Saturday, December 29, 2007

Double Feature Week-end

Christmas is over, family is gone, decorations are still up, but it is time for a little down time for the honorary elf and her lifetime "roadie". I spent most of yesterday playing with my new computer. I still have some things to do and some new software to order before it is fully functional, but there are a lot of things I like about it and a few minor faults that I find annoying. My wife spent the day shopping with a couple of friends. Last night we decided we would go to see two movies this week-end.

We began Friday night with August Rush. This is a semi-chick flick, but since I like romantic comedies and human interest movies the choice was ok with me. This movie has been out for several weeks which means it has been moved to one of the smaller screening rooms in a multi-screen theatre. We had to sit a little closer than either of us care to but it wasn't all that bad. The previews run and then the movie starts...except it's the wrong movie!!! The projection room has qued up Mr. Mangorium's Wonder Emporium. After running through most of the intro graphics, they get it straightened out. August Rush is a very good and probably under rated movie. It starts out a little slow, actually very slow. About a half hour into the story the movie picks up the pace and things get much, much better. The story line is based on a young boy who was separated from his mother at birth. He has spent his entire life in an orphanage (and has no desire to be adopted) and claims he can hear his parents through the music of nature around him. He believes that the music will bring them all back together. He is the product of a one-night-stand between a budding rock musician and a concert cellist. The boy turns out to be a musical prodigy. Robin Williams plays a rather dark character that takes in run aways, that have musical talent, and then places them as street musicians around New York City. The whole group splits the take at the end of the day and live in a commune environment at the abandoned Filmore East theatre. That's all I'm going to say here. I would encourage you to see this movie. There is nothing so overpowering that it must be seen on the big screen, but the acting and music are outstanding.
Saturday afternoon we went to see National Treasure, Book of Secrets. If you like Indiana Jones (a new one is due out in May '08), Jewel of the Nile, or The Mummy, then this movie is for you. It is apparently for a lot of people because it is showing on two screens and one of them was sold out this afternoon. This movie has more action and less puzzle solving or clue chasing than the first National Treasure. This movie introduces us to one new character, Nicholas Cage's mother/Jon Voights wife. I believe it also sets the premise for a third movie. You'll have to turn to page 47 to find out more.
Well that pretty much sums up our week-end. New Years day will see me in front of the TV for the Cotton Bowl game between Arkansas and Missouri. WOOOOOOOOOOOO Pig Soooie!!! Later that day we may go back to the movies to see The Great Debaters, starring Denzel Washington.
Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

HO, Ho,...Oh No-o-o-o!!!

Let me begin by saying that Christmas was great this year. My dad, who is eighty-seven, joined the grand kids, the honorary elf and myself at our home on Christmas Eve. We had dinner, the two oldest grand daughters read the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-14 and we opened the presents. It was a perfect evening. It just almost wasn't going to be that way, which is what brings me to this post.
The youngest grand daughter loves to draw, paint, color, etc. So, the honorary elf (alias Nana) and myself decide to get her a drawing/craft desk for Christmas. Just after Thanksgiving I ordered the item from A week later the box arrives and I carefully put it in the garage to assemble later. Later was Christmas eve day. Around 1:00 p.m. I began assembly of the table. Since I am an architect and have dismantled and assembled more full size drafting tables than I care to count, this project is no-brainer. The frame goes together relatively quickly. I am now ready to put the tilting mechanism on the table top and attach it to the frame. I pull the top out of the box and it is damaged!!! Remember, it is now 2:00 p.m. Christmas eve and we are going to open presents in about four hours! You can't give a six-year-old damaged goods. You just can't. And you can't explain to them that you will return it and get them a brand new one in a couple of weeks, after the crowds thin out at the customer service desk. So, I remember that we saw a similar desk at Hobby Lobby (at twice the price), so I called to ask if they still had one and what time would they be closing. They were going to be open until 5:30 and yes they still had a craft desk. WoooooooHooooooo!
It is a 14 mile drive to Hobby Lobby and it is now 2:30 p.m. I'm not panicked, but I am not really happy either. When I get to Hobby Lobby, they actually didn't have a new desk in a box like the one I was looking for. They did still have the floor sample, which had a little tape residue on it. We got it cleaned up and I bought assembly required!!! Christmas is saved!!!
Yes, had I opened the box three weeks earlier when it arrived, I would have discovered the damaged goods and had plenty of time to correct the problem. So readers and lurkers, learn from my experience. Anything that you order and must be shipped to you should be carefully inspected immediately upon arrival. Otherwise, you may find yourself saying Ho, Ho...Oh, NO!!!

