Thursday, September 30, 2010

Obsession 1

This week my mind is on obsessions. Yours and Mine. I am preparing for a class Sunday from Francis Chan's book, "Crazy Love". The chapter is titled, "profile of the obsessed". That is where my thoughts are at the moment. On the way to work today, I stopped at a convenience store and met a lady as she was leaving. She was wearing a red t-shirt with this saying:

OU Football is LIFE.......

As she passed I read this:

.........everything else in Life SUCKS!

Nothing low key here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A little more Greed

Sequels: Wall Street revisited

I have been looking forward to the sequel of "Wall Street" since it was announced. The critics are divided and they are are saying the craziest statement: "It's not as good as the first!" Except for "Godfather II" tell me a movie that is?" A review in the Tulsa paper gave it 1-1/2 stars! So what to expect?

Well we went to see for ourselves. After my last venture I was glad to not hear the F word every other breath and from a story (the Wall Street meltdown of 08!) that almost seemed appropriate! I liked this film. The Camera work was superb as with all Oliver Stone films and the acting was great as well. The selection of Shea LaBeouf was good because he makes a great "Weasel"
The story is still about GREED and its effects. It does a good job of explaining why we are in our current mess and shows why we had to bail out Wall Street even though we didn't want to.

Gordon Gekko writes a book while in prison and gets out just before the crash happens. During a speech he gives one of the many good quotes, "Someone reminded me that I once said Greed is good. Well now it is apparently legal." Th movie also ties up some loose ends from the first edition and Charlie Sheen's character even makes a cameo.

This is a good moral tale. I give this movie ***stars.

2010 Movie #42.

The other great quote was: "I'll make a deal with you. You quit spreading lies about me and I'll quit telling the truth about you." I could have used that about two months ago!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Town

I went for an afternoon movie today and saw Ben Affleck's "The Town". It is getting good reviews so I gave it a try. The story (as most of Ben's movies) was set in Boston or Charleston to be exact. What was fun about the film is that while in Boston two years ago, we ventured to see "Old Ironside" and the "Bunker Hill Monument" (In Charleston). Most of the scenes were in the neighborhood that we walked.

The movie is well acted with not only Affleck but Jeremy Renner(Hurt Locker) and the guy from Mad Men. The story was compelling but the F word was alternating from Noun, verb, etc., many times in the same sentence. It is so tiresome!

Therefore, I give this movie **stars (*** for intent).

2010 Movie#41

I do not recommend if this is the only movie you will see for a while.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let it Go

"You keep your heart above your head and your eyes wide open
So this world can't find a way to leave you cold.
And you know You're not the only ship out on the ocean
Save your strength for things you can change
Forgive the ones you can't
You gotta let 'em go."

Lines from Zac Brown Band's song, "Let it Go"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Easy A and real life.

We needed a movie break tonight. So we went to "Easy A" about how the high school rumor mill can run amok. It is the "Scarlet Letter" come to life. the movie stars Emma Stone, Thomas Hayden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson and Amanda Bynes. What happens when a high school straight arrow joking-ly tells a made-up story about a wild weekend to a friend but is overheard by the school gossip? What happens when she finds out that she is being talked about and goes with the flow?

The movie is extremely witty (think "Juno") and well acted.
It has many references and clips of 80's movies. It is a movie with heart in the weirdest ways.

Note to casual movie goers: The movie portrays a student Christian group in a very bad light. You can blame Hollywood OR you can (like me) think of all the many times in your life where "Church going folks get very accomplished at spreading gossip."

It shows what happens to your friends when they choose believe untruths.

I was reminded how recent events in my life are very similar to high school stunts.

I like this movie a lot! If I was still teaching my class at church using movies, this would be used for sure!

I give this ***1/2 or maybe 4 stars. It has guts.

2010 movie # 40

Sunday, September 19, 2010

mike gets scammed

After church today I stopped at the Subway (I'm batching) for a sandwich to take home. The cost was $7.09 and I gave the guy a 10. I say, "I think I have the $.09." He holds up a dime and says, "I got you covered." and hands me my sandwich. I am about a block from home and think, "He did not give me the three dollars change1" and then think, "How did he come with that dime so easy?"

