Sunday, August 29, 2010

Too Busy!

You know, I've never seen anyone as busy as you! I mean all the important things that you do in a day amazes me. We talk about getting together but (that's ok, go ahead and take that call!). Where were we? oh yes, you're too busy. I totally understand. Yes, work me in any time. I am sure not as busy as you. Who is?

Killing two birds

a solution for everything!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Get Low!

Yes friends, good movies are still being made.

We are in OKC for a convention. Brick Town is crowded tonight and all kinds of things are happening, so we went to the movies. "Get Low" is a movie starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek, and a great supporting cast. The easy story is that a hermit in the 1930's comes to Bill Murray, Funeral Home Director, and wants a Funeral party. He wants to go to his own funeral (while he is still living). The movie is based loosely on a true story and much ole tale. While it is probably PG50 (no one under 30) it is PG13 (no F word) and should be seen by any mature person.

This is a story of redemption, forgiveness, misunderstandings, gossip gone wild, and not forgiving one's self. It is extremely great up to and including the song during the credits by Alison Krauss.

It has a great deal of humor (Bill Murray) and great dialogue (Robert Duvall). See this movie. Trust me.

I give it *****stars. Yes 5 stars.

2010 Movie #38

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Schmucks 2

We went to see "Dinner with Schmucks" tonight and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. If you are wanting to flee the "real" schmucks of life, this is for you.

I still give it ***1/2 stars

2010 Movie #37

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Faith, Freedom and Fear

When I was young, I remember learning about how Soviet Russia was against Christianity. They prevented the spread of Religion. I learned of Communist China and there similar actions. I felt so good that we lived in a place of Freedom to worship as we choose.

Then in 1960 I saw the first change. I was asked to pass out tracts in the foyer of our church in my hometown. The pamphlets stated that if John F. Kennedy (a Catholic) was elected President, the Pope would gain control of the USA and make everyone Catholic and end our Freedom.

I started paying attention in school and learning about the KKK and how most of its members were Christians who hated Jews and Blacks. These were my first extreme religious sects or terrorists!

I have watched the Protestant Irish fight the Irish Catholics. I have watched Israel fight Islam Nations.

I see conservative groups demand Freedom of Religion be preserved.

Now we have this Islam Center in NYC. They say it is about 911 and not about Religious Freedom. Yet this is a battle that we all loose.

In all these battles God is removed by both sides. If the line: "Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight" was something we believed, the battles would end. The Islamic terrorists are no more religious than the KKK were Baptists. Evil is evil and needs no building not even in Manhattan.

I keep asking how would Jesus handle this latest battle? I do not see Him in any of the TV Talk. I never recognized Jesus as a zealot.

We, as Christians, have to see such things differently. When Jesus met the women at the well he did not do the PC thing, he did what he wanted us to do. When he met Zachaeus he did not do what a "good Jew" would do, he did what he wanted us to do. We can't convert the world by hating the world.

Call me Crazy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Women Giving Directions!

One of my new favorite things is the ice kiosk near us. For five quarters it gives you a bag and a nice women's voice walks you through the steps to get 10 pounds of ice. I am a pleased customer.
Today, when I stopped, the lady's recorded voice reminded me of my Friday meeting.

I was present for the State Fire Marshall inspection of the new High School gym that we have just completed. As they tested the alarm system, the strobe lights went off for the hearing impaired. The alarm sounded for the general population. Then a women's recorded voice came on to tell everyone: "A fire has been detected in this building. Please walk to the exits and leave the building." (Something like that only very loud.) After they tested it a couple of times, the Fire Marshall turned to me and said, "You know that we are about to change the message to a man's voice, don't you?" "Why?" I asked. He smiled and said, "Our studies have shown that men won't leave the building if a woman is talking!" He saw my look and added, "Men won't leave a burning building if a women tells them to!"

And you thought we were advancing our species!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Harry met Sally 2010

We caught an afternoon movie today. It is a "Relationship Flick" instead of Chick Flick. I like any movie that Jason Bateman is in and Jennifer Anniston is no slouch. Good summer flick!

I give it **1/2 stars. 2010 Movie # 36

PS: The review is in the title of this post.

Poo to Platinum

Sometimes you have a project that is trouble. We are not perfect but we do our best. This past year we had 15 years worth of trouble on one Gym project. There have been many excuses offered. We were rushed. We did not coordinate properly. We had people working on the project that did not understand gyms. All are valid, but in truth we took a good design and under performed! None of the problems surfaced during the bid phase, but as soon as construction started the contractor showed us item after item that was either missing or wrong. We even spotted a couple of very embarrassing things ourselves.

