couple of candid shots of the family - Giovanna actually grabbed my camera from me. She's only 3, but she managed to take this shot of my other brother, Mark.

Not bad for a 3-year old.

Talent clearly runs deep in the Nemecek clan.

Happy Soltice!

Today is the Winter Soltice. The official beginning of winter. I spent at least some of it, walking around town and checking out some of the Christmas lights.

It seemed like the most appropriate use of the longest night of the year.

Intelligent Design Isn't So Intelligent

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones ruled today that the requirement to teach intelligent design in high school biology classes in Dover, Pennsylvania was unconstitutional. Intelligent design, he said, was nothing more than theology and the Dover school board had lied about their intentions in order to get support for it.

Frankly, I have to agree with him.

The whole concept of science is based on a process. One starts with a hypothesis and then tests it through experimentation to either prove or disprove it. None of that has ever happened with intelligent design.

The only thing that was really suprising was that it took the judge 139 pages to write his opinion.

RIP - John Spencer

Ever since the show came on the air in 1999, The West Wing has been my favorite TV show. It's insightful and provocative; at times funny and always a joy to watch.

Late last week, I learned that John Spencer (who played White House chief of staff/vice-presidental candidate Leo McGarry) died from a heart attack. I don't know how the show will continue, but I do know that John Spencer will be missed.

Fire Millen

I went down to the Detroit Beer Company to watch the last Lion's home game for the season with a couple of friends. It was astonishing how many people were there to protest Matt Millen.

I wish I had broght my camera with me to grab some shots of all the folks with their signs and stuff. Alas, I left it at home.

Anyway, the Lion's lost and lost badly.

If I were Matt Millen, I'd be very, very nervous right about now.

Dingell Christmas Poem

U.S. Representative John D. Dingell read the following poem on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. It's truly priceless.

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the HouseNo bills were passed ‘bout which Fox News could grouse;Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer,So vacations in St. Barts soon would be near;Katrina kids were nestled all snug in motel beds,While visions of school and home danced in their heads;In Iraq our soldiers needed supplies and a plan,Plus nuclear weapons were being built in Iran;Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell;Americans feared we were on a fast track to…well…Wait--- we need a distraction--- something divisive and wily; A fabrication straight from the mouth of O’ReillyWe can pretend that Christmas is under attackHold a vote to save it--- then pat ourselves on the back;Silent Night, First Noel, Away in the Manger Wake up Congress, they’re in no danger!This time of year we see Christmas every where we go,From churc…

MP3 Tiolet Seat

Oh my God!

If I hadn't seen this with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. There is a a new tiolet seat in Japan that actually plays MP3s.

I am actually afraid of what they'll think of next.

STD Rooms

A friend of mine and his wife were driving through Roseville one evening when they saw this sign.

If STD Rooms are $45 then I can't imagine how much non-STD rooms must be.

Shop Detroit

Shop Detroit was this past Saturday. It was a cool event to promote the whole concept of people doing their holiday shopping in dowtown Detroit.

(Yes - there actually are places to shop that aren't pawn shops or liquor stores).

About 300 or so people came down for the day. We even had one family drive all the way from south of Toledo to see what all of the buzz was about.

After that - I hit Noel Night in midtown for a little bit before going to the Opening Reception for the Inn at 97 Winder. The Inn was a super cool place - they did an amazing job rehabbing the property. My only regret is that I left my camera in the car.

Oh, well - there are some good photos on their web site:

Detroit Graphics Expo

One of my brothers, Mark, had an entry in this year's Graphic Design Expo - which was presented by Create Detroit. The expo itself was this past Friday (eeck! it's taken me a full week to write a blog entry about it).

One of the things that I really liked about my brother's poster (above) is that it was the only one to incorporate Detroit's riverfront into the design. The river is, after all, one of Detroit's greatest assets.

As far as the expo itself goes, 50 different graphic designers from around town were challenged to create a piece of positive propaganda for Detroit in advance of Super Bowl XL. Some of their work was truly amazing - funny and really positive. There were also a couple just made me go, "huh?" - but that's cool. I think you need a broad spectrum of work in order to make for a sucessful event.

It was held in lobby of the Fisher Building - one of the coolest buildings around, in my opinion. The event was so incredibly cool - with so ma…

Earth to America

Bill Maher came up with a stand-up routine for the Global Warming Comedy Special. It's too dang funny for words, in my opinion. Check it out:


In my last post, I talked about anxiety. That wonderful feeling I had after published a partial list of the feature films accepted for the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

Anyway, I didn't actually head out drinking - at least not right away. Instead, I just spent a half hour or so wandering around my bedroom and kitchen. There's not a lot of room in either place, so I guess technically it was more along the lines of pacing that it was wandering.

I found myself making toast at around 12:30 a.m. Don't ask me why - it made perfect sense at the time. I mean, if you're nervous and feeling nauseous - doesn't everyone make toast?

Okay - maybe not.

Anyway, like I said it made sense at the time.

I left my computer on during all of this. Eventually, my nervous pacing brought close enough it to notice that I had an email waiting for me.

I noticed that it was from the Sundance people. I had to read it.
To: Me
Sent: …

I think somone hates me

The folks at Sundance are scheduled to announce which films are in for their 2006 film festival this coming Thursday.

