Monday, December 29, 2008
As for me, I take a more balanced outlook towards things. With that in mind, I present a look back at 2008 in my hometown.
The Detroit Lions are the worst team in NFL history. However, the Detroit Red Wings won yet another Stanly Cup this year. The Detroit Tigers turned in a respectable performance. The Detroit Pistons came this close to another NBA Championship.
Kwame Kilpatrick is in jail, but that saga is over. Now Detroiters get to look at everyone in Illinois and know that they're dealing with things that are much worse.
The Detroit Public Schools are broke. However, Detroit still has charter schools, parochial schools, private schools and home schooling.
Kirsten Haglund from Farmington Hills became Miss America 2008. She secured the title that her grandmother competed for in 1944. With her win, Kirsten Haglund showed the world what I've known for years - there are some seriously hot women in the Detroit area.
A few houses sold for $1 (plus back taxes & assorted fees that drove the final price up to around $6K). Everything else is selling for a fraction of what it would've been worth two years ago. The important thing is that real estate prices are slowly beginning to rebound.
Detroit's unemployment is the highest in the nation. No getting around that one. The promising part is between things like the Westin Book Cadillac and Ft. Shelby Hotel re-openings, the umpteen new restaurants, the auto bail out happening and dozens of major motion pictures coming to town (each spending tens of millions), there's a decent chance that things will get better soon.
Major festivals either got severely scaled back or canceled. The one bit of good news is that the NCAA Final Four is still coming to Ford Field in April. That will bring in more cash than all of those festivals combined.
2008 could've been better, but it also could've been a lot worse.
To all of those who are screaming about Detroit's demise, I simply say this: It's okay to recognize the things have gone wrong. You can't fix them if you don't. Just don't dwell too much on the negatives. If you do, you'll miss all of the cool stuff.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
It was my Detroit Synergy alert that made me cringe the other day. Along with all of the expected references to their Shop Detroit project was a reference to the group on Metromix.
I cringed. Oh, yes, I did.
I remembered all of the problems that Metromix had caused for me in the past. I also remembered Michael Higdon's commentary from this past August about how Metromix is a detriment to society.
I braced myself for the worst as I clicked the link to see how the kids at Metromix were making my life difficult now.
It actually turned to not be that bad at all. Google simply found some photos of an event at Gator Jake's in Sterling Heights. An alert was triggered because the kids put a link to the ill-fated pub crawl that I reluctantly allowed Metromix to show up at.
The thing is, once I was on the Metromix site, I noticed a couple of things that were different. It took a moment for me to put my finger on it, but Metromix has changed many of the things that I've complained about since their debut in Detroit almost a year ago.
They have toned down their emphasis on photos with lots of cleavage in them. They still have photos from various parties - and cleavage always abounds there. However, Metromix no longer highlights events like Girls Gone Wild and the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Contest on their front page.
Those events are still on their site. However, you have to search for them. Metromix no longer gives them prominent coverage on their main page.
More importantly, Metromix seems to have gotten rid of their mantra of "FREE! FREE! FREE!" They now put at least some emphasis on the event itself and not on any discounts that might be available at it. I looked at a few of the articles on their site. I didn't see "FREE" mentioned even once.
This might not seem important to most people. However, from my experience, when one combines an emphasis on events like Girls Gone Wild with a mantra of "FREE! FREE! FREE!" the end result is that the crowd that shows up tend to be a rather unique demographic.
Oh, I'll just say it.
When one combines those two things, it tends to attract the folks who put the "trash" in trailer trash. I don't mean it attracts blue collar vs. white collar people. I don't mean it attracts lower income individuals. I mean it attracts those who put the "trash" in trailer trash.
As an example, Detroit Synergy had hosted nine pub crawls that had no connection or involvement with Metromix over the past several year. The one that did have said involvement was the only one where bouncers had to remove people from the bar for disorderly conduct.
Coincidence? I think not.
I talked with the folks who got bounced later, outside the bars. Each of them had found out about the event from Metromix.
Anyway, the good news is that Metromix has gotten rid of those elements on their site that were trailer trash magnets. I'll celebrate that for a moment.
I'm not sure if Metromix is still staging photo galleries with professional models like they did at their Launch Party in May. I also don't know if they're still photographing people who weren't a part of a certain event and implying that they were.
The important thing is that Metromix is finally putting a long-overdue end to some of the trashier elements of their site. This is an improvement. This is good news. It means that there's hope for them after all.
I no longer think that Metromix is a significant detriment to the Detroit area. As a start to plan my next round of special events, I will no longer make a deliberate effort to make sure that they happen without Metromix even finding out about them.
I'm not going to use Metromix to promote an event. However, I will no longer try to keep them away from it either. In short, my opinion of Metromix has gone from strongly negative to only slightly negative; bordering on neutral.
There might be hope for Metromix after all.
In what has to be one of the most perfectly timed ad buys, a commercial for Detroit's version of Metromix came on the screen. I silently groaned to myself and resolved to be quiet for the next 30 seconds. It was late. I really didn't feel like having yet another discussion about psychographics and/or why it was that I despised Metromix with a passion.
The shocking thing is that I didn't have to hold those thoughts in. Within 5 seconds of this commercial coming on, one of my friends mentioned to no one in particular that Metromix was the web site that Kerry Doman loosely based After 5 Detroit on.
