Archive for March, 2005

Estate Sale at the old Dow Chemical Bldg.

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Rothe Blog Estate Sale 1

Sarah and I were headed downtown to stop by the office, and make a return at the mall, and we came across signs for this estate sale. Me looking for a bike I decided we’d turn around and go. But we didn’t find it. We drove around the block, with no luck. And driving around just south of McCarty is not a good area, really poor, so that made thins even more fun.

On our way home we saw the signs again, and decided to give it one more shot. Well, we missed a tiny 8.5 x 11 sign, and we found our way in.

I found out later, these run down old buildings and storage garages are the old Dow Chemical Buildings that just went for 250 large. But not to stray, the sale had all sorts of cool old stuff, that if that was my thing, I could probably have picked up some great deals. Instead we left with a set of filing folders for a dollar. But you see some of the stuff, and how much there was from some of these photos. The one with the yellows chairs I thought Christine might like.

I also found out they were selling four drawer, in nice shape, filing cabinets. So on Tuesday I came back with Glenn and bought one for the office. We also toured around inside the Dow building. I guess they were selling the spaces real cheap. I wonder why. The place was such a dump, and so unsafe, only an idiot would get a place in there. It reminded me of Sherman Park, but about 100 times worse.

Still neat to walk through an old building.

National Treasure (2004)

Rothe Blog Movies National TreasureFour and a Half Stars

I usually like Nicolas Cage in big action movies, but the previews for this Jerry Bruckheimer produced film didn’t really catch me. But Chris liked it, so for fifty cents I gave it a try. Boy was I glad.

A great mixture of history and action, this is one of the most original movies I have seen in the past six months to a year. Also starring Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Sean Bean and Diane Kruger, this movie will keep you guessing until the very end. I would have given it a higher rating if there weren’t the big action shots that made you go, “Yeah right” or “No one would ever say that”, but you expect a little fantasy in these “big bucket o popcorn” type films.

The story revolves around the idea that the founding fathers of the USA hid the biggest treasure ever known to man, one that was fought over since the dawn of time. In order to hide it, the fathers used an elaborate scheme of clues to keep the treasure safe. Cage is in a family that has been searching for the treasure for many generations and he is the one to finally make the discovery. The movie doesn’t elaborate how he goes the extra distance, but we soon learn how intelligent he is at solving riddles.

So, not to go on an on. See this movie if you like good action, but contained in the relevance of the film in archeology. Nicolas Cage does an awesome job as does Justin Bartha who serves as the comedic relief. See this movie too if history interests you, from the technology in protecting the Declaration of Independence, down to the allure of a hidden message from a lost generation of thinkers. Don’t see this movie if you can’t stand occasion bad dialogue, or a movie that assumes some things to be able to tell a great story in a two and a half hour time slot.

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Rothe Blog Napleon DynamiteThree and a Half Stars

The Jury is still out on this one.

I got to borrow this movie from Christine, and so that was one of the main reasons I watched it, Free film.

This is an MTV film with no one noteworthy, and is highly oft-kilter. It is basically about the weird lives of these high school teens that live in a dismal poor town in Idaho. The main character is every stereotypical dork rolled into one.

I liked the movie because if you can look past it’s slow pace, and kind of stupid humor, the character development pays off in the end for some of the humor. Plus, it was a different story, and everything was really rough and dirty to kind of fit the run down town.

I wouldn’t recommend this movie to the general public. Like I said, if you appreciate seeing a different idea, then see it. This movie is all about some of the most awkward moments someone can have in high school, so you may enjoy that too. But the humor is poignantly planned stupidness, so many people won’t be able to get past that. But, to see the main character (dork) do the dance at the end of the movie for the whole school, is just breathtakingly hilarious. Trust me.

Chicago Comic-Fest

New Recommendations:

Patrick the Wolfboy & Footman 15

Boy we had a good time last weekend! David, the Mighty Rothes & I took a day trip to Chicago for a little comic con fun. Well – Sarah brought a bag of things so she could have “quite reading fun” while Jeff, David & I had comic book fun – she’s such a good sport.

