Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mr. Mann I Presume?

That's right ladies and germs, there was a Michael Mann sighting in Columbus a few days ago. What was he doing? He was wandering the streets looking right, looking left, looking up and doing a lot of thinking about locations.

Rumor has it some things in Chicago are not going exactly as his vision has it so . . . . . a trip back to Columbus for a walk around was necessary.

And THAT my friends is some pretty interesting news. So I rescind my previous rescind which rescinded my original comment about a return to Columbus. Don't put those Rod-on-a-stick's away yet!
In some sad news (for me) I was told that maybe I should hold off on postcard #2 by Michelle. I gather we want to keep in good grace's with Universal and this card will have to wait.

Personally I disagree, it's not like we're harming anything or showing actors in a bad light - the postcard does not have the Nat'l Enquirer Seal of Approval. But - when people with greater authority then I say "jump" I say how high (actually I have always questioned authority but don't tell them that). I'm trying to be a good guy. STILL - awesome postcard even if I do say so myself and a loss for Columbus AND Universal.
The Tudors - Watched the first episode Season 1 last night and STILL love the show. DJ was too sick to watch it, I hope someday she will be well again! Maybe near the end of summer? This Cold has her by the . . . . . . throat.
Something I have noticed but am afraid to mention.

I received a very kind email last night from a woman and one of the sentences in the mail was "I am very shy so I haven't posted anything."

I pray I do not embarrass her but this seems to be a common thread I have observed, particularly among woman that are now commenting here or people I have met at the Kurth.

From my male point of view it seems that a lot of woman are shy. Why is that? Is it just my perception and not true? Is it because males grew up in a team/sports atmosphere? I could be totally wrong with this but again, it seems woman have problems having friends because of this shy thing.

Maybe the only people that read this blog are shy??

I was shy once, sort if an introvert. Then I noticed that when I started to make fun of myself, joke about things I total mishandled it seemed to open others up because they would see that others do things wrong also. Everybody blows it from time to time. So why be embarrassed about it.

It's the same with being shy. People think they HAVE to say something or they think "what if I say something dumb". HELL - look at me!! I'm a poster boy for saying dumb things (hmmm - I'm a poster boy for two things now).

So - I would love to hear from shy people in the comments about this - you can stay anonymous. How do you overcome "shy". I know there are a few comment people that are shy but you would never know it (can't shut them up NOW).
Bonus photo from Door County

OK - off to Sharrow to get cough stuff for DJ.

Rod - OUT

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pick 2 Liars - Bush, McCellan, Nat'l Enquirer

I'll skip the answer for the first two contestants but I will say if you guessed the Nat'l Enquirer you are correct.

The below photo first appeared on this blog and later I took it off once I found out it was going to be in the Nat'l Enquirer, the widely known joke rag that only people weak of mind take seriously.

When I told DJ about the photo that was going to appear she called it right on the money. She said "so, Johnny is going to have an affair with Marion?". Seems so. But the Enquirer is taken as seriously as The Onion who headline is "New Starbucks Opens In Rest Room Of Existing Starbucks".
Speaking of photos here are my first two postcards from the Michelle Collection.

This one I just love. I know Michelle said it's not the greatest/sharpest photo but from my standpoint of creating postcards I think it has everything working for it.

I believe you do not need a beautiful photo on a postcard - you need something that draws you into the location, makes you look up at things and want to share the moment. I think this really "works".

I am creating some sort of web page for ordering postcards (my goal is eight cards total) with proceeds going to Michelle and I (not that much - honest). Neither of us are into the making money thing but this will help camera maintenance and so forth and help Columbus spread the word at the same time.
I was reading "stuff" about " Sex In the City" and placed my wager on opening weekend box office going in the $43-$50 million mark (could go higher - most MALE estimates are for $40M).

I say MALE estimates because most of the people that make estimates are males and I believe they are underestimating woman on this one. This is a major event for females and non-straight film goers. The popularity has actually increased for the show since it stopped four long years ago.

Woman over 30 will make up the bulk of the audience but the must-see status will also bring in twenty somethings and late teens. This is a leave-your-husbands-behind movie and I will take you up on that!!

Have fun you girls!!!
In a bring you down moment - on this day in 1431 Joan of Arc, a peasant girl who became the savior of France, is burned at the stake for heresy (opinion contrary to the church).
Poker - one of our readers, Tiffany, who submitted some photos from Aurora has a boy friend participating in the World Series of Poker. Event #32 starts June 19th. Last years winners in this event (Robert Cheung) took home $619,728. SWEET!!!

I ALMOST went about eight years ago to the Main Event. I was on the final table with four players - winner going to Las Vegas when I hit the bottom side of a boat (Full House). ALL-IN! To bad the other guy had the higher boat! GONE!!

Good Luck Tiffay's boy friend!! His event will be televised starting July 29th.

BTW - Poker online is real tough right now - many college students are in transition between school and home summer life, leaving only sharks at the table for a month. Happens every year.
And finally - Earthworms.

I was digging up where the Lavender USED to be in my clay garden and every shovel seemed to have a dozen earthworms in it. The ground was ripe with worms. I was afraid I was chopping them in half when I put the shovel in.

I could not decide if it was true that worms would regrow a part that was chopped. Was it something adults told kids just to screw with their mind? So since my gardens have SO MANY worms I investigated a little and found some interesting stuff about earthworms.

First - yes - they can replace or replicate lost segments - WHEW!

An estimate says that an acre of land can have between 53,000 to 250,000 earth worms.

We all know that earthworms improve soil by eating stuff and pooping out better stuff. But here is something I never thought of. They aerate the soil when they crawl through it and create drainage and air pockets, nothing new there, but by sliding through the little worm holes they act like pistons, pumping air in and out of the soil every 24 hours.

As for rainstorms and earthworms on the road and driveways - there are two theories.

One theory has the ground becoming so saturated with water that they might drown so they come to the surface. This is a problem because they can hit a dry spot, become stranded and die. This is why I always pick them up and put them in a garden.

OR a theory has it that after a storm worms may be using the moist conditions on the surface to travel more quickly than they can underground, thus colonizing new areas more quickly. Since the humidity is higher during and after rain, they do not become dehydrated.