However - and you know there had to be a "however" in this one - the folks at just posted an article with the list. There was no mention of my film at all.

However - yes, there's more than one "however" in this story - according to the same article there are about 120 feature films included in this year's festival. Their list only cites 64 of them. Obviously, the list isn't a complete one.


Hearing this news has me so nervous all of a sudden that I think I'm going to be sick. Or get really, really drunk. And then get sick because I got really, really drunk.

Double urgh!

I swear, I feel like making my documentary and pouring everything I had into it was the easy part. The hard part is waiting for someone that I've never met to make a decision about whether or not my best is good enough.

Anyway, the full…

Another television interview

I just did another television interview. This time it was with Charles Pugh of Fox 2 where we talked about Shop Detroit.

After he asked me a couple of questions, he moved onto my partners in the project: Amanda Dunham and Tanya Stevenson. I couldn't help but snap a couple of photos of them getting interviewed.

One more post

Okay - I'm not going to try condensing everything that happened to me in the past two weeks for this blog. However, there is one more photograph that I would be totally remissed if I didn't share with everyone.

I went to a friend's wedding a week ago (the same one whose bachelor party was the week prior). Their reception was at the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle. The legendary Girl in the D was there and she snapped this photo of me simultaneously flirting with every one of the bridesmaids.

I feel like such a stud muffin after looking at that picture.

My Super Bowl Commercial

There is an ad on-line for It's part of a PR campaign that the convention bureau is sponsoring in advance of Super Bowl XL in Detroit.

The current commercial is an okay one, in my opinion, but it doesn't really capture the look and feel of Detroit. A friend of mine encouraged me to make my own one and, well, doing that was also one of the things that's kept me away from blogging for these past few days.

There are some behind the scenes photos on-line in my Yahoo photo albumn.

The commercial itself is on-line as an MPEG video. Real Media Player 10.5 seems to work the best for playing it, but Windows Media can do the trick as well.

So darn cool!

Brooks and I just finished editing it on Friday evening. I'm still playing it over and over just because I'm excited to have this to my credit.

Light the tree

Well, as I continue to catch everyone up on the goings on in my life, I should mention that a little over a week ago (Friday, November 18 to be precise) I was out to see them light the Christmas tree in Campus Martius Park and to pass out some Shop Detroit flyers for Detroit Synergy.

The tree lighting itself was cool. My only gripe is was that they configured everything about the park's layout that evening to essentially herd visitors to one specific area - making the place look even more full than it actually was for the TV cameras. This made for some great television, but it also made it harder for folks to get around.

In spite of that, it was a great evening and the tree looks really cool.

After the tree was lit and the flyers distribured, a few of us headed over to Edgewise for wine, food, art and cool company. The whole evening was a photo show dedicated to the people who helped to make The Passenger.

I snapped this photo and I think it's so darn cool. It shows (from the le…

Hanging with Jerry Bruckheimer

I went to the Governor's Awards for Arts & Culture on the 15th of this month. It was so many amazing people in one place at one time - it was totally cool.

The photo above is a bit on the blurry side because the Detroit Opera House (where it was held) doesn't have the brightest of lights in its lobby. I had to adjust the shutter on my camera so it stayed open longer to let in more light. Of course, that meant that anyone who moved even the tiniest bit came out blurry.

Oh, well - my blurry photo still gives you an idea what the evening was like.

Anyway, this was the evening when Detroit-native Jerry Bruckheimer got an award from Governor Jennifer M. Granholm for his work on the CSI shows and the umpteen other things that he's done in his career. Personally, I think this was actually part of her ploy to get him to launch a CSI: Michigan but hey - whatever get it to happen.

Jerry Bruckheimer actually gave a really good speech, too. He talked about growing up on Detroit's…


I can't believe it's been a little more than 2 weeks since I've posted here. No wonder I've been feeling a bit off - I must be suffering from blog-withdrawls.

Oh, well I suppose that just means that I need to do a marathon blogging session; recapping the stuff that's kept me from blogging.

Two weeks ago yesterday was my friends bachelor party. I can't write much about that, it would break the code, you see. Regardless, a good time was had by all. No was hospitalized or jailed.

Truly a successful bachelor party, in my opinion.

On to my next post.

The Weirdest Stuff

The weirdest stuff shows up in my email in-box. This little ditty made its appearance this morning and is actually kind of funny. I'll have to remember them for the next time I get pulled over, which hopefully won't be for awhile.

Bizarre Traffic Ticket Excuses
Come on officer, I was going downhill. I think that counts for something.If you give me a ticket, I'll be forced to tell your wife about us!I'm in a hurry - I'm late for traffic court.Oh, come on! If I get another ticket, my insurance company will drop me.I thought if I had my hazards on I could speed.Oh, so that's where the speedometer is...Sorry officer, I thought my radar detector was plugged in.I was just checking to see if your radar gun was working properly.

I want to bitch slap Robert Redford

Urgh! I can't believe that it's been more than a week since I've posted anything.

Anyway, I have to confess that I have this desire to bitch slap Robert Redford.

Well, okay - not really. I mean, I don't really want to smack the man. It's just my nerves getting to me.

