Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Next Ex-Girlfriend - UPDATE

Earlier in the week, I posted about the song "Next Ex-Girlfriend" by Bowling for Soup perfectly sums up how I feel about dating at this particular moment. Well, since then, I have met a young woman who is perfect candidate.

Sometimes God really does answer my prayers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Frank’s List of Things That Are Never Cool

Many people over the years have attempted to pass something off as “the latest, coolest thing” when it was - in fact - undeniably and irrefutable lame. After years of repressing my desire to mock these people, it has finally reached the point where I feel a need to compile a list of things that are not, never have been and never will – under any circumstances – be considered cool.

People usually embarrass themselves by trying to convince others that something on my list is “the latest, coolest thing”. By putting this list into the public realm, everyone at least gets fair warning before people laugh at you.

This list, of course, is a work in progress. If anyone sees something on this list has the potential to be cool, you are welcome to site an example of when it happened. Please include at least one authoritative witness (i.e., an independent observer and not one of the participants) who saw it and thought that it was at least moderately cool.

Without further ado, I give you Frank's List of Things That Are Never Cool.
  1. Anything involving mullets.
  2. Pocket protectors.
  3. Color parties. This is hereby defined as a social event where guests are required to wear a certain shade, tint or hue of clothing (e.g., White Parties, Red Parties, etc.).
  4. Crocs Footwear.
  5. Belt buckles that are larger than your fist.
  6. Fake boobs that are more than two cup sizes larger than a woman’s natural size.
  7. Muzak.
  8. Beer helmets.
  9. President George W. Bush.
  10. Oversized rear-spoilers on an automobile.
  11. Car stereos that are worth more than the automobile they are installed in.
If anyone feels that my list is missing something, please feel free to chime in with it.

My Next Ex-Girlfriend

Blah! It's 2 a.m. I was in bed a little while ago.

For most folks, going to bed is a simple, uncomplicated affair. For me, it usually means that a bunch of thoughts start running around in my head. (Well, they're always running around in my head. That's why this blog is entitled "The Voices in Frank's Head".)

Anyway, the prevailing thought in my mental loop today involved the fact that I write one of the highest ranked blogs on the subject of "dating in your 30s". I'm currently number 10 out of 1,230,000. In spite of this, I haven't been on an actual date in three, almost four, months.

Irony!

This is my definition of irony.

The fact of the matter is that I haven't been on a date because I haven't come across anyone that I actually wanted to go on a date with. And it's not like I'm not meeting people either. I'm out around town at least three nights a week, sometimes more.

I meet women. I just haven't met any that I wanted to spend a significant amount of time with.

I tried thinking of a way that properly sums all of this up. I finally came up with it.

"My Next Ex-Girlfriend" by Bowling for Soup. It's on their A Hangover You Didn't Deserve album. It perfectly describes how I feel at this moment.

I found an amateur video for the song on YouTube. The video itself isn't all that spectacular, but the song itself is priceless.

Now please excuse me as I listen to this song over and over again.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hollywood and the Detroit Film Boom

The good folks at Model D - occasional publishers of my writing - held an event this past Thursday. It was another installment of their regular speaker series, this one focusing on "Hollywood and the Detroit Film Boom".

Since then, no fewer than six people have asked what I thought about the event. I figure it's time for me to just put my thoughts out on my blog.

Overall, I thought it was a very good presentation, featuring Tony Wenson from the Michigan Film Office, Jill Ferrari from the Wayne County Executive's Office and Eric Tungate from the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. Close to two hundred people showed up at the Anderson Auditorium at the College for Creative Studies for this event. They ranged from industry insiders to students to random people off the street.

The three people who presented managed to walk a very fine line. They went into enough detail, and with enough complexity, that the professionals in the room didn't feel like it was a waste of their time to be there. However, they still managed to keep things simple and basic enough that curious newbies in the room didn't develop a "deer in the headlights" look.

