Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another Construction Update

Five months ago in December 13, 2011 post I wrote about and published pictures of the 3 construction projects that were going on in Smith's Grove where I live. 

My January 16, 2012 post showed the completed renovation of the Smith's Grove Mc'Donalds' restaurant. Now here are shots of the other two projects that are now finished as well.

The New Smith's Grove Library

The new facilities for Thomas Veterinary Services.
This is where I take my pets.  

As I mentioned in the December 13 post, a trio of construction project going on simultaneously in a town that's about 1 square mile in area and has a population just over 700 is significant. 

But that's not the end of it. Just recently the Smith's Grove Baptist Church (one of a at least 1/2 dozen churches in Smith's Grove) has broken ground on an expansion of their church building. 

Here is a picture of the initial stages of their project. The demolition process to make way for the new construction. 

I'll keep you up to date on the progress of their new church building; or at least post a picture when it's done 

Looks like things keep on changing in my favorite small town but the relaxing slow pace stays the same. That's why it's my favorite little town. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I Did On Tuesday

WARNING: Some of you may find this post rather boring. But for me, yesterday was the best “taking care of business” day I’ve had in a while. I started I writing this just before heading to bed Tuesday night; while I still had a small but satisfying sense of accomplishment. So here’s the reason why:

Although it’s usually on Monday, today was my day to go into Bowling Green and  do some errands.  

The change in schedule was directly due to the timing of my eligibility to donate plasma at the Bowling Green Biologicals like I have been doing for the last 4 months. I won’t go into the details (if you really want to know ask me when we talk) but donating plasma is essentially giving blood and getting paid for it. I usually do it on Monday and Wednesdays. Last week I went on Tuesday and Thursday. Because you can’t donate more than twice in any 7 day period, I couldn’t go back again until Tuesday this week.

I left my house at about 11AM; first, stopping by my church to drop off a packet of information to our church secretary. She’s going to Walt Disney World with her family very soon. As of yesterday hadn’t done much planning.  When it comes to arranging an enjoyable Walt Disney World vacation her pending departure is the equivalent of a blink of an eye. Because of my own experience, I felt she really needed some basic Disney World trip planning advice; so I collected some vital information for her.

Next on my agenda was a stop at the Daily Newspaper office to pick up some copies of the Sunday paper that included my granddaughter Aria’s birth announcement.
Once I got to the Plasma center I could tell from the number of people in the waiting area that it was going to take a lot longer than the usual hour to donate. I decided to leave and go back later when it wouldn’t be as crowded.

I rearranged my list of things to do and headed for the car wash. It was time to clean out my Saturn Vue. The interior had gotten so nasty that over the last couple of months I refused let my wife or anyone, other than my dogs, ride in it. But an upcoming short road trip with my daughter-in-law, Heather, and one of her friends on Friday meant I had to get it clean enough to allow them to ride with me.

I went through the automatic car wash to get the exterior clean and then spent about over an hour detailing the interior.

With a newly cleaned vehicle it was time for me to take care of the most important task of the day. Today was my other daughter-in-law, Brandi’s birthday. We had already celebrated with her at our house on Mother’s Day. But I wanted to give her something special on her special day.  

She told me she was going to be at Cheddar’s restaurant for lunch with her cousin around 1 o’clock. I arranged to meet her there. I gave her a couple of special cupcakes from GiGi’s because everyone needs to have cake on their birthday. She seemed really happy with her surprise.  

I got a special reward for my act of kindness. My granddaughter, Aria, was with her mommy. Although she was fast asleep in her baby carrier I still loved getting to see her. She continues to be the most beautiful baby in the world.

I left Brandi and her cousin to enjoy their lunch together. After a brief stop for some lunch I went to Wal-Mart. I was there to stock up on the beverages Paula and I drink every day in order to stay hydrated. I bought about 40 bottles of Powerade Zero and 60 bottles of flavored sparking water. I know that seems like a lot but it’s a month’s supply for two people who down at least one of each type of drink daily.

Each time I do this kind of shopping my cart gets really full; almost to the point of overflowing. I get some strange looks as I make my way through the store to the checkout.  I return each of those looks with the phrase “I’m really thirsty.”

Once at the checkout lane I emptied the cart onto the conveyor belt by flavors. The checker was an older lady named “Darlene.” She seemed a bit overwhelmed by the size of my purchase. Add to this her problems with opening and doubling the plastic bags and you get the reason it took me 15 minutes to get out of the store.

By coincidence, the person in line behind me was a woman, named “Vicki”, who goes to my church. I kept telling her that I was sorry she had to wait so long. She was very patient and even offered to help bag the bottles.  