For months, I've been operating under the understanding that the Sundance Committee would announce which films have been accepted for the 2006 Sundance Film Festival in October. Of course, they didn't.

As it stands, they are currently planning to announce the list of feature films on November 29.


Another couple of weeks worth of waiting; of not being able to show my film anywhere or to start planning what other festivals I should submit my film to. It just seems like so much of my life boils down to waiting. Waiting for them to make up their minds.


Too dang funny!!!

Okay - I just got back from Illuminate. It was fantastic - but I'm too wired to sleep at the moment. I was tempted to go out somewhere else, but I'm doing a clean-up effort with the Super Bowl Host
Committee tomorrow morning - so that's out.

Anyway, I was sorting through my email and found something that I thing is totally freakin' hysterical. Go to Google and type in "Failure" in the search window. Click on "I'm Feeling Lucky" and see
what you get.

Someone within Google had to have set it up this way deliberately. We'll see how long this stays there.

Rowland Cafe

I went to the grand opening of the Rowland Cafe last Thursday. It's been in the Guardian Building for awhile now, pretty much ever since Francis and Claire's wedding reception last May, in fact.

Thursday, however, was their grand opening. Free coffee all day. I'm not much of a coffee fan, but as the Great Wise Men once said, "Free stuff is cool!"

Amanda Box was there all day - slinging coffee for anyone who would care to drink it. Let's face it: she makes that place happen.

They closed the day out with a bang - a fashion show that featured designs from the Pure Detroit Design Lab (coincidentally, owned by the same people). I snapped a few photos of the fashion show, Amanda and the rest of the day. You can find them in my Yahoo photo album.

The Blue Tinkertoys of Taylor

Okay - so earlier this year we finally got rid of the Red Tinker-Toys along Washington Blvd. in downtown Detroit. And what happens next?

The morons in the Michigan Department of Transportation decide to replace them with the Blue Tinkertoys of Taylor. Officially, they're part of a bridge over Telegraph Rd. along I-94. Built as an homage to football (because the Super Bowl is coming to town). They called it a "Gateway to Detroit."


Let's face it. The thing is ugly. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly.

It's really that simple. Ugly.

I swear, I could hand a bottle of Jack Daniels to any randomn homeless guy downtown and get a better design than that one.

Plus, it took forever to build the darn thing - creating a traffic nightmare whenever I needed to go west of Detroit.

It wouldn't be so bad if they just said, "hey, we built this really expensive bridge and it's blue." It would be easier for me to igorne it then.

But that's not what happened. They decided…

Blogathon Starts with "Domino"

Wow! I can't believe it's been an entire week since I've written anything. I swear, I'm having withdrawls or something.

Anyway, I saw Domino last Wednesday. It was a decent movie, not fantastic but decent.

The good news is that movie has Keira Knightley in it. It also has a good story line and acting.

What I detested about the film was its "MTV Grittiness" - that is a sense of grittiness that you can tell was crafted by make-up artists and set designers. It simply doesn't even come close to looking real. (Hey - I was born and raised in Detroit: I know my grittiness and it's important to me).

A part of me kept looking at everything on the set and wanting to completely redesign almost every aspect of it. The dirt. The blood spatter. Everything.

All the music really didn't do much of anything for me. I think they spent so much money on make-up, dressing the set and that freakin' MTV-style editing that they could only afford no-name musicians…

North Country

North Country, starring Charlize Theron, doesn't open in theaters until Friday, October 21st. However, I am so darn cool that I got to see it yesterday - more than a week ahead of everyone else.

Well, okay - it's not really that I am oh-so-cool. It really has more to do with the fact that I did some pro bono work for the folks at the Michigan Production Alliance. This was their way of thanking me.

On the whole, North Country movie was very good. I'm sure some of the cast will even pick up an Oscar nomination or two as a result of their performances.

However, there was something about the script. It's hard to describe, but at the very end - I was left wanting more; something that wasn't there.

It felt like biting into a hamburger, only to find nothing but burger and bun. No lettuce. No pickles or onions. No ketchup or mustard. Just the burger and the bun.

It's that basic sense that there wasn't anything bad about what was there, just that there should h…

Smack the Senator

I was in Lansing today, covering a couple of legislative meetings for my day job. One of the meetings was the Senate Natural Resources Committee. The Senate's full session ran over, which meant that all of the related committee meetings started late.

How late, you ask?

Late enough that I was able to read 3 magazines while waiting in the hearing room.

Late enough that, when I ran out of reading material, I skipped out and grabbed a few more shots to add to my growing collection of digital photos of the State Capitol. (I swear, if this keeps up, in a few more months I'm going to publish my own photographic retrospective of the building).

Anyway, I've got a few photos of the Capitol itself and the goings on inside of it on the web.

It never ends

I logged on this morning and there were 18 emails in my in-box to deal with in one way or another. I've spent much of the day dealing with them and I still have 19 sitting in my in-box - 6 Post-It notes stuck by my computer with notes of stuff for me to do.


It never ends.

Right now, I'm organizing both a fundraiser from the FoBC as well as the second round of a Preservation Summit involving 21 different historic preservation, civic and professional groups. Dang, my life is just so much fun!

And you know what - right now I also have the hugest craving for Taco Bell.

2 bean burritos with sour cream and some fire sauce.

