Friday, October 30, 2009

Family Photos

Today, we went with our daughter to her ultrasound to find out the sex of our newest grandchild. Ultrasound is so, so cool. I watched my granddaughter suck her thumb and kick both feet at once.

We looked at her spine and watched her heart beat. She is 20 weeks old and weighs 9 ounces. According to the specialist, she is about 6 to 8 inches long. She has a long way to go and a short time to get there. (sounds like a song lyric), but they say everything is normal and functioning properly. It was a great moment!

We have come a long way from just listening to everyone guess the sex by whether the baby is carried "high" or "low", timing, weight, etc.

Our girl won't see daylight until the last of March, but she already has two outfits!

We are richly blessed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kung Fu Fighting

We have a potential new client in a nearby County seat, that wants to build a new Chinese Buffet. Well, we have been hired but have not been given the "go ahead". Seems the 2 other Chinese restaurants in town are harassing this young Chinese couple. They have sent threatening letters. Offered to buy their property and has posted threatening stickers on their property. When Michael asked if she had contacted the police, the lady replied that this is part of their "culture" and the police would not understand!

My son said it sounded like the plot to a "Karate Kid" movie.

"What in the wide world of sports will happen next?"

Reliving past projects

I got a call yesterday from the librarian in my hometown. They need a new circulation desk for the library that I designed 25 years ago. When I got there, I realized that it is still the same as it was in 1985. Even has the same carpet (which I might add, has held up quite well. The trip brought back several memories (both good and bad). First the good: This was the first "paid" project in my hometown. It remains one of my favorite projects.

Now the bad or should I say weird.

First a back story. When I was a college student, the American Legion in my town decided to build a war memorial and host a competition for the design. Naturally I entered. When the judging took place there were only two entries, mine and one from the local pharmacy owner (who was a veteran). I had known him all my life, but he was the age of my dad. Well, I won and my design was built. (My first project!) Old Don did not take it very well.

Advance 17 years to my interview for the Library job. Guess who was chairman of the Library board? Yep, Old Don. He was my vote for being hired, for the design, for the colors and anything else that may arise.

It did not stop there. When the local school board hired my firm for their bond issues, he led an active opposition complete with letters to the editor of the town paper about how poorly designed it was.

In 1999 when Muskogee County hired me to do the County Courthouse project, Old Don once again wrote letters to the editor in the Muskogee Paper saying the architect had a poor design.

When I go back to Haskell and see Old Don out in the public, I go out of my way to say Hi!
Yes, He is still kicking! He probably won't die. He will just turn to stone. That might make a good war memorial, come to think of it.

I'll show photos later. But not of Don!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I need to be me! ok

I've got a problem. Now that my church has asked me to be a Elder again, I'm afraid to comment about things that happen at church. I mean sometimes I observe things that strike me as funny, but it may seems to some of you members that I am making light of something serious, and seem mean spirited. I would hate that. I mean if I stick with Plan A and it makes you mad, you will think less of me. I could go to Plan B, but then you would never know what I was thinking. Plan A is fairly straightforward. But Plan B may be the safest road to travel. I mean Plan A is sharing and Plan B is not sharing. Of course, neither A or B would not be official Elder Speak, just Mike!

For now I will keep my thoughts on Sunday to myself. I guess that's Plan B!

Day Light Savings!

Tonight, Carol and I had a long discussion about the end of Day Light Savings. I always get confused! I know: "Spring Forward. Fall Back." But I tend to go: "Well its 5 pm. Do we fall back to 4 pm? or It's 5 pm do we go back to 6 pm?"

You may think it's no big deal but one weekend about 20 years ago, our family arrived at church 2 hours early! I am still living it down.

I remember when day light savings first started in Oklahoma. When the time changed it messed all the farmers up in Haskell. At church during announcements about a service starting at 7:00 pm. One of the farmers who say aloud, "Is that OLD Time or NEW TIME?"

By Saturday I will get it straight.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

They have a big catalog

I've mentioned before about noticing a great number of OU fans wear there OU clothes to church.
Today we went to a funeral and I saw that one of the family was dressed fittingly in all black. As I got closer, I saw that the "Black" dress shirt he was wearing had a large white OU symbol on it.
They have OU funeral clothes too!

It is a good year to do that.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Alternate Universes with U2

This is the comment on my facebook post of a concrete photo last night by our son-in-law, Jeremy: "I must be living in an alternate universe. I'm just sitting around at the casa and my mother-in-law is at a freaking U2 concert...What?"