It was good that all items were caught before they were built, but we had several intense meetings, wringing of hands and uncomfortable moments. I lost much sleep over this, before I decided to just face the problems head on. (Something that I should have done from the start.)
We took ownership for the mistakes and told the owner (who didn't know of the problems) that all items would be fixed. In final analysis there was $30,000 in changes. We paid $12,000, Our Liability insurance paid $11,000, and the owner paid about $7,000.00 (for things that were left off the plans that they would have normally paid in the bid).

Our liability insurance did not want us to pay the $11,000.00 and said we were NOT liable. My response was that it may not be the legal thing to do but it was the right thing to do. I want us to be known for doing right. I don't like to be technically right.

I also believe that you are as good as your last project. Future work depends on that. If you do a good job and client may tell someone. If you do a BAD job, they will tell 10 people.

More than that I sleep good.

My staff does not even want to here the name of the project. They have never visited it.

Yesterday, the Basketball coach at the school approached me with a smile and said: "There is not a better gym in Oklahoma!" Later the Superintendent called me aside and said, "Later this year I have another project that I want you to start."

That is the way to end a project!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something is happening here

After running an errand this morning I entered the lobby of the office building and I see a couple of older people ahead of me. The man was walking about ten feet ahead of his wife. She seemed to be struggling to keep up. As I approach, she shouts to her husband, "Hey, you are wearing my glasses! No wonder I can't see!" He stops and takes off her glasses and hand them back to her with a bewildered look.

As the song goes: "There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

I got caught up on movies this weekend. I needed escape. The Other Guys was Great Fun. Eat Pray Love was thought provoking, but "Scott Pilgrim vs the World" Rocked! No, It really did! Scott Pilgrim is played by one of the funniest young actors, Michael Cera. He is a 20something that is a bass guitar player in a Indie-Rock Band called Sex Bob Boo. He has an ex-girl friend who is now a famous Rock Star, He is dating a High School girl named Knives, and meets the Girl of his dreams. Then the fun starts. The Movie is based on a comic book and instead of playing it for real the movie mixes live action with the words appearing when the phone rings (R-i-n-g) and the CRASH symbols. etc. Little boxes appear to explain back stories and the Movie is a mixture of crazy comedy, comic fights that defy reality, and just over the top fun. The Movie is PG13 but with no F word and actually no cursing until an S word near the end. Their is one character that curses like crazy but they put a black box over her mouth and also "bleep" her.

The story line is a combination Boy meets Girl, Battle of the Bands, and a Video Game complete with the score and advances to next rounds. Old People may not get it but every one under 30 or thinks under 30 (me) will love it.

I recommend this movie, and give it **** stars. An epic of epic epicness!

2010 Movie #35

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eat Pray Love, the Movie

"Eat Pray Love" is the new Julia Roberts movie based on the best selling book about the author Elizabeth Gilbert. (To the guys: It is NOT a chick flick, even if the previews make it seem so.) It is a movie about someone who is struggling to find their place in the world, in relationship and in self esteem. The story is thought provoking while having traces of "The Food Channel" and "the Travel Channel" thrown in for effect. The main character travels to Rome, India and Bali in the story. I was thinking Italian food at one point, but I digress. The cast is great for this movie and Julia is so real. Not an actor playing a real person, but a real person acting.

I found myself trying to remember the dialogue, but would get caught up with the story. While the movie is very good, I sense that the book is better. I have read many the the book quotes and many did not make the movie. Her story includes her quest to seek God which is not a strong part of the film but is present.

One of the quotes tonight: "To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life."

One of the book quotes is: There is a reason they call GOD a presence- because GOD is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find him, and now is the only time."

I give the movie ***stars.

2010 Movie #34

On Blogging

This week the number of people that have been reading my blog has increased 47%! While I don't expect that number to stay, I wanted to share some thoughts with my new readers. I write this blog because, like you, I have opinions. Our society has changed to the point that we our avenues to share are limited. I know there is much "social media" like FACEBOOK, but seriously! I could have just journaled and kept it to myself, but here is how it happened. People know that among my outlets, hobbies, pastimes, I read a lot, see a lot of movies, listen to a lot of music, and go to a lot of concerts. Therefore I am asked a lot, "Mike, have you seen that new movie that is out? What did you think?" I am not a movie critic. I am a fan of movies. Some times they ask, "What are you reading?" Still other times friends say, "What do you think of that new Country Singer (chances are I have seen him live, already)?

