Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Series



I enjoy reading (Listening) books. When I find a new author, I read all their books! John Grisham, John Balducci, etc. and various series like Harry Potter, Bourne, Pillars of the Earth, etc. I have mentioned that I am reading through the "Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon. Today I finished the second of seven books and immediately order #3. Listening on CD means the first book was 28 cds and the second 33 cds. So I have finished 61 cds and have another 36 on the way. These books are a rush and are as well crafted as Harry Potter. It is about Scotland in the 1740's and a time traveller that goes back and forth from there to 1945 or 1968 etc. It is hard to explain. But get in line and I will loan them!

I need a break!


We are still at that point. No Good New Movies that we haven't seen. So we went to one that we may have seen this summer that is STILL playing first run. It is easily the funniest movie so far this year. Here are four bits of dialogue as hints:

"I hate Godzilla too!" I didn't know they gave out rings at the Holocaust?" "Mike Tyson!" "Tigers love pepper but hate cinnamon." "Hey! My skittles are in there!"

2009 Movie #65 *****

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A virtual weekend: lawnmowers, star wars and surrogates







Ok! Your going to have to stick with me on the blog. This weekend everything seemed to be tied together in a weird way. So here goes:

The grandsons were at our house Friday through Saturday Afternoon. Avery, Age 6, is Totally into Star Wars Movies, Star Wars action figures, and Star Wars Legos. Addison, Age 3 is totally into Lawnmowers, Leaf Blowers, Chain Saws, and other tools. On the way to our house we asked what they would like to do? Avery asked if there were any new movies? (I don't know why he thinks I would know!) I told him about "Cloudy with the Chance of Meatballs 3D". Avery did not like that. He doesn't do 3-D. At the house we do our one planned activity in the form of an old fashioned wiener and marshmallow roast on the back patio. It was a laid back time around the fire, Avery talking about light sabers and Addison checking the moisture content of the grass for a mow on Saturday. I surprised Avery with a new Wii game that I bought last week at Wally World (Lego Star Wars!) After dark his attention was only that. Addison brought his play lawnmower and mowed the back yard, but after dark he asked for a flash light so he could go out to the yard a get his mower. I marvel that one is drawn to the virtual world of make believe and the other is drawn to the "role up your sleeves and do something" world.

Saturday at lunch, movies came up again and Avery wondered why they had to do 3D. He hates the glasses. Addison asked, "PAPA is there any movies about Lawn Mowing?" Avery roled his eyes and wondered who would want that? The answer was setting in front of him. I did know of one movie about lawn mowing, but kept it to myself. It was a scary sci-fi.

We had a great weekend with the boys.

Today was a full day: Church, Fin & Feather Craft Fair, NASCAR race on TV and then a movie.
There aren't many movies we haven't seen so we went to see "Surrogates" starring Bruce Willis. The reviews hadn't been good and it was called hokey. But so what?

The movie ended up being a very, very good cautionary tale that seemed to relate well to my weekend.

"Surrogates" is about a time in the future when everyone buys a life-like robot to do the actual interaction with the world while we stay home where it's safe in the recliner and live, love and interact through our surrogates. These robots have none of our flaws and we can feel pleasure but not pain! It is a thriller, which means that things go very wrong. Bruce to the rescue!

It is in fact a good movie and for me a very real movie! It reminded me of another movie about virtual reality which was of all things Stephen King's "The Lawn Mower Man" starring Pierce Brosnan as a scientist that invents a virtual reality chair where you can set a visualize experiences. He uses the guy that mows his lawn as the test case and of course everything goes very wrong! It was the first movie on the subject.

Since then there has been "Matrix" and others. Of course such things are crazy fiction. Who wants to live like that? Except you and me.

Let's revisit my weekend. Wiener Roast(real). Star Wars Wii (Virtual Reality). Church (real except when our "Surrogate Missionary" spoke to us about our mission in South Dakota showed many of us our virtual mission.) Fin & Feather Crafts. (Real) NASCAR/NFL on TV. (virtual) Movie (Virtual).

More and more of our life experiences are not about flesh and blood but a few steps removed. It is safer that way.

I think of Facebook, again. I keep up with a lot of virtual friends and they send me messages and if I want to I respond. I "like", "ignore" or "Comment" and they don't know what is really on my mind. I can make a "surrogate self" on the Wii and do all kinds of things that I am otherwise too lazy to do.

Don't tell me that "Surrogates" is a stupid story. It is exactly where we are headed!
I hope Addison sticks with his lawn mowers!

It was strange but I give it *** stars.