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Reasons I Celebrate the New Year!

This may be very quickly put together, therefore, not terribly well thought out or original and certainly not as serious as my previous Thursday Thirteen but here it is, for what it's worth. And, there won't be any photos to accompany this.

1. I made it through another year. That may be all the reason I need to celebrate.

2. I'm one year closer to retirement. I don't want to work this hard for this long and miss out on the best part of life.

3. We're taking the grand kids to Disney World in 2008. This could be the best vacation ever! I can't wait to see the reactions of the two youngest. We haven't told any of them where we are going. In fact, we may not tell them until we board the plane.

4. At work, we will move into our new office building in May. You have no idea how much this will help productivity and staff morale. Currently we are scattered in seven different buildings across a five block area and it can be a nightmare to manage staff.

5. The Arkansas Razorbacks got rid of Houston Nutt. At least for a little while the local sports talk show call in fans will quit whinning about all of the problems with the football program. Of course Nutt left the recruiting cubboard bear so Bobby Patrino will have nothing to work with when he gets here. I can almost hear the whinning again.

6. The Oklahoma Sooners will be ranked preseason No. 1. Now if they can just keep from tripping over Colorado or Texas Tech, they could win the National Championship in '08.

7. All of the holiday food will be gone and I can get back to seriously trying to lose weight and exercise. Seriously!

8. American Idol starts in a few weeks. WooooooooooooHooooooooooooooo!!!!

9. My annual trout fishing trip is coming up during spring break. This is just four or five guys fishing, eating, and sittin' around a campfire for a couple of days in March. It may not sound like great fun to a lot of you, but I look forward to it every year.

10. Mrs. DrillerAA (the honorary elf) and I will celebrate thirty-four years of wedded bliss in May. WOOOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

11. '08 could be the year of the big screen TV in our house! I passed up an opportunity to get one this year at half price. That won't happen again.

12. I will have my new computer set up by the beginning of '08...I hope. Actually, I will probably start that process this afternoon or in the morning....or not. After all, I am on vacation.

13. I will look forward to making it to 2009, with the understanding that time is flying by at much too rapid a pace.

Happy New Year All!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

We are the Champions!

Last night one of my three fantasy football teams clinched first place. Going into the game between San Diego and Denver I was behind by two points, but I had Ladanian Tomlinson, game, set match. I've been playing fantasy football for about five years now and I've played in as many as five different leagues in one season. That became just too much trouble to keep track of, so this year I backed down to three leagues. One league was an automatic draft public league, one league was a live draft public league, and the last league was a live draft and private. It was my public, auto-draft team that won the championship. As you can probably tell, this is my first league championship. I have placed first once, second once, and third a couple of times. I really don't know what it is about this game that I like, but it is addicting. I guess that's why I had five different teams one year. Now that the fantasy season is over, I can go back to following the Cowboys closely and hope they win it all. Oh yeah, I can start setting up that new computer I told you about several posts back. I also have a Christmas close call you need to hear about. Merry Christmas all!

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's Good to be the Baby Brother

Mason doesn't need mistletoe to get the attention of his sisters. Most of the time they find him to be the annoying little brother and he plays the part very well. He bounces from one sister to the other to see what they are doing and if he can help make their day. Right now, everyone is in the Christmas spirit, so peace reigns in the house. You may notice that the two youngers sisters are about to burst out laughing at their youngest sibling. I'm tellin' ya folks, grand kids are just the greatest! Ya gotta get ya some of these!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yo, Merry Chrismuz All!