Some of the highlights from the evening included:
  • Everyone explained their individual role in the larger process of building a film industry in southeastern Michigan.
  • Mr. Wenson gave an overview of the process whereby production companies get approved for and receive the new tax incentives for filming in Michigan.
  • It was generally agreed that the rumor about Warner Brothers buying the old Wixom plant was just that, a rumor. The fact that Mr. Wenson said it was a rumor is important because any application for the tax incentives - such as for converting the plant to a studio facility - would go across his desk.
  • Chris Baum from the Detroit Metro Visitors & Convention Bureau announced that they were going to have another big ad in this coming week's issue of Variety to tout Detroit as filmming location. This, of course, reminded me that I need to renew my subscription to Variety.
During the Q&A period, some guy stood up and said that his L.A. connections had informed him of a meeting of various studio executives where a considerable amount of Michigan-bashing went on and they felt that we had quite a lot to learn about making movies. The presenters were diplomatic about how the film incentives are only 19 weeks old so we're bound to have a certain amount of growing pains.

There really can't be any questioning about the whole issue of Michigan ramping up its film business quickly. We currently have enough trained crew members to support one or two feature films at a time fully. More people are coming into the business, but it'll take a few months before they're fully ready.

Yes, the three presenters were rather diplomatic about that question. I, however, can't help but feel rather skeptical about the whole thing.

This guy says that he has "L.A. contacts" who know about conversations between "studio executives". The funny thing is, when this presentation was over, I broached the subject to 11 different people who work in the business; all of whom have contacts in New York and L.A. None of them had ever seen or heard of this guy before nor had they ever heard any kind of Michigan-bashing coming out of Hollywood.

I can't help but feel that this guy is a proud member of the I Pull Stuff Out of My Arse Club. Unfortunately, there's something about the motion picture industry that almost guarantees that there will be a member of that club at any public presentation like this one.

Finally, where the event was over, the good folks at CCS and Model D were kind enough provide everyone with a bountiful selection of wine, cheese and other goodies. This means that one of my favorite Detroit-based bloggers really did miss out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

I entered this world at 3:57 a.m. on August 20, 1970, which means that today is my birthday. I was lying in bed a moment ago; not quite able to get to sleep. My mind was pondering too many things all at once.

Partly to assuage my own anxiety that I haven't accomplished enough at this point in my life, and partly as a mental exercise, I started making a mental list of all that I've seen, done or accomplished in my life that would be truly noteworthy. It wasn't long before this list became too long for me to keep track of in my own head. Since I still couldn't sleep - and the mental list probably was keeping me awake - I decided to compose all of these thoughts in one blog entry.

This will, of course, be a fairly long entry. It's a recap of 38 years worth of existence, after all. Rather than go into every point, I'll just record some of the things that most people don't already know about me.

In my 38 years on this planet, I published my own novel. It never reached the New York Times Bestseller List. However, I do get a certain amount of bragging rights when talking with people who talk about this great story idea they have, but they've never put a word of it to paper.

I saw what the world looks like from 30,000 feet when a C-130 opens its aft door. This, of course, is the door that paratroopers step out of on their way to work. I wasn't one of those troopers, but simply seeing the world from that vantage point gave me a whole new level of admiration - if not outright awe - for anyone willing to do it.

I also saw what the world looked like from the top of the World Trade Center. For weeks after 9/11, I had nightmares of what it must have been like for the people in Windows on the World as they went crashing towards the ground.

I met the President of the United States, a dozen or so members of Congress and a few ambassadors.

I met rock stars, movie stars and sports stars.

I saw the Pope.

I played a key role in shutting down a major narcotics, prostitution, and money-laundering operation. I had one of the greatest scares of my life when the principles in this affair learned that I was a police informant. I had to leave town in a hurry and with nothing but what I could carry.

I learned that - as good as they are and as hard at they work - you simply can't count on the police to protect you. They'll do what they can. Beyond that, everyone is pretty much on their own. (See the above paragraph, if you're not sure what I mean.)

I held my niece for the first time when she was just a few days old and have watched her grow up. She amazes me every time I see her.

I was robbed and learned that possessions can be replaced; friends and family can't.

I learned that friends and family are what makes this world worth living in.

I survived a near-death experience and lived to tell the story. More over, I learned that in every minute of our existence on this planet, each of us is always near to death.

I was shot at and stabbed once. Luckily, the shooter was a really bad marksman and I got bandaged quickly after the stabbing.

I learned that angels watch over us and that spirits follow us.

I discovered that the only way to make it though life is to remember yesterday and plan for tomorrow, but to live for today.

I learned that God exists and He has a weird sense of humor. (Really, for some things, that is the only explanation for why some are the way they are.)

