Saturday, July 26, 2008

photo ops and feet

For Carol's birthday, Nate and Lori arranged for the whole family to have photos taken at a park in Tulsa. A good time was had by all. Now that the photos (109) are available, we have the chore to decide what ones to take and what to forget. Take all the grandkids photos and forget the ones with me looking like a tired old fat guy. One weird thing though: the photographer mentioned that she had a foot fetish! I had heard of this before but must admit that such things sound weird but what does it mean?
Half way though the shoot, she ask the women and kids to take off their shoes and set on the grass. She started clicking away and then looked at me and said, "Why don't you men talk off your shoes and join them?" My response was a form of "Your crazy" &/or "Not Me!".

Well when we got the pictures back almost 20 of the photos were of feet and shoes!
Over 15% of the photos!

Creepy, Very Creepy!

Fountainhead & Famous Architects

In college my wife and I read "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. It was the only famous novel about architecture and architects that I had found. We had many, many discussions about the central themes of the story and it proved to be a great group of thoughts to debate as I was about to leave school. "Do you sell out your beliefs to get ahead? Does tradition take precedence over new ideas? How far will you go to stay true to yourself? Do you admire people because they are powerful or should they be worthy of honor? It goes on.

I saw the book again the other day at Barnes and Noble in CD format and am visiting it again, 38 years later. I guess I will grade myself and see how I did.

Thursday night I went to a lectureship in Tulsa and heard one of the hottest architects in America, Randy Brown talk of his work and philosophy. I was challenged and charged up so much that half way thru the talk, I was sketching on the back of my business cards. Ideas were bombarding me. I get my most creative ideas in the presence of creative people (Rock concerts, movies, sermons or speeches).

His 3 points:
1. Take Risks.
2. Never stop your Education (whether conferences, trips, etc.)
3. Have Fun and make Money!

Works for me.

The Last LectureR

Yesterday, Randy Pausch died. He was the computer scientist from Carnegie Mellon University who delivered the famous "Last Lecture". I read the book of the same name about two months ago and will read it again as soon as I finish my current books. I have mentioned this book before and I will say again: "READ THIS BOOK!" We all face death as we all face life. He talks about living your dreams, having fun in life, and don't sweat the small stuff. I identify with him in that I have always had Walt Disney's Imagineers as role models, too. In his book he tells the story about how years after his first trip to Disney World as a child he told the Disney Brass this story:

He and his sister wanted to buy their parents a gift, and they searched the many stores and found a vase for them, bought it and left the store. After walking a short distance, one of them lost their grip on the sack and it fell breaking the gift. A bystander saw this happen and went to them and told them to return it and ask for a new one. Randy told them that it was their fault not Disney's. The person told them to give it a try. They went back to the shop and told the clerk the truth about the accident and to their surprise, the clerk gave them a new vase.

They later told their parents of the incident. Pausch says that he told the Disney people that the gift exchange made Disney many thousands of dollars in the years since. His father was so impressed he continued to return with his family and brought about 20 underprivileged children a year to the park.

Doing Good is rewarding in unexpected ways.

This book is worth your time.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Things you don't say to your employer!

#1. When your employer discovers that you have been surfing for porn on the net for three days while he was away and he threatens to fire you, you don't say, "Well, Mike if there was a problem shouldn't we talk about it?"

#2. When your employer shows up at the office on Saturday Morning, you look startled and say, "What are you doing here?" Then you jump up and run from the office. Later you look surprised that he (me) investigated your computer use.

#3. When your employer asks you why you are working for another (competitor) Architect on the office computer system, you first deny it. Then you should not follow that answer with: "I used my lap top to draw it. I just put the projects on the office system so I could use the office printers, plotters and paper to make copies for the competition. I'll take them off (the system) if you want me to."

#1 happened three years ago. #2 &3 was my morning HR moment!

By the way if you know someone who knows AUTOCAD, I'm suddenly in the market!