He got me this time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Zac Brown Band- Christmas in September

Tonight, Avery and Addison get to see Zac Brown Band in person. Zac Brown Band for the none music people is the group that sings, "Chicken Fried", "Toes", "Free" and more. They are up for "Entertainer of the Year' with the CMA, etc. But I digress.

Avery (7) and Addison (4) know the band member's names, they know the lyrics to all the songs, and they watch all the videos and TV specials. This will be their first big concert and they have been acting like Santa is coming. I just hope their experience is good. It is outdoors and people are drinking beer. We have been to the venue many times and believe we have a good plan.

BUT we have to be there at 5:30 and the concert starts at 7:00pm, BUT there are two opening acts and ZAC won't take the stage until 9:00pm. That is a lot of anticipation!

I will report later, much later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

cartoon fix

What's an iPhone for(4)?

My iPhone 3 decided to become an ipod today. It changed its ringer setting to headphones only and checked out. I took it to AT&T and they told me that it couldn't be fixed. But the good news is, "You can upgrade!" My phone still does e-mail, games, music, facebook, or just about anything but make calls! I actually have a new itouch!

So I bit and got an iPhone 4. It lives up to the current advertising slogan: "This changes Everything, Again." Sure does part of my settings transferred some didn't. Those I have been installing manually. I don't know much about the new features yet, I am busy "changing everything, again."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Big Brother Yahoo

Yesterday, I sat down at home at my laptop Mac and decided to change the colors of my internet home page. I also added a couple of items to the page. Mind you this laptop has it's own address.
To my surprise when I got to work and opened my computer, Yahoo had changed the home page colors and content to match my computer at home!
Yikes Yahoo!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I used to be a big Willie Nelson fan. I have seen him in concert so many times that I knew what song he would sing next. I was messing around today and loaded some of his songs on my playlist. If you turn your sound on you can here some at the top or you can stroll to the bottom for more.

mike finally wins one!

I took my Mother (she's 90) to the doctor this week and we had time to talk about a wide range of topics. She told me that a group had made a presentation to her church about providing a safe home for women and children in their area. She asked, "Do you think that we should spend the Lord's money on something like that? Why doesn't the Government handle that?" Sensing a trap I responded, "Well, if you are a Republican (she is) you would say like Senator Coburn that the government can't be responsible for everything and this would be the church's area. If you are a Democrat you would say the government could handle it." She responds, "Well, I guess I'm a Democrat then! I think the Lord's money should go toward spreading the Gospel only." I said, "What about Matthew 25 where Jesus says, "I was hungry, sick or in prison, or a stranger and you didn't help me." (paraphrased) I think he intended that we help." She thought for a minute and said, "Well, I'm changing my mind. I think you are right."

That my friends was a RARE win in her ongoing task to turn me from my erring ways.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blue Man Group has landed

Tonight we went to Fayetteville to see the premier of The Blue Man Group- North American Tour at the Walton Arts Center. All the shows this week are sold out but they have four days next week (Thursday thru Sunday). If you have seen them no explanation is necessary. If you haven't no explanation is possible! Think STOMP meets Rock Concert meets Comedy Troupe meets multi-media light show meets highly choreographed precision dance meets drum line. There that explains it! From the pre-show interactive message boards, to the multi-media satire of social media, TV commercials, and ipads, I was captured and they did not let go until the final act that used giant inflatable balls sent into the audience with toilet paper guns and confetti (the attached photo is from my iPhone. The Blue Man Group is just starting its tour so if it comes near, you want to go and take the kids. ****star

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eating thru Austin 2

Today was a shopping day. We headed to the Round Rock Prime Outlet Mall. But for breakfast/lunch we went to the famous Round Rock Donuts. There was a line (always a line) but it went fast. The donuts were somewhat like Krispy Kreme but with an orange glaze. They had all kinds of things and my choice was the jalapeno calaches. The adjacent photo is not a trick. You can actually order a donut as big as a cake.

After shopping in Round Rock and stopping at the Ikea, we went to Lake Travis to the Oasis Resort Mexican Restaurant with it's hillside view of the lake. It is advertised as the Best sunset in Texas. It is pricey but the portions are huge.

FYI: Both of these stops have been rebuilt from bad fires since 2005!