I continued to remain silent as this observation led to a 20 minute discussion about Ms. Doman, her web site and her latest venture of planning corporate events. During this conversation, the comments were almost universally positive about After 5 Detroit and its founder. No one mentioned Metromix again.
I should mention that all of those in the room were single and, with the exception of myself, everyone was between the ages of 21 - 34. This, by the way, is Metromix's target market.
To recap: the folks at Metromix spent a considerable amount of their money to produce and air a television commercial. The result of said commercial was to provoke a 20 minute discussion among members of their target market about how great one of their competitors is.
I guess this is why, even though Metromix has been making significant media buys for almost a year in the Detroit market, After 5 Detroit doesn't seem to be suffering at all. In fact, it turns out that After 5 Detroit is expanding their operations and hiring new staff members.
Somehow, I don't think this is was reaction that Metromix was hoping for when they spent all of that money.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
It shouldn't have come as a surprise to me then that one of my cousins in Wisconsin sent me a series of Detroit Lions jokes via email this afternoon. Since I can't share the joy of a decent season for the Lions, the least I can do is share a few Lions jokes with the world.
The Michigan State Police are cracking down on speeders heading into Detroit
For the first offense, they give you two Detroit Lions tickets. If you get stopped a second time, they make you use them.
Q. What do you call 47 millionaires around a TV watching the Super Bowl?
A. The Detroit Lions.
Q. What do the Detroit Lions and Billy Graham have in common?
A. They both can make 70,000 people stand up and yell "Jesus Christ!"
Q. How do you keep the Detroit Lions out of your yard?
A. Put up a goal post.
Q. Where do you go in Detroit in case of a tornado?
A. Ford Field - they never have a touchdown there.
Q. What do you call a Detroit Lion with a Super Bowl ring?
A. A thief.
Q. What's the difference between the Detroit Lions and a dollar bill?
A. You can still get four quarters out of a dollar bill.
Q. How many Detroit Lions does it take to win a Super Bowl?
A. Nobody knows and we may never find out.
Q. What do the Detroit Lions and a possums have in common?
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road.
In the Christmas spirit, I search the internet for the best gift possible for readers on my blog. Without further ado, I give you "Russian Girls" by Sasha Dith. This video actually came out a couple of years ago, but it never really became the kind of hit that it probably should have been.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I don't care what the folks at TMZ say. Granny shades or not. Hair up or down. Kristen Bell looks darn hot.
In second place for the most traffic generating post is my commentary from a few weeks ago about Kristen Bell's interview in the December issue of Ambassador magazine.
The bronze medal, by the way, goes to my post about cool night lights from August of last year.
A part of me can't help but wonder: what would happen if I were to combine all of these things into one blog post? Would this blog actually explode from all of the traffic?
What if I were to write about a fictional evening in which Kam Carman tells Kristen Bell all of the nitty, gritty details of her divorce - from who cheated on who to the threats of lawsuits that Kam Carman used to keep the story quiet?
I doubt Kam Carman would ever divulge those details willingly. However, I'm sure that Kristen Bell's Veronica Mars character could get her to talk. If I were really lucky, I would figure out a way for a cool night light to find its way into that hypothetical conversation between Kam Carman and Kristen Bell - thereby completing the trifecta of Google Analytics goodness.
The problem with that scenario is that I would have to know all of the details about Kam Carman's divorce in order to write about them. I could take a certain amount of creative license and patch together the few details that I do know about it into one hypothetical post.
But I'm not that eager to get sued.
Oh, well. These are thing that I find myself thinking about as I watch the snow fall outside my window on a wintery December day.
Check out Jennifer Aniston on their cover!
I remember the first time I saw a woman wearing only a necktie. It was that scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere's character comes home to find Julia Roberts waiting for him, wearing only the necktie that she convinced one a sales clerk in some store to give her.
That scene was only on the screen for a few seconds. I saw it in my local theater when I was 19 but I still think of it every time I see a display of ties in any store.
A truly classic moment in American cinema.
I'm glad the folks at GQ were able to do something like this again.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Yes, Hard Rock is a corporate restaurant.
Hard Rock has a menu that is set by folks more than a thousand miles away from the restaurant.
There's no getting around these facts. However, Hard Rock does offer a few benefits that make it an appealing option.
First, there are all of the logistical issues associated with having PK Night at any venue. Hard Rock Cafe excels in these categories.
- Hard Rock has secured parking in the Compuware parking structure that's available for free with a validation in the restaurant. A lot of other venues require you to either pay through the nose for parking or have you park on the street.
- For those who don't drive to the event, Hard Rock is accessible by more than a dozen bus routes and is only a couple blocks away from a People Mover station.
- Hard Rock has a top-notch audio-video set-up. Unlike our venue for PK Night, Vol. 1, a presenter can stand anywhere he or she wants in the cafe and never have to worry about feedback from their microphone. There is also an abundance of television monitors in the place so folks can see the presentations no matter where they are sitting.
- Hard Rock is willing to give us full control over much of their restaurant. Their normal guests will be moved into the Compuware atrium or into a separate room where they will be able to dine without them bothering us or vice versa.
- Since it's a restaurant, catering and beverage service is built in with nothing for Detroit Synergy and the AIA to worry about. This might not seem like a lot to folks who have never produced an event like this, but this can be a huge headache for the team that puts this on. We'd much rather focus on getting the best presenters.