Shopping at Sam’s Club was next but before that I made a quick trip to the Lifeway Christian Store in the Greenwood Mall. I needed to get some things to prepare for our church’s Vacation Bible School in June.

Sam’s Club store was really crowded and it took me about 30 minutes to get the ½ dozen items on my list. By this time it was close to 4 o’clock. I was tired and decided that I wasn’t going to go back to donate plasma.

I wanted to go home but I had one more stop to make. I needed even more groceries from the Kroger store. I bought just over $100 worth of food but only paid just over $40 because I used my Kroger Card rewards checks.

While in the store I had the pleasure of running into another church member, Laura, along with her 3 daughters. At one time or another, over the past 8 years, I’ve had the privilege of teaching each of them in Children’s church. The older two ran up to me and each gave me a hug. That made my day.

Once the 3rd and last shopping trip was completed, again because I was tired, I decided against the 10 mile bike ride I had planned as part of my day. So finally after all day “in town” I headed home.

The bike ride would have been difficult anyway.  All the groceries I had in the back of my Vue were piled on top of the bike. I wouldn’t have been able get it out if I had wanted to.

But wait there’s more.

Once I got home I had to unload all the groceries and drinks and then put them away. That done, I just sat and relaxed on the love seat for a while.

Soon, after they stared at me while wagging their tails for about 15 minutes, I decided to take my dogs for a walk. The 1 mile trek through our little town made them very happy.
Now at this point you would think I would be satisfied with all I had done all day; but I wasn’t. The missed bike ride from earlier still bothered me.

So at 7 o’clock I got on my bike and rode around “the grove” for about ½ an hour. When I got back to the house I discovered that my trip had been long enough to make my digital odometer go over 100 miles. That was the topper for the day.

When my wife got home from Praise Team practice at church I drove to Wendy’s and brought back supper.

The rest of the evening consisted of cutting up and sweetening the strawberries I bought at Kroger, watching some TV and writing this post.

So there you have it. That’s my story of my busy outstanding routine day of errands. Like I wrote at the start of this post you may have found it boring. However I’m hoping that at least some of you found it a somewhat engaging and overly detailed account of a day in my life. I promise to choose a more interesting topic in my next post.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Need Your Help

In the 4 years I’ve been posting on this blog I have never written one like this. I guess I should start with the fact that I am currently without a job. I won’t go into the details as to why, but my last day of work at Shop NBC was April 20.

As the popular proverb states, when God closes a door; He opens a window.” I truly believe that in His providence God presents opportunities in our lives all the time.

I see this “closed door” as the chance to focus on my open window; one that I have been aware of for a while.  I just haven’t made enough effort or been able to go through it.  I’m referring to the opportunity to create some income through ventriloquism; specifically in the area of children’s birthday parties. I am looking for people who may be interested in hiring me for that purpose.

I am working on getting the news of my availability out to people in a more effective manner. I’m creating a “Ron Havens/Ventriloquist” Facebook page where potential clients can get information, see pictures and videos as well as contact me about bookings. That’s going to take a while but I’m working on it.

But in addition to my personal efforts, I would like to ask for help from all my Facebook friends and blog readers who live in Kentucky. If you or anyone you know is having a children’s birthday party to recommend me and my puppet friends as unique way of making it special.

I have a wide variety of puppets and I add a personal touch to every show.I would appreciate any “word of mouth” promotion I can get. Collectively, y'all know a lot more people with kids than I do. So,  I am, humbly, asking for some assistance from my Facebook friends and blog readers.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in hiring me for a birthday party or any other occasion they can contact me by email: or by cell phone. They can call or text me.

All I’m looking for is a few people to give me the chance to make their party a special one. I’ll even give the first 3 people who contact me and mention anything about being told about me by one of my Facebook friends or reading about me on my blog a break on my price.

Thanks for any help you can give me. You will be an answer to prayer and I promise I will find a way to return the favor. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Dark Shadows" Movie Review

For those of you with plans to see the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp movie, Dark Shadows, I would like to warn you that this review contains many “spoilers.” You may not want to read it until after you’ve been to the theater. But reading it first just may save you some money and keep you from wasting a couple hours of your life.

Let me just start out with the fact that when I was a kid, all my family members were above average fans of the "Dark Shadows" TV show. We watched every day. We even had the board game (yes, there was one. I still have it.). I continue to be a fan and have the music from the show on my IPod. I am a genuine fan of “Dark Shadows.”

I also want to advise that I am not a fan of Tim Burton or his movies. As a matter of fact there is only one Tim Burton movie that I genuinely like: Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.  