In the late 1980's when I was a Director in a large Architectural firm in Tulsa, I was asked to write a monthly company newsletter. Among those articles was a Movie story and a story of something happening in our area. It was very fulfilling.

Later in the 90's I wrote a weekly article in my hometown paper called, "Haskell Stories". The stories were about growing up in the 50's and 60's in a small town. I wrote about things that happened in my church, my school and my town. They were very well received and many people contacted me about the memories. I even wrote a story about the town drunk of my child hood and my encounters with him. While he was not called by name, his daughter (I didn't know he had a family!) contacted me and said that the story was good and correct.

Three years ago My Daughter-in-Law started writing a "Blog". As I read hers I thought, "This is COOL!" and the more I thought I said, "I going to do one."

I don't hold myself up as a good writer, as an expert on anything, nor do I believe that the world is better for my thoughts. I am frankly still surprised that anyone read this stuff. I still feel good about it.

I knew though that possibly anything I write would have people who happened on it to say, "He's an idiot." When I write about politics, I know that if you are from Oklahoma, there is a 80% chance you will disagree. I don't care because these are MY thoughts. You are welcome to yours and you can do your on blog. When I mention OU football, 85% will disagree, but I have had that all my life and expect it to continue.

The saying goes, "Don't talk about politics, sex or religion." Okay, guilty. But like it or not these are part of life and all are about relationships. I suspect that there are some that will take issue with anything that I write, but will read anyway. I don't like Rush Limbaugh and because of that I don't listen to him. I have done enough in my life that have caused some people to not like me. I wonder why they read my stuff but it isn't my business.

If I write something that offends you personally, I have a comment box on each post that will send me an email for my consideration. I may respond. I may erase the offense. I may do nothing. OR you may quit reading or you may tell everyone you influence that Mike is a horrible person, just like you did in grade school.

Recently, I found out the hard way that I am wrong to recount stories about people in my Christian circle without their permission even if the story is accurate. I have learned a lesson in blogging. The other day I wrote a blog that concerned several people of a certain type that I have met along my path. It was something that I was dwelling on at the time. But as a guy told me last week, "Well, I won't apologize because I did nothing wrong, but I agree that the timing could have been better." I will try to have better timing.

I do consider my self a flawed person. I try. I fail. I try again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Other Guys

No matter where you are, there are the Other Guys.

I can tell you that I needed a movie and popcorn. I have been dealing with the other guys and needed a break. The new movie with Will Ferrell, Mark Walberg and friends was the ticket. It is either a good comedy or I just needed some laughs. Any way it worked. It is Will Ferrell like you like him and Walberg is great at comedy. Who new? There are many good actors in this movie in big and small roles. There are also surprising cameo appearances. It is PG13 for suggestive talk and some cursing. The humor is over the top and some scenes seem like a cross between "Taladega Nights" and "Hangover". PG25

I give it ***stars

2010 Movie #33

Yes it's HOT

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stolen Moments

In the midst of the "Blog Crisis" a couple of thoughts were moved aside thanks to a guy with too much time on their hands.

Sunday, we joined our Daughter and her husband in participating in the dedication of their daugther, Kinley Grace at Heritage Church. All our family was on stage with the elders of the church. It was an important mutual pledge that we the family and the local church would raise Kinley to God's Glory.

Monday would have been the 38th Birthday of our Daughter, Heather.

Brad Paisley Concert

We had a hot time in Dallas, Saturday night. We joined 20,000 others at the amphi-theater at the Fair grounds for Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker. I don't know another country act other like Darius who can sing his stuff, Hootie stuff , Hank Jr stuff and close the show with Prince's "Purple Rain" while wearing a RUN DMC tee shirt!

Brad is probably the best showman in the business. His show is a multi-media show. He does his own animation and vidoes and makes them an important part of the experience. That, and the fact that he is one of the best singer/song writers and one of the best guitar pickers in country.

Brad did stop the show once and said, "Crap, its hot. I need to talk to my booking agent and ask him why he thought Texas in August was a good idea."

He did specialize the performance to the Texas crowd both with video and song.

The name of the tour is the "H2O" tour and it was required. After the concert at 11:30pm it was 92.

FYI: I was easily the oldest person at the event.

a trip into creativity

The Fort Worth Children's Museum caused me creative overload. It was a cool place with cool spaces. I will steal many ideas from here!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stir it till it stinks

In my life I have encountered one rare individual type that amazes me. Mind you there is one in almost every organization and I am glad that there is usually just one. This is a person in a leadership position or position of influence that can only feel needed or alive when there is problems or controversy. When things are going smooth, they feel weird. They specialize in fixing events and people. But once things seem to be under their influence again, movement stops. They know where the want to take the organization, but they can only proceed by dictatorial means since everyone else is ignorant. Their leadership never goes over because the "control" vibes that they cast off.