It's a complicated life a worm has isn't it.
Last night Columbus had about 1 inch of rain - did you know that ONE acre with 1 inch of rain is equal to recieveing 27,154 gallons of water? That means in one square mile more then 17 millions gallons of water fall!


See ya later

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Postcards from a Small Town

I received my first batch of Postcards that I am creating. I hope to have a set of eight when it's all done. Four photos from Michelle and four from me. This got me thinking about what is out there already for older postcards. So here are a few that I have found on the net.

BTW - WHAT did people do before the internet! The Net has to be one of the Wonders of the Modern World.

This one is labeled "Normal school, Columbus, WI". Was the name Normal? or is this a "Normal" (typical) school? Is it still around?

Ludington Street, looking East

James Street, looking South

James Street, looking North

City Park Columbus?? Where is that??

Yummo - Dry Milk - from dehydrated cows?
Rest Haven - City Park Columbus

And here are the two I have in the works - disregard the "safezone" stuff

This looks much better live - I received them yesterday

I'll post Michelle's post card(s) once she gives me the OK to go ahead and order them. Did I mention I'll have a set of eight?

Having Direct TV I can order HBO for four or five days so I got it to watch Recount, the story of the Florida recounting in 2000 election. DJ and I are socially liberal and financially conservative (in theory) so I was of course sitting on one side of the left side aisle during this movie. After all - I AM the poster child for freaks that managed to live past 30 (I am as surprised as anybody else).

Dj and I sat down (knowing how it ended) and were riveted for almost two hours. In MY view it all came down to when Joe Lieberman switched sides and became a Republic. BUT - I'm not here to rile people up - I mention HBO because I then switched to Showtime last night and watched The Tudors for the first time.

Anybody watch this show? I loved it. Now I have to get Season 1 from Netflix because I did not have a clue what was going on.

And don't forget - The Mole is on Monday.
May 29th 1848 - Wisconsin becomes the 30th State in the United States.

In 1634, French explorer Jean Nicolet landed at Green Bay, and became the first European to visit the lake-heavy northern region that would later become Wisconsin. In 1763, near the end of the French and Indian Wars, "Wisconsin" was a major center for fur trading and was passed to British control. Twenty years later at the end of the American Revolution, the region came under U.S. rule and became part of the Northwest Territory.

In the first decades of the 19th century, settlers began arriving via the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to exploit Wisconsin's agricultural potential, and in 1832 the Black Hawk War (centered around my home town Fort Atkinson) ended Native American resistance to white settlement.

Black Hawk was an interesting person. His name was really Black Sparrow Hawk and he went against customs and married only one woman (Singing Bird) and remained faithful.

For a very interesting account of what happened to Black Hawk go to Biography of Black Hawk.
Speaking of albino deer - here are the photos Laurie took up near Little Bohemia - they are sort of FREAKING me out.

hmmmm - have I uttered the name Johnny Depp yet? There. Man - life without a movie is hard!

BTW - congrats - you guys must be REALLY bored - over 200,000 pages read!


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rob's Holy Grail

A few things to get out of the way.

1. Check out Relative Art Studios - they have a nice group of photos - I'll post a couple here to draw you in.

Another link is to JP's blog - he has a limited supply of Tee-shirts with 10% going to the Auditorium.

And I updated my Lasagna Bed Garden Blog.

For ~Minxie~ with the Gopher problem. You can always Caddy Shack them. But on a serious side you might want to check out this blog Controlling Rodents Naturally - Garden Pest Tip .
Oshkosh voted 6-1 to donate $10,000 to a downtown facade restoration program.

The money will be pooled with $100,000 that already has been donated by the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. The foundation has set an overall fund raising goal of $250,000.

So - you are now saying why doesn't Columbus do the same? The $10,000 averages $0.16 per resident so we would be in the ball park with a $716 donation to a downtown facade restoration. I believe we have or can do better with the Columbus Historic Preservation Committee.
A story from Rob the Extra.

Here's a story for those of you going through Depp withdrawal, although it's a story about Christian Bale.

First, a little background:

I was one of the original 'extras' working from Mar 17th through 19th from the 20th on I've had movie set withdraw. I made some really great friends from it all, I've really enjoyed reading/getting info from this blog.

I went to the Capitol a few weeks ago when they were filming there just to hang out and see if I could see anything, here's my story that I emailed my 'extras' friends:

The Holy Grail

Holy S#@T Batman! OK, so I now have CB's autograph. I was at the Capitol late this morning with Amber and we chatted with Trevor (P.A.) for quite a while. He informed us Christian was there right up on the Capitol steps. We got to snap a few pics of Christian walking down the steps to leave for lunch, this was 2:00. Amber left for work, I went home, grabbed my roommate Andy, drove back to the Capitol, walked into the Capitol and got to the center and almost walked right through all these extras rehearsing.

I thought, that's weird how no one stopped us. I looked to the right and saw some fedora hats hanging off a rack of coats and I'm like, I recognize that sight... we walked down the hall to the wardrobe and I'm standing in front of two huge racks of clothes, tons of hats and I'm like, we're NOT supposed to be here, so we kept walking forward and saw that past the doors was the Kraft Table and all the crew and Colleen and Scary Bob (Bob Wagner) etc. I'm like, yeah, we're definitely not supposed to be here.

I then spotted Barry coming in from outside, I said "Hey Barry, we're guarding your hat's for you." He laughed and was totally cool, I said "If we go out this door, is it the fastest way to get kicked off set?" he said, "Don't name names and just watch for security", he went back out with a handful of hats and we just went out too. No one stopped us. We walked closer to the lights and closer to where the extras were hanging out, waiting. I saw Anne and discreetly waved. (Anne is an extras friend that was working that day.) We walked closer to where Michael Mann and his crew were.

All of a sudden Christian Bale is taking a seat not 15 feet away from me. I'm talking to Chandler (P.A. Intern) and he's like omg there's cb and I'm like, you just now noticed? Can I have your Sharpie? He's like, you can't, I'm like, I shouldn't, but in case I can, can I have your sharpie? He very discreetly gave me his sharpie and took off. I waited for a chance to break the rules and not get thrown off the set.