Or maybe a Mexican Pizza.

Dang - that sounds good.

The only that doesn't sound good is the late night calories and my need to drop a few pounds.


Back to the emails.

Lunch at The Whitney

So, I was originally scheduled to meet my friend Isaac for lunch at one of the coney islands downtown. About a half hour or so beforehand, he calls me and tells me to meet at Preservation Wayne's office instead.

Anyway, I get there and promptly announces that he's leaving for the Gulf Coast soon. He apparently just got a contract through FEMA to do some consulting work down there for the next couple of months.

It's a contract that's generous enough that a) we went to The Whitney instead and b) he picked up the check.

I had my digital camera with me and snapped a few pics of The Whitney - it's a really cool restaurant, so cool in fact that I have trouble imagining it as a private residence even though I know that's what it was originally built as.

Special Screening of "The Passenger"

Earlier this year, I worked on an indie film project called The Passenger with the guys from Thought Collide. They're having a special screening of it at the Emagine Theatre in Novi this evening.

A flyer for it is on-line at

Sleepy Hallow Martini

I have a simple tip for anyone, and everyone, in Detroit.

Next time you're downtown - stop by the Hard Rock Cafe. Ask if Emily is tending bar. If she is, then get down on your knees and beg her to make you a Sleepy Hallow Martini.

Okay - you probably don't have to get down on your knees.

Still, it's her own conconction and she won't give the recipe to anyone else. And it so darn good.


I'm getting thirsty just thinking about it. Sleepy Hallow Martini.

For some reason, Blogger won't let me post a photo of it. Still you can see it at


Even the URL seems yummy!

I hate my sinuses

I hate my sinuses. I really do.

And lately, as the weather is starting to change, I'm starting to think that they hate me, too.

Oh, what a week

This week has been insane - bouncing back and forth between Detroit and Lansing for work; plus taking care of dozen different details for Detroit Synergy.

This past Thursday was Preservation Wayne's Honor Awards. I was one of the nominees in the Lucy Hamilton Education Honor Award (for my documentary on the Book-Cadillac Hotel). I didnt' win, but it was still a very cool evening.

I'll post more photos and pics later. For now, here's a quick pic of me with gang from Friends of the Belle Isle Aquarium.

I'm In Love

Yes, I'm in love. Or at least severly infatuated.

Melissa Theuriau is a French television reporter and arguably one of the most beautiful women I've even seen in my life. I'm sure there is some way in which she is less than perfect. I just can't seem to figure it out.

Oh, wait - I got it - she lives a couple thousand miles away from me.


Please excuse me while I run off to my local bookstore for some French language books.

All Hail the PR Co-Chair

Quick Note: As of yesterday evening, I am now the public relations co-chair for Detroit Synergy. The three year old organization is obviously on hard times when they're willing to let someone like me grab a portion of the helm.


Bob Denver, who played Gilligan 0n Gilligan's Island, passed away today at the age of 70 after suffering from cancer.

Where ever you are, Bob, here's hoping your know how much joy you brought into the lives of everyone. Your show was cancelled by a myoptic television network in 1967, but it found an unending life in the era of re-runs and syndication.

Your jokes are still funny and you still bring joy to my life everytime I catch a moment of your show.

Let them eat cake

Okay - it really seems like former First Lady Barbara Bush is trying to be the Marie Antoinette of the 21st Century.

When she was reacting to the plight of those who lost everything in New Orleans, and were now being relocated to Houston, Texas, she said, "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

Excuse me?!?

They have just lost everything they own and have generally been through hell. No matter how hospitable the good people of Houston are, there is really no way that it could ever work out well for them; I don't care how underprivileged they were.

Truly dispicable.

One of the most heart-breaking things

This is the tail end of an interview with Aaron Broussard, President of Jefferson Parish in Louisianna. It is one of the most heart-breaking things I have ever seen or heard in my life. (requires a Quick Time player).

So Tacky, Yet So Funny

I just found the "Shoot bin Laden" game on-line. It is oh-so-very-tacky and yet oh-so-very-funny.

My high score is 5,800.

RIP - Chief Justice William Rehnquist

As I scroll through the news this evening, I learn that William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, has passed away after his battle with cancer. He was 80 years old and had lived a remarkable life.

I was always impressed by the fact that, even after he was diagnosed and had reached a point in his life where no one would possibly fault him for retiring, he hung in there and continued serving on the Court.

There can be no doubt that with two vacancies on the Court, there will be a considerable amount of commotion in the U.S. Senate as everyone wrangles over who should fill his shoes. Whoever the President nominates, and however the Senate responds, this person will have some impressive shoes to fill.

Mike's Letter

Michael Moore published an open letter to President George W. Bush on his web site. I think it's absolutely hysterical in its tone and terrifying in its accuracy.

Vacation is Over... an open letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush Friday, September 2nd, 2005 Dear Mr. Bush: Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag. Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with? Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died a…

I have some serious issues

Okay - so last night I'm enjoying a comfortable evening at the Toy Chest. There's a cold Sam Adams in my hand. The Lions are on TV and they're winning. And a half dozen or so women are around me gyrating in nothing more than a g-string.

You would have to pretty much think that my life simply couldn't get much better at that point. Ordinarily, I'd have to agree.

But then it happened.