Finally, there is the fact that - like a lot of cultural events in southeastern Michigan - does not have an abundance of cash at the moment. From a strategic standpoint, by doing our February event in Hard Rock, we will be able to afford venues for the rest of 2009 that we otherwise wouldn't be able to.
For all of these reasons, the committee thought that Hard Rock Cafe was the best option for Pecha Kucha Night, Vol. 3. I hope to see lots of people there.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I got a link to this photo on Flickr today. I'm not sure if it is the funniest thing I've ever seen - or the most disturbing.
Maybe it's both.
Of course, if that cat's facial expression is any indicator, I have a funny feeling that its owner got her own comeuppance from the cat shortly after the photo was snapped.
It's like there's a thought balloon over near that cat. One that read, "Laugh now, human. Just wait until you see what I do to your shoes. Just. You. Wait."
I know I'm incredibly cynical, but a part of me can't help but wonder who many publicists and lawyers it took to get the Glam folks to write that piece that way.
My guess is 14, but it's only a guess.
Yes, I am cynical. However, if I may paraphrase Kurt Cobain for a moment, "Just because you're cynical doesn't mean you're not right."
I swear, if Detroit could just get a cut of the umpteen Obama-inspired products out there, the automakers wouldn't need those bridge loans.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I've always been a fan of Keira Knightley. She's beautiful and an amazing actress.
I've also been a fan of Amnesty International. I was active in an Amnesty International chapter while I was in college.
The fact that Keira Knightley and Amnesty International are combining forces very well may be the coolest combination since pizza and beer.
Well, okay. I suppose that is a bit of an overstatement.
Regardless, the fact that Keira Knightley is representing Amnesty International is still a very cool thing in my opinion.
She was a Christian who believed that God gave a beautiful body for a reason. She believed, therefore, that there was no shame in showing it off.
More than anything, Betty Page understood that "sexy" didn't have to mean "slutty" or "trashy". She made it into an art form. Britney Spears and several other modern pop stars could learn a few things from Ms. Page.
As such, she will be missed.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
She said, "I hope you don't mind, but I feel much luckier when I play topless."
With that, she stripped to the waist; rolled the dice and yelled, "Come on, Southern Girl needs new clothes!"
As the dice bounced and came to a stop, she jumped up-and- down and squealed, "YES! YES! I WON! I WON!"
She hugged each of the dealers and then picked up her winnings, her clothes and quickly departed.
The dealers stared at each other dumbfounded. Finally, one of them asked, "What did she roll?"
The other answered, "I don't know. I thought you were watching."
The moral of this story is:
- Not all Southerners are stupid;
- Not all blondes are dumb;
- But all men, are men.
One of his cartoons from the other day, however, though went above and beyond its usual standard of brilliance. Explaining the world, while still allowing me to laugh at it.
Brilliant, I say. Simply brilliant.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
This year, however, I have to say that the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was kind of a disappointment. The show still had the Victoria's Secret models. No matter how bad everything else is, there will always be that as a redeeming quality.
My problem with this year's show was that they seemed to put too much of an emphasis on the behind-the-scenes moments of the fashion show. I know there are always people who want to know what it's like backstage at one of these events, but there's a danger of going too far with it.
It's Frank's Law of Fashion Shows #168. When you get to point where the wardrobe guys get almost as much screen time as Heidi Klum then you are definitely doing too much behind-the-scenes stuff.
I get the feeling - and before everyone starts bombarding my comments section with rebuttals, this is only a feeling - that the folks at Victoria's Secret are trying to figure out a way to maintain interest in the show without Heidi Klum. She is 35 years old and, in model years, that's basically 114.
The only reason that makes any sense to me is that they did so many of those behind-the-scenes vignettes is that they wanted to give Heidi Klum less screen time, but they weren't sure what to fill in her place.
Of course, I could be entirely wrong.
It's also possible that the producers behind the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show got really, really drunk the other night, didn't have the show they wanted ready and so they threw all of this together at the last minute.
Some folks are impressed by this. But those are the people who were impressed by the idea of spending an hour standing in line to get a "free" drink and who didn't think that an event with roughly 600 people attending needed to have bathrooms available at it.
Since I've done a fair number of special events in Detroit, I know that on a budget of $10 - $20,000 one can rent:
- Any of the ballrooms in the Westin Book Cadillac;
- Colony Club;
- Detroit Club;
- Gem Theatre;
- Most of the rooms in the Masonic Temple; or
- Any of a dozen or so other options.
Add in another $5,000 or so and you get valet parking for your guests. This, of course, becomes an issue when one sets up a tent in a parking lot; thereby depriving people of what would otherwise be the most convenient place for them to park.
I bet these guys will even be foolish enough to promote their event on Detroit's version of Metromix.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
For the benefit of anyone who didn't already know this, Kristen Bell grew up in one of Detroit's suburbs, Huntington Woods to be specific. She graduated from Shrine Catholic High School before heading off to New York for college and her career.
The folks at Ambassador asked her a series of questions about growing up in the Detroit area. I couldn't help notice something peculiar in her answers though. She didn't say that she was from Detroit. Instead, she said that she was from the Midwest.
Let me recap this for everyone. Kristen Bell is from Huntington Woods, but when asked about growing up she did not say she's from Huntington Woods.