I completed a documentary film when several people thought I was crazy for even trying it. I then stood in awe before a packed crowd at its premiere.

I held two Academy Awards - one in each hand. I had to give them back, of course, because they weren't mine but after holding them I refused to wash my hands for a week.

I stood on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, walked the halls of Congress, wandered the hallow fields at Gettysburg and danced on the field during the Super Bowl XL Half-Time Show.

I resolved on dozens of occasions to never date again, only to break that promise to myself. (Women are an addictive species.)

I was on the television news often enough that it doesn't faze me to be on there again. (Although, if Stephen Colbert ever wants me for an appearance, I'll be there in a heart beat.)

I saw a tornado that was heading towards me and realized that God wasn't done with me yet when it dissipated back into the clouds.

I traveled across the country during one of those college road trips. I even started a snow ball fight in the middle of I-75 when traffic was at a virtual stand still.

I learned that the most beautiful piece of art anyone may ever see is a crayon drawing that a 5-year old made especially for you.

I realized that I have absolutely no interest in sushi and that wines are more enjoyable the dryer they are. I came to know that there are those who vehemently disagree with my opinion on both of those things. Moreover, I discovered there really is truth in the adage that it take all different kinds of people and opinions to make the world go 'round.

Above all, I learned that Abraham Lincoln was right when he said:
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.
With all of that in mind, I simply say, "Happy birthday to me." I made it through another year and have had some life in my years.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pondering Social Networking

I was reading a friend's blog this evening. She talked about how is overwhelmed with the various social networking sites and how they make her feel like leaving society entirely to live in solitude.

I agree there are so many of these sites that it can be overwhelming at times. I've learned to ignore most of them. However, I do see some profound value in them.

For starters, I saw The Other Boleyn Girl in a friend's Netflix queue. I probably wouldn't have ever watched it on my own. However, since I knew that my friend liked and that there's a certain overlap in the films we like, I made a point of watching it.

And I loved it.

I never would've watched if I hadn't seen it on her Netflix queue. The preview just didn't grab me when I saw it in the theater. However, once I saw it, I loved the film.

Facebook has enabled me to keep up with various people that I knew in high school, that I've seen around town or that I've worked on one project or another. These are folks who aren't my closest of friends, but I still like knowing when something big happens in their life.

Because of Facebook, I found out about two engagements, a marriage and the birth of several children that I wouldn't have otherwise known about.

It's also a good way of arranging a time for everyone to get together in the flesh, which is a challenge with the schedules that some of my friends have. The pizza party at Gracie See's this past Wednesday was simply the latest example of this.

So, yeah. I'm pretty much hooked on Facebook and loving it.

In the interests of keeping my life simple, I've written off MySpace. Because all of their profiles are customizable - and people add so much crap to their MySpace profiles - things often take too long to load.

There's the fact that MySpace allows people to come up with any screen name that they want. That, plus some goofy profiles photos, means I really don't know who some of my MySpace friends really are.

"Love, what does it mean to you?" Interesting question, but that is "name" one of my MySpace friends. I have no idea who he or she is.

It's kind of hard to "network" with someone when you don't know who they are.

Oh, and the fact that some people will have a half dozen or so MySpace profiles is kind of annoying. Again, I'm never really sure who or what I'm networking with.

So, to summarize my entire diatribe, these social networking sites have their advantages. It's just a matter of weeding the good parts out from the bad.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Marlies Dekkers Lingerie Exhibit

Marlies Dekkers Lingerie Exhibit was in the Netherlands last month. I meant to blog about it when it happened but, well, every time I started to I simply got distracted. The fact of the matter is that she makes Victoria's Secret and most other purveyors of women's lingerie seem boring and un-inspired.

Exhibit A is this argument can be found below:

Anyway, the rest of her collection can be found at MarliesDekkers.nl.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hitchcock

Today would have been Alfred Hitchcock's 109th birthday. Where ever he is, I hope he still gets to see some really great movies.

If there's any justice in the world, when he reached the Pearly Gates a little over 28 years ago, I hope that St. Peter handed him an Academy Award to make up for all of the Oscars that he should have won.

Happy birthday, Mr. Hitchcock!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Russia Attacks. Again.

AP is reporting that Russian jets are bombing targets in Georgia for the second day in a row. As one observer after another has opined, this is the beginning of the Russians' attempt to regain their Soviet-ear domination.