Time to come home and fast!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Eating thru Austin

We are in Austin, Texas at just the right time. The Longhorns went to San Antonio for the day. We are on an eating vacation! The Food Channel has done many shows about Texas dives and we are checking these places out. Speaking of Checking. Our first planned stop was to be the Czech Stop in the town of West, Texas (just north of Waco). We have stopped there on our way back from San Antone but we remembered it as a great Czech Bakery next to a Convenience Store. We arrived about 11 am and to our surprise, the town of West was having a festival! Cars were backed up in all directions off I35. We made it to the bakery, but about 60 cars were parked everywhere and more attempting. We found a spot but once inside we soon gave up. The lines were too long. It is that good. Our plan is to try again Monday. People come from everywhere.
In line was a group of Oregon State football fans and they were playing TCU in Fort Worth! (about an hour away!) Try this place.

For lunch today we went to the Green Mesquite Bar-B-Que near downtown Austin. The sign inside says "Horrifying Vegetarians since 1988". It is one of the top five B-B-Q spots in the Hill country. Very, Very, Good. I had mesquite smoked buffalo wings! My bald head was sweating!

Tonight we went for Mexican food at Manuel's in Downtown Austin. A very upscale restaurant with very up scale food. It also has very hot salsa! My bald head was still sweating! One of Austin's best.

Tomorrow has another day of challenges, but I am the man for the job.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

American in a European Movie

We went to see George Clooney in "The American". The title is very misleading. He is an American who stands out where ever he goes around Europe. He by trade is an assassin who is unhappy, tired and wants to quit. It the "I'll do one more job and then quit movie." But as a life long movie fan, i want to scream, "George, you know they won't let you. they will kill you first."

The movie has a European feel and style. All of the actors, director etc. are of Europe. Come to think of it George lives in Italy now. The previews make it look like a James Bond movie. No it is NOT!

Just before the movie started a guy comes in with his son (about 10). Yikes! This is an R rated show. As the lights dimmed it wasn't 30 seconds until a naked body filled the screen. Then it was hang on. Seems like every time he got near a women, her clothes fell off! Even he lost his a time or two. Yes, it is R for a reason. Not American R for violence and profanity, but European R for sex and nudity. Seems the star could not find love but he could find prostitutes.

The pace is not American either. Blurred scenes, plaintive vistas, no background music.

I give it **1/2 stars.

FYI: It started raining outside the Theater and the guy and his son got up and left. About 20 minutes before the end. Guess they left their windows down. I wished it had rained at the beginning.

2010 Movie #39

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Slow Road

I guess it was by coincidence that after writing the last blog "too busy", I went to a class at church tonight that was about "slowing down and finding the joy that God intended." It was also about finding time for "solitude".

1. In the past few years, I have worked on this. Our family never took real vacations. They were extended weekends where as much as possible would be poured into all available time and then go home exhausted. I finally changed that by buying into "time share". The idea of paying the vacations ahead of time, worked for me. Use it or lose it!

2. Getting a house with a pool, slows me on summer days. It is a guilty pleasure and the guilt has faded. Where I grew, the idea of a swimming pool at home was like dreaming of going to the Moon. My kids also grew up without anything close. But not the Grand kids. They alone can keep me from work at a moment's notice.

3. I can almost remember the time about three years ago when I stopped working Sunday afternoons. Since then I have also cut out Saturdays. The first thing I learned was, I didn't accomplice any more working everyday than working five days. The sad thing is that now that the kids are groaned I don't work! But I did when they were living with us. A sad commentary.

4. Recently, I took another step. We were having dinner at with a family from our church. After eating the guys went into the host's home office. I looked around and listened as he talked about studying in this room and meditating in this room. I took it all in and thought about it for a few days. I remembered designing a dream home many years ago. In that dream home I designed a room at the end of the gallery/hall that I called a chapel. It was to be a get away room (not a man-cave) to think and listen to music, etc. So, I took one of our unused bedrooms and transformed to into my library/office/chapel. This is the first house we have lived in that I did not set up an office, studio, or work room. This is different. This space slows me down.

I know that these things are luxuries that were not promised or earned. I am blessed and do not take them lightly and realize the need that I must pay for these by helping others.

Its funny that this blog is at Mike's slow road hasn't always been slow. That's why I point myself toward "Less Traveled Roads."