Emily is the closet clown in the family. While she may not be the most outgoing grand child, she has a funny sense of humor and her mother has a great eye for a photo. Put Em' in a costume and give her a part to play and she is in her element. She loves singing, and dance and almost anything that involves theatre.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I'm Done !!!

I finished my Christmas shopping! WoooooooooHoooooo!!! Of course I only have to buy one gift that really matters and that is for the honorary elf and my partner for life. I have input and I go shopping with her during the season, but I'm generally not responsible for actually purchasing any additional gifts. I am sure the recipients of those gifts are thrilled that I have minimal involvement in the selection process.
Now all I have to do is sit back and enjoy the remainder of the Holidays. I will be on vacation next week and we will have family in for a few days, we will traveling for a day, and I will be watching a few bowl games and setting up my new computer (see earlier post). All of this means that I may or may not find the time to post next week. So to the one or two of you out there that actually read this blog from time to time, may God bless you and your family. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas!

One of the photos features our daughter, her husband and the grand kids. The other photo features myself and the honorary elf. To see her handiwork, visit the two previous Thursday Thirteen's. She is one gifted lady and I am one very fortunate old man.

May the God of all creation richly bless your family this season. May you know that He loves you and desires to be a part of your life. Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

Thursday Thirteen No. 10

Thirteen Reasons I Celebrate Christmas

I celebrate Christmas because of the birth of the promised Savior. I celebrate because God is good, faithful and true. One thing about truth, I does not require you to believe it in order for it to be true. Truth is truth, whether you believe it or not.
Please consider carefully reason number eleven.

1. "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is Given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

2. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:11

3. " And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, as on earth peace, goodwill toward men." Luke 2:13-14

4. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." John 1:1

5. "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." John 1:3

6. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

7. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believe in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." John 5:24

8. And Jesus said to them " I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst." John 6:35

9. "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." John 6:51

10. "My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. My Father and I are one." John 10:27-30

11. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14.6

12. "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:2-3

13: Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea....And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be nor more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Daddy's Got a Brand New Toy!

The posts may be few and far between next week. I just bought a new desktop computer and I will be spending a good deal of time setting it up while I'm on vacation. In fact, while I am posting this, I am also burning back-up dvds of all of my files. Is that what they call multi-tasking? Whatever it is, I'm doing it. My current machine is 4-5 years old. It does not have a dvd burner or a multi-card reader and the video card does not support my recently purchased 22" wide screen monitor. The new machine has or will do all of the above...Wooohooo!!! I am going to have to get used to Windows Vista though and that may take a little time. We run XP at the office and this machine I am currently using runs XP. My laptop and my new desk top will both run Vista. I'm not entirely convinced that is a good thing.

So here is the new set-up. It is an eMachine 2.1 GHz with 1 GB Ram and 320 GB hard drive (PhotoShop here I come!), 15-1 card reader, and a Super DVD RW+/-. About 6 months ago I purchased a Samsung 226BW, 22" wide screen monitor. It is fantastic. It will be even better now that everything will be correctly proportioned. Last month I found a set of Bose Companion 3 speakers on Ebay. Holy Cow Batman!!!! These things rock the house. You outta hear Nora Jones, Delbert McClinton or John Fogerty on these things.

I called my daughter tonight and asked her if she wanted this machine after I transfer everything over. Oh, yeah. She and the grand kids are still using my old, old, old Gateway 500 running Windows 98.