Kristen Bell did not say that she's from Detroit or the Detroit area.
Kristen Bell did not say that she's from southeastern Michigan or even that she's from Michigan.
Kristen Bell said that she's from the Midwest.
I can't really say that I blame her, in the grand scheme of things. The Midwest, as a generic entity, has a fantastic reputation in Hollywood. Midwesterners are known for having a strong work ethic, without a lot of personal drama. It's a positive thing in Hollywood to be from the Midwest.
However, Michigan in general - and Detroit, in particular - don't really have the greatest reputation on the national stage at the moment. It starts with the troubles that the Big 3 have been battling from the past few years and got a whole worse with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's text messaging scandal.
I can't blame Kristen Bell for wanting to associate herself with a positive instead with something that's perceived as a negative. If I were in her position, there's a decent chance that I'd do the same thing.
It's just sad that Detroit's perception on the national stage is what it is.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Welcome home, Endeavor. Congratulations on a job well done.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
There are moments of my life when I see irony upon irony, gift wrapped with an ironic bow on top.
And then there are moments like this where I struggle through so many levels of irony that it pretty much makes my head explode.
The thing is, I'm probably the only person around who fully appreciates this one. I'm not expecting anyone else to.
More than anything else, I just wanted to post this note on my blog - where it will have a day and time stamp - so this way I can come back to it at a later date and say, "See. This is what I meant."
Anyway, it's Thanksgiving Eve. I'm late for the bar already. Good night, everyone!
Monday, November 24, 2008
The coolness began on Thursday actually, when I skipped out on Detroit Synergy's Third Thursday event at Pewabic Pottery so I could head to the Gem Theatre for the 2008 Preservation Awards. I was lucky enough to accept an award on behalf of the Friends of the Book-Cadillac Hotel. The FoBC was honored for their work in historic preservation advocacy through education.
The whole thing was just a tad bit ironic because a) I skipped out of an event at Pewabic Pottery to go to the awards banquet and b) the award that I accepted included a custom piece of Pewabic Pottery.
Yes, there was irony in the air that evening.
As an added bonus, the food at this banquet was simply top notch - and there was an open bar. I lost track of how many gin and tonics I had that evening. All I know is that when it came time to give an acceptance speech, the sober people told me that I managed to do a decent job with it.
Of course, when the event was over, I decided that I still didn't have enough alcohol in my system. And so I went on a quest for another round.
I poked my head into Hard Rock, only to discover that the place was packed. Katrina the Kick Ass Bartender was serving and this really good band was playing. (If I was a tad bit more sober then I might have remembered their name, but I don't.)
I eventually ended up at the Woodbridge Pub - where I spent the rest of the evening talking to a bunch of people from the awards banquet that I was at earlier. (Somewhere there was a band playing, "It's A Small World After All".)
Friday, of course, was the tree lighting in Campus Martius Park. Before the tree lighting, though, there was eating, drinking and general merriment at a friend's apartment in the Kales Building.
And then the tree was lit.
And then there was even more eating, drinking and general merriment throughout downtown Detroit. We started a Roast - which is inside the Westin Book Cadillac and is rapidly becoming my favorite restaurant.
From there, everyone migrated to Cliff Bell's where some woman that I've never met before suddenly started crying for reasons that I still don't understand. (Other people that knew her better comforted her and soon she seemed alright - so I didn't worry too much.)
I briefly popped over to Park Bar, but then quickly went back to Cliff Bell's where the band was wailing and crowd was happening.
And that was my Friday.
Saturday was Carly's birthday party at Bookie's. The place was packed. I felt like a sardine, but I got to hang with some folks that I haven't seen in months so all was good.
A part of me wanted to spend Sunday on the coach, but I got tickets to a fundraiser for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy. This was another event with really good food and beverages. (I swear, historic preservationists always find the best food and booze on any budget.)
Plus, it was in the Buhl Mansion in Indian Village. This is an amazing home. I wish I could afford to live there.
Chuck Brodsky performed a concert in the living room of this home, which was almost as big as my house. I had never heard of him, and frankly rolled my eyes when I herd that he's a folk singer, but he was really, really good. He played a lot of songs with a baseball theme to them so that fit with the evening.
The only real downer to the whole evening came when someone tried setting me up with a woman who was literally old enough to be my mother. She was divorced with a daughter my age and everything.
A shudder went down my spine at that thought.
Luckily, I was able to extract myself from that situation rather quickly.
Anyway, suffice it to say, this was a really great weekend. Now if only I didn't have to deal with the work week again.
Monday, November 17, 2008
However, I took a date there last week and I have to say it was unbelievable. One of my friends from school, who relocated to Cleveland, has raved for years now about how good of a chef Michael Symon really is. I used to think she was exaggerating, but now I know that - if anything - she was underselling it.
Anyway, the atmosphere is unbelievable, the service is impeccable and the food is even better. Michael Symon is known for his meat dishes. However, if you go there, I will simply say this: no matter what you order, get a side of their macaroni and cheese.
Heck, you could just order a couple of sides of his macaroni and cheese and make a meal out of them. He makes it using goat cheese and it is really, really good.
I think this might actually be the start of a culinary war between Michael Symon and the guys from Slow's B-B-Q in Corktown over who has the best mac and cheese. (Damn, I'm getting hungry just thinking about those two places.)