I’m going to limit the amount of time I regale you with tales of our adventures because I’m excited about a couple new things I read that I got there & want to talk about that – so here are the highlights.

I think Jeff & David spent more time in the dealer room than I did. David cleaned up on a boatload of statues & Jeff did some trading & wrangled up some issues he was looking for. Meanwhile – I talked. Hey you’ve got to stick with your strengths!

I met Billy Tucci & had him sign one of my copies of Shi. What a pretty book that was! He was very personable & easy to talk to. So many people I encounter have no clue what they believe in or stand for so it was kind of refreshing to see someone who’s not shy about putting his faith & values securely all out there.

I got a couple more prints for my girls from Jeff Moy – they were so pleased with what I got them last time. My daughters LOVE the girl superheroes & we all like his take on them. We got on a geek-speak roll about sci-fi shows & cartoons – that was fun! I have to watch myself though I can really talk your ears off about that stuff.

Check these artists out!

Bill Wilkison

There were two guys there that totally cracked me up (sorry, sucky cliché use there). One was Bill Wilkison. He draws sketches of the con attendees & I was one of his victims. You can see the sketch posted under my columns. Everyone who has seen it bursts out into uncontrollable laughter. While this is crippling my ego, I still like it – it makes me smile. Eh, I accept the fact that I’m pretty funny looking, so caricature is really the only way I should ever be depicted.

Anyway, Bill was super nice & his quick wit kept the three of us laughing constantly. If I can be crass for a moment – the con sketches are really a great marketing thing him. It breaks the ice & draws people to his table – then his personality takes care of the rest. I’m already seeing that being (or at least appearing) approachable is half the battle at these things.

I’d encourage you to check out his work at http://homepage.mac.com/bwilkison. Or stop by & talk to him at the next con – I’m sure you’ll find it very entertaining!

Art Baltazar

The other guy who kept us laughing was Art Baltazar. (His superhero crayon sketches are a RIOT!) I was instantly drawn to his bright, colorful artwork – mainly characters from his Patrick the Wolfboy book. Yeah! FINALLY I’m down to one of the new things I read!

One of the million fragments of things that makes me, is that I’m a mom. I’m always looking for something to share with the kids (I’ve got to get them properly “geeked up” you know). Patrick the Wolfboy is delightful! Talk about a character you just want to give a big hug to!

The artwork is crisp, fresh & consistently charming. The book is done in vignettes rather than big stories. I got the first two collected editions & I had a big smile on my face throughout the read. Jeff read them on the trip home & I heard him laugh out loud several times.

Don’t get hung up on the fact that I said it’s a “kid-friendly” book. There is SO much subtext there. I mean c’mon –
there are nods to both Calvin & Hobbs AND the Rocky Horror Picture Show in the first volume alone. The characters really blossom in the second volume; which is an even richer gold-mine of in-jokes.

I can’t wait to buy the next volume. You can sample it for yourself our on Art’s fantastic website – http://www.artbaltazar.com/. And if you’re socks aren’t properly knocked off – you must be made of stone – get therapy – soon.

Footman 15

Now finally, FINALLY I get to talk about my find of the weekend. God-bless the self publishers! I love original artwork, but if it wasn’t for great storytelling I would have lost interest in comics long ago. So here is your GOOD READ ALERT! Do yourself a favor & pick up Footman 15, by Christopher Rich-McKelvey, Bald Guy Studios (http://www.baldguystudios.com).

There is a line between fantasy & reality, and the guardians of that line are the Footmen. Our nameless heroine is the fifteenth generation trained to make sure the fantasy world stays out of our real human lives. Each issue is one self-contained story of her exploits.

The first issue, “Fairy Fire”, has the Footman tracking an elusive mythological creature know only to her as The Beast. Along the way she wipes out a gathering of fairies (which seem to be the equivalent of cockroaches to her kind) & has an awesome knock-down-drag-out with a Dryad possessed oak tree.