Monday, December 17, 2007

So Many Movies, So Little Time

Christmas season is movie season and there are too many that I want to see on the big screen and there is no way I will be able to see all of them next week while I am on vacation. I've already seen American Gangster and enjoyed it. I've seen Bee Movie, and Alvin and the Chipmunks with the grand kids. Alvin was ok, Bee was a B. So I'm going to need a little help here. I am going to list the movies I think I want to see. You tell me which ones are must see movies and which ones I can skip. Keep in mind I don't like movies like Saw IV, so don't waste your time suggesting it. I doubt if I will see The Mist. Ok, here is what I would like to see.
August Rush, Beowulf, Lions for Lamb, National Treasure II, I am Legend, Martian Child, and Charlie Wilson's War. Tell me which movies I need to buy snacks and popcorn for and which ones I can just wait 'til the DVD comes out.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A-L-V-I-N ! ! !

We met the kids and grand kids at the movies today. You guessed it, we went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. With the price of concessions these days, Nana and I stopped at Walgreens on the way and picked up snacks for everyone. It still cost us $33.00 in drinks and popcorn even with the smuggled supplements. The theatre is one of those stadium seating designs and it was pretty full for the 3:00 p.m. show. We sat on the very back row. Actually these are not bad seats because the aisle is wider and there is no one behind you to prevent you from leaning back in your seat.
The movie was pretty good. It tells us how Dave and the Chipmunks met and the origin of the "Chipmunk Song". It's a little long in places, but over all it was a good time. I did see trailers for movies I'd rather see that will be coming in the next few months. "The Water Horse" will be here in March. It comes from the people that brought us "The Chronicles of Narnia". Next summer DreamWorks will bring us "Kung Fu Panda." This looks like a huge hit. And yes, I like annimated films.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Now What Do I Do For Entertainment?

I am wrapping up my fifth year playing fantasy football. It may be my last as I am beginning to lose interest. I started this year playing in three different leagues, one in and the other two in Yahoo. I have always played in multiple leagues, with five being the most. That got a little out of hand. In the past five years I have won two championships and placed third.
This year I started out great. I was undefeated in all three leagues the first three weeks of the season. By week five I had only lost one game. I managed to stay in first place in two of the leagues until week ten before the bottom fell out. In I looked like the New Orleans Saints. I started off great and then lost five of the last six games to finish out of the playoffs.
In the private Yahoo league I finished the regular season in second place and then lost the first round playoff game last week. That leaves me with the Yahoo public league. I finished the regular season in third place and the playoffs begin this week. I really need another virtual trophy.
The question is, what am I going to do for entertainment after the season. I don't like pro baskeball. I wouldn't walk across the street to see an NBA game if they taped a $20 bill to every seat in the house! Fantasy baseball looks like too much work. So what do I do for entertainment?
Well, I will probably spend a little more time working on this blog. I will wait until American Idol starts in January, then cruise some of my favorite blogs to post and chat with other fans, and I have enrolled in a PhotoShop Elements class at the local community college. That ought to keep me entertained for a couple of months.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Anybody seen Rudolph?

Can you find all four deer in this photo. I stepped out on the back deck this morning and there must been nine deer on the edge of the yard. There are four or five more outside the frame of this photo. I've been trying to attract them for a month or so and this is the most successful I've been. This is just great.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen No. 9

Thirteen Ornaments and Decorations Part Deaux

If you remember last week, I mentioned that I am married to an honorary elf. Christmas is my wife's favorite holiday and she is very good at decorating our home for this special time of the year. She has an exraordinary eye for design and is capable of making almost anything she sets her heart on. So, with that introduction, I present an additional thirteen Christmas things you will find around our home. Merry Christmas to all!

Let's start at the front door. Welcome all.

The fireplace mantle has another wreath and garland. All of this was created by the elf without any help from Hobby lobby or Wal-Mart, etc.

Here is a detail of the end garland on the fireplace mantle. I told ya she was talented!

Whimsical picture frames with photos of the kids and Santa are a great addition to any decor. The pics are fond reminders of Christmas past.

Theses metalic frames are a little more formal and are placed on the dresser in the Master
Bedroom. Remember, Christmas is not limitied to any particular room at our house because an elf lives here.

Ok, here is the main tree in the living room.

And the elf has made bows for this tree.

Here is the 3' wilderness theme tree in the study. I got to pick many of the ornaments that go on this tree.