Oh, and when it comes time for dessert, Michael Symon introduces a number of tempting treats with chocolate.
Most of the entrees are in the $30 range. They are a bargain for what you're getting. (Although, Mr Symon: if you read this, please don't use this post as an excuse to raise all of your prices.)
All in all, in my opinion, Roast is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion - or to celebrate an ordinary occasion with that special someone.
I was glad that they included some of the great classic beauties that most people have forgotten about. This includes actresses like Anna Karina and Ursula Andress.
I was also glad that they had a healthy dose of women who are currently working - and still hot. The include notables such as Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson, Halle Barrie and Penelope Cruz. All of them clearly deserve to be on that list. (Especially Jessica Alba, who I have mentioned a dozen or so times on this blog.)
However, I was surprised by one glaring omission for the list: Keira Knightley. I mean, come on, GQ!
How can you have a list of "The 25 Sexiest Women in Film of All Time" and not include Keira Knightley?
Those eyes. Those lips.
Blah! If I ran GQ, Keira Knightley would be on every list of incredibly hot women.
But then again, if I ran GQ then Frank's Rule of Sushi would also be mentioned in their pages on a recurring basis.
Oh, well. At least they were kind enough to include Keira's BFF Sienna Miller.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I was talking about this over drinks with a friend of mine; wondering what the folks at NBC should do about this. In my alcohol-induced brilliance, I came to the perfect thing that would cause the show's rating to sore to never before seen heights.
All they need is to work a jello-wrestling match into an episode or two; one between Kristen Bell and Hayden Panettiere. It doesn't even matter why those two characters would wrestle in jello. All that matters is that they do it.
Now, I know that there will be some skeptics who will simply say that a) I'm a pervert and b) that no one really wants to see jello wrestling blonde beauties on the show.
I have no rebuttal to the first part of that response. Some truths are simply self-evident.
However, I have to say that there is a growing demand to see Kristen Bell and Hayden Panettiere wrestle in jello. To illustrate my point, I respectfully submit a few key finds - all provided courtesy of "the Google" as our out-going (but not fast enough) President likes to say.
- When it was first announced that Kristen Bell was going to join Heroes back in August of last year, one of my fellow television bloggers practically demanded a jello wrestling match between her and Hayden Panettiere in order to settle the eternal question of which one of them was hotter.
- In July of last year, the folks over at News Toob were inspired to write a poem about Kristen Bell wrestling in jello.
So, there you have it.
To everyone at NBC:
Your fans are demanding it. Please write a jello wrestling match between Kristen Bell and Hayden Panettiere into an up-coming episode of Heroes.
Your ratings will thank you.
P.S. If you're not sure how to work a jello wrestling match into one of your scripts, please feel to call me. I'm available to replace any of the writers that you've fired.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
The article referred to 700 people gathering to celebrate the hotel's transformation; an event that the Times referred to as a civic catharsis. I wonder if it was the Access Detroit event or the opening gala they referred to.
I'm not sure if the phrase "civic catharsis" adequately describes either event, though. A catharsis involves purging emotions, usually through some type of art. Unfortunately, as I talk to people in and around town, I still encounter all of the same negative emotions about Detroit after the hotel's opening as I did before it.
What the hotel's rebirth does do is provide a working model of how large, derelict structures can be revitalized. It provides a template to follow; one that shows up how to revitalize our community and to create sustainable jobs in the process.
The challenge, of course, is for Detroit to repeat this success with other vacant properties around town. Now that we know how to do it, the challenge is for us to keep doing it until our city is fully revitalized.
Regardless, it's nice to see that I'm not the only person who is impressed with the place.
I called Florida for Senator John McCain, but he lost by approximately 2% of the vote. Quite frankly, I knew I got that one wrong as soon as Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced that he wouldn't attend the McCain victory party in Florida.
I also called South Carolina for now-President Elect Barack Obama. He lost that state, however, by a rather decisive 9%.
In the end, I proved to be 96% accurate. That's not too bad, if I may say so myself.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
For example, I really can't imagine anything like this happening on the streets of Detroit.
I guess I'll just have to get a bunch of creative folks together and make something like this happen in the D.
I have since received confirmation that this wasn't Metromix's idea. They had nothing to do with it. It was someone else. It was a group of people who are usually one of the best event producers in the country; who simply must have left their brains at home that day.
I'm afraid I've simply reached that point in my life and career where, if I see something go wrong and someone from Metromix is within 100 feet of it, I assume that they're responsible for it.
Usually, this trend serves me well. The kids at Metromix have a unique ability to screw up just about anything and they seem to go out of their way to do it.
But this one particular thing, the one that I chastised them about on my blog, wasn't their fault.
As such, I feel a need to retract those comments. I'm sorry Metromix.
Monday, October 27, 2008
But now they have.
Please note the conspicuous absence of red lanyards, which got you the Access Detroit special, on any patrons at any of the bars other than the one (Bookies) that you could see from the block party. So much for getting people to explore downtown Detroit.
Oh, and I also got a kick out of how they "forgot" to make any references in their post-event coverage to their "special surprise" of the evening.
I also posted on Saturday about how I saw people scratching off, or otherwise obscuring, the Metromix swag that they got - essentially fixing their Metromix. With that in mind, please take a look at my "new" hip flask.
