Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Losers

At the movies recently I watched the previews of "The Losers" and the remake of the TV show "The A Team". They are basically the same movie about a rogue team doing crazy jobs involving shooting, blowing things up and bad guys. Of the two "The Losers" looked like the better. When the reviews came out in the papers all the writers jumped at the chance to say, "The Losers is a loser." LOL As I read the reviews I got the hunch I needed. They wanted this movie (made from a comic book) to make sense! They were looking for an academy award movie. This is a popcorn movie. An action movie with comedy is what it is. No big name cast but fun. It is PG13 (they said the F word the required one time) and their is no blood and no nudity (there is a bedding scene). Escapist fun with a sequel planned already.

I give it **1/2 stars.

2010 Movie # 16

Somebody Slap Me! Part 1

Somebody slap me! That is the title of the old John Anderson country song which came to my mind last night during the concert. Occasionally I use bad judgement. I came back for our trip with a full load on my plate. I was rested and ready to go back to work and knew that it would flow into the weekend. So, why then did I say yes, when someone says, "Do you want to see Sam Bush Friday night?" I later realized that I agreed only because I was asked by "A List people in my town" and felt a "need".

I also realize that may I need an intervention when it comes to concerts. Twenty minutes after that invite, my computer lit up and asked, "Hey, Mike, do you want to buy Carrie Underwood tickets Friday Morning? They don't go on sale to the public until Saturday but we will give you presale tickets because you are an easy mark!" I started to say, "Yes" but then looked up the date of the show and realized that I will be going to OKC to see Sugarland and Little Big Town just two days before."

Somebody Slap Me!

So we go to the Sam Bush concert and as I said in the previous post, he was at the top of his game as a performer. The problem was that I was actually in concert over load. After seeing almost 30 world class performers just a few days before, I was not at the top of my game as a attendee. In the middle of the concert I was mentally reviewing my notes on the class that I will teach Sunday at church. A little later I was envisioning a walk along the sidewalks of downtown Fort Gibson, a project that I am currently involved. I walked all eight blocks and saw exactly what I needed to do. On both I came up with some decent ideas while some world class "Background " music played on.

Somebody Slap Me!

I realize that I have occasion gone to movies and concerts that I shouldn't. I am trying to make better judgements. Last night was not one of those. As good as it was I should not have gone. The other bad decision this year was "Aerosmith/ZZ Top". The movies that I shouldn't have seen are numerous and probably includes the one we will see tonight.

On a better note, I am glad I have the Bible on my IPhone. Last night I found the texts that I was looking for while I was riding back home.

Sam Bush - master artist

We went to a concert last night. (How Novel!) Sam Bush was playing in Fort Smith and we went with a group to see him. Carol and I had listened to him in Nashville a few years ago in a interview and performance show at the Country Music Hall of Fame. We also saw him last Sunday at the ACMs performing with Darius Rucker. Last night was just him and his band showing why he is a master at the mandolin (some say best in the world). He has played all his life and is one of the most sought after musicians.

Before the show we met him out on the sidewalk. One of our party, Jim (Hank) Blair is a friend of Sam's and he stopped to talk. He recommended where we should eat before the show! After the show I got his autograph and talked to him about the Vegas show.

He is one of the good guys of music. Whether, bluegrass, country or rock, he can do it all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Last Rodeo

Monday night we went to ACM's tribute to Brooks & Dunn, "Last Rodeo". The three hour concert featured the A list of Country Music with a few surprises. B&D sat on stage while each act did a B&D song and told stories about Kix and Ronnie. It is one thing for musicians to sing their stuff, but sometimes it shows their talent when they cover other people's work. Watching George Strait sing "Boot Scootin Bogey" was cool. Watching Sugarland do "Red Dirt Road" was wild. The person who stole the show was Jennifer Hudson (Idol) as she sang "I Believe". It started by Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland) introducing a video of Maya Angelou talking about the song, "I Believe" and how it belongs as a work of folk art and poetry. Then the song began and and brought the house down and received two standing ovations. By the end of the night we witnessed performances by Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flats, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Reba McEntire, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker, Faith Hill, and Carrie Underwood. Oh, Yes, Brooks and Dunn closed the show with, "Play Something Country" and was joined on stage by the entire cast.

I would not say that this is the best concert that I have attended, but it ties whatever is!

This concert will be shown on CBS, May 23rd.