Christian was sitting in a directors chair and was getting his make-up touched up. I'm not believing my opportunity and I fought with my better judgment for about 5 minutes when his makeup stylist finished and left him just sitting there alone. A big guy came up to him and started bs'ing with him. (Go Away!!) Then he left too, and while I was still arguing with myself, my feet were already walking towards Christian, I went over and politely and ever so humbly asked "Mr. Bale?" He didn't hear me. "Christian?" He looked at me. "Mr. Bale, may I please have your autograph?"

I'm handing him the back side of my business card, he reaches for it and while I'm saying, "I don't want to disturb..." He says, "What's your name?" "Uh, Rob, my name's Rob." He flipped the card over and said that he was checking to make sure there's nothing obscene on the other side of it and laughed. I was thinking, of course, right, I can't believe this, he's wearing so much makeup. "I don't mean to bother you but I really admire you, and I'm not even an actor." I don't know what I meant by that but I meant it to sound like a great compliment.

He looked directly at me and said "Well thank you very much." He smiled and nodded, snapped the capped back on my sharpie and was still smiling at me when he gave it back to me. He was so cool. He was soo Christian Bale. His voice was so dripping with Christian Baleishness, I'm still drooling. Amber, please don't hate me. ;o))))

That's it, now I can say that Jason Bateman touched my business card ;op

Note to Rob and rest - I AM interested in stories - I think people love to read them.
And you think Vice President Cheney is bad?

Henry Wallace the VP for Franklin Roosevelt was a dedicated devotee of Eastern mysticism. While serving as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in the 1930s, he allegedly sent his guru to Mongolia under the pretense of collecting grasses that could withstand drought. In reality, Wallace was diverting funds to help his guru hunt for evidence that Christ had visited Asia.

William Rufus de Vane King the VP for Franklin Pierce was sworn into office in Cuba, becoming the only executive officer to take the oath on foreign soil. King had gone to Cuba to recuperate from tuberculosis and severe alcoholism, but it didn't work. He died in 1853 after being vice president for just 25 days.

Aaron Burr the VP for Thomas Jefferson is best known for shooting and killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804. THEN he plotted a treasonous conspiracy to become emperor of the western United States and Mexico.

The plan almost worked but he was ratted on. He was tried in 1807 before the Supreme Court, which found him not guilty, mainly because he hadn't actually committed the treason yet.

A free man, Burr turned his sights on Florida. He went to France and tried to convince Napoleon Bonaparte to help him conquer the swampland, but that plan foundered, too.

OK - nuff said!

Rod - off to the Farmers Market for Cheese Curds.

Maybe I should explain Cheese Curds sometime - Are they a Midwest thing??

ME! Out!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where's The City Council

Public Enemies.

You can tell news about the movie is winding down when most of my Google Alerts about Public Enemies has to do with the Bush Administration.

If you want PE news you can check out this blog called Waiting for Gouda (that's a cheese isn't it?), and there is a piece called Mann's Vision on JSOnline.
As for me it seems filming was so so long ago, it's just a distant memory. All I have are Post Cards I am creating (soon to be on sale).

Still on topic was a meeting Michelle, Kim, Sharon, me and Mayor Nancy O Friday about how to capitalize on the movie in Columbus.

Being invited sort of surprised me because , well, I thought this was all thought out already. But then I started thinking in my little brain about small town dynamics and I came to a realization. It is way way different then large town dynamics.

For instance. In any town or city you need three groups of people. You need the Thinkers - they brain storm and come up with wonderful ideas. Some outlandish, some interesting and some actually Doable.

Then you need the Doers. These people take what the Thinkers thought, get pumped up and get things down. In a city like Madison you need about 1 Doer for every 15,000 Sitters.

Sitters are the citizens that vote for the Thinkers and hope all goes well. They complain when things don't go as they like but are passive for the most part. The reap the rewards and whine about the hardships but are just along for the ride.

But all this is a little different in a small town. The Thinkers do what they do best and come up with outlandish, some interesting and some actually Doable ideas.

But here is where there becomes a problem. The lack of Doers. There is no 1 to 15,000 ratio of Doers to Sitters. At that rate we would have 1/3 if a Doer for each project.

So I believe the Thinkers in a small town must also be Doers (are they??). OR the Thinkers must somehow excite the Sitters into becoming Doers.

Mayor Nancy O (who seems to be a Thinker AND a Doer) has done just that. She enlisted citizen Sitters to become town Doers. This is what surprised me as I thought wrongly that the rest of the Thinkers (City Council) had things under control and had the Doers already working on things.

THUS - to my surprise I along with the rest of the above were called in to become Doers.

What are we Doing? The Amtrak Station is the first major Do-Job and I am WAY WAY surprised it has long been neglected. Good Grief - it is the door to Columbus for strangers and it is FOUL! What were the Thinkers thinking by letting the Amtrak Station look like CRAP!

So it is up to us to fix the place up. Paint is being volunteered(is there a color choice) and a clean up crew is being looked for. At THIS point 6/21/08 is the day we ascend and give the Station a makeover. All parties are invited, lets make it fun!! Michelle and I are going to SOMEHOW have photos and posters from the movie (if we can figure out some sort of cheap security) on the walls once they are cleaned and painted.

But all this takes money. As a bribe Nancy said we could put signs up to sell the photos but Michelle and I are not "into" making money - we're more "into" helping the town.

What we really need are more Doers to come down and help the town. We need a flower box Master Gardeners to help and we need volunteers to once a week take a look at the boxes and water/weed and so forth.

I'm donating time AND money to help Columbus because after living in Madison for 30 years I can see just what a diamond Columbus is. I think people that LIVE in Columbus might not see this.

I'll have more on Amtrak as we get closer - A bonus about that date is the Milwaukee 261 will be making a stop. Some would say we should move the date but I say this is perfect - people will see us cleaning and fixing and ask questions.

BTW - the above photo is what the internet has for the Columbus Amtrak Station. hmmmmm, I must have missed that room!

Here is what one website (Great American Stations) says about the Columbus Station.