Yes friends, we WERE among the older people present but we were consumed by U2. If you ever think, "What's the big deal about an Irish rock band?" See them live and all will be answered. We go to a lot of concerts and I haven't witnessed anything better than this. From the Stage/Space Craft to the sound and lights, we almost needed seat belts for this one.

The fact that the #1 rock/hip hop group in the U.S. was the opening act speaks a lot. Then during the show to have Bishop Desmond TuTu to (by video) introduce a song makes one take notice. Alternately I felt like I was at a Rock concert, Church, or a Peace Rally and it all felt good.

The stage speaks to the architect side of me and the shear size of the production. They had almost 20 semis to haul it. It was easily the best use of OU's stadium this year!

I could go on and on but hey it was about the music! "Get on your boots!"

Lawnmower Man, part two

Addison, age 3, has now moved up from toy leaf blowers to the real thing! He wanted to help Carol in the yard Saturday and took over the gasoline powered blower. He ran it until he ran out of Gas (in the blower NOT HIM). He would have been willing to do the whole block!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Where the Wild Things are: With PaPa and Grandma

Took our wild things to see "Where the Wild Things Are" at the movies and surprise, surprise the Grandsons did not like it! Addison, 3, was restless the whole time and Avery watched attentively but didn't exactly like it. His almost exact words after the movie, "Never in my whole life would I have seen that movie." His main complaint: It was too long! (1-1/2 hours)

They wanted to get home and roast marshmallows.

The movie is very well crafted and I enjoyed that the special effects were downplayed. The creatures were like giant puppets. It was also a hoot to hear the creatures voices were from the likes of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), Forrest Whitaker and Chris Cooper. The story and the movie begins with the little boy being neglected by family and becoming a little hurtful himself.
He journeys to the far place of the lovable characters that in the process of the adventure teaches him about his role as part of a family and shows that life is not easy. Good story but it is lost on the young! As the director said, "It is a movie about a child, but not necessarily a children's movie."

All the critics love it but lets see how the kids do. I missed this book growing up but I bet those adults who did will love it.

For me, **1/2 stars. 2009 movie #72.

P.S. On the way home after the movie the boys were reciting a line from the preview of "Astro Boy", "I've got machine guns coming out of my Butt?" Yes, just what we need! It ended quickly.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sometimes you need a "for sure" laugh!

Took Carol to see "Zombieland" tonight. It was just as funny as last weekend. I'm not sure what this says about me, but I have only seen 2 movies twice this year. This one and maybe "the Hangover". Please don't hold that against me. We all have weaknesses. Mine usually involves popcorn.

On second thought, I give this movie ***1/2 stars.

2009 movie# 71

Award Winning, I like that statement!

I don't often brag (except about the grandsons), but I have something to be very proud of in our architectural firm. Last week Spaces, Design & Architecture won its first American Institute of Architects design award. It was a 2009 Citation Award by the Eastern Oklahoma Chapter of the AIA for the firm's work in the Renovation of Muskogee High School. The award felt good on several levels. One, it was the only Public School project recognized. Two, we were up against much larger Tulsa area firms. And most important it showed that our peers see the design ability of the very special people that work at SDA. Though our firm is in its 17th year, we have not always had the quality of talent present now. Don't get me wrong we have always had talented people. Just not this consistently GOOD! Yes, I'm bragging, but I'm not taking any credit other than my good sense to get them on board and turn them loose.

The Muskogee High School had not been changed since it was built in 1969, other than many coats of green, white and gray paint. As you can see, the spaces were changed a bit!

In my business, I have two jobs: Keep the clients happy and keep the SDA team happy. Right now I love my job.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mike graduates Kindergarten

At church this weekend we installed three new Elders to our church's leadership. we had a ceremony and everything. Carol was out of town and hated to miss it, but I, in jest, said that in reality it was just like graduating Kindergarten. My job in the ceremony was to make sure my pants were zipped and that I didn't full off the stage! I know it sounds like I was taking the event lightly, but I'm not. I will take it a little further, though, before my point. We were called up on the stage and given symbolic gifts representing the moment and then were asked to recite some thoughts in unison. All these things were similar to the events my grandson, Avery, went through last May.

We have many passages in our lives. Whether you are 5 years old, facing a big future of many events, or an old guy being asked to be a leader because of our experiences facing many events of the past to prepare for the next challenges, there is a common thread. The ceremony agenda does not matter. What matters is feeling the support from those in the audience and the notion that we are not alone in our decision to move ahead. Whether 5 or 50, 6 or 62, we are not on this road alone.

