Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The View from Our Bathroom Window (Germany)

Of all the amazing things we saw on our European adventure, perhaps the most startling and unexpected was the bathroom at our hotel in Frankfurt.

Not that a bathroom window is an amazing innovation. In fact, one of the bathrooms here in my own house has a window. But this bathroom had a window in the bathroom door. In the picture on the left I am looking into the hotel room from the bathroom.

I know what you are thinking. "Perhaps the window was cleverly placed so as to minimize the compromising views possible."

To which I can only say, "I don't think so." Here's a view of the throne room from the porthole.

And what scandalous exposition of a windowed bathroom would be complete without a quick glance at the shower?

A conversation with Hans Christian Andersen

While staying in Spain, we happened to run into Hans Chrisian Andersen sitting on a park bench. If you look closely you can see a little ugly duckling in his briefcase. I sat for a while and talked to him about the challenges of the writing life.
About ten minutes later I discovered that "he" was actually just a statue. I think the look on my face says it clearly. Krista knew it was a statue all along.

We also found a plaque which explained why there was a statue of Hans Christian Andersen in Malaga, Spain. As near as we could tell it said, "Hans Christian Andersen once visited Spain. He ate some food. He said that it was quite good."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

hola from españa

Hey everybody. We´re having a great time here in Spain, other than the crazy keyboard at the internet cafè. i got sunburned walking around by the mediterranean today while talking with some of the Croatia buddies. And Krista and I both have good times hanging with the Rijeka folk, the Lithuania crew and the Nalchik people.

The best food by far is the nata flavored ice cream. That´s whipped cream flavor, folks.

We´ll put up pictures later. Tomorrow we head off to Granada which Taylor says means pomegranite. We are learning a lot.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Adios, America

In a scant four hours I leave for the airport to fly to Spain to see all our good buddies from around the world who will be awaiting us.

In other news, I saw a bald eagle today. It was sitting in a tree near the 205, just watching the cars as if they were big shiny mice.

I don't care what Ben Franklin says, I think eagles are cool.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

help The Man send missionaries to the Caucauses

A few of you may have met my wacky best friend, Chris. He's married to the lovely Joy and they have four great kids, and another on the way. We all assume that number five will be great, as well. Just to show you how cool these guys are, they used to live on a bus.

So, Chris and Joy are in process of becoming missionaries with GEM. They're planning to move the entire family (sans bus) to the country of Georgia. This spring they'd like to take the whole family on an extended trip to visit their new home. It's going to cost about $15,000.

Here's what they're doing to raise some money for the trip: a giant bake sale.

Okay, just kidding. Chris has started "The Google Penny Jar". Basically, when you search google through Chris' search box, he can get a couple of pennies from a Corporate Giant. And if you're going to buy something on the internet and use Chris' site to search for it, they could get more than a couple pennies.

To encourage people to search the internet, Chris has also started a game show. There are obscure trivia questions that can best be answered by searching the internet. So, you can click on the Google Penny Jar and give a search, and help send missionaries to Georgia on Google's dime. AND there's a prize for every winner of the game show ($10 gift card to either Trader Joe's or Borders.

So go check it out, try to win!

Oh, and the new google search box here on my site is the google penny jar, too. So if you don't want to play the game you can still just search the net from here (at the box that says "seek ye here first") and a couple pennies should go Chris' way, too.

Thanks everybody. Enjoy the game!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Things In My House

I was only joking before when I said that I would visit my missionaries in Spain and bring them little gifts like magazines from the plane.

But then it dumped snow on our little corner of the earth for some reason, making it impossible for us to go shopping without simultaneously knocking our car into lots of other cars.

So, Krista and I have made a list of "gifts" that we can bring from our own house to encourage and uplift our beloved missionaries. Here's what we have sitting next to our suitcases right now:

1) A couple of books from the "sell this to Powell's" box in the garage.
2) A half-full can of "chili and lime" almonds
3) Some cornbread
4) "Wiggles" VHS tapes ("A Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas")
5) A pair of new but inexplicably unmatched socks
6) A small container of snow for each person

It's like a homemade Christmas. And somehow I just think it's going to be one of the best. God bless us, every one.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Found Poetry: Aida

So you stood by and let me plot and plan and commit a crime
in stupefied disbelief as she twisted the cork out.
There was quite a turnout at the sports stadium. Cheers and shouts of
jugglers, duels, arm wrestling.

Aida? I said.
She, firmly before me as I went to sleep.
This was a time for wounds.

Welcome, she said, doubly welcome.
To the College of Knowledge from

Found Poetry

I have officially started a new hobby. "Found Poetry." You have probably heard of "Found Art."

Here's an easy way to make found poetry:

1) Go into your spam file in your email.
2) Cut and paste some of the weird phrases into your text editor
3) Prune it down to make something strange and beautiful

I made the poem above using only the "delete" key. You could add some words or move phrases around if it's easier for you. It's fun!