This 6' rustic tree is in the sitting room by the kitchen. It has those photo and antique ornaments that you saw last week ...or just scroll down to enjoy them.

And here is how the honorary elf topped this tree!

You guessed it, the elf hand painted this ceramic ornament.


Monday, December 10, 2007

This the Season to be Jolly

Like most people the wife and I have let the holiday schedule get a little out of hand. As I mentioned, last Wednesday we drove over to Branson, MO to see "The Music of Mannheim Steamroller." Well, last Friday we hosted our Sunday school class party, Saturday night was my office party, today my wife is hosting a luncheon for the widows in our home and tomorrow night is the church staff party. Are we done yet?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday Thirteen No. 8

Thirteen Christmas Ornaments and Decorations Around the House

Since my wife is an honorary elf, our hourse is transformed during the Christmas Season. We have three trees, the main 9 footer in the living room, the 6' rustic tree in the sitting area off of the kitchen and a 3' wilderness themed tree (it's mine) in the den. Here are 13 decorations and ornaments you will find around our home this time of year.

The honorary elf made this ceramic ornament a number of years ago.
It is probably my favorite of all of the ornaments in the house.

I love cocker spaniels. They are my favorite breed of dog and the only breed I have ever had as a pet. When we found this ornament a few years back, buying it was a no brainer.

I love to fish and bears are much better at this sport than I am. But then again, they don't practice catch and release.

You don't have to look very hard around this blog to understand why I own this ornament.

I am an architect and this little construction guy is the closest thing we could find to represent the industry I am in.

Like most of the really cool ornaments that we own, the honorary elf found these embossed leather ornaments at a craft store.

Santa fishes in the off season. There is actually a traditional green ball ornament that is the basis for this decoration.

Like I said, Santa fishes in the off season.

There are few things prettier than a traditional glass ornament.

Traditional shapes and colors are always reminders of the season.

Toys from your childhood. I can guarantee this ornament is over 55 years old!

Olde World Santa Lamps. We have nine of these and they are displayed on top of the kitchen cabinets.

Take a photo of the kids/grandkids every year and put them in these photo frame ornaments. In a few years, you will have enough to decorate an entire tree.

Christmas Extraordinaire

I took yestderday afternoon off and my wife and I made the two hour drive to Branson, Missouri to the "The Music of Mannheim Steamroller". It is kind of like the off-broadway version of the group. There are four featured musicians from Mannheim Steamroller and 14 members of the Branson Orchestra. There are also some special lighting, multi-media etc. The performance was great, but it only made me want to hunt down the full blown Mannheim concert and see it. I can't make those plans this year because time and schedule won't allow it.
The full group will be in Kansas City next week, but I will just have to keep track of their schedule and make plans for the holidays next year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The Christmas tree is up in the foyer of the church and it is spectacular! I love this time of year.
Over the next week or two you're probably going to see several posts relating the Christmas, decorations, shopping, grandkids and gingerbread houses. Since my wife is one of Santa's elves, we currently have three trees up at home. You will get to see those as soon as I photograph them and can get them posted. Until then, Merry Christmas. Enjoy the season and remember that the greatest gift of all is the gift of our Savior. Give the gift of love to everyone you know.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Here kitty, kitty....

OKLAHOMA SOONERS 38 Missouri Tiggers 17
Granted, we contributed to the mess of the BCS as to who should be playing in the national championship game, but the Sooners left no doubt last night as to who is the Big 12 conference champion. I kept telling myself I wouldn't be terribly disappointed if Missouri won, because that would put a Big 12 team in the title game, but when they teed up the ball that all changed.
I am Sooner born, Sooner bred, a Sooner Alum and I just can't bring myself to be anything else.
We're ranked No. 3 by the Harris, AP, and USA Today Polls. We finished No 4 in the BCS. We will meet West Virgina in the Fiesta Bowl. They are so-o going to wish they had beaten Pitt after the beat down that the Sooners are going to put on them. Pass the Tostidos and the dip.