Eagles tickets

The Eagles concert tickets for the new Tulsa BOK Center went on sale today at 10 am. I was told that all tickets were gone by Noon. I could not get on the the internet or stand in line because I had a "Human Resources" situation at work. Not to worry though, I bought 16 tickets on line Sunday! I could have bought many more. I had seen on line three weeks ago that there would be an American Express cardholder pre-sale from last Thursday thru Sunday. I tried every possible combination on the web to find out how to order. I worked Thursday and Friday to no avail. I tried a few things on Saturday and gave up. I even drove to the Homeland store to verify that they were selling tickets on Monday morning. The ladies grinned and said, "We start selling at 10 am, but we don't know when the line will form." In the Sunday Tulsa World newspaper they listed two web addresses to buy tickets on Monday. I went to both and navigated thru every possible door and found the "pre-sale". I was too late for the 5 star and 4 star pre-sale but an age-old question was answered. How much do the people pay that set in the first 30 rows (paid not free!) Here is the answer for the Eagles:

Last Thursday with your American Express card you could get a ticket in the first 10 rows that included: A souvenir laminated ticket, a gift bag, a pre-show party including dinner and drinks (No Eagles), a hassle free entrance to the building, a crowd free chance to buy Eagles' stuff, a discount coupon for online shopping, and "where possible"- free parking. By the way, the actual seat location would be assigned the day of the show. All this plus the chance "to stand the whole show!" for $750.00 each. Now if you are a lesser person, you can get the four star ticket that includes: a ticket in the first 30 rows, an Eagles gift (undefined), a discount coupon and yes, your seat will be assigned the day of the show. This is for the economical price of $400.00.

Instead I found where I could buy $50 tickets (that after add-ons) were $62 each. I bought six for my family. Then I bought 4 more for a friend. And then for kicks bought 6 more for business purposes. NO I DO NOT HAVE EXTRA TICKETS! I have 16 tickets in the upper deck (including souvenir laminated tickets) for less than 2 five star tickets. The life of a concert guy.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

mike groans at the movies

I made it thru "Mamma Mia". I am not against a chick flick now and then. I am not against a chick flick musical occasionally. But I am against chick flick musicals where the stars can't sing! My only consolation is that I only paid $6 and not the price of a Broadway ticket! **stars for being filmed in Greece. No stars for loosing two hours of my life. The popcorn did not save it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

mike goes to the movies on a Dark Knight

Actually (As my Grandson Avery starts many sentences), tonight was a full moon. I will tell you that I was not looking forward to this movie. It's dark nature in the trailer and the Heath Ledger death made me less a fan of the new flick. Tonight, though we went. I will not talk about the story, but I will say ****stars. It was a good movie filled with the type of tension that keeps you involved from beginning to the end. Yes, Heath did an excellent job of being a Hannibal Lector type of villain. It is not mindless like Spiderman and Hulk. It had a plot and everything.
What summer movies are supposed to be, except darker. And creepy. The supporting cast is great.

I picked the movie tonight. Carol picked the Sunday movie. As they say in Italy or new York or somewhere: mama mia!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A little joke

From a Brad Paisley CD as told by Little Jimmy Dickens:

A woman thinking about cars says to her husband, "I want you to buy me something that goes from zero to 160 in five seconds. So he buys her bathroom scales!

An Abraham joke

We went to a Jim Gaffigan concert last Friday night in Tulsa. Jim is one of the funniest guys around today and probably the only one left that does not Cuss. He doesn't need crutches he is funny in the same manner as Seinfeld. Life is funny. Although you had to be there, he did share this story.

God came to Abraham (Genesis 17) and told him that he would have to be circumcised. So Abraham did as told. The next morning as he was getting out of the shower, his wife, Sarah, looked at him and said, "What in the world have you done to yourself?" Abraham responds, "The LORD told me to do it."

"Well" said Sarah, "If the LORD told you to offer your son for sacrifice, would you do
that to-o-o?

"Well there is something I've been meaning to talk to you about." said Abraham

Sunday, July 13, 2008

mike goes to the movies and movies and movies...