From the first time I saw the trailer for this movie version of Dark Shadows, I was appalled. The movie looked awful. Even with all the buzz throughout the past year about this picture I wasn’t aware that it was supposed to have a comedic element to it. But putting that aside what was presented as comedy, in the trailer, was not in any way funny. It bordered on “offensive” to real Dark Shadows fans. I declared my personal boycott of the film.

But then Jonathan Frid (the original Barnabas Collins) died about 2 weeks before the film’s release. I read that he had a small cameo appearance in the new film. I decided to go see the movie just to see Frid one last time.

I decided to go into the theater with an open mind; give the movie a chance. From the first note of the music all the way and the narrative that tells the story of the Collins’ family up to the cursing and entombment of Barnabas, Burton had me. I was almost convinced that I may have been wrong and that the movie was going to be interesting after all.

But then the construction workers unearth a coffin. A 200+ year old vampire emerges and murders all in the vicinity with the fervor of a 300 pound Weight Watcher entering a “Golden Corral” announcing he’s “fallen off the wagon.” He then “mistakes” the McDonald’s golden arches for the sign of the devil and heads for the family mansion. The life was sucked out of my optimism quicker than the blood of one of those first victims.

From that point on, consistent with the trailer, the jokes evoked more emotionally painful winces than laughs. The residents of Collinwood were disturbingly weird, embarrassingly stereo typical, and not the least bit interesting.

I did get a bit amused with the character of Julia Hoffman being portrayed as an over-the-top alcoholic. There was always that subtext about that character in the TV series but it was never openly portrayed.

The movie then goes on to introduce a plethora of plots and sub plots which are never fully or believably played out. Among them are:
      A female patient escapes a mental hospital, becomes governess to the youngest Collins family member and is haunted by a water logged female ghost.

·         Barnabas reveals his true identity to the current matriarch of the Collins family, Elizabeth. They enter a partnership to keep secret collection of valuable art pieces which will serve as the financial means of returning the family to prominence.

·         Angelique, the jilted lover of Barnabas and the witch who cursed him to be one of “the living dead” turns out to be an iconic citizen and the most powerful business owner in the town of Collinsport.

·         Barnabas begins to rebuild the Collins seafood business by reopening the fish processing plan and using his hypnotic powers to recruit fishing boat captains to switch and work for him.

·         Star crossed lovers, Angelique and Barnabas, reunite in fit of supernatural passion that almost literally brings down the house. The witch gives the vampire a “partner with me or else” ultimatum.

·         Dr. Julia Hoffman proposes an experimental treatment with Barnabas’ blood to turn him back to being human only to use the project as a means to sustain her own vanity.

None of these plots are played out in a believable way. They did nothing but come together as a confusing mess of an ending.

There were other things about the movie that were questionable as well.

How could the Barnabas walk around in the daylight? It appeared that all he had to do was wear sunglasses and stay out of the direct rays. That’s not a vampire that’s a redhead.

As a way of accomplishing their social resurgence the Collins family decides to host a dance (way too many sophomoric references to the event as a “ball”) which seems to serve only as an excuse to have Alice Cooper perform. This is also the place in the film that Jonathan Frid and several other cast members from the original TV program made their cameo appearances. 

The film concludes in a confusing conglomeration of “surprises”, special effects, and a fight to the finish. The last 10 minutes were filled with events that only kept me asking “why did that happen?”

When the credits rolled the only thing I found myself doing was shaking my head in disbelief. What did I just see? Whatever it was it was awful.

Now don’t get me wrong. There were things about this movie that I did like. There were times that Johnny Depp seemed to capture the demeanor of the original Barnabas Collins as played by Jonathan Frid. Helena Bonham Carter’s Julia Hoffman also provided glimpses of the way she was played by Grayson Hall.

I also liked the expanded view of the town of Collinsport. On the TV show the town was nothing more than the occasional exterior still shot. The movie version brought the town of Collinsport, Maine to life. It gave a specific location of Collinwood in relationship to the rest of the town. I really liked that. It gave an added dimension to the world of Dark Shadows.

My final word in regard to the 2012 version of Dark Shadows is this.  I truly believe that this will be the last we see of Dark Shadows on the big screen. Tim Burton has done irreparable harm to both the story and the characters of this franchise. (I call this a franchise because since the 1966 debut of the TV show there have been 2 movies with the original series cast, 2 new TV versions and then this film). There's no going back to "Dark Shadows" being taken seriously by the public. 

Of course I could be wrong. No good story with interesting characters is ever dead in Hollywood. And Dark Shadows is just that.

But as far as this current incarnation is concerned I’m going to pretend it never happened.  Just forget what I saw in the theater and remember the excitement and memories that I connect to the original TV series. Those will always remain in the dark shadows of my mind.