The BEST part is when she finally confronts The Beast at the end of the book. I could not possibly spoil the ending for you. But what transpires sets the stage that this is a woman trained to follow orders. Feeling morally convoluted about the life she lives & the tasks she must undertake is a luxury she cannot abide.

I thought the second issue “Therapy” got even more interesting. Told in frame story fashion – she is visiting a therapist & telling him about her missions. I LOVED the one mission she was on where she had to go take care of a child who had been “infected” by a fairy.

But the part that kept me hanging on was WHY in the heck she was telling this guy all this stuff? Was she sick of the business of killing? Maybe she wasn’t as hardened as she seemed – maybe she was looking for answers or validation?

By the end though, her motives are clear. AGAIN – I wouldn’t dream of telling the rest of the story from here & ruining the wicked twist to it all. After issue two she proves once again she is one cool cookie here to do a job.

There is so much to like about this book!

Two things are done well. First is the establishment of the fantasy world. Christopher totally gets it right. I spoke to him a little at the con & he is very interested in the history of fantasy, fairy tale & legend. He has studied the roots of these stories & it is evident in the vividness of detail in both picture & prose.

Secondly – he’s just flat out created an interesting character. (AND she looks hot – love the pixie hair-cut!) Okay we’re
taking a detour for a minute & it’s going to be ALL ABOUT ME for a paragraph or two (Hey it’s my essay!!!) – but I’m building to something about the book, I promise.

I have a great longtime friend who works at a movie theatre. He’s one of the most creative (and analytical) people I know – we could talk anything to death. One evening a few months ago I dropped by his work & we sat bathed in the distant whirr of the projectors & talked about a story idea.

He said he liked what I was saying but pointed out that maybe the EXACT SAME story might be more captivating if told in a different way & we hashed through examples.

I ruminated on what we talked about for a long time until I had an epiphany – my writing style it TOO darned linear! I always want to TELL the story – get to the end – get to the point. Storytelling can be so much more beautiful & riveting when revealed slowly. Take time to build the character…construct the history, the relationships – then the reader will more likely care about the EVENTS.

When we are given the RIGHT pieces of the story – we naturally want more. (Now I’m back to Footman 15 – see it didn’t take long!) For me this is what Christopher has done with this character. I want to know more about her now. Is she really ice cold – or just trained to be cool? Who’s giving her these assignments? What’s the history of her training & the legacy of the other Footmen?

And a good character can’t just hang out & be interesting. With an unlimited number of mythological creatures to confront & exterminate, Footman 15 has the potential for tons of exciting escapades while we learn more about her.

Okay did I gush enough? *laughing* Seriously though – this is a good looking book that already has some captivating tales to tell. Looking forward to more….

I have come to two conclusions about what I put out on the blog.

One – I want to attempt to avoid writing about what EVERYONE else is. (That Astonishing X-men thing was an easy to hammer out “Omigosh I haven’t written anything in February” deal.)

The other conclusion is that I want to write about stuff I like. I get no pleasure at all from ripping up something. Sharing good things is just more enjoyable.

So in the meantime – I’ll be going to “Linear Writers” therapy & I’m going to keep reading. Then when I find something I
like, I’ll try to stop for a minute & tell you why.

See the delusion that I have readers STILL lingers. *smile*



Rothe Blog CloserTwo and a Half Stars

I still don’t get what this movie was completely about.

I spent some time last night trying to look it up online. This is set in London England and stars Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, and Clive Owen, and is about love, intimacy, and the lies that always seem to swirl in the midst of the other two.

Jude Law and Natalie Portman fall in love early on in the movie, but then Jude meets Julia Roberts and falls for her. Thinking about her, and playing a bizarre joke on her, Jude hops into a sex chat room and plays with a guy’s head and sends him to meet Julia at the Aquarium. Julia falls for this guy and they get married.

But then Jude still has an affair with Julia, and on and on. There is backstabbing, and there is partner swapping, all except for Natalie Portman. After Jude dumps her she goes back to stripping in London. The movie was extremely sexually explicit, so this is not something I would recommend for a younger audience.