I editorial note though, Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean does not belong in this group. I know they are popular and Miranda somehow won an award at the ACMs, but no not yet!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Death at a Funeral

This afternoon we went to a movie. We are trying to bring normal back! We went to "Death at a Funeral starring Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence and a great cast. This is one funny movie. It is "R" because of language, but it was good escapism and Chris Rock is great in this. It was a good break from Vegas.

I give it ***stars.

2010 movie #15 (well behind last year)

ACM Awards- Random Thoughts

1. One of the best things about being their is to watch the interaction of the stars before the show and during commercials.

2. The show was terrific except Miranda Lambert winning best album!

3. Kenny Chesney's girl friend looks identical to Carrie Underwood (from where I was setting.

4. Brad Paisley's set with the pool was cool. we didn't even see them bring it in!

5. The Okies made a great showing especially Carrie and Toby.

6. Speaking of Okies: Where would the show have been without them? Reba, Ronnie Dunn, Toby, Carrie, Blake Shelton, Miranda, Joe Don Looney (Rascal Flats) all performed and Carrie took the big prize again.

Okies in Vegas

Last night we went to B. B. King's Blues Club to see a fellow Okie perform. Harley Hamm one of the best guitar players in the world is now playing lead in the B.B. King All Stars. It is Cool to see him work.

City Center, Vegas

The "City Center Complex" in Vegas is now open even though a couple of buildings are still under construction. It is on the strip across from the MGM Grand and is the largest privately financed development in the history of the world. It is 67 acres with 18 million square feet of space and is equal to 12 blocks of Manhattan. It has 4 hotels (one, the Aria, has 4,000 rooms) a shopping complex, condo towers, casino, etc. All the buildings are LEED certified Gold. World renown Architects like Pelli, Helmut Jahn, Foster+Partners, Daniel Libeskind and Gensler did buildings.

I took some photos to give a little idea of the Future of Vegas.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Brain Health Architecture

I first photographed this building under construction last year. This is the Cleveland Center for Brain Health by the world famous architect,Frank Gehry. It does represent brain health!

The tall guy, the 7 footer and the Hat guy on Fremont

Mike's rules for outdoor concerts

Tonight, we went to downtown Vegas to the Fremont Street Experience. This is always a fun place. Tonight because of the ACM they had two stages set up for a line up of new , up-and-coming, and headliners. The headliner tonight was "Lady Antebellum" but the opening acts included American Idol's Danny Gokey and some Taylor Swift wantabees. Knowing that Lady Antebellum was last, the crowd kept growing and growing. It started maxing out at Danny G.

Mike's Rules:

1. If you want to get to the front, follow the aggressive couple that weaves through the crowd like a sailboat on the water.
2. Try to hold your position.
3. Here are the people to avoid:
A. The guy in the cowboy hat.
B. The guy who puts his small daughter on his shoulders so that together they are about 6'-8".
C. Avoid the guy who is 6'-8" who stands by the guy in the hat.
D. Avoid the 7'-o" guy who plants himself in the center and invites everyone to leave him alone. Check
E. The group of girls who stand by you and talks as loud as possible because there is music or something.
F. The Corona train. Four couples who come as a group and the guys keep going after fresh Coronas while moving people aside as they go. This was constant.
G. The large "weeble" family that decides to leave in the middle of the set and knock people aside as they go.
H. They, of course, come face to face with the two girls who believe that they have the divine right to go to the stage.

I didn't mention smoker-guy, but you know about him.
All these people were within 15 feet of us and made staying for the headliner unbearable.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

BIM, a seminar

Three of us from the firm went to a 3 hour seminar about Building Information Management (BIM), the current new trend in Architecture. It is about creating a 3D virtual building in the computer so that all the trades can see how the building structure, Heat/air system, etc. fit together. The contractors can use the drawing to do accurate pricing and every thing is known before construction begins. Sounds Good. Only I knew that before we got there. The teacher in his 1-1/2 hour introduction ask penetrating questions: Why do architects want BIM? Why do Contractors want BIM? Why do owners want BOM? Is this a paradigm shift? Lets discuss paradigms. Lets talk about all kinds of things.

At that point I took my box lunch and left.

Nate stayed and said that he spent the rest of the seminar saying that BIM was too difficult for morals and that we should hire HIS company to do it. FAT CHANCE.

Bon Jovi, the band , the industry

Last night we went to see Bon Jovi in concert. They are currently the number 1 touring act in the USA and I know why: They put on a show! It was a wild stage, pumped up volume and tight band. They have made it over 20 years together by treating each other like a band of friends and as a business. Each of the band members own shares in the business and they have a great business plan. They are true to their Jersey roots like Bruce S. and like the "Boss" they honor working people, good causes and don't stray from their message: We are in this life together. make it count.