2009 movie #64

Friday, September 25, 2009

Old Old Joke

The doctor leaves a man's bedside after telling him he has only a few hours left. His wife comes in and the man says, "Can we set out on the porch and watch the stars and wait on the sun?" She replies, "That's easy for you to say. You don't have to get up in the morning!"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Electronic Lives


I came home today to find that Direct TV was not working. The notice on the screen said, We know there is a problem. We will fix it as soon as we can." Something like that. I got on the computer a while, but since no one else was home and I had no TV, I went out and set in the truck and listened to my book on CD (It's at a good part!). Later I went back in and saw that Direct TV now said, "Only the local channels are not available." Something like that. So I turned on ESPN and there was the ball game. Then it hit me. Two new shows that I wanted to watch tonight are being missed. I looked at the light on the DVR and realized that it was not recording them! Yikes! Am I dependent or what?

About then the phone rang. I looked at the caller I.D. It was no body I knew so I let the answering machine get it. The answering machine still uses Lindsey's (our daughter) voice. Zoe, our dog, hears her voice and lets out a major howl because she misses her.

Let's face it electronics affects us all. Even the dog!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Politics and Preaching, Gotta love it! or not?

There are a lot of people that like to say, "Don't you just hate politics?" My wife would be a good example of that. When we were getting serious in our relationship, she said she did not want to be married to a preacher or a politician. I took that to be in a formal sense, because I have known since high school that you have to preach to be heard and everything is political on some level (like it or not).

Preaching

I do like to share ideas ( the architect side and the writer side) but I don't want to be preachy. My rules on sharing ideas is simple: I share them. You can take them or leave them.
(The reason I am self employed is so that I can keep some ideas at play. When I teach a class, I am uncomfortable to be called a teacher. the spot I want to occupy is that of sharing ideas and challenging thought. What those in the "Class" get to of it is up to them. When I share ideas, it really does not hurt me if you don't like them. I may have to let someone's idea win out. I can live with that. Note: My MAJOR pet peeve is people who try to cram an idea down my throat and expect me to agree. THAT JUST DOES NOT WORK WITH ME. I can get very cranky and more than a little combative!

Politics

Politics is a competitive sport. For me to get a job as an architect, there's politics. Much Politics. I don't have OSU decals on my car. I would like to, but I have lost work because an OU fan Client thinks less of me. Politics. I interview for a church project. I will tell them that I am a Christian, but I do not say, "I'm Church of Christ." Why? Because that means something to the listener that gets in the way of being heard as an architect! Politics! They say, "Well you don't know anything about Choirs and Music do you?" Politics. I play it everyday.

I play it at church too. This is the part that I dislike but became good at it. The one place I should be safe, I am not. I know it and I deal with it. Jesus had to! Example: My name has been suggested to be an elder in our church something that I did for 8 years before taking a year off! We are in a period of the church deciding if I really should be. Yesterday, I got an email from a lady in our church that wanted me to answer ONE QUESTION. Mike, are you for or against abortion? She stated that she was a one issue person and bases her view of a person's character and morals on this one question. She said she would vote for me based on this question and seemed to say that she would want the church to know my response. At first I was surprised. When I was an elder about three years ago, she met with me and another elder to ask that same question! She seemed satisfied then, but that was then, this is politics. I honored her with the same answer as before and reminded her that she had asked me before.
She remembered, but so what. In my response I told her that it is a mistake to be a one issue person. My example was the person that murdered the abortionist in Kansas. He also is against abortion! Politics. I think I passed but she could have tripped me up if she had asked another question like, .......... I'm not saying.........Politics!

There is a side of me that really, really, would like to be at the State capitol mixing it up. To do that I would have had to keep a lot of things to myself over the years and not make waves and not make people mad and not say what I'm thinking. Too late for that!

Some great quotes about politics:

"Politics is a jungle---torn between doing the right thing and staying in office." JFK

"He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career."
George Bernard Shaw

"Every time we have an election, we get in worse men and the country keeps right on going. Times have proven only one thing and that is you can't ruin this country even with politics."
Will Rogers

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good Memories

"The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we'd all pile into the car--I forget what kind it was-- and drive and drive. I'm not sure where we'd go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called 'Dad'. We'd eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you."

From Jack Handey Deep Thoughts

Saturday, September 19, 2009

When you know you have a problem!

The Walk on a less travelled road.

I am teaching the high school class at church! I am really teaching myself and I just hope they are getting something from it. The class is called The Nature of God and is an idea I got after reading "The Blue Parakeet" (about reading the Bible as God's story) and "The Shack". Most all of the class will be in Genesis and cover stories that everyone knows, but only dwelling on God and not the story. The one tomorrow is about "Walking with God". The story about Adam and Eve dealt with God walking in the garden and being sad that they hid from him instead of walking. Then there was Enoch who it was said "walked with God for 300 years" and God liked his company enough that he just took him to Heaven. Then there was Noah who was saved because he "walked with God". And that is just the first six chapters. I think there is a message in there somewhere. I just hope I can find it.