I didn’t care for the dialogue. All of it was witty between the four characters, and seemed a little too rehearsed, like none of them were dumb enough to speak like normal people. There were huge time lapses, like years, when a scene would open which wasn’t a bad thing, just a interesting quality of this movie. And now that I am moving towards things I liked about the movie…

I liked that I left the theater with a little bit of a “What in the name of Petey the Pirate?” There were some underlying themes about lying that were interesting, in particular a line by Natalie Portman that was something to the extent, “Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking off her clothes, But it’s so much more fun if you do.” The whole movie the partners are telling each other, or figuring out about their affairs. By telling this truth they hope to find intimacy, when in fact, it is just the opposite. The intimacy is ruined as soon as truth comes out.

Which is what happened in the end. Jude wants to know if Natalie slept with Clive. She denies it vehemently, but as soon as he makes an ultimatum if she doesn’t tell the truth, he realizes that it is over between the two of them. He comes to her and she tells him the truth, and says she doesn’t love him anymore. In the end of the movie we find out that she lied about her name all along, and that she didn’t need truth to find true intimacy.

So, if you like strange movies and stars, you might want to see this. But the sexual language will put you off if you are reserved at all, and the somewhat non traditional method of telling a story. I would have given it more stars if it was just a touch more entertaining.

BAGI Casino trip to Elizabeth, Indiana

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In having some printed materials made up for the BNI conference over a week ago, our printer made us aware of this event to the Caesers Casino just West of Louisville in southern Indiana. Every year the BAGI association (Builders Assocation of Greater Indianapolis) takes this Casino trip and it is a good time for members of this organization to network in a relaxed setting.

I had not been to a casino since I was in grade school, and that was Las Vegas and I don’t remember that much about it. So I was excited to go, and after the day before at the BNI conference I was in a networking state of mind. Glenn and I represented Esystems and we were on our way.

I sat with Jerrod Klein, who is the VP of Marketing and Sales of MI homes, one of the larger home builders here in Indianapolis, and we chatted a little bit about EVS Minder, Esystems pre-registration system for tradeshows and events.

The casino itself was ok. I did a little bit of the slot machines to say that I did it. But the whole thing seems pretty dumb to me. To sit in one place, and pretty much waste money, doesn’t appeal to me. So it was a bit of a long day. But I got to talk with Glenn, which is something you can’t put a price on. To have him in one place for that period of time, was a valuable resource.

We had two coolers of alcolhol on the bus, which made things that much more fun, and on the way home, we had a movie.

Sarah had a play at school, so I met her there, and then after the play we went with the teachers out to Uno’s. (The photo at the bottom.) David Wray was in town, staying with Christine, so they joined us for some spirits and great pizza. It was a great day, and a fun and interesting week. I felt really important to the company, and tried my best to return on that investment whether it be networking or to give a professional branding image of Esystems Design.

Seabiscuit (2003)

Rothe Blog SeabiscuitFive Stars

We bought this movie yesterday, and it still holds the magic it first did when we saw it in the theaters. As the filmmakers say on the disc, a Classic American Tale, Seabiscuit is an emotional film that touches the heart of most any red blooded American.

Beautifully shot in such a memorable era, Seabiscuit is a story about a discarded horse that brings together three lives that have been beaten down by the depression, and rises to the penultimate success. For every American whose worth was shattered, this movie is about second chances, hope, and faith that those who believe in those three ideals can rise to the top.

A perfect cast of Jeff Bridges, Toby Maguire, Chris Cooper, Elisabeth Banks and directed by Gary Ross, each character shows the emotion of a troubled spirit in a great way. Jeff Bridges lost his son to the very thing that made him rich, Toby Maguire was given up by his family in hopes of a better life that never was, and Chris Cooper was a nomad that slowly watched his precious untouched country-side dwindle.

This movie makes me cry ever time I see it. The color, the grandeur of the costumes, and that secret wish down within that the underdog will win, this is a movie that blends classic film making with modern technology and resources.