The commerical that I worked on for the Michigan Credit Union League came on TV.

It was the one with a distinguished looking gentleman, walking through his local credit union as he talks about how great it is in comparision to a traditional bank.

I found myself pointing towards the television and exclaiming, "Hey! I worked on that commericial."

The dancer who was closest to me just looked at me and smiled. Somehow, I doubt she heard what I said over the music and noise. She just smiled and then started twirling around on the pole.

For a few moments, though, all of the young, gyrati…

Video Blog from New Orleans

I saw this and it just blew me away. It's a video blog from New Orleans:

New Orleans Dreaming

As I watch coverage of the almost never-ending misery in New Orleans, my keeps wondering back to the Big Easy and nearby Mississippi.

I think about my trip to New Orleans in 1995. I remember my flight down there being diverted through Houston because of a hurricane. I also remember driving along the highway in Louisiana, seeing signs along the side of the road marked "Hurricane Evacuation Route."

I think about Stacey Breaux who, even though we never met face-to-face, was kind enough to design my production company's web site. There's a note on her site that it will be back soon with new images. That note was put up before the hurricane hit. I hope the site, and more importantly her, are indeed back soon.

I realize that it's odd to think about someone and their web site interchangeably. Almost cold and callous, I admit. I suppose it's what happens when you mostly know someone from email.

Life in the 21st century, I suppose.

I also think about a guy I met at…

Stay out of the 'burbs

Dang! You just can't go into the suburbs anymore - not only do you have racist hate crimes but even the cops get attacked.

Weird, But In A Really Cool Way

The other day, as I was walking out of the Preservation Summit, a friend of mine and his wife were commenting on how they liked my documentary on the Book-Cadillac Hotel.

The weird, but really kind of cool, part when my friend's wife made the comment that she had a crush on the woman who narrated my film. I don't know what it is but there's just something so dang cool about one woman confessing to have a crush on another.

Busy, Busy, Busy

I must apologize for not posting very many details as of late. Unfortunately, I've been way, way busy as of late.

First off, last week I was tapped to help film footage in Detroit for a documentary entitled Preserve Me A Seat that looks at historic movie palaces throughout the country. The filmmaker didn't have
enough left in his budget to send a crew to Detroit so I was one of the guys who took care of it for him.

You can read more about that project at

Second, my documentary on the Book-Cadillac Hotel has been nominated for two different awards: the Preservation Award and the Michigan History Award. I thrilled, to say the least.

Finally, for the past couple of weeks I have been organizing a Summit meeting of the various historic preservation, professional and civc organizations in the Detroit area. Our goal is to see us work together much more closely and effectively.


Presidential Pub Crawl - Revisited

Okay - not too much drinking tonight. I guess that's what happens when you don't even start until there's less than two hours before the bars close.

Anyway, since I'm awake and sober, I figured it would be a good time to post a little bit about my 35th birthday party last Saturday. Since it marked me becoming eligible to run for the White House, I decided to call it a Presidential Pub Crawl.

I walked into the first bar, The HUB, at shortly after 8:00 to find Alok and a couple of other guys waiting for me. We sat around, drank beers and watched the Tigers play.

After an hour or so, Alok and the others said that they'd have to leave soon for another party - some graduation event - and, quite frankly, I was a little nervous. No one else had shown up yet and I was afraid I'd be alone at my own birthday party when they left.

(If that's not the epitome of social disaster, I don't know what is.)

Luckily, my worries were for naught. Within fifteen minutes of th…

Will it never end?


Okay - for almost two months now I've been organizing a summit meeting for all of the various historic preservation groups in Detroit. Until last Thursday, I had been operating under the assumption that it would attract 30 - 35 people since we only had about 25 RSVPs.

I just had to close registration at 60. Everyone suddenly came pouring in at the last minute.

Frankly, my nerves are shot because of all that this entails. Trying to figure out just where to close registration. Communicating with lots of people about who should be guaranteed a seat and who shouldn't. Exploring other options for a new, larger venue (short answer: our options were nil on such short notice). Explaining to a half dozen people why are options were nil, and explaining it a half dozen times.


Anyway, I feel like I really should post something about my birthday part last Saturday. It was a blast it really was.

But, frankly, I really don't feel like posting. I just feel like drinking.

Too …

Pope Joan

I just finished this novel - Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross. I highly recommend it.

It plays to a lot of the themes in The DaVinci Code, a secret history about women in religion that's been hidden by a male dominted church, but it does more to bring the story to life. Plus, she is much more careful with her facts.


The folks at Oslo (Woodward and Grand River in downtown Detroit) have decided to host a special art show this weekend in honor of my 35th birthday.

Well, okay - so it's not really in honor of my birthday. It's just a coincidence that they're having it that weekend. However, a bunch of talented artists from Detroit and the surrounding area will be there. It should be a blast.

Detroit Attacked by Giant Spiders

Okay - with all of those weather webcams out there, this was bound to happen sooner or later. Take a look at what the local NBC affilate captured on their web cam.

Dodging the Purple Gang

Wow! Four posts in one day. Practically a new record for me.

Anyway, as I was thinking about the zombie book in my last post, it made me think about another book that I just finished reading - "The Purple Gang: Organized Crime in Detroit" by Paul R. Kavieff.

