Sunday, January 26, 2014

Two Movie Weekend: Slices of Life

I am trying to see all the top movies of last year before the Oscars.  This weekend worked to get in two. Saturday we saw "Inside Llewyn Davis" and today we saw "Nebraska".

Joel & Ethan Coen (O Brother) is known for different movies. "Inside Llewyn Davis" is one of those.   It takes place in NYC in 1961.  Mr. Davis is a folksinger who is suddenly a solo act since his duo partner jumped off a bridge.  The movie is one week in his life. There is not a plot, its just life.  He goes through his friends sleeping on one couch and then another. We see his gigs, his stupid mistakes and his bad quirks.  It is a slow-paced movie with good music and some funny lines.  It is R for F-bombs that come with regularity.

A slice of life that I give *** stars. 2014 Movie #5

We did go see "Nebraska" today. The Bruce Dern movie about an old man who thinks he has one a Million Dollars because he gets a Junk Mail piece  that says "You may have one $1,000,000 dollars."(One of Those magazine things)  He gets his son to drive him from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska , the company headquarters listed on the junk mail.  There is a stop along the way to his home town, a small Nebraska town and a family reunion.  This is another slow paced, slice of life story.  Will Forte and Bruce Dern are the main characters and are great.

Let me stop a make a couple of statements:  First, the movie is in Black and White.  I liked it because Color from not have helped the scenery or towns at all.  Nebraska in the winter IS black and white.
Second, If you have seen August Osage County, you will instantly compare the Nebraska family with the Oklahoma version.  Take out the F-bombs and the Okie family wins.  The family in Nebraska is just as authentic but just a grating.  These are people that you know and stay away from. One trip to this hometown and I was remembering why I don't live in my hometown.  Osage was fun but Nebraska was downright uncomfortable.  It is an excellent father son road movie and has very thoughtful and thought provoking as we consider our aging parents.

A slice of life that I give **** out of five stars. 2014 Movie #6

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sleeping Dogs

Yes our dog is like that!

Bad Signs

I am designing a County Courthouse in a nearby city. We have had two public hearings so that the voters can better understand why a half cent sales tax is necessary for the courthouse improvements and why another half cent tax is needed for the jail.  We are traveling to the major towns in the county and have finches two hearing with two to go.

The information has been generally well received and we have had good sized crowds. With any crowd there are signs that things may get out of hand.

The first night, a guy got up and stated that the County Sheriff and Staff ran  a good jail, but ranted about how something had to be done about the Judges.  He said it was the judges that were causing the overcrowding of the jails.  He also said that he had just been released from said jail three days prior.

The second night we had a guy that questioned ever aspect of the new taxes. He stated that the Jail Trust Authority should be held accountable for past mistakes. AND he did not trust us to make good use of his tax dollars. After the meeting I found out that he did not even LIVE in this county.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Movie Madness

So recently I read about this guy didn't like someone text-ting during the movie so he shot the text-ting guy.  I'll bet the shooter was a baby boomer!  

When My wife heard the story, she said, "See, that's why you should not talk to people at the movies."  You see have from time to time told people to SHUT UP.  In my defense, I haven't done it sense October.

Rethinking this story: I think this story should be re-enacted as a Public Service Announcement instead of  "Please turn-off your cell phones and devices."  I'll bet people would turn off, shut up and watch then.

Jack Ryan is back for the first time!

I was a fan of the early Tom Clancy books (Hunt For Red October, Patriot Games) until it became a franchise.  Harrison Ford was good as Jack Ryan. Now like the Super Hero movies like Spiderman, Batman and Superman, they have re-booted Jack Ryan.  When I quit reading about Jack, he had become President. Now He is starting over for the first time.

Jack Ryan, Shadow Recruit is the new movie starring Chris Pine as Harrison Ford and with Kevin Costner (Mentor), Kenneth Branagh (Bad guy) and Keiri Knightly (flawless girlfriend who is always shiny and never out of place).

This is what I call a popcorn movie.  It is fun- James Bond-like spy fun.  Impossible car chases and saving the world in the Knick of Time is whats to watch.  It is simple and great escapism.  Just don't expect too much and you will be happy. It gets its PG13 by an F-bomb snuck in to a sentence of dialogue in the first 10 minutes. 

Popcorn movies are all **1/2 stars.

2014 Movie #4

I'm from AT&T and I'm here to help!

I have had internet problems since Christmas.  I have have called AT&T tech services about 8 times. I got past the computer-voice to an actual human six times.  The computer-voice would ask what is you problem in a few words. To that I would say: NO INTERNET CONNECTION.  The response please go to AT& to resolve the issue.  .com?  There is no .com when the internet is off.  I also enlisted a local I.T. company to call on my behalf: Twice.