I like their new CD, but seeing them perform the songs, added new meaning to "Superman Tonight" and "We weren't Borne to Follow".

A good time was had by all!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is service too much to ask?

I mowed the lawn for the first time this spring. It was a nice Sunday afternoon and all was going good. I was in the back yard and made enough rounds until it was a mohawk (a strip a grass down the middle. I was going down the back stretch when the tractor made a sound and stopped!
The engine was running but the gears would not engage. The tractor locked up. I tried a few dumb things and then called it a day.

Today I called the local company that sells "Green and Yellow tractors that run like a Deer" and had the following conversation. I tell my story and get the the place where the engine runs but the gears don't. He says, "What is the make and model?" "Oh. that model is not being made any longer." "Some of the older tractors have sealed transmissions. It may cost $1,000.00 or more to fix it." You say it is in the back yard? It need to tell you that we will probably tear up your lawn when we pull it out! We charge $50.00 to pick it up"

At this point I say, "Well, I sure don't need a lawn ornament that big."

He says that he will put it on the list.

This afternoon, my brother -in -law came over a checked it out. he found a belt that had broke and figured out how to get the wheels rolling and we pushed it to the front yard.

How can I be excited about these guys working on it? They tried every possible way to ask me to give up without even looking at the tractor.

Mowing season is not fun yet,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Date Night

My wife and I have been having Date Night almost every week since we met. Yes, we were one of those bad boomer couples that used baby sitters and such. Today we went to the movie, "Date Night" with Tina Fey and Steve Carell. It was one of those "everything that could go wrong does" movies. It was splendid. I was reminded of the original "Out of Towners" with Jack Lemon and Sandy Dennis. They work great together as a couple caught in a rut and surrounded by others in the same boat. It is about mistaken identity and all the weirdness that brings. The supporting cast is great and the car chase with the taxi and the sports car hooked together is a hoot. The rating is PG13 because they use the F-word one time toward the end just to get the rating.

I give the movie *** stars.

2010 movie #14

Friday, April 9, 2010

Learning from Las Vegas

The title of this blog is the same as a famous architectural book of the same name written by Robert Venturi in 1972. It was a controversial book telling architects to be more receptive to the tastes and values of the masses. It also wanted them to be less immodest in their building heroic and self aggrandizing monuments.

In 1972 Las Vegas was "super tacky".

That said, next week I make annual pilgrimage to Vegas for a learning experience. Sure you say. You remember the 500 mile rule and all. But I say, Na, Na.

The City Center complex (about six blocks of buildings by world class architects) that was under construction last year is now finished. The Frank Gehry building is also finished. I have much take in.

I also have to take in the ACM awards where all the tops in Country will be performing. On Monday we will go to the taping of a two TV special honoring Brooks and Dunn where many of these same stars will perform B&D songs. This is our 2nd annual trip.

Other than that there is not much to do!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

mike takes a bath- no really!

I have been a bachelor this week and I was sitting in front of the TV and thinking, "I should do something that I never do this week." But what? Nothing came to me until I went into our bath room and saw the corner tub. Yes I have been in that tub, but only to stand in it while I close the shutters. I don't bath. In our last 4 homes spanning over 30 years, I shower. Just a personal thing.

Tonight I filled the big tub and looked for suds. I got some dish washer soap and squirted a little in before I saw the Spiderman bubble bath in the corner. I used both. It was cool.

No rubber duck though, but we do have a TV and I watched Marriage Ref.

I may start a new habit. I may start taking a bath once a week like when I was a kid.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

You're Welcome

I have been trying to break myself of a silly habit. When I go to a store, restaurant, etc., I catch myself paying at the register and when they give me my change, I say, "Thank You." They did not say thanks for shopping or thanks for eating with us, I am saying basically, "Thank you for not keeping all my money!" I am now trying to be more appropriate.

That said, I was in a convenience store yesterday and bought a coke and snack. I paid cash and with the correct change and remembered to not say thank you. After the clerk took my money, he sort of glared at me and said, "You're Welcome."


Monday, April 5, 2010

Two babies at once!

To those of you that choose to have kids every nine months, I tip my imagery hat to you.

We now have two grand babies. Asher is the seven+ month old little guy and Kinley is the one+ week old little girl. As I watch them and watch their parents I see constant effort, attention and love. Of course its all worth it, but as a guy I go: Two would be overwhelming!