My next novel is going to be set in Detroit's Prohibition era, when the Purple Gang were at the height of their power. They will, of course, be a fundamental part of my story so I've been researching them.

One of the books that I've just finished reading was Mr. Kavieff's. It was very informative, although his explanation as to why the St. Valentine's Day massacre happened is quite different from what I've heard elsewhere.

Anyway, it's very good and his research is excellent. If anyone else is interested in one of the most notorious group of gangsters, I recommend a look at his book.

The Zombies Are Coming

Okay, so some friends of mine did a short film over the weekend about zombies attacking. It was for a short film contest and it looked darn cool.

You can see some of the production photos and video clips from the shoot here.

All in all, a very cool project. Although just looking at those photos makes me want to grab this book:

Revenge of the Heist Money

Oh, damn! Forget about my blog for a moment. Point your browser towards Dane Cook's web site.

Just go to the Videos section and take a look at "Heist Monkey". It's about 2/3 of the way down on the right hand side.

Friggin' hysterical!

New use for Google

Okay - I can't take credit for this one, it was Liza's idea - but there is a new Google Game.

The rules are incredibly simple.

Go to Google and simply type "[your first name] is" into the search box. Hit enter and take a gander at what shows up.

For me, the first few hits were a series of articles on Congressman Barney Frank. However, as you sort through them, they get more and more entertaining. Here are some of the more amusing ones that we found.
Frank is a cool dude;Frank is exceedingly poplular;Frank is now fully recovered and living in the country;Frank is alert to a range of human motives that may have disappeared from the
economics; (I'm not totally sure what that means, exactly, but it sounds kind of cool).
Frank is now looking towards the future;FRANK is a FREE magazine, currently distributed by email, soon to be in print; (Kick ass! I've always wanted to have my own magazine).Frank is a counterculture confederate with a capital C; (Um... #1 - I…

Reboot: So Darn Funny!

Okay, so I'm surfing the web and I come across Kelly Williams' site. On it, he has a number of parody songs. My favorite is "Reboot" - a reggae song about tech support love.

Totally funny!

You can check it out yourself for free at:

UDF7137 Has Landed

Well, I am officially finished.

I am done with my documentary on the Book-Cadillac Hotel and it has been submitted for the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. The whole thing is now out of my hands.

I'm done making my film and editing it.

I'm done writing the short and long synopis.

I'm done with the director's commentary.

I'm done worrying about which production photos to include.

Simply put, I'm done.

It feels so incredibly good to have dropped it off. When I walked
into the UPS Store and handed the clerk my package to be overnighted
to California, it was one of those incredible "My God - I did it" moments.

Almost 2 years of my life are now condensed into a 7-digit code that
the Sundance Committee will use to track my film and everything that
goes with it: UDF7137.

It's kind of ironic, if you stop and think about it, that so much of
my life would come down to such an odd little code. Anyway, I'm
thrilled to be done with it.

For now, I'm off to celebrate. Tom…

Sarah Michelle Gellar: Desperate For Topless Role

It seems like Sarah Michelle Gellar, arguably one of the hottest women in Hollywood is desperate for a role that would allow her to go topless.

I don't know how most Hollywood producers handle things like this. However, speaking purely as a guy, if a woman who looks like her wants to take her top off on camera then I'm all in favor of it.

Beam Him Up, God

James Doohan, the legendary actor who played Scotty on the original Star Trek TV, passed away this morning. He was 85 and lived the kind of life that most people dream of living. He will be missed.

It's amazing, though - the kind of things that you learn about a person only when you're reading their obituary. For example, I've seen him perform on at least a hundred ocassions - in film and on TV, not to mention interviews. In all of that time, I never noticed that he was missing a finger on his right hand.

According to his obituary, he lost it during the D-Day invasion when he was a lieutenant with the Canadian army. He was very good at hiding it on screen. When I look at some of the photos of him, it was only after reading about it that I noticed that he never showed any of the fingers on his right hand yet still made it seem natural.

Okay - one last post about Deep Imact

Watching the actual Deep Impact collision is just so dang cool. I've always had an affinity for stuff that blows up without killing or injuring anyone. Plus, I've always had an affinity for science in general and outer space in particular.

Combine the two and you have one happy Frankie. God, I love this stuff.

Anyway, y'all can see the actual collision here.

1 In A Billion

I was trying to log on to NASA's Deep Impact site last night/this morning to watch the mission unfold. I had trouble doing so. Luckily, CNN eventually cut in to show at least a portion of it (about 5 mins).

I now know why it was so hard for me to log on --- there were roughly 1 billion people trying to watch it, just like me. Obviously, their servers were a bit overloaded.

As an aside note, why was it that the coverage for it came from CNN International? It was an American space probe. What is? Did George W. Bush not spoon-feed the story to enough American journalists to make them want to cover it?


Anyway, there was some great coverage of it on Yahoo! News today. At least someone gets the story.

Enough Is Enough!

The Detroit News ran an article on the front page of today's newspaper about how the City of Detroit has paid $280,000 under Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick for upgrades and maintenance for his official residence, the Manoogian Mansion. Personally, I'm getting fed up with these stories.