Feel free to post some of your own found poetry in the comments section.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Yet another reason that Hollywood is full of it

Happy MLK day, everyone!

To honor the great man that this day is set aside to honor, we decided to take the kids out for a special outing.


That's right. Ice skating.

I spent most of the time hoping not to A) Crush one of my children or B) Break an ankle.

And here's why Hollywood is full of it... they always make it look really romantic to go ice skating. You go down to Rockefeller Center, you fall in love, you skate around holding hands.

Here's what Krista said to me while we were skating: "I would hold your hand, but I'm afraid."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Gearing up for Spain

Well, this week will mostly be spent preparing for the big trip to Nerja, Spain, to see our stinters from Lithuania, Croatia, Russia and France. Hopefully next year we'll add Italy to the list.

What needs to be done to prepare you ask? Well, we have to buy gifts, first of all. That's right. It's a sort of Pavlovian, psychological way that we condition people to feel good when they see us. Some people will demand cash. Others like a thoughtful little something (like if I were to bring them a magazine from the airplane). Still others just want me to pat them on the head and say, "Good boy, John, good boy!" But this all requires some forethought and careful planning.

Also, of course, there is the packing of bags, which I am undeniably expert in now. They should have a reality show. I can not only put everything in the bag, I can lift it and tell you how much it weighs. Incredible.

We need to plan what we will take to entertain ourselves on the plane, too. Krista spent a little time today loading her iPod. I won't need to spend much time preparing for that, since I know what I will be taking for fun and entertainment: HEBREW HOMEWORK! I'll be translating the book of Ruth.

These things will take up most of the week, since we leave on Friday. In addition I will be calling Bryon and Emily in Venezuela. I thought I would make this known publicly so that their friends could call ahead and warn them to turn off their cel phones.

Okay, kiddies. My wife is missing which means, I suspect, that she has gone to perform the evening ablutions. Which is my cue to go.

And for all those lurkers out there, those sad souls without a blog who never comment but only read with secret delight, let me just say this: "Blog not, lest ye be blogged." Um. Yeah. So true, so true.

FORD... 30 years without a break

I saw an ad today for FORD. It said, "FORD... we haven't taken a day off in thirty years."

I have a few thoughts on that.

One, I am not sure why this is something to brag about. For crying out loud, what about your spouses and children? Shouldn't you take a day off?

Two, haven't you ever heard of the Sabbath? Seriously. In the course of 30 years you should have taken like, 1,620 sabbaths. I bet Henry Ford is mad at you.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Hmmm. I just looked at the two posts below and somethin has gone wonky. The most recent post has lost all of its line breaks when it published. And the first post has lost some of the linebreaks and also several paragraphs.

I'm just going to leave it for now and see if it magically gets all better.

Or maybe my computer has a virus. Wouldn't that be nice! I could make it soup and wrap it up on a blanket on the couch. We could watch some movies it would like. Maybe "War Games" or "Short Circuit." I have been hoping we could become better friends. This might be our chance.

Michael Connelly = Happy Reading

When it comes to modern authors, I have a very easy rating system, and it's all based on how I prefer to get their work. It goes like this (highest to lowest):
1) Buy their books in hardback, as soon as they come out
2) Buy in hardback as soon as they go on discount
3) Buy in paperback as soon as available
4) Buy in paperback if I can find it used
5) Get it at the library
6) Read it only if I can find it at a garage sale for less than a quarter
7) Read it only begrudgingly, and only if it's assigned for schoolwork (yes, that's for you, Dan Brown!)
There are really only two or three authors who always make it on the top of the list. I always get new Michael Connelly novels. Especially his Harry Bosch novels. And I almost always get new Gene Wolfe or Percival Everett novels. These are my top guys.
So, I got Echo Park, the new Connelly novel for Christmas. But I knew I couldn't start reading it because it would take me away from all the other things I needed to do (like study Hebrew, work, hang with the family, eating or sleeping). But last night I decided it was time. So I dove in and got started. It was great. Ah! So good!
I finished it tonight. I really enjoyed it. My first thought when I put it down was, "How long until the next Harry Bosch novel is in my hands?" I am guessing two years. TWO YEARS! ARGH!
So, if you're into crime movies or novels, get to know Harry Bosch. Start at the beginning and work your way up. Each novel stands alone, but it's fun to get to know Harry and follow along as things develop.
You know I don't give unabashed plugs very often, but that's what this is. Michael Connelly novels are good reading.
Get ready for the standard disclaimer:
These books would most likely be rated R if they were movies. Language and violence. Yes, that's right. Language and violence both.
I need to get to bed. G'night.

Burning Hearts Revival

My good buddy Andy sent me this link to a website called Burning Hearts.