Carol likes to remind me that I originally wanted twins. That went away when our first was born!

But what do I know? We all grow into our roles. As for me being the PAPA to both at once, reminds me of the answer a friend of mine used to say when people ask, "How are you?"

He would say, "I'm super cool but I'll be better!"


Changing Times and Hot Rods!

The other day I stopped at the convenience store to get gas. A teenager pulled up in a 1978 Olds Cutlass. It was in fair shape with rust on the roof where a vinyl roof (remember those!) used to be. He was getting gas, also. Another young guy pulled up next to him in a red Spyder sports car (cool car) and gets out and comes up to the Olds and says, "Wow, when did you get this! This is so-o-o cool." The teenager says with pride that he just bought it. "How much did you have to pay? This is outstanding!"

By this time I'm saying to myself, "What did I just witness? A guy with a red sports car is making over this old junker!" I mean I bought a black Cutlass new in 1978 (like the one in the photo). It was a good car 32 years ago. I know what the kids do with them. they trick them out with rims and paint like the other car in the next photo.

As I drove down the road, I was still processing all this and it hit me. In 1964 I dreamed of having a 1932 Ford three window coupe. Never got one though. But a street rod would have been fantastic. Then I did the math. That 78 Olds is 32 years old. The rod I wanted was 32 years old when I was in school. The next generation is doing the same as mine did.

I don't like the tiny wheels or the giant wheels that they use. They probably think the racing slicks on the 32 Rod look stupid.

Such is life!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tulsa Workshop

The Church of Christ "Brotherhood" held its annual Tulsa Workshop in of all places, Tulsa, last week. Our firm had a booth there to interest churches maybe hiring an architect. This year was a down year because of the economy and other liberal reasons. I say this because in this group, democrats are viewed on a similar level as Satan's angels. Need proof?

My habit is to search the Bookstore booths for new books. One of the largest such booths was near ours. I walked over Friday morning to browse and was surprised to see S. Palin's new book dead center of the main table near the book, "Crazy Love" only the stack of Palin books was twice as high as all other books.

Later that afternoon I went back over to the booth to do a little more browsing, but to my surprise ALL the Sarah books were GONE! Just a big hole in the table. The "churchy" books weren't moving.

Glad to see spiritual growth at work.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stuff Christians Like, the Book

I am reading an outrageously humorous new book titled, "Stuff Christians Like" by Jonathan Acuff. It is one of those guilty pleasures. Acuff skillfully dissects "Christians" by taking our words, our thoughts, and our bad habits and opens them for the world to see. It has sarcasm but also a message. It sometimes seems to border on Sacrilege until you realize this stuff is how we (Collective we) think at times. Each thought is about a page or page and a half instead of chapters. It is an easy read. Note: If you go into his web page of the same name, you can download the audio book for "Free"

Here are some of the thoughts:
* Using "Faith like a Child" as an escape pod from difficult theological discussions
* Complaining about not being"fed" at church
* Watching R-rated movies but only if they are violent
* Judging Fundamentalists for being judgmental
* Being slightly less nice than Mormons
* Saying "I'll pray for you" ... and then not
* Using"let me pray about it" as a euphemism for "No"
* Not knowing which meals to pray before
* Raising hands in Worship: the five forms: The Ninja, The Half and half, The Pound Cake, The Double High Five, and the YMCA
* Fearing your church will do something wacky the one time you invite a friend
* Stealing members from other churches
* Not throwing away a Bible
* Feeding kids their body weight in Goldfish Crackers
* Skipping church if you catch even a whiff of a guest speaker

and many, many more.

Here is one to share:

Having a Spiritual Excuse not to have Spiritual Discipline by Jonathan Acuff

starting here: "So to assuage that guilt of not having a consistent quiet time, you'll say, "I don't want to just go through the motions with my quiet time. I want it to be heartfelt, not just something on my to-do list."

That's a great excuse for a number of reasons. First of all, it makes you sound holy. "Wow, this guy is so passionate about spending time with God that he's not going to just phone in his quiet time. He's going to wait until he's truly motivated."

Second, it's one of those lies that if you say it often enough, you eventually start believing it yourself: "That's right. I do love spending time with God, and the best way to show it is by not spending time with him until my heart is right. I want to be on fire for God and not fake it. Until I'm sincere, I'll respect him enough to avoid him."


FYI: He is on FACEBOOK as is Stuff Christians Like.
FYI: I bought this at Barnes and Noble
I think I will steal from him often.