I picked this up at a previous Metromix event. It's been in a drawer for weeks. I've been too embarrassed to even take it out of the box it came in.
But not any more.
I'm reasonably optimistic, which is why I predict that U.S. Senator Barack Obama will win with 326 electoral votes. My state by state breakdown gives all the details.
We'll see soon just how accurate I am.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
- Mismanaged; or
In retrospect, as I think back to my previous description of this being an "idiot-proof" event, I am reminded of the words of Mark Twain who observed, "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
Yes, I'm afraid it's true. The kids from Metromix did manage to screw this one up. Without further ado, I give you my recap of the good, the bad and the random from the evening.
First, there's the fact that this happened at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. As far as I'm concerned, that counts for a couple of points in their favor right there.
More significantly, there's the fact that - by my unscientific eyeball estimate - there were approximately 600 people in attendance for this event. When one considers that this was almost entirely an outdoor event and that it was raining for the whole time, this is a significant accomplishment in and of itself.
Everyone who was involved with promoting this deserves a lot of credit. Kerry Doman and After 5 Detroit promoted it to their list; picking up 278 RSVPs through Facebook and God only knows how many through their main site and email list. The Friends of the Book-Cadillac Hotel plugged the event repeatedly on their listserv, which reached an additional 320 people.
I'm sure the kids at Metromix helped out in this regard, too. I'll give them credit for that.
As far as music goes, the bands were awesome.
The Killer Flamingos were rocking hard when I got back to the party after dinner. They mostly played cover songs, but were really good at it.
I was inside of Roast when Trick Trick was supposed to have taken the stage. I missed his entire performance, but I heard he was good as well.
I loved the Paxahau DJ Spinoff. The DJs were really, really good. I never caught the names of any of them, but they were really good.
I could have listened to them all night, that is if it weren't for things like needing to use the bathroom and stuff like that. (More on that below.)
The other thing about the event that was really good was that I finally got to go inside of Michael Symon's new restaurant, Roast. They weren't officially open, but they served drinks and provided the only bathroom at this event. (Again, more on that below.)
Since I didn't get a chance to sample any of his food, there's really only so much I can say about his place. I can say this, though. I loved the decor.
"Homey" isn't quite the right word that I would use to describe the place. It's more like "what I wish my home was like." It was very upscale, but still quite comfortable.
I was also impressed by the staff at Roast. They were very friendly and knowledgeable. Most surprisingly, I thought, was how well they functioned as a team. I expected a lot more opening day kinks then I actually saw considering that they still weren't officially open.
The fact that there were break dancers on Washington Blvd. was also a nice touch, in my opinion. It added to the block party feel of this event.
I also liked the fact that they gave away maps and People Mover tokens to provide people with at least some encouragement to explore downtown Detroit after the main event.
Finally, since this was a Metromix event there was lots of free stuff. The kids at Metromix are famous for their motto of "FREE! FREE! FREE!" This was pretty much to be expected.
Someone handed me a Bank of America collapsible Frisbee without asking if I wanted one. It went in the trash before I could take another 3 steps.
Cintron was hand as well. They had free cans of their new energy drink. I'm not a huge fan of "energy" drinks. I've never really gotten much energy out of drinking them and I've had so many that taste terrible that I've lost all interest in ever trying another one. Regardless, everyone that I talked to who tried it enjoyed it.
It takes all kinds to make the world go 'round.
Those were the good parts of the evening. Let's talk about the rest.
The whole event was organized to "celebrate the completion of The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit Hotel and Residences," according to their web site. Doesn't it seem rather inappropriate then that no one was allowed to go into the Book Cadillac Hotel?
You know, the building whose completion we were there to celebrate?
This especially odd since, for the past two weeks, one has been able to walk right into the place and look around.
I know their focus was on the block party and they wanted to keep things focused on that. Still, it would have made a lot of sense to have at least a portion of the hotel open for folks to look at for at least a portion of the event.
This screw-up, of course, had another repercussion. Closing access to the hotel meant that access was closed to all of the toilets, save the one that was located in Roast. They didn't even have the foresight to get a couple of Porta-Johns for this "no bathroom" event of theirs.
Here's the problem that no one at Metromix ever saw coming: 600 people, with lots of drinks in their system + Only 1 toilet = Huge Problem.
If this thing was planned by people who actually knew what they were doing, they would have at least made the bathrooms accessible to the public. Even if they were determined to keep people from looking around inside of the hotel, they could have cordoned off most of the hotel and just have left access to the bathrooms.
Another problem that was related to this was the fact that the only bathroom, and most of the alcohol, was inside. The music and break dancers were outside. This left many party goers with the dilemma of which thing to they pursue. Alcohol and bathroom? Or music and dancers?
It would have been so much better if we could have done both - or at least moved between the two more efficiently. That could have been done, if the whole thing was planned better.
The epitome of lameness, though, came at 10:30 last night.
In all of the promotions, Metromix promised a "Surprise" at 10:30.
Do you want to know what this "surprise" was?
We got to see the Detroit Metro Visitors & Convention Bureau's logo projected onto the side of the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.
No, I'm not kidding. Their "surprise" really and truly was a logo.
I'm not making this up. And it wasn't even a new logo. It was the same logo that they've been using for a couple of years.