As I have stated before, Carol and I go to a lot of movies. We like it! For the past 10 years I have kept the ticket stubs in a coffee mug, and at the end of the year I count the tickets to see how many movies we attended. Our high for any one year was 105. Since 2002 I have written the movie names in a journal and counted the stubs every six months.

Today was my day to record the first half of 2008. Through June we have seen 35 movies. Our average for the last seven years in the first 6 months is 40 (with a high of 49 in 2002). 35 ties us with 2005 as the lowest number of movies. Last year we only saw 78 movies well under our six year average of 87. In the years 2002 thru 2007 we saw 526 movies!

I know you are thinking get a life, but I have many friends that play more rounds of golf than that and a round of golf is much more than the cost of a movie ticket and takes longer.

We all decide what our hobbies will be. In the past few years we have declined in our movie trips because we can now afford to go to more concerts. We are also traveling more,going to more football and basketball games,averaging two NASCAR race weekends a year and a few dirt track races and we now have Grand Kids!

There is a common thread in all this......................... POPCORN

For the record, the best popcorn is at CARMIKE Cinema in Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA. and we don't rent many movies (We have already seen them.)

Today we saw Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D. Good summer movie and good Carmike Popcorn. ***stars

Friday, July 11, 2008

How I became an Architect

This subject came roaring at me last Wednesday, while I was killing time in a Barnes & Noble. I had finished cruising for books and made my normal last stop in the magazines. I started in Current events, moved toward music and movie magazines, parked at graphic arts and finally ended at the auto magazines at the north end. There in front of me was a glossy picture of the "Ala Kart" a custom car from the 60's.
From 10 years old to college I was a car crazy kid. My oldest brother was into cars and always had the coolest car in Haskell. He also bought a lot of Hod Rod magazines. I was somewhat into Model airplanes, but one day he brought home a model car that had options as to how it could be made to look. That small bit of creative control captured me. I like to draw also but drawings focused on "how something looked" not how could it be changed.

The same was true for model planes. You made them look as exact to the real item as possible.

Model cars allowed you to paint them any color, choose the wheels, etc. In short time I went from following directions to building 5 different cars out of four kits. Every dime I made from mowing lawns went to my habit. AMT was the main supplier of Model car kits and somehow I obtained an address and began ordering "parts" of kits from them and then building my own car designs.

George Barris, a California custom car designer created the "Ala Kart" and it made the rounds to the car shows including Tulsa. I was able to vist it and it was perfect. Soon AMT made a model of it and I bought over time about three kits plus ordering extra parts. My bedroom had a table that was my first design studio and I had shelves all over the room like a gallery and displayed about 80 models (Many of which have become dust in my attic!) I advanced to the point of using thread to wire the engines, clear coat and metal flake paint, etc.

This experience made me want to find a job doing something creative that involved models, drawing and the chance to change things. I first thought of designing cars, but that involved moving to LA, Detroit, Germany or Italy (the Japanese weren't on the radar then).

Then one day I found something called Architecture, and I haven't worked a day since. As Jimmy Buffet says, "I've grown older but not up!"

Monday, July 7, 2008


I've added a sound track. Since music is important to me, the song list at the bottom represents some very meaningful songs. These are not all my favorite songs but songs that speak to me.
"I get Around" just speaks to my high school days. The rest came much later.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

mike goes to the movies: getting them backwards

I went to see "Wanted" the other night and later watched "Things We lost in the Fire" on DVD.
That was backwards! "Things Lost" was worthy of the big screen and "Wanted" is at best a rental. I went to see "Wanted" for escape and knowing that it was about people who could will bullets to curve around obstacles and car chases where the cars never seemed to wreck and where the "good guy" is in a Dodge Viper, but could not out run the bad guy driving a delivery van. I was ok with all that. It was a normal interactions of the characters that was so stupidly portrayed! "Things lost in the Fire" is a totally on target look at two people trying to survive a death of a loved one and a drug addiction. It sounds like a downer, but it is so well acted that it will win you. Wanted: *star Things Lost: ***1/2 stars