"The Columbus station was built of rusticated concrete in 1906 by the Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad (Milwaukee Road). The station originally had separate waiting areas for men and women. Benches in the facility have been in use since the days of the former Milwaukee Road, now the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Canadian Pacific Railway refurbished the interior, installed new flooring, painted the restrooms, pressure washed the building and is planning to reshingle the roof (what decade was this done in?), in celebration of the station's centennial. This facility has a waiting room and is staffed by an Amtrak employee. The Columbus station is served daily by two trains."

Indiana Jones - Not bad, $126 million in the 4 days, but below expectations. The 10th highest four day total in history. Reviews were mixed but generally good.

But the biggest surprise was "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" which was the worst gross in nine years for the second place film over Memorial Day weekend. Only Notting Hill (I liked that movie) was worse. This is a MAJOR stumble for Disney which had been looking at Narnia as a long-term franchise.

And then there is overachiever Iron Man. Where did this movie come from!! It's made $257 million in four weeks. Solid word-of-mouth keeps this movie rolling and it is now 40th on the all time list of money makers.

Next weekend Sex and the City and The Strangers both debut.
WWII buffs - on this day in 1941 The largest Germain Battleship built in WWII was sunk.

In 1911 Vincent Price was born.

Rod's Garden blog is in the works - even though I was called Gay in the ride up to Lawsonia for mentioning how long the flowering trees were . . . flowering.

Rod Melotte

Monday, May 26, 2008

Technology - Ain't it Great?

This weekend if you turned on CNN you would have seen some of the most outstanding live broadcasts of tornadoes for hours and hours. Truly amazing footage. Then last night I watched live as the Phoenix lander landed on Mars after a 10 year, 422 million mile journey and it was only 20 kilometers away from it's target. Yesterday afternoon I rode around in a golf cart with GPS that could tell me to the yard how far my ball was to any point on the fairway using satellites to locate where the golf cart was. Last night I watched weather systems close in on my house with live radar and I broadcast the images and data to the world from my own weather station.

For a guy that grew up using a bamboo slide ruler to figure out batting averages and ERA in baseball I find technology still fascinating.

BTW - the top wind speed was 53mph about 8:30 as the warm front passed. We had sustained winds nearing 40mph for about an hour and a half.
The Columbus 7.

Well - I'm getting some emails of disbelief which I figured I would. If I had heard the stories and thought this was from some disgruntled movie star wannabe I would have discounted it. But the stories were from people that actually had very very low expectations in the first place.

Also remember - I only mentioned about 30% of the entire list of problems. I know all about how low extras are treated (I was one remember?).

I would not have printed anything if I thought this was normal bellyaching.

On to a nicer subject - here are some photos from Marcella who was lurking around the Biograph.

Thanks Marcella
I golfed Lawsonia yesterday with rating of 70.8/128 I believe and did fairly well for only hitting the fairway twice. 55/49 for a 21 handicap.

Here are a couple photos of the course.

This is after a 180 yard drive - only 160 to the green!

A 170 yard par three slightly down hill

Same hole looking backward

That is it for today - back to normal tomorrow grrrrrrr

Have a great day and if any of the Columbus 7 want to tell their story I'm all ears.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Amtrak Idea

WELL - You can see I wear my emotion's on my sleeve at times LOL.

I'm about to go north on a road trip to Lawsonia to see what a 21 handicap guy can do on a REAL GOOD golf Course. Quoted by Golf Digest readers as “one of the toughest courses you will ever play” “second only to Blackwolf Run,” and “top five best courses ever played.”"What Golf Digest says is.

I hope I break 150.

So - quicky thought.

One of the things in Nancy O' s vision was to have some big flower boxes around the Amtrek Station. They would be created by a Master Gardner. The problem was upkeep. We could get the city to water them but here is an idea - call me crazy.

If we could get 3 or 4 people that like to garden. Why not get each one to once a week check out the boxes, water and weed if needed. That way people that actually care about the flowers would be in charge and it is only a once a week visit. It would save the city money and one less thing to worry about.

I would volunteer to be one and take a photo every week to show progress. All we have to do is get it up in the first place which always seems to be the most difficult part.

If I have any other takers I'll propose this to Nancy!

With that - I'm off for a golfing adventure.

Someone mentioned the Farmers Market - I took this with a little 1.2 mega pix Olympus at the Farmers Market a while ago.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Universal Drops the Ball - The Columbus Seven

I typically do not write negitive things unless I really think it is necessary. I believe this is one of those times.

I'm not even going to get deep into this YET as I would like to hear from other of the Columbus Seven. The one I talked to last night was still so angry he does not want to put it on paper.
Everyone knows that when you become an extra in a movie you are pretty low on the totem pole with respect. You go in expecting to be treated basically like a prop.

However - you still expect to be treated with kindness and respect and dignity.

From what I had seen first hand this treatment had "for the most part" taken place.

Not so on the last day of filming in Columbus, for seven extras that were all told they were to play a very important roles that night, there were only seven of them.

Again - I will only tell briefly of the low lights and save the real stories for if and when I get something in writing from any of the people involved, who rightfully so, sent letter of complaints for the complete and total ineptness Universal showed time and time again for fourteen hours.

There are MANY indiscretions I'll skip for now but some include forgetting about one woman getting her hair done that resulted in burning the hair. Blaming HER for not knowing where her outfit was. Sending all the other extras and their personal belonging back to Columbus, leaving that same woman behind even though the others extras kept insisting she was missing and still in wardrobe.

The woman found herself alone with no purse and was told that getting back to Columbus was not their problem, she was the one that had missed the boat. Luckily a friend was watching on the street and she got a ride back to . . . . THE WRONG place.

The extras were taken to a church that the drivers THOUGHT was the holding area where they waited and waited and waited.

Finally after an hour or so they were found and YELLED at "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE - YOUR MISSING LUNCH"! (It's 9:00 at night).

But the real indignities were yet to come.

How about making one guy, a wino, laying in the street not moving for three hours. Problem was they never told him the scene was over two hours ago. They just let him lay in the street in the cold rain for three hours while they shot street scenes a block away. They told him - "Lay here and DON'T move". He didn't for three hours in the rain.

Another guy was told to walk across the street. Problem was he had no glasses and he was so far away he could not hear his cue, even though he kept telling the PA he could not HEAR.