It's not that I've suddenly become an apologist for the Big Diamond. It's not even that I think it's okay for a cash-strapped city to pay that much to house its chief executive.

The fact of the matter is that if he can raise a couple million dollars for his re-election bid then he should be able raise enough money to cover the cost of upkeep at the Mansion.

The thing that truly annoys me about The Detroit News in general, and this article in particular, is that they're covering subject like this instead much more meaningful ones.

Just last month, some tried repeatedly to run down a pregnant woman in front of my house. When I called to the police, the 9-1-1 dispatcher told me that ther…

Deep Impact w/ Success

NASA's Deep Impact Mission to explore a comet was a resounding success. And I am so geeked about it!!!

Good job, guys.

Good Bye & Good Riddance

Norm Olson, co-founder of the Michigan Militia, has announced that he is leaving Michigan forever. He is selling everything he has in Alanson, Michigan and moving to Nikiski, Alaska - an area where he claims "the political atmosphere is more condusive to liberty and freedom."

This is the man who publicly argued that the Oklahoma City bombing was the work of the Japanese government. He later revised his comments to say that it was the work of the Central Intelligence Agency. Of course, he offered nothing to support either of his preposterous theories.

He later tried putting together a group of militia members to storm the Florida hospice where Terry Shiavo was and take her a "safe house". I'm not sure how much better that would have been for her since feeding tubes and other equipment needed to care from a comatous patient aren't that easy to find nor can they be administered by someone who lacks proper medical training.

He's already proven himself to …

The Fireworks Were A Blast

The 42nd Annual International Freedom Festival Fireworks were this past Wednesday. At risk of making the worst pun ever, the fireworks were a blast.

Of course, as if the fireworks themselves wasn't cool enough in and of itself, there's also people that I met at Matt & Kim's fireworks party. Heck, I even met the world famous Girl in the D.

I just can't believe it

Yesterday, I thought that if President George W. Bush was twice as smart as he actually is, he'd still be the stupidest man to ever set foot inside the White House.

Today, as I listen to his speech on Iraq, I can't help but feel that I overestimated his intelligence.

There were so many false conclusions and logical inconsistencies that it simply boggles the mind. So many unsubstantiated claims and conclusions. So many things that were just plain wrong.

It amazes me that one person can actually be this stupid. Is it actually possible for someone to have a negative IQ?

There's Only So Much Oil in the Ground

Okay - so this is my fourth blog post in under 24 hours; far more than I've posted in quite sometime. Who knows, it might not even be my last one today.

Regardless, I wanted to mention that Keith Crain, publisher of Crain's Detroit Business, is one of those guys who just make sense. His editorial in this week's issue focuses on our national energy policy - a lack thereof.

The guy just makes sense.

My only beef with him is that he didn't include a single reference to conservation or renewable energy sources in his column. While nuclear energy should be a valuable component to America's overall energy strategy, conservation and renewable sources deserve a lot more attention then they are getting from anyone.

Including Mr. Crain's newspaper. Still, I have to the man some credit. He has talked about the issue with more eloquence and common sense than anyone else I've seen in awhile.

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today would have been my Dad's 70th birthday.

My Mom, my brothers and I had a special memorial mass said for him and went to his grave. It was the first time I had actually been to the grave and I'm embarassed that it's taken me this long to visit it.

It's been just under a year since he left this world and I still miss him. Wherever you are, Dad - happy birthday!

Bravo Bravo! was a blast

Yesterday, after a picnic with some friends, I worked at the 6th Annual Bravo Bravo! with folks from Thought Collide. We filmed a video that is supposed to be used to promote next years' event.

Bravo Bravo! is usually billed as "Detroit's hippest event of the year" and it pretty much lived up to it. (Okay - the premiere of my documentary will probably be a bit hipper in my opinion - but still).

The girls from Detroit Roller Derby were on hand - skating out front and occassionally venturing inside.

Those lovlies from Hell's Belles were keeping things interesting up on the second floor.

A couple dozen bars and restaurants were keeping the food and booze flowing all night long.

I even bumped into some cool folks that I haven't seen in way too long and made a few contacts for upcoming film projects.

It was just so darn cool.

Ronald Ilitch Arrested

Ronald Ilitch was arrested the other day for soliciting a prostitute. Personally, I'm hoping that he's sentenced to cleaning up some of his parent's vacant properties in Detroit.

Emilie Autumn

Okay - so I was browsing the web not too long ago and came across an extremely talented musician by the name of Emilie Autumn. She has more talent and originality then 90% of the folks making music today.

Truly amazing.

You can hear some of her work at

Tigers & Pistons - Joined at the Scoreboard

Okay - this is weird.

On Tuesday, both the Tigers and Pistons won big games. The Tigers climbed above the .500 mark for the first-time in a decade or so. The Pistons won game 6 of the NBA Finals - postponing the Spurs' victory parade.

And then on Thursday, both the Tigers and Pistons lost. The Tigers are still above the .500 mark (knock on wood) but the San Antonio Spurs are the new NBA Champions.

It's just one of the coincidences that I notice.

Woo-hoo!! (Again)

Yesterday was a great day in my life.

First, the Detroit Tigers smacked the Minnesota Twins; winning by a score of 7-2 and pushing their record for this season above the 0.500 mark. It's the first time in a long time they've been able to hit that pivotal point, but I have a feeling they'll stay there for awhile.