The six individuals were nice people some even got the wi-fi restored (until 10 minutes after they hung up.  Now that January is here when they talked to me they would go back and read what the others had said. Then they would say, "Its a line problem".    That was after they said. "modem problem."  There modems later-nothing.  When it became a line problem they finally sent someone out, who checked the lines and hand me a NEW MODEM.  The internet did not work when he got there and did not work when he left.

Last night I called another TECH. I told here that I was going to drop the service.  AS of this writing the problem has been fixed.  Maybe

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Two Movies so little time!

I have been having massive internet problems, so I will combine several posts.

We have seen two movies this weekend.  Both movies were wonderfully made and extremely hard to watch.

We first saw "August Osage County" which has many of my favorite actors.  Merle Streep was simply brilliant.  The story is set in our fair state, written by fellow Okie, Tracy Lett and filmed in familiar Oklahoma landscape.  Some of the subtle things in the movie would take an Okie to get it.  Little words and catch phrases that seem normal to me but will be lost on some from NYC.  The story is about the ultimate train-wreck of a family. Bitterness, Back-Stabbing, Drugs, Alcohol and profane conversations with no civility and that's just a description of lunch around the table.

I liked the movie, but will not recommend.  This is an acquired taste.  It is uncomfortable and uncomfortably good.  As someone has said, This is "Whose afraid of Virginia Wolf" for the 21st Century.  If you don't know that play, don't wonder in to this one.

I give it ***1/2 stars for excellent acting, story, etc.

The second movie is "Lone Survivor".  It is an excellent movie as well, but extremely tough to watch.  It is the true story of Navy Seal Team 10 in Afghanistan.  The story is heroic and emotional.
The main players is the forward scout team sent in to scope out a larger mission that will eliminate a high level Taliban leader.  All the actors do a great job in this story as well including Mark Wahlberg. It is also a profane movie but military profanity.  I can accept that because this calls for MACHO existence to survive.  If I told you that only one survives, I give nothing away (refer to title). The movie is based on the book by the lone survivor.  It does have a great and unexpected ending.  But the real ending is the end credits that is a presentation of the REAl men and their families who have lived this story.  My hat is off to the director who played great tribute.

If you are up to it, I recommend this movie.  As Carol said after the movie, this is why we like drones.  They needed some in this story.

I give the movie ****1/2 stars, the credits are *****.
2014 movies 2 and 3

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Well Worn Sayings: Its David versus Goliath

We see something that looks like a mismatch and we say:  It's like David & Goliath.  Underdogs are always seen as "little David".  The Powerful as Goliath.   While Malcom Gladwell's book titled (of all things) "David and Goliath, Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants".   What he and that other book, The Bible, proves is that David was never an underdog!  As Mr. Gladwell points out,  the only way Goliath could have prevailed, dressed in hid heavy armor, is for David to walk up within the range of Goliath's sword and stand there.

David was agile, cunning and skillful.  He had killed Lions and Bears. The sling he used was a weapon of choice by many soldiers of that day.  This was an uneven fight.

All David needed was some great stones an-n-n-d God.

Whenever you are in a "David & Goliath situation: Be David!

Monday, January 6, 2014


I have been having Modem and wi-fi problems at home as a result, we were without internet and NETFLIX for 3 days!   No Facebook, No House of Cards, No mindless checking of email, No Tweets, No "Arrow", No blogging, No internet!

And certainly no help from the AT&T techies!

In all I spent $260 on IT guys and a new Combo Modem and Router.

My, how addicted I am.   But now it seems like $260 in new computer drugs and my iPhone, iPad  and Mac are feeding me mindless stuff again.

The Secret Life

As usual I started the year having seen the better movies available at the local cinemas.  I had seen the trailer for  "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and was not impressed.  But we wanted a movie and gave it a go.  I'm glad I did.  The preview did not give any idea of the story.  The trailer was cut in a way that some scenes that appeared to be major were actually minor.  Walter Mitty day-dreams a more exciting life than he actually lives.  When he finally goes for an adventure, the movie is much fun.  it is also a travel movie with great scenery (Greenland, Iceland and the Himalayas).

I don't know if this was a motto of Life Magazine but it was an important statement in the movie.

I give it ***stars.  2014 Movie #1

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year

I am by nature and by talent, a planner.  I put much thought into projects, ideas and such.  I though, like most, start each year with good intentions and then have to refocus many times concerning personal plans.

This year I have decided to focus on on thing and one word: HAPPY!

Not the Duck Dynasty, Happy, Happy, happy, but the realization that God has richly, and I mean richly blessed me.  I have more than I need and such a great family that I don't deserve.  I am in a word  HAPPY.

I want be be a better example as a Christian because after all - Who should be happy if not those of us that have a Savior and a permanent home promised.   I am studying the life of Noah at present and realize that he and his family were saved from the flood because: They were Happy living with God!

I want to be happier at work. I am in a profession where I am hired to help make the physical spaces better for others.  In this day, people almost dare you to make them happy, because they don't expect to be!   We are in a  world of selfish people and sad people.

It is the year of being Happy!