So he just walked when he THOUGHT he was suppose to, for hours. Untill someone ran up and yells "WHAT ARE YOU DOING" and he explained. Then was told rudely that scene was over hours ago and he was confusing the other actors "GET OFF THE STREET".

Or when two woman were in the holding area for four hours waiting and at 3:00 in the morning walked down the block to get coffee and were scolded at that they could not be there and to "GET BACK TO THE HOLDING AREA UNTIL YOU ARE CALLED". Two hours later and thirteen hours from the start with them see NOTHING of the movie, they were told it's a wrap, go home.

Now we all know that being an extra is a low low job but we also expect that Universal will treat the actors with SOME sort of dignity and care, but letting a guy lay in the street for three hours NOT in a scene? Forgetting people in the wrong city and saying "it's YOUR problem"? Yelling at them for following instructions? I don't care WHO you are this is NOT the way to treat people.

Not Living the Dream.

Remember - these are not Extras like in California who are hoping to MAYBE get attention for bigger roles or to supplement their income. They are there for the thrill of helping out in a movie and if they are told to jump off a cliff, they will with no questions asked.

I think Universal needs to take better care of their local assets that are there to help and to stop taking advantage of people.

I know a few of the Columbus Seven read the blog and would love to hear your stories. NOT to blast Universal but to maybe help them in seeing where they really blew it and perhaps help them in fixing these problems in the future.
A Night At The Kurth

If the owners only knew what went on in that back room LOL

Oreo's and kittens was the theme last night as there was an exchange (not Oreo's for kittens)!

Meet Dillinger
This is Dillinger in his more awake time.

And here he is after a night of partying at the Kurth.

Tears were shed as Dillinger went to a new loving home in Oshkosh.

Have a great Saturday and talk to you tomorrow.

Rod and DJ (who over did it a little last night - not drinking but with her cold).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Columbus To Get New Grocery Store

That's right folks - in my meeting I begged and pleaded FOR YOU and Nancy O gave in and said OK, OK, Rod, I will get a new store for you guys. FINE!

Well - maybe it didn't go EXACTLY like that. But never mind - the bottom line is that Pick-N-Save Management has been so reluctant to change what is working so well that a new store is in the works going towards Fall River. It'll be a couple years yet but it's coming. They have to build the building and so forth. Paper work and all that garbage has to go through but it's in the works. Copps wasn't built in a day you know.
Public Enemies - I'm sorry to report that Columbus was the first and last day of any Wisconsin shooting. Milwaukee? done - so long - not going to happen. Indiana? Nope. Miami - bye bye.

And on a curious side note I would not PEN in July 1st as the premiere date just yet. The actor strike is having some side effects and the date MIGHT be moved up drastically. Just saying that it is not out of the realm of possibility.

Everything left will be in Chicago behind closed doors OR LA and Heretonotthere better get ready for some long long long hours coming up.


OK - Columbus fans - here is your chance to help out the town we all love.

June 21st we are having a painting party at the Amtrak Station. It seems we are going take over the station for our own purposes with photos and all sorts of over cool things. Amtrak says - do whatever you want!! IT'S ALL OURS (insert evil laugh).

They have a over 100 people a day sitting in that station staring at blank dirty walls. We're going to clean it and paint it and we're going to have a party at the same time. Bring your own brush and meet the people who read this blog along with The Mayor. Maybe we can talkThe Mayor into a paint dunk tank!

OK - seriously - I'm asking any of you that want to help out a good cause to come and help paint the Amtrak Station and give us ideas how to utilize the HUGE wall. How can we hang poster size photos and other artifacts from the movie - ideas always welcome. Rumor is there will be pizza and other refreshments. More on this in the coming weeks. IT'LL BE FUN! Like a Kurth outing but with paint brushes!
DJ is feeling better. She made a kitteh blanky and they seem to love it. That's Milo looking a little drunk (it's the Prozac) and Sierra.

Off to Menards!

See ya later - anybody Kurthing it tonight???

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Auditorium Gets the Votes!!!

WELL - IMdb is rather comical at times with the bickering. The Chicago meet and greets thread has it's moments of name calling.

It reminds me of when Milo sees another cat outside and Sierra comes up to the window to look outside. Milo is crazed and does not recognize Sierra and attacks her. Yea - it's like that over there.

Filming at the Biograph starts tomorrow and seriously - you won't see anything if you go there, it is the wrong place for meet and greets. I have to think base camp is the best but . . . . I'm sure Universal has things under control and nobody is hurting the filming process.

Here is the funny thing - from somebody that was front and center on the set he said it was odd - NOBODY was taking pictures, it was a non-event for the most part. A movie? - been there done that - just one of many.

No filming, at least with Mr. Depp next Tuesday and Wednesday as it is Lily Rose's birthday.

Weird how all meet and greet photos are starting to look the same!

This is from Graham - nice shot!!

Huge Auditorium News
The Vote
- was Tuesday night and the new roof on the Auditorium is a GO thanks to you guys that helped out. This is fantastic news and Christopher (Columbus) is smiling! I'll have to take a photo of him this weekend and see if there is a big smile on his face.

Also approved were

phase one of the Dickason Boulevard city campus, engineering and design for the Udey Dam
and design for phase one of the library along with some boring stuff

I'll have to do a little research on these and get back to you to keep everyone updated on our little town.
I'm a little surprised at the hatred for Pick-N-Save. I have shopped there for a year and have no problems with the place. Sure it's not all glitz and sparkly shiny and expensive like Copps or packed and dirty like Woodman's but the people are friendly and the deli is exactly the same stuff Copps has.

But then again when I find gum on the sidewalk I'll scrape it up if I think there is any flavor left in it.


I'll have to look into this a little deeper to see why I'm missing the hatred boat. I do know Copps refuses to stock onion bagels even though the manager lies to me every time I ask. And I also know that just like restaurants, once you work there you never want to eat there.
I was at The Visitor Center yesterday and an individual came in who had just gotten back from a trip to Viet Nam. He was last there in 1969 as a soldier and his goal was to go back and clean up some unfinished psychological business.

He went to the little village that he and his company had "visited" and with him was a book of photographs he had taken thirty nine years ago.