That is what is worth celebrating!

Couples Retreat

We had our weekend movie tonight! I guess it was sort of a Columbus Day thing. We went to Vince Vaughn's "Couples Retreat, a new comedy about 4 couples who go to a couples retreat at an exclusive resort (Bora Bora). It is a perfect Vince movie with a great cast and a good cross section of many couples you know. If you saw the previews and like it, you will like the movie. With any movie that discusses the relationship of couples makes you at some point say, "Am I that way?" or "I am that way!" Other wise there is good comedy. It is PG13, but nothing to offend us married folk.

I want to go to Bora Bora! Wow that place is cool.

I give it **3/4 stars. 2009 movie # 70.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More Bad News

"You mean the prisoners are eating the rats?"

"Only those who are quick enough to catch one!"

Actual line from the book I am reading

Is somebody trying to tell me something?

Today was my third day to fend for myself. I watched football most of the day after getting a new pool cover pump. (The water on the pool cover was over 2 feet deep!) So I went to the movies and watched "Pandorum" the new Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster space movie. NOTE: If you like "Aliens" you will like this. As with that classic movie, it takes place on a space craft in deep space. Only this time it is a large ship carrying the last humans to a far off planet that is just like earth. Seems the Earth got used up! Any who it is year 2700+ and this ship has about 16,000 people aboard. Since they have a long way to go, everyone who isn't needed to run the ship are in hyper-sleep. As crews come on duty they are released from sleep. As the movie begins our heroes, crew #5 awake to find that people are slowly being eaten by some strange things running through the ship! And like "Aliens"most of the movie takes place in dark passages.

As I stated previously, I have only been watching movies that Carol and I would not have seen, if she were home. So for the second time in as many days I have watched, for my enjoyment the last humans on Earth being devoured like sushi! This time I forgot the Milk Duds.

It seems that the favorite theme for action movies, dramas, or comedies this year are Zombies, Vampires, and Aliens wanting to do us in. The movie coming called "2010" pretty much ends it all. The drama, "The Road" is another. And lest we forget, the animated movie, "9" covers the same ground. I know everybody is depressed by the economy but Crap, where are the fun movies! You know like "There Will Be Blood!"

I give this one about **1/2 stars. 2009 movie #69

Who's team are we on?

Several things come to mind as I think about this post. As I was growing up I always thought we (the USA) was the good guys. I always thought we were on the side of truth and right and even when we messed up, I knew we were trying to do what is right for us and the world. In sports I can remember supporting my team and sometimes we won by being lucky, or because the ref missed a call against us, but in any case, I was proud of my team. I can also admit that in later life I learned about partisan politics. I watched and cheered when Carter was defeated because we weren't going any where, but I never remembered hoping he would mess up and that the USA would look bad. I did not like Bush 2 and thought he was crazy at times, but I never wanted the USA to fail.

I live in the only state in the Union that totally (every county) voted against Obama. So the USA looses the Olympic bid and Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize and all hell breaks loose from the way, way right (50% of Oklahoma). US citizens are openly happy the Olympics are not coming to North America and mad that the President won the Nobel prize! One makes Obama look bad, YEA! One makes Obama look good, BOO!

Guess the message the rest of the world receives. We no longer look like the good guys!

The reality is much more simple. One of the largest Continents on the earth (South America) has never hosted the Olympics and "Most" of the world wants Obama to succeed in making the Earth a better place to live.

It is my hope that we can some how get behind the USA again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Devil you say!

So, You say Windows 7 is ready to ship?

Other Weird Worlds

Carol is out of town visiting her brother in Iowa so I am having "alone time". Actually nothing has changed in my routine except I limit myself to movies that she would not care for. So today I went to see "Zombieland". Talk about a perfect Woody Harrellson movie! The cast of four: Woody, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone and Jesse Eisenberg (The nerd in every teen movie) are a unlikely group.

The story is about the United States after the Zombies take over. Few regular people are left and they are all being hunted. By the way: THIS IS A COMEDY! As a matter of fact, it is crazy funny if you survive the first few minutes while story is being set up. There is much zombie gore, but in a funny way. Note to self: Finish the Milk Duds before the blood starts. By the middle of the movie it is a story of four people going from Austin to L. A. taking out zombies and looking for Hostess Twinkies. I will tell you just one thing not mentioned in previews: Bill Murray has a great cameo!