Not preaching. Just saying!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Informant




It's FRIDAY and I needed a movie! and I got one! We went to see Matt Damon in "The Informant" This movie is PG40. (No one under 40 without an adult, No sex, No action, No shootings or Car chases). Just a good movie that will test your mind from beginning to end. I was constantly asking do I "really" know what is happening or am I being fooled. This is a dialogue movie and one of those where you set with a grin on your face the whole time. Matt Damon is not Jason Bourne here, he is more like Bourne's nerdy brother. Damon added about 40 pounds for this!

The movie is based on a true story of corporate greed and price fixing. Maybe, maybe not!

Good cast. Good fun.

I give it ***stars.

2009 movie #63

Thursday, September 17, 2009

An unusual opportunity


I like to buy concert shirts or hats. I have more of them than I need, but it is just a piece of the experience to take away. Tonight I got to reverse that idea. Last year we inducted Chick Raines , a songwriter who has written several #1 songs. One of his songs, recorded by Wade Hayes was "Old Enough To Know Better, Still Too Young To Care". The Hall of Fame made T-shirts with that saying to sell last year. Tonight at the pre-show feed, he was standing there with one other person. No one knew who he was and he was getting no attention. Carol and I talked to him for a while and late as we were going into the arena, I saw the shirts. I bought him a shirt and took it to him upstairs. I seemed weird that he did not have THAT shirt!

Seemed like the thing to do! It was fun.

A Concert with Purpose


Tonight was the Induction concert for the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and there were some comparisons to be considered. Carrie Underwood was inducted along with Ramona Reed and Rocky Frisco. Romona Reeds started her career by competing on a TV talent show (The Ted Mack Amateur Hour) in the early days of Television. She went on using her stage name, Martha White, as one of the first women to perform on the Grand Ole Opry and shared the stage with Hank Williams. She later toured with Bob Wills. Her son, Jim, now travels, doing a tribute show to Hank. Of course Carrie also started on a little TV show called American Idol and is now one of the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry.

Rocky Frisco has been around for 50 years playing keyboards for everyone from Elvis to Eric Clapton.

Tonight's show was as good as we have come to expect and as usual it is not the headliner that impressed me. The Band assembled to play with Ramona Reed was a great western swing band. headed by the Legendary Tommy Allsup and other members of the Texas Playboys they played like they were still a band.

All together now: "A Good Time was had by ALL!"

BY THE WAY, the drawing here is the future Museum building. The purpose of the concert is to showcase the people and music that will be displayed in this space.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What to do in a Whiteout



I have been in a reverse cabin fever. All this rain has made me want to stay away from people. I can't do that of course, but tonight I retreated to a movie that would give a person cabin fever. I went to see "Whiteout", a murder mystery movie set in Antarctica at the South Pole. Kate Beckinsale plays a U. S. Marshall stationed there at the large base. It is a "Who-done-it?". But my main question was how could she run around in -50 degrees C without a mask and no dry skin and moist lips? Okay I'll give them that one. Who wants to see a movie where all the stars are hidden behind giant clothes? It is one of those movies though where they had so many hours to leave the base before the giant whiteout comes and they are trapped for the winter. You know the ones. The loudspeaker in the background is constantly making announcements, "People the base will lock down in 52 hours, please be on the plane." and as the group is standing in line at the plain the loudspeaker is saying, "Let's hurry up people!" I don't think I would need reminding.

It is an Ok movie with a little CSI, NCIS in a cold climate.
I give it **stars. Good Rental. PG13 for gore and one "F" word.

2009 Movie #62

Monday, September 14, 2009

Civility



Showing regard for others(Civility) is on the way out! I'm thinking the Rep from South Carolina. I'm thinking Kanye West taking the stage from Taylor Swift. I'm thinking Serena at the US Tennis Open.

It is all around us. It see it every time I do anything. Civility is gone at the movies, at concerts, at Church, at the job. Our society is so self absorbed! Joe Wilson calls the President a liar and people think he is cool. After all they were doing the same thing to the Congress when they came home to town hall meetings. One of my (FORMER) facebook friends announced proudly that he had contributed to Wilson's re-election for his public display. Zapped that friend.

This week I zapped about 8 "friends"! Just couldn't take any more. I mean we are all self-centered when it comes to facebook, but I don't want to see 500 of any one's wedding photos!