I had the honor of looking at both the old and the new photos and I was humbled. He had photos of a young man seeing a picture of his father for the first time, a daughter who had not seen a photo of her mother for 30 years and and so on.

What got me was he had gone over there to basically apologize for what had happened in the village with what is called collateral damage and they refused to except his apology. The village, which is almost exactly the same now as it was then through him a huge party and celebration and welcomed him with open arms.

It was the past. He even met some Viet Cong and they discussed how odd it was that they were probably at one point firing at each other. Time really does heal wounds.

Did you know that there are still over 7 million unexploded bombs buried in Viet Nam that are still being found, normally by children?

The act of shaking someones hand is normally something I don't remember but I will remember shaking his hand, it meant something to me.
This election has a little more meaning for me then most people watching the Democrats. I have money riding on the outcome.

Two years ago I placed a wager off shore, $50 on Obama to win the democratic nomination! I got REAL good odds! Yea - I've been doing a happy dance. Maybe at SOME point when SOMEBODY has mathematical impossibility explained to HER I can collect my $.

This brings me to a movie on HBO called "Recount" and I urge any young people that are voting for the first time and people at all interested in politics to watch it. It's part drama, part comedy and part political thriller staring Keven Spacey, Ed Bagley Jr, and Laura Dern as theFlorida Security of State Katherine Harris.

In interviews they said it is a true story of the events but made entertaining. Some interesting facts. For 16 counties (over 1.5 million votes) there was NEVER a recount. They just restated what they had already counted. Even though they SAID they recounted! When the government said "the votes have been recounted". They weren't!!

Think of it. Bush won because of 537 votes. Gore would have been President. And you think that every vote does not count??

I'm not going to get into a political bloggyness (or trying not too) just saying that this should be a good movie to watch. Sunday Night on HBO.
Perhaps no blog tomorrow - I have to go to the principles office (The Mayor). Well - MAYBE a blog later in the day.

Nice to see so many people starting to blog. Get your words and thoughts out there!!!!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Have You Seen My "4"?

Since when are blogs taken so seriously.

On Sunday, a not-so-widely read, right-wingy little blog about Wisconsin, posted that Ned Yost, manager of the Milwaukee Brewers was going to be fired. The Badger Blogger averages about 700 hits a day (this blog gets about 2000).

For some unknown reason The Milwaukee Journal Sentential sees it and prints it on their website saying "The blog said it could not "independently confirm" the information but said sources close to the Brewers' organization said Yost would be fired today and replaced by bench coach Ted Simmons."

Three hours later the Journal Sentential comes out saying that this is false - nevermind. THEN adds "It could be a totally irresponsible posting by "Badger Blogger," which as I've stated many times is a real danger of the Internet.

Yea - The Badger Blogger with 700 hits a day is irresponsible. Yet The Milwaukee Journal Sentential who found it and told the entire world is NOT?

Newspapers have to hate blogs and I totally understand. They have to make sure (normally) of facts and us bloggers can pretty much say what ever we want.

I think when people read a blog they have to understand we are not an organization but just one guy that probably does not blog for a living. We say what we believe to be true. Sometimes we get it wrong. If Badger Blogger just made it up THEN that is irresponsible posting.
Columbus was in the New Richmond News this morning. Just a little piece about filming in Milwaukee actually and how the Milwaukee Historical Society (once a 95 year old bank) and how Universal spent $100,000 in helping repair the building.

The "bank" is the bank that gets robbed in "Indiana". The same bank where Johnny and Company escape from in Columbus. Rob in Milwaukee and exit through Columbus. No wonder they could not be caught!!!

But what caught my eye was a new term to me called "heritage tourism."

As long as people remember a movie, they can also remember the sites where it was filmed and visit them.

"It's a form of tourism that really keys into this historic preservation ethic and people who are heritage tourists generally stay longer and spend more money than average tourists will," says Rick Bernstein of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Field Services Program.

Well! learn something new every day.
OK - see? I never know where this blog will take me. I've been compared to Jackson Pollock the abstract expressionist painter (actually the only one I have ever heard compare me to him was . . well, I guess it was me, and it was just a few seconds ago).

I start with an idea and just let it flow - I don't have a clue what I'm going to say next.
There is a common saying about how it does no good to complain because no one is listening.


I complain all the time and get results. The trick is finding who has the power.

For instance - In the Columbus newspaper in the Complaints to the Editor section there is normally a complaint about the need to get another grocery store. Here's an idea. Complain to the management of the store. Enough people complain he will get the message. It works.

For instance - I recently had a go around with Pic-N-Save then Copps and I went all the way to Corporate Headquarters Roundy's when I found it was THERE decision. Reason? They decided to NOT carry Bagels Forever Onion Bagels.

I called Bagels Forever and they said that Roundys just decided no to carry them. THIS IS A TRAVESTY! I have been buying them . . . .FOREVER!

I registered complaints to Pic-N-Save, three Copps stores and then headquarters Roundys. Not once, but a number of times (different emails addresses). I told them what stores DO carry them and I would start shopping THERE.

It took a month but Pic-N-Save now sell them again. Next time you are there buy some.

My point is complaining works if you go to the source. Want a new store? Why not update the store we already have. Complain about their food, tell them what you want, LET THEM KNOW.

Gas Stations. People complain about the price of gas and complain to the gas stations. I bet in the next year there will be many stations closing because THEY are getting screwed also.

Here is basically how it works. A station makes $0.16 for every gallon sold whether it is $1 a gallon or $4 a gallon.

The problem is people pay with credit cards and the station is charged 5% every time a card is used. So at $1 a gallon they make $0.16 MINUS $0.05 so they make $0.11 per gallon.

Gas at $4 a gallon they make $0.16 MINUS $0.20 so they are losing $0.04 per gallon and they have to make it up in other ways. It's not the stations making out - it's the Credit Card people making the big money.

Then there is this problem with the shortages of the number 4. You think I'm kidding right? NOPE!

Every gas station has those big numbers on their signs. At some point every station had to BUY those numbers and when they did the package had only had two of each number above three. That’s because sign makers didn’t anticipate prices ever reaching the $4 mark, at least not in this century.