It is R for language and zombie gore. It is not for everyone! I GO SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO.

I give it *** stars 2009 movie #68

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fantasy Worlds

The movie that I just described in my post below was a fantasy. I would like to think that we do not live in such a world, but after the speech I heard last week, I'm not too sure. I went to the mayor's State of the City speech in our fair city. That alone seems like make believe since the mayor of our town of 40,000 is 20 years old! He shocked me all over again when he reminded me that two years ago he was still in high school!

In his speech he reminded us of all the cities accomplishments in the past year by zooming through a power point that covered many areas. The problem for me was that he spoke of two projects that I was involved with and was totally wrong about both. I wondered how many of the other things were true?

After he finished the review, he talked of his goals for the coming year and highlighted his Number One Goal. He talked about the program that Tulsa County developed that allows all high school grads to attend Tulsa Community College for free if they keep their grades up. He thought it was cool and stated that it was his goal to do the same in Muskogee allowing students to attend Connors College free as well. Then He said: He just needed to figure out where to get the money? He went on to say, "If anyone has any ideas, how to do this, he would like to talk to them!" (The weird thing is: He is a Republican?)

Fantasy is alive.

I left thinking of my idea: We can stamp out poverty by giving everyone a million dollars! If anyone has a good idea on how to get the money let me know.

Is Honesty the best Policy?

I have been looking forward to the new comedy movie, "The Invention of Lying." Tonight we watched it. Warning: You will get more than you expect. In this fantasy mankind has only told the truth. There is no fiction only fact. No hidden thoughts and no lies! Ricky Gervais is the star, the writer and the director. If you go you will think about this long after the movie ends. It starts as a comedy where everything is "out on table". Even TV commercials tell the truth! Enters a guy who has lost his job and is told by all that he is a fat loser of a screen-writer. In a rare moment he tells a lie and since people are use to the truth, they accept his story as truth! And so the story begins.

Note: When we went to the movies the night before the Theater manager told me that "The Invention of Lying" bothered him. He was afraid that people would find it sacrilegious and want their money back.

Well let's just say that in the movie, religion does not exist until the man who lies gets started.
You will have much to think about! The part about God and heaven did not offend me, but it was stout! And I might add, you will discover the logic in NOT always telling the truth!

As for me, I liked it and will think about it a long time. FYI: The movie is full of cameos from Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Tina Fey, Edward Norton, Rob Lowe and more.

I give it ***stars for originality. 2009 movie #67

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Whip it, Whip it Good!

No, I'm not taking about the Devo song, I'm talking about the movie, "Whip It" that I saw tonight.
This movie is about, of all things, a Roller Derby league in Austin , Texas. It is the first movie directed by Drew Barrymore and stars Ellen Page (Juno) and a crazy collection of a cast. It is a hard movie to pin down because it is not typical Hollywood film. It actually shows Texas and the middle class in a real way. The star plays a high school girl who has been dragged to beauty pageants all her life by a domineering mother. She secretly breaks away into the rough world of roller derby. There is good humor, slice of life, and a good story. It is a good alternative to a lot of the fluff out there today.

I give it *** stars

2009 movie #66

The Old College Try

I've been thinking all week about going to see a Northeastern State University ball game. We haven't seen them play in over a year. They are playing a team that has the same record and it appeared to be a good match. Today after mowing the yard, we decided to go over to Tahlequah early and eat and then drop by the University Center before the game. So, we went to Sam-n-Ella's Pizza for a very good pie. We then went to the University Center bookstore and found it closed, which is not unusual this close to game time. We drove to the stadium at 5:00 to see how the parking would be and find a good spot. To my surprise we got a great parking spot.

Remember that I said we haven't seen them play in a year. Still haven't. THEY ARE ON THE ROAD TODAY! THEY'RE PLAYING IN TEXAS!

Ii is now officially movie night!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Noah and the rules

As I have mentioned before, I am teaching a High School class at church that deals with the nature of GOD as shown in Genesis. It is interesting that in all my years of setting through Sunday School I never remember discussing that all creatures were vegetarian until after the flood! (Read Genesis 1 and 9) It sure answers the question: Why didn't the animals on the Ark get eaten? I also just noticed that God said he would hold the animals accountable also. Will animals be judged? (Genesis 9:5 NIV)

It has been interesting how different the Bible reads if you only read what God says!

Also: The rule against murder started after the Flood not before Cain killed Abel!

Oh, and the rain started on February 17th!