In defense of Kanye West, he has previously stated that he was the best entertainer in the world, so I guess he can do that he wants.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Extract




It was raining again today so we decided to do something completely different: A movie! We went to T-town to see "Extract", the new Mike Judge comedy starring Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Kristen Wiig, and J.K. Simmons. Jason Bateman owns a company that makes food extracts. Having worked at a couple of factories before and during college, I can say that the workers portrayed are way close to real people (weird but real). Jason Bateman was trying to decide whether to sell the company to General Mills; he is being sued by an attorney (Gene Simmons of KISS fame) who represents an employee who lost a testicle in a "freak accident; a jail-bait employee that is ripping everyone off; and a bartender friend, Ben Affleck who tries to give him drugs and other bad advice. It is R for subject matter but language is stout but seldom. Just an average day at the office!
It is an adult story because only adults would get it!

It was a funny movie. I will not recommend it because I don't want to be blamed for ruining your morals. (Its in sort of the vain of "Hangover" if you know what I mean. your laughing but you wished you weren't!))

For me ***stars

2009 movie #61

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fun in Sugarland




Yesterday, we met our daughter Lindsey and hubby, Jeremy in OKC for a Friday night concert under the clouds. Under the stars sounds better but it was raining when we got to the capital city and it stopped at 4:30 pm. We took all our rain gear and headed to the Zoo Amphitheater for the show, only to find a mass of fans already in line.

We had seen Sugarland in Vegas for a limited set of songs and frankly we were looking forward to the opening act, Billy Currington. Billy is the guy who sings, " People are Crazy". He was very good in concert and blew everyone away when he sung Tracy Chapman's "Give me One Reason to Stay Here". We would have been satisfied to stop right there.

Sugarland came out and gave one of the most entertaining shows ever! Jennifer Nettles has a great personality and the whole band plays together like family. Many acts don't even know which city they are in but Sugarland is one of the exceptions. During the song, "Who says you can't go home" they showed a video of OKC landmarks, night spots and roads. Being September 11 one of their songs had a video that showed them at NYC ground zero and the OKC Memorial. Talk about cool. It was also Jennifer Nettles birthday!

Sugarland mixes all types of music, Country, 80s and 90s Rock, and Americana into a great, great show. This goes into a top concert list.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mike's Theory of College Football




Rule 1: Your team will not go undefeated.
Rule 2: The team that beats your team will not be the one you expected.
Rule 3: The Head Coach of your team is not as smart as you. Example: 4th down and goal at the two. They should always go for it!
Rule 4: The Head Coach of your team is not as smart as you. Example: 4th down and goal at the two. Why did they go for it? Three points was all we needed.
Rule 5: ESPN is always against your team!
Rule 6: All network sports analysts think your conference is overrated. Until it wins the National Championship. They knew it would!
Rule 7: You are not obnoxious about your team, but just about every else is.
Rule 8: If you are getting "butterflies" 24 hours before each game, you may be taking it a little too serious! Unless you are starting right guard.
Rule 9: If you refuse to go to church after a loss, your priorities may need review.
Rule 10: If it takes you until Tuesday to get over Saturday, it is time for a talk. calling Dr. Phil.

Been there done that. Say to yourself 20 times: "It's only a game."

Monday, September 7, 2009

All About Steve


We went to an adult movie tonight (as different from "G-Force"). We saw "All About Steve" the new Sandra Bullock movie. It was great fun and there is much more humor than the previews show (for a change). She plays a Cross word puzzle writer who becomes obsessed with her blind date. It is a crazy cross country trip as she follows a TV news crew (her blind date is the camera man). There is a stop on OKC (really Southern Cal) and it doesn't make the Okies look too good, but other than that, it was good time in the dark with popcorn.

I give it **3/4 stars.


2009 movie #60

Obama speaks to the School Kids!

I watched on Channel 8 today as someone interviewed a young couple about Obama speaking to their kids. The mother started crying! Why would Obama do this to defenseless kids? My son said that one of his friends asked if he was letting Avery go to school tomorrow? You know -- The speech! Utra-Conservatives all over are concerned about the speech's affects on their children's minds. AND WELL THEY SHOULD!

The transcript of his speech is now available online.

I just read it and OH! CRAP! It is dangerous the right-wing, utra-conservative, Glen Beck listening people.

Barak Hussein OBAMA wants to urge kids to stay in school and take responsibility for their educations (try hard).

He actually wants them to learn and become SMART! Talk about a treat to ultra conservatives. No wonder they are frightened.