Industrial Signs who makes the numbers, sold about one thousand "4s" a year. Two or three days a year they would make their machine make "4s". NOW? They have four "4" machines running twenty four hours a day and still have a back order of over one hundred thousand.

While a "4" would normally sell for $20, NOW they are charging $700 a pop!! And gas stations are paying it.

In San Francisco there are "4" robbery's. Stealing the "4s" is becoming a rebellious act in some circles that are dedicated to fighting high gas prices. Problem is some gas stations are pushing the price of gas higher because of no "4". $3.49.9 (I wish) goes to 3.50.9.

BUT - on the good side the sales of LED gas signs has jumped in the first quarter of 2008 thus helping with the electricity usage.

And you thought a gas station was a simple business.
Here is a photo that Scott sent from LaSalle Street in Chicago. Looks surprisingly a lot like Columbus doesn't it. Too weird. Thats his Graham from and center - I guess Christian Bale was following him for days. The cars would key off his movement.

It sounds like they will start filming at the Biograph late this week and off and on next week. I have heard that JD is not available the 27th and 28th ??? Is there a birthday coming up or something?? Any Depp people know (I'm getting in trouble aren't I)?

In the scenes at Union Station they used the Milwaukee Road 261. It was rebuilt in 1993. It weights over one million pounds. It was one of the last team engines made and this one was delivered in 1944. There are only two 261's left in the world.

I grabbed this photo from a 261 fansite LOL

Have a great day.

BTW - DJ is down for the count. Got hit by a right hook from Mr. Cold.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Trying to Piece Things Together

Well - I've been left dangling so I'm just doing my best to piece info together.

I BELIEVE they are shooting interior scenes near the lake front today and tonight in Chicago. The old Uptown Bank and the Aragon Ballroom are in close proximity as is the lake front.

I do not have a script but have heard from several sources that there have been 21 or 22 rewrites (I heard 22 when I was in Oshkosh and someone on IMDb said 21). I guess 9 or 10 is the average.

Just guessing but I think they are filming meet and greets between Dillinger and Billie and some interrogation scenes but again - I'm flying pretty blind here. So pretend I'm right!

NOTE - I do NOT think filming is over yet in Wisconsin or Columbus but I have no solid confirming news.
DJ news - Down for the count! This Common Cold is like clockwork. Do other countries call this a "cold" also? Man it is really crushing Wisconsin and Illinois.
A funny thing happened on the way to REM sleep.

We built and then moved into our house on June 1st 2007. It is next to the 16th hole of Kestrel Ridge and there is a large mound in front of our back yard that protects us from . . .well nothing actually but it's nice anyway.

Just after we moved in and the lawn was seeded we had a quick 8 inches of rain so the area was pretty moist early on.

But once it dried out a month later, on a warm evening we heard an odd noise. shhh shhh shhh shhh Looking out the window the sprinklers were going off sending mammoth arcs of water into the air on the course. Very pretty and relaxing and all was well. They stopped after 15 minutes and others down the line went off shhh shhh shhh shhh. So relaxing.

We go to bed and are drifting off and I wake up a few hours later shhh shhh shhh shhh smile, and start to drift back to sleep shhh shhh shhh shhh shhh shhh shhh shhh shhh shhh shhh shhh
Wow I wonder what sprinkler that one is

shhh shhh shhh shhh BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM shhh shhh shhh shhh WTF? Are we under attack?

I get up rather quickly and walk into the kitchen for a better look and the entire kitchen floor is soaked with water. I walk onto the deck to see what is going on and see that there is a sprinkler on top of the little hill next to our back yard 20 yards away. AND HERE IT COMES AGAIN!! shhh shhh shhh shhh BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM shhh shhh shhh shhh

WELL - I guess they did not take into account a house being here when they installed the system.

On a bright side our lawn and garden get a regular 0.04 inches of rain every few days and we just make sure we have the kitchen doors closed at night.

What got me thinking about this is that our cat Milo was out the other night and he hangs out by the porch all night. I bet it surprised HIM!! (insert evil laugh).
One hundred and thirty five years ago today,San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno Nevada tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create pants reinforced with metal rivets.

Strauss sold dry goods including clothing to gold miners and was the West Coast representative of his family's firm. Davis was a tailor and a regular customer of Strauss's business. He wrote a letter to Strauss about his method of making work pants with metal rivets on the stress points, the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly to make them stronger.

Davis did not have the money for a patent so he contacted Strauss who loved the idea. The patent was called "Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings".

At first they employed seamstresses working out of their homes to create the "waist overalls", but by the 1880s, Strauss had opened his own factory.

The famous 501 jean (which I am wearing today) known until 1890 as "XX"--were soon a bestseller and still are #1.
Five hundred and two years ago today - Christopher Columbus died his final words were "I wish I could have visited Columbus Wisconsin, just once". His final will asked they his body be bronzed and sent to the Americas to the town that was named after him.

And that my friends is how we got that statue that I FINALLY found on Hwy 16.
And last but not least - the first speeding ticket EVER was given out today in 1899. Jacob German, operator of a taxicab for the Electric Vehicle Company, became the first driver to be arrested for speeding when he was stopped by Bicycle Roundsman Schueller for driving at the "breakneck" speed of 12mph on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.

YEA baby - how is that working for you!!


Monday, May 19, 2008

No news YET from Union Station

Lots of Christian Bale stuff going on in Chicago but no real news yet from my guy there. I know he has talked to CB but that's about it. All quiet on the southern front. The Biograph is available for shooting. (Just thought I would remind MM :-)

From McSkippy - Excitement at Union Station

Speaking of the Auditorium.

As I mentioned yesterday my brother, who is a Historical Preservation Architect has followed the blog off and on and I had mentioned that I had become interested in preserving our 1892 City Hall Auditorium.

This piqued his interested and gave him an excuse to drive up from ILL for a visit. I arranged a meeting with Dale the head of the CAC in charge of looking into preserving the Audi.

It was a learning experience for me as I watched two "geek's" talk about things I knew nothing about.

I did come away with a few major knowledge balloons in my head.

There are two trains(is that right? train?) of thoughts when it comes to this sort of undertaking.