Then, not to be outdone, the Pistons forced the San Antonio Spurs to cancel tomorrow's victory parade by winning game 6 of the NBA finals.

Does it get any better than this?


I finally finished production and editing for my documentary on the former Book-Cadillac Hotel. You can find a short (50 sec.) preview of it on-line here.

Oh, the places you will go

Today has actually been a rather eventful day for me. For starters, I was interviewed by 3 different television stations, 2 radio stations, 3 newspapers and some guy doing a documentary. I spent so much time talking to reporters on my phone that I actually managed to wear out 2 cell phone batteries in 1 day.

Here is a quick run down of my day. The times were all reconstructed using the calls logs on my cell phone.

8:19 a.m. - I get a phone call Steve Haag. He informs me that there is a crew on site demolishing the Madison-Lenox. He's in Grand Rapids all day so, as communications director of the FoBC, I get to handle this one.

8:20 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. - I finished getting dressed and start making phone calls. First was to our attorney Mike Myckowiak. After that I call Francis Grunow, the folks at National Trust and all of the reporters that I have phone numbers for.

9:45 a.m. - I arrive at the Madison-Lenox. The building in between the Madison and Lenox buildings in now a pile a rubble.…

Bar Math

Ouch! I can't believe that it's been over a month since I've posted anything. Oh, well - if it's actually some consolation to me that hardly anyone reads these things except me.

Anyway, I had a meeting the other some folks from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Wayne and a couple of other groups. One of those big ol' strategy meetings.

After it, a few of us headed over to the Motor City Brewing Works for a few drinks.

I walked in with $20. I bought a few drinks for my companions and myself.

A couple of people offered to hand me cash. I inititally resisted, feeling generous for once in my life.

We kept drinking. They eventually insisted on handing me cash. At the end of the evening, one guy even left a few bucks on the table (specifically saying that it was for me and not as a tip for the wait staff) and walked away.

At the end of the night, I had $23 in my pocket.

Notice the bar math? I bought a few drinks and somehow I ended up with $3 more th…

I Love My Life

There are moments when I truly love my life. One them happened last night.

It started with setting up a couple of sets with the gang from Thought Collide. They're shooting this weekend and need to covert a couple of spots in the Hastings Street Ballroom to look like a) a set of offices in a moving company and b) a chic night club.

We finished with that and then went downstairs to hang out with the guys from Helvet1ca as they rehearsed.

Helvet1ca (the band; not the typeface) just totally rocks. Why these guys don't have a big-time recording contract is beyond me.

Okay, wait -- I know why they don't have that record deal.

1. They write their own songs.
2. They play their own instruments.
3. They actually sing -- no pre-recorded music.
4. And they have honest-to-God talent

But hey, I digress.

Anyway, hanging out with those guys for little while was just great. It was the perfect way to end my day and made me forget about everything that's gone wrong this past week.

Spring Break Shark Attach

Okay -- so I saw this made for TV movie the other night. Gathered around with a few friends.

Aruguably the cheesiest movie ever. Totally devoid of any artistic or intellectual value.

However, it did have lots of beautiful women in bikinis and brief scene with jello wrestling on the beach.

That's what movies need these days. More jello wrestling!!!
I was pulling out of the post office the afternoon. Right in front of me was some dufus, with not 1 but 2 George W. Bush bumper stickers and a vanity license plate that read "4 Bush".

The thing is that it was on a freakin' Volvo. (Whereas my Kerry sticker still resides on my good ol' American made Mercury Cougar).

My first thought was, "Great - this guy doesn't support America with his spending habits or his political choices."

Oh, I just so damn hopeful for the 3 years, 10 months.
Is it just me or does the very idea of wearing orange on St. Patrick's Day just seem really wrong? Almost like you're looking for a fight.

Wearing orange is a statement that you're going to go out and get drunk, but you're going to oppress the little folks while you're doing it.

The really weird part of it is that, when I was at the bar last night, I mentioned this to a couple of people who were wearing orange. None of them knew the significance of it.


People can be so damn stupid.
A bunch of us were trying to come up with an idea for a cool fundraiser for movies and other art projects.

Imagine this: a Jello Wrestling Marathon.

Three rings with non-stop jello wrestling action. We'll have some blondes on the rasberry jello ring. Brunettes in the orange jello ring. Redheads in the lime jello ring.

Too damn cool. There's simply no way you can go wrong with something like this.

Well, okay -- granted we probably won't be able to find enough participants to make this happen. Still, it's one of those ideas you think of over booze and it just seems so damn cool.

I can't believe how much it sucks that my old high school is closing. When I was in high school, I wanted nothing more than to leave that place or (better yet) burn it down. Now I actually feel a sense of loss.

I've known this was coming for years. Their enrollment has been dropping fast. My graduating class was close to 300; now they don't even have that much in whole place.

Still, I can't help but feel a certain sense of sadness and loss - over its closing and over the fact that I can't do anything about it.
The good news is that I'm shooting a film this weekend with the guys from Thought Collide. Should be a lot of fun.

The bad news is that I'm shooting a film this weekend so I can't go to the Hamtramck Blowout. Which kinda sucks because this year's line-up looks really, really good.