I can't help but think that if we didn't have so much of our military committed to Iraq at the moment, we'd be able to stop their expansion dead in its tracks.

I also can't help but what will happen if Sen. John McCain is elected this November and we do stay in Iraq for another 100 years, thereby allowing every other wanna-be dictator on the planet to run around un-checked.

1,574

I use Yahoo Web Hosting for my production company's web site. One of the things that they do is give me a report of how many other sites have a link to my site.

For the longest time, that number stood at 3.

Then it went down to 2.

And then to 1.

I was mildly worried about this trend; wondering what I could do about it.

But then it jumped up to 1,574 last Wednesday.

From 1 to 1,574. Pretty much overnight.

And that number has held for a few days now.

I haven't made any changes to my site nor have I done anything in the past week that would make me unusually popular. However, Yahoo insists that 1,573 new sites have link to my site in the past week.

I have this suspicion that these numbers are screwed up. I'm just don't know in which direction their screwed up. Was Yahoo under-reporting the numbers before or are they over-reporting now?

Anyway, these are the things that the various voices in my head are wondering about this morning.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Mayor Kilpatrick Goes to Jail

When I saw the newspaper this morning, with its headline that Detroit's Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick would waive his right to a preliminary examination, I was proud of him for the first time in months. The on-going criminal proceedings have dragged on for months already; as a result, Detroit's economic recovery has stalled and is slipping backwards. The fact that he waived his preliminary examination would shave a month or more off of this prolonged ordeal.

I was going to log on and write a blog post commending the Mayor for his decision. However, I've spent most of this morning in a series of meeting and didn't have a chance to sit down at a computer.

And then it happened.

Judge Robert Giles sent Mayor Kilpatrick to jail.

I'm still pleased that the Mayor waived his right to a preliminary examination. However, let's face facts, that story will be buried and largely ignored by the fact that he is spending tonight in a jail cell.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Gubrics for Congress?

Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick survived a three-way challenge in the Democratic primary yesterday; winning 39.1% of the vote. Of course, the interesting thing - at least, in my opinion - is that 60.9% of the Democratic primary voters in her district voted against a rather entrenched incumbent.

Congresswoman Kilpatrick now goes on to face a Republican challenger in the November election, Edward Gubrics. In any other election year, the November election would almost be a formality because the district has such a strong Democratic base. However, this time around - with so many voters infuriated with both the Congresswoman and her son - I think that this has become an election that the Republicans can actually win.

I'll assume, for sake of argument, that 100% of those who voted for Congresswoman Kilpatrick come back to vote for her in November. They, however, can't vote twice in November and there won't be a third person in the race to split the vote.

What all of this ultimately means is that if Mr. Gubrics can convince a mere 40% of anti-Kilpatrick Democrats to cross party lines and vote for him instead then that, combined with the small base that the Republicans already have, would be enough to make this a competitive race.

Given the venom that I hear throughout much of the district towards the Kilpatrick family, having 40% of anti-Kilpatrick Democrats vote against her in the general election is nothing if not an obtainable goal. The question is ultimately this: how driven is Mr. Gubrics to get out there and campaign aggressively for the next 90 days until the election?

He doesn't need much money. The anti-Kilpatrick Democrats managed to secure 60.9% of the primary vote while only spending $10,000.

All Edward Gubrics really needs to become the first Republican to win a congressional seat in Detroit in almost 100 years is ability to work his butt off for the next 90 days. He has to appear in front of every audience that will listen to him, and maybe even a few that won't. He has to shake every hand and knock on every door.

More than anything else, he has to offer people a viable alternative to Congresswoman Kilpatrick.

The question is: is he up to it?

We'll find out the answer to that question in 90 days from now.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Keira Knightley Doesn't Want Fake Boobs

Keira Knightley recently told the news media that she doesn't want movie producers to airbrush photos of her to make it look like she has larger breasts than she really does. Her breasts admittedly are quite small.

When it came to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, for example, all of the publicity photos and movie posters of Keira Knightley featured breasts that were digitally enhanced. She reportedly approved of it before, but has changed her mind when it comes to her more recent projects.

I have to say that I completely support her in this one. I don't think anyone should manipulate Keira Knightley's breasts.

Well, except to bring them closer to me.

But I digress.