Even by Metromix standards, that was incredibly stupid and unforgivably lame. In fact, I would like to count the number of reasons why this was a really, really stupid idea.
- Looking at a static logo is boring. I can't make it any simpler than that. It's boring. No one really had any interest in it. They kept looking, expecting it to do something - but it didn't.
- Associating your brand or logo with something that's boring is bad. From a marketing stand point, the idea is to associate your logo and/or brand with something positive. Since no one gets excited about being bored, this was simply a bad idea. After all, there's a reason why Nike doesn't sponsor laundry folding competitions.
- It's anti-climatic. Towards the end of the event, it was time to focus everyone's attention on exploring all of the different bars around downtown. (Remember? The reason why folks got those maps and People Mover tokens?) In the entire history of marketing, no one has ever been persuaded to go check something out by nothing more than looking at a logo - even a logo that's projected onto the side of a building.
- It was possible to do so much more. This event targeted young adults. It would have been simple to round up a few celebrities that they would recognize. They could have made a video of those celebrities recounting their favorite thing about downtown Detroit. They could have shown clips from either of the Hollywood films that were shot inside of the Book Cadillac Hotel. Heck, they could've even shown any of their Visit Detroit commercials or that video contest winner from two summers ago.
- Did I mention that showing the logo was boring, anti-climatic and a detriment to Detroit's brand? Oh, yeah. I did. But it deserves repeating.
However, imagine if you will, you're new to downtown Detroit and someone simply handed you a list of 13 bars in the area. Wouldn't you such a list a tad intimidating?
I suppose that's why the overwhelming majority of visitors went to Bookies, which was the only bar on the list that one can actually see from the Book Cadillac Hotel. The majority of them, by the way, seemed to have stayed there all night.
So much for encouraging people to explore downtown Detroit.
It could have been so much better. They could've organized optional tours for small groups. They could've had volunteers who would answer questions or point people in the right direction. They could've set up information kiosks.
In short, they could have done a lot to encourage people to explore more bars and other sites. All that was needed was a team in place that knew what they were doing and was capable of executing. Instead, they had Metromix - the people who thought that staring at a wall was a really exciting way to spend a Friday evening.
On a related note, the Metromix kids will post photos from the event on their web site soon. They sent their "street team" around to all of the bars that were offering specials, passed out Metromix swag and snapped lots of photos that are supposed to end up on their site.
Those photos aren't up there as of this moment. When they are, please take a look at them and count how many people you see in those photos with red lanyards on.
Those lanyards distinguished people from that event from everyday bar patrons. I'd be willing to bet that, with the exception of Bookies, almost all of the people that were photographed didn't have a red lanyard on.
This, of course, means that instead of photographing someone who was a part of this Access Detroit event, they photographed a random bar patron who was in that particular bar on that particular evening anyway. They did this because not enough of the Access Detroit visitors ever made it to any of the other bars.
I shouldn't be too hard on them. This is Metromix that we're talking about. I suppose I should just be grateful that none of the bars on this list of theirs was in Albuquerque.
This is Metromix that we're talking about. They're always finding new ways to screw up.
I just wish they would stick with the Wild Woodies Ring Girl or WRIF Rock Girl contests. At least when they screw those things up, it doesn't make an entire city look bad in front of people who've never been here before.
I was in a couple of the bars when the Metromix "street team" came in to photograph "participants" of their event. After they snapped the photo and passed out their swag - shot glasses or beer cozies - I saw seven different people attempt to scratch the Metromix logo off the item or permanently cover it up with a sticker of some sort. Several others simply tossed it in the nearest trash can.
Each of them, of course, did it without any prompting from me or anyone else.
I can't help but feel a certain amount of self-satisfaction knowing that I'm not the only one in town who is getting irritated with these perpetual screw-ups.
Friday, October 24, 2008
When the site was demolished, it was promised that this would open the doors to unprecedented development in downtown Detroit. The years later, all that stand on the site are the support columns for an office tower that was never built. In many ways, they serve as tombstones for a portion of Detroit's past.
The Hudson's site has been targeted as one of the possible sites for Rock Financial's new headquarters. However, if you believe any of the speculation on the various blogs such as D-Tales or the Detroitist, that might never happen.
The bizarre coincidence comes into play when one remembers that shortly after the Hudson's demolition, then Mayor of Detroit Dennis Archer announced that he was targeting the former Book-Cadillac Hotel for demolition. The historic preservationists who fought the Hudson's demolition then turned their attention to the Book-Cadillac and did so in a much more organized fashion.
Heck, along the way, they even inspired one truly awesome (at least in my opinion) documentary on the hotel.
Anyway, big public celebration of the new Westin Book Cadillac Hotel is this evening. Today is the 10th anniversary of the demolition of the Hudson's Building, which is an event that motivated activists to become much better organized in their efforts to save the Book Cadillac.
I don't know if it was planned to work out this way, but sometimes life reveals itself in the most interesting of coincidences.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I mean, I did manage to find a chance to blog about the $5 million bra, but come on. I'm a guy. How could I not blog about that?
Anyway, before my schedule blows up on my again, here is a recap of the past week.
Thursday, October 16
The interesting portion of my day started at 10:30 a.m. That was when I arrived at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel for an interview with Detroit Today on WDET. It was another chance for me to talk about how much I love that hotel and how I think it will be the catalyst for great things in downtown Detroit.