On one hand you can try to preserve the Auditorium to it's original luster. Make it as it was in 1892, a museum piece if you will. This is the cheaper way to go actually.

Or you can try to keep as much as you can but make it a working auditorium with concerts and so forth. This is MUCH MUCH more expensive.

A museum piece is cheap and beautiful. No need for toilets, extra fire exits, massive amounts of ventilation, handicap areas, a working load bearing stage, and huge amounts of safety measures.

You can keep the old seats on their risers and the places would look OUTSTANDING and be relatively cheap to do. This is what the last few attempts had tried . . . . . and failed.

Now Dale and Co want to make the Auditorium a working theater. Out come the risers and old wooden seats and in comes the slanted floor. Oddly, no one makes theater chairs anymore for level floors!

In comes safety and toilets with superior ventilation so 300 people will have fresh air. All this is MUCH MUCH more expensive.

However - fund raising is easier. Look at it from a performing arts view. The CAC comes to you and says we would like to have a fund raiser and would you play. All proceeds will go to a building you will NEVER have a chance to play in. hmmmmmm!

OR All proceeds will go to a building you and many other's can call your home.


One thing I also learned while listening is that the Auditorium, while being vacant for 70+ years and no heat is in remarkable condition. A lot of work needs to be done but it could be SO SO much worse. It's a very well built building.

Tidbits of info - The Auditorium, as far as they can tell was the very first stage in Wisconsin to have electric lights on their stage (as seen in the below photo). They do know that right now it is the oldest, electrical stage in Wisconsin and they THINK it was the first.

I'll probably get someone in trouble for this because I do not have permission to post it (city property) but as we were in the attic this was behind door #1.

It's the clock that runs the clock. It is about 10 feet tall. There are instructions on the wall telling you how to wind it. That white cord contains the actual cables that move the hands of the clock in the tower.


Other random stuff

On this day in 1932 the movie Scarface: The Shame of a Nation opened at the Rialto Theater in Los Angeles. The subtitle The Shame of a Nation was added as a concession to the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, which controlled the content of movies until the late 1960s.

They did not believe American audiences should sympathize with villains. The movie was remade (without the subtitle) in 1983 starring Al Pacino.
Jodie Foster made her screen debut on this date in 1969. She was six years old and appeared in Mayberry R.F.D.
Also on May 19, 1864 President Lincoln proclaimed that dependents of fallen black solders should receive the same benefits as dependents of fallen white solders.

On a side note , do you know where the saying "He bought the farm" came from?

During the American Civil War when a solder died in battle the government would purchase his farm and give it to the widow. So in a way, a solders death was basically "buying the farm" for his wife.
OK - gotta work.

Notice the new little photo thing top left of the blog.

also cheer on DJ - she woke up with no voice today OH OH!!!!! NOT YOU TOO!

Kim Bates - need to talk to you sometime.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Slicing a Bridge Like Butter

I was going to have a blog about my deep skeleton tour of the Columbus Auditorium I had with Dale the esteemed leader of the CAC and my brother the Historical Preservation Architect dude, but I think I'll wait and let some thoughts percolate a little. Why rush something if things are still floating around in your brain.

Then I was going to write a huge piece on Public Enemies but . . . . nothing is happening in Chicago, at least not that I have heard.

Seems Herenotthere girlfriend broke up with him over at IMdb and I am truly sorry to hear that. It SUCKS!

I read an article about National Geographic Photographers a few years ago. Did you know that 90% of them get divorced? Having a job where you are on the road a year at a time away from loved ones is a real deal breaker in most relationships and while you would think being a crew member on a movie sounds exciting there are very big drawbacks.

So that leaves me with a little engineering story problem and then a couple odd facts about the Columbus city Hall.
Remember story problems? How you hated them in school because they, well, THEY SUCKED?

Here is a little story problem my brother's son had in engineering school in Illinois.
A Backhoe weighing 8 tons is on top of a flatbed trailer and heading east on Interstate 70 near Hays, Kansas. The extended shovel arm is made of hardened refined steel and the approaching overpass is made of commercial-grade concrete, reinforced with 1 1/2 inch steel rebar spaced at 6 inch intervals in a criss-cross pattern layered at 1 foot vertical spacing.

Solve: When the shovel arm hits the overpass, how fast do you have to be going to slice the bridge in half? (Assume no effect for headwind and no breaking by the driver...)
See pictures if you need some visual aid in solving the problem.

Extra Credit: Solve for the time and distance required for the entire rig to come to a complete stop after hitting the overpass at the speed calculated above.

The first photo shows the end result from below

The second photo is of the top view

And you thought YOU were having a bad day.

I think the bottom photo was taking from the other side of the bridge. It looks like the arm caught the bridge at an angel that raised it higher as it sliced the bridge.

After the skeletal tour of the Auditorium we were outside and the below photo has a few interesting things many people do not notice.

First is the fire escape. It does not actually meet the ground does it. I guess fire escapes are a thing of the past and are now forbidden. This one's story (no pun intended) is that the metal for the bottom half was used for WWII. Also used were some really nice looking fountains that were situated around th City Hall.

Also - there are three groups of windows on the bottom left. If you look closer they were actually large doors.

Those doors were for the horses. They needed a team of horses to raise the piano up and down from the stage and other heavy lifting. COOL!!

I'll have more on City Hall tomorrow - what an amazing building and from what I was told is in very well preserved shape (except for the roof). I even got to see the inside workings of the clock and I hope I'll have permission to post some photos of the guts of the time piece.

So for me - it's off to the flower Factory in Oregon for my last bunch of butterfly/bee perennials plus some sort of purple climbing Clematis for the lamp post!

BIRD ALERT - I was 1 second away from having a photo of a big orange Baltimore Oriole at our feeder yesterday! ARG!!!!
Side note - do to demand, if you are looking to purchase that photo of downtown Columbus that I posted yesterday just click on the PayPal Donate Button. It's an 8x12 in photo.

20% will go towards the Auditorium. $10 +$1 shipping/handling and additional overcharge. Paypal gives me the address and I'll get one in the mail - OR - better yet - head to Julies Java House and get one first hand and have a cup of Joe while you are there.

Have a great Sunday