They have t-shirts and calendars and Bible studies and we have, um, fake poetry contests and uh, updates on my kids. Maybe we should rename this blog.
The new name of the blog from henceforth shall be called: The Mikalatos World Fair. Or, TMWF for short.
Or we could just change it to "The Original Burning Hearts." Or, if they were first, "The Real Burning Hearts." Or I guess we could coexist in peace.
Anyway, a jaunty tip of the hat to Mr. Andy for the link. Drop by at BH and be nice to them. We're sort of like cousins or something.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Greeks Bearing Gifts

This year I'm the speaker at our region's Greek Conference. They thought, "Why not get a real Greek to speak to our Greeks?" That's right, kids, they went all the way to the Motherland to recruit me.

I'm really excited. I've already sent Krista to the drycleaner to get my chiton pressed.
If you follow the link above there's even a picture of me, courtesy of Kirk Brower.


Krista's allergic reaction is almost completely gone (yay!).

My Hebrew final got snowed out on Thursday (I see that you guys actually were praying... thanks). I took it today. I don't think I can say with any confidence that I did well. But I can say that I definitely did better.

Thanks for your prayer and encouragement.

In other news, Krista and I leave in a week for Spain to hang out with some of our loved ones from around the world. We're pretty excited.

Although I just have to say that we don't appreciate all the prank calls from Someone In Croatia. :P

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


My friend Mir pointed out that her story is listed in a reader's poll for best science fiction story.

My short story, Chariots, is on the list, too. I thought that was nice. I actually "know" several of the people on the list, so I'm not stumping for votes or anything. I just thought it was fun and that I would let you know. :)

Prayer requests

Hey friends-- a couple of quick prayer requests for the Mik family.

1) Krista is having an allergic reaction to some antibiotics she was put on. She's okay, but is covered in hives and miserable. They're starting to clear up a little bit, but pray that they will go away completely.

2) I am (re)taking my Hebrew final tomorrow. You can either pray that (a) I will go an pass the test and class or (b) that snow and ice will prevent me from going. :) Just kidding. Pray for "a".

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Devo on GNWstinters

Last week I put a new devo from Ralph Cooley up on gnwstinters. I need to find a better tagline than, "Check it out" but you should check it out.

Dreaming with the Miks

Last night the whole family had dreams. Choose your favorite from the list below:

Krista: scary faces

Matt: A dream where this guy apologizes for evil things he has done. I start to trust him, realizing that he's not a bad guy after all. Then he gets in my face and starts yelling at me in a strange language. I snap my fingers and tell him to concentrate and speak clearly. Then he gets mad at me for snapping my fingers at him. It's disrespectful.

Z: A nightmare involving snow.

A: A beautiful rainbow, with pegasuses flying around and saying, "Hello, A!"


This special Premium Edition Post has now been made available to only our Elite Subscribers, due to the extreme hilarity it caused as well as the possibly poor taste of the author.

Lesson: always listen to your wife when she says, "I wouldn't put that on my blog."

Lesson #2: If you snooze, you lose. Content is always changing at BHR.

Lesson #3: If your friend writes a hilarious but inappropriate post on his blog, be sure to get a screenshot for later.

Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Fourteen)

Dedicated to the two young teenaged girls who were checking out the magazine rack at the grocery store, clutching together "17" magazine, and to their mom, who I suspect is a very good mom indeed.

Girl #1: Mom, can I buy just one "icky" magazine?

Mom: What? No! With my money? I don't think so. Huh-uh. Never!

Girl #2 (calling desperately after her mother, who has now gone around the corner onto the next aisle): How about "Women's Health", Mom? Could we get "Women's Health"?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Out of Print

You might remember my first story "published" on the internet. It was called "Samaritan" and it was the story of a guy who picked up a woman on the side of the road who needed a lift back to her car. And of course things go horribly wrong.

Well, the site that published it is now gone. That's right. So you can no longer see "Samaritan" on the web. I'M OUT OF PRINT!

It's bound to happen. I just never thought it would happen so soon. *sniff*

Friday, January 05, 2007

Twisted Christmas

Okay, kids. I will write more this weekend. In the meantime, your homework is to discuss this video. Krista and I caught this on "The Craig Ferguson Show."

What is going on here? Is it irony? Devotion? An attempt at inducing fear? Or pathos? Maybe bathos, I just don't know. Give me some insight.

If you want to do some extra research, here's an article telling you more about Twisted Sister. Yes, I know some of you are too young to know who Twisted Sister is. For that matter, some of you are probably too old to know Twisted Sister.

Off to study binyanim. Shalom.

Don't Worry

I haven't forgotten you, my little chickadees. Yesterday and today must be spent in studying Hebrew... and I have class on Monday, and meetings all day Tuesday and Wednesday. But I'll be back.

Topics we will consider together:

Christmas music by Twisted Sister.
The "Collide" winter conference.
The Glories of Spain.
The place of an actual Greek man at Greek Conference in Spokane, Washington.
Oh! Gravity.