This, of course, was the third time that I had been on Detroit Today in the past year. Strangely enough, this was also the year that they won "Best Local Radio Talk Show" in the Metro Times Readers' Poll.
Is this purely a coincidence?
Well, of course it is.
But I've seen too many episodes of The Colbert Report to allow this opportunity to pass by. Therefore, in the spirit of Stephen Colbert himself, I will officially proclaim that Craig Fahle and the crew at WDET are simply riding my coat tails
When the interview was over, I got a chance to meet Michael Symon of Iron Chef fame and to take a look at his new menu for his restaurant in the Book Cadillac, Roast. One of the things that I noticed about his menu was that he avoids flowery, overly descriptive names for his dishes. He simply calls them things like "rib eye".
His emphasis, of course, is on the quality and artistry of his cooking; not the novelty of a name. Meeting him made me hungry.
Since his restaurant wasn't open yet, I left the hotel and headed over to the Hard Rock Cafe. Their food, of course, isn't even close to being on par with anything that Mr. Symon would produce.
However, Hard Rock does have one thing that no other place around has - Katrina the Kick Ass Bartender. In my book, there's alcohol and then there's alcohol that's served by Katrina the Kick Ass Bartender.
But I digress.
Anyway, after that, it was back to the office to discover that my check from Nike arrived. I did a shoot for them a couple of weeks ago and it's always a good day in Freelancer World when a check shows up.
After that, the rest of my day was spent with spreadsheets until it was time to go the Infrastructure meeting that the Michigan Production Alliance hosted at Stage 3 in Warren.
Friday, October 17
My day started with a meeting at 8 a.m. and didn't stop until close to 9 p.m. Lots and lots of meetings in between.
Saturday, October 18
My morning was spent with spreadsheets.
In the afternoon, I went to the World Famous Detoberfest on Belle Isle. A large group of people are given a simple mission: to bring a beer that no one has ever heard of before. Lots and lots of sampling and sharing occurred. I still have empty beer bottles rattling around in my trunk.
I don't remember what happened after that.
Sunday, October 19
I probably should have gone to church and then done some blogging after that. However, I did neither. Instead, I spent most of the day on my couch.
Monday, October 20
114 emails sent or received. 31 phone calls. 2 meetings. 1 head that felt like it was going to explode.
I followed this up with a board meeting for my neighborhood association in the evening. (Yeah, me.)
Tuesday, October 21
More emails and phone calls that I really want to count. I spent enough time with spread sheets that I'm actually starting to dream about Microsoft Excel. Finding that reference to a $5 million bra was the social highlight of my day.
Welcome to my life. It's a sad and scary place at times.
Wednesday, October 22
I got break from emails, phone calls and spreadsheets. Sort of.
Wednesday was the day of meetings. The highlight of my day consisted of bumping into my county commissioner at Qdoba Mexican Grille when I stopped in for a quick lunch.
Thursday, October 23
Phone calls, emails and spreadsheets. I got a "break" from all of that when I went to see my doctor around 11.
It's sad, though, when a doctor's appointment constitutes a "break".
After all of that, it was a Steering Team meeting with the crew from Detroit Synergy. This, of course, was followed by another visit to Hard Rock.
They had some band playing that was okay when they did covers of other bands. Not so thrilling when they played "original" material. The good news, though, is that they still had Katrina the Kick Ass Bartender.
And now the entire world knows why I haven't blogged much in the past week. Welcome to my life.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Black Diamond Fantasy Miracle bra contains: 3,575 black diamonds, 117 certified 1 carat round diamonds, 34 rubies and - for the ultimate piece de resistance - 2 black diamond drops that total 100 carats.
Of course, being the guy that I am, I can't help but wonder about one thing. If a guy were to buy this for the woman in his life, would she still complain about the toilet seat being left up?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
And what does one do after a saga with more twists and turns that all of Cedar Pointe?
Throw one hell of a party, that's what.
It kicks off on Friday, October 24 at 8:30 p.m. with a huge block party on Washington Blvd., between Michigan Avenue and State Street. Because this is just that awesome of an event, it will include free concerts by the Killer Flamingos, Trick Trick and Paxahau DJs.
Add in a few street performers and a respectable amount of alcohol (Cintron is one of their sponsors - 'nuf said) and you have what promises to be the coolest party of the season. The whole thing is presented by Bank of America, which makes me feel a tiny bit better about that service charge they hit me with the other day.
But I digress.
Needless to say, I will be there. An RSVP for the event is encouraged by clicking here.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I always felt that means that I should occasionally chime in with some advice for my fellow bachelors. Luckily, there really isn't any need for me to do so.
2007 Playmate of the Year Sara Jean Underwood already beat me to it with this handy video.
And let's face it, I'm sure most bachelors would rather listen to her than me anyway.
In a related note, I'm happy to report that I've never done any of the things that Ms. Underwood advised bachelors to avoid. I've always found completely unique ways to make a fool out of myself.
Since I know of at least two of my ex-girlfriends who read this blog on a somewhat regular basis, I'm sure there's going to be some interesting remarks left in the comments section.
Quite frankly, I'm starting to think that I might have been too optimistic in my off-hand, alcohol-inspired prediction.
At the rate things are starting to go, we'll be getting close to zero by November 4th.