Next thing you know he will get into health care by asking the kids to take a bath (with soap!)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Movie: G


We have the grandsons this weekend. Giving their parents a much needed break. When they got to town they actually wanted to go to a movie! Go figure. They requested "G-Force", a movie that had managed to escape my list. G-Force is about a team of Guinea pigs trained as spies! They can talk, work computers, special gadgets like other secret agents. It is a live action comedy movie. I might add: It makes much more sense than "G.I. Joe". It is realistic compared to Joe!
Like Joe this movie also has the token black comedian with the voice of Tracy Morgan. Well, I would not accuse him of being funny, but that is usually his intention. This is a kid's movie with plenty of poop and fart jokes (making it PG!).

I give this **stars. The popcorn was good.

FYI: Addison (our worker grandson) got up in my lap about half way through and asked, "Can we go saw the tree limbs?" The lawn was next up on the agenda and cutting down some low tree limbs.

2009 movie#59

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Facebook and Football 2

Read F and F 1 before this:

On Facebook tonight an OU member of the church I attend (It gets important later!) posted something like: Nice win Okie State and then said: "Now it is time for the real team from Oklahoma to show how its done!"

Well you have to admit that it was poor timing!

I commented like in the blog about obnoxious OU fans and then said, "I'll stick with fake football."

He then commented how OSU fans suddenly came out of the woodwork! Then he said, Need I remind you of the record of OU against OSU?

I responded that he only reminded me of Obnoxious OU fans!

He then emailed me the following (I did not see it on FACEBOOK): "Haha, the power of Christ compels you."

I had forgot that Jesus is an OU fan!

FYI: I've been bantering with OU fans for 40 years. I must have struck a religious nerve!
I guess I've lost the OU vote for elder!


Grandpa News


It is a good day. No a great day! Today I can officially announce that my favorite title and job is enlarging. Lindsey and Jeremy are going to give me, "PAPA", another child to spoil rotten. Our fourth arrives in March!

Facebook and Football

As Letterman says, "Yikes a Hooty"! Football did get started today. I was suddenly faced with the realization that I now get instant yakking from OU fans! I is bad enough to have them wear their OU garb to church every Sunday and act as if they just played a great game the day before. Now, I know where they are at any given moment on Saturday, What they are drinking, eating, and thinking is now a new joy! Well that is until about 9:00 pm tonight!

But they will come back in about two weeks. I've lived with it for 40 years, why stop now?

But I might rethink who my FACEBOOK friends are!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Are you ready for some Football!

Private Jokes in Public Places 2

Follow up on previous blog: Thursday, I went to my second funeral of the week. It was a good service! The same funeral home conducted this one and the one on Wednesday. I asked the funeral home director how long the other funeral lasted. He smiled and said he did not leave until 7:15 pm (started at 3). Note: It was a memorial service. He just had to take out the flowers! If the service ended an hour and 15 minutes before he left, it was still a 3 hour funeral!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

God's Image

Sunday, I start teaching the High School class at the church I attend. Talk about a challenge! I am working on a series of thoughts about the beginnings of Genesis. The focus will be on our relationship with GOD. No check that! The focus will be on GOD's intended relationship with us. My story will begin with my grandson, Addison and: What possesses a 3 year old to want an imaginary "grandson" named Ghost! (The image of God) I hope this works. At least I am having a good time with it.

Private Jokes in Public Places 1

One of my pet peeves is "Private Jokes in Public Places". In other words people want me to listen with full attention while they tell me a personal story that is about a subject that I know, but I have no relationship with the tale. Example 1: We went to the Church 40th anniversary reunion. The first after dinner speaker was the youth minister who was not only born into this church and has always been a member there, but he is on staff currently. His topic was a "History of the Garnett Church". I settled in to hear all the highlights of the last 40 years, about some of the past leaders, etc. What I got was this guy's personal memories of his Sunday School classes, HIS experiences at youth camp, HIS memories of HIS life! I was in great pain before this was over. HIS memories could have been at ANY church in America. But he thought he was funny.

Today, I went to the funeral of a friend. They handed me an order of the service when I came in and there were 8 items listed in the celebration. The funeral started at 3 pm with the obituary being read aloud. Next on the list was "Stories" and four of his friends were listed as speakers. These 4 took about 40 minutes. 40 minutes of personal stories that warped into sermons with scripture readings, testimonials, and stories that I could not relate to. Then (Not on the agenda) the Pastor declared "open mike" and 6 more people came forward with more personal stories. It is now 4:10pm and Dennis Jernigan is taking the stage for a "Time of Worship".
Remaining on the agenda was the "The Message", the Family Eulogy, a Video Tribute, another Dennis song and the Benediction.

As far as I know the service is still going. I left at 4:15 with my own good memories of my friend safe in my head.