They retreat and wait until another opportunity to "correct the flaws in others". If things are smooth again, "they stir it till it stinks" and then offer to help the situation while giving the assigned leaders a hard time and by spreading gossip.

I have been watching these people for 30 years and marvel at their skills (but do not covet). They have tried to "help me" and they have tried to "defeat me". They are hard to manage because at the drop of the hat they say, "Mike, you misunderstood, I am only trying to help!"

To which I say, "Well then pull the knife out of my back! I can't reach it!"

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cartoon Fix

My Life!

Open Letter 2

I think I have completed deleting the offending blogs. If I missed one please let me know.

Note: This does not include George W. or Sarah P.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

This Weekend

I had a great weekend in Texas. I'll blog about it tomorrow. It did not end well. I came home.

I am currently reading, "The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" but the following is "The BOY who Kicked the Hornet's Nest".

An Open Letter to my Church Blog Family

The title sounds a little formal because, before this weekend, I have known that less than 10 members of my church read this blog and hardly anyone knows it exists. I have Google Analytics attached to the blog and can see who in what city visits the blog and what page they read. But never mind that, two events happened today that require immediate changes on my part.

First Item: I have come to understand that church members don't read my blog as something on Mike's mind but that is an Elder speaking. Duh! I should have considered that! Also I have mentioned events that have happened where people (although not named) had reason to be offended that I write about them without first talking to them. Let me say that I apologize to all of my Christian Friends that were offended by my comments and that words were printed that have cast a bad light on the church that I attend. I repent of this and will not do it again. Any that read the stories and were offended by my words should contact me so that I can personally apologize. I met with two friends tonight and will meet with any others as required.

Second Item and loosely connected to Item 1: It seems that a certain person is this week notifying others in the church to read my transgressions so that I can be stopped. If members of my church body want me removed, it is very simple tell the elders that I should resign and I will. A witch hunt is not necessary. My disappointment is that some of you share my bad judgement concerning your talking behind my back. You know who you are.

Mike's New blog rules concerning the church I attend:

1. I will not blog about incidents at my church that bother me. If I am bothered you will not have to go to the blog. It will be communicated in other ways.

2. I will not blog about anyone in the church I attend, unless it is so positive that they would love it. I will not tell stories on the members of my church unless God would be praised and they exhalted.

3. If you do something that offends my sensibilities, I will come to you in person. A couple of you are due a visit.

4. To you that have just discovered my blog and discovered that I am a flawed person participating in the journey on a less traveled road, I thought it was obvious!

5 If other things on this blog bothers you about my thoughts, my movies, my music, my life. Read something else. If you want me to give up movies (because you don't go to them), or concerts (because the "Instrument" is used), or books ( because you heard that it may be controversial), come and talk to me.

6. If you are a mad Republican, I can't help you. I don't understand this crazy political world either, except to say that God told me that every thing is going to be alright. I believe that.

I write my blog about my beliefs. I will continue to write about Christianity. I will just not mention people I know. There is plenty to write about.

If you read just to analyze me and find my deep seated madness, go ahead. Better people than you have tried.

FYI: Currently about 500 people a month visit this blog. I average 32 countries and 35 states.
Less than 4 people a day from this metro area (M and FG) read this nonsense. Most hits are about movies and cartoons. Other than T-Town most USA visitors are outside Oklahoma. Texas and California are next to T-Town.

Again I am sorry for offending you and for showing a lack of leadership judgement. Check back to see if I keep my word.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Decision Making is Bad!

For reference: Decision is defined as: "the act of making up your mind about something"; "a position or opinion or judgment reached after consideration".

I went to a seminar the other day conducted by Dean Kashiwagi, a professor at Arizona State. The subject was how to do projects better, but his theory a little disarming.

In Life and in projects, risk is greater when a person doesn't have enough information and when they make decisions. We make decisions BECAUSE we don't know the answer to the question.
If we knew the answer. It is the answer not a decision. Decisions are about the level of risk.

He said that predicting outcomes is based on information. He promoted preplanning in projects and in life so that the needed information is uncovered before the project starts. Proper thought reduces decisions and risk.

This is not commonly taught!

He also was not a fan of constant communication of committees. He says, Let those who know what to do, do it and quit second guessing and controlling and slowing down the project!

Think about it?

He also shared this by Peter Drucker:

"There is nothing so useless as doing something efficiently that shouldn't be done at all"