Saturday, April 6, 2013

Heading Back Out On Our Cross-Country Walk

This will be a short post, but I wanted to make sure I announced that my beautiful wife, Lindsie, and I will be heading back out on our cross-country journey next weekend (the 13th-14th).

For more information and details, feel free to check out this blog post over on our Storming Jericho website: http://stormingjericho.com/hit-the-road-jack/

It's going to be wonderful to get back on the road and pick up where we left off. We can already feel the adventure stirring in our bones.

Thanks for the support and encouragement, and hopefully I'll be able to post on here again sometime sooner than later!

-Mike

Thursday, February 7, 2013

OTA 2013 Is Almost Here!

If you haven't heard of the OTA Sessions yet, you're missing out. Like...missing out big time.

The OTA Sessions basically take everything amazing about the OTA states (South DakOTA, North DakOTA, and MinnesOTA) and condense it into a conference made up of brilliant attendees, thought-provoking speakers, and a day fully packed with creativity, insight, and a chance for the Midwest to shine.

Oh, and there's a free lunch too.

Anyway, I'll be helping the brilliant Hugh Weber prepare for that over the course of the next month or so, and it is already looking like it will be a killer event. If you haven't gotten your ticket yet, please buy one today. I promise with all of my heart and soul that you won't regret it.

On a side note, I'm also still doing freelance writing work if you (or someone you know) are looking for help with writing on any projects. If you want more info on that side of my life, please feel free to visit HireMikeBilleter.com.

Thanks, and I'll try to post with more frequency now that Lindsie and I are on a temporary reprieve from our cross-country journey.

-Mike

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Walking Across The Country

Hey everyone,

You may have noticed that I haven't updated this blog since May. That's my fault. Obviously.

Up until a couple of days ago, my wife Lindsie and I were sort of busy. We're walking across the country. If you don't believe me, you can visit www.StormingJericho.com and check it all out for yourself.

So far, we've walked from the beach on the coast of San Francisco up to an area just past Cimarron, CO, on Highway 50. It's (we think) around or over 1,500 miles, and we're only about 1/3 of the way done.

Most of my blogging in the past 5-6 months has taken place over on the Storming Jericho blog as a result, so if you're interested in reading about our adventure, feel free to give it a read.

Just to be clear, we are taking a short break from the walk so that we don't freeze to death over the winter months. We felt like that was the best decision. All in all, we've been overwhelmingly blessed by God as well as the people God has put in our path along this journey, and for that we are thankful. We're looking forward to a few months of warmth and family, and we're excited to get back out on the road once winter turns into spring.

Thanks for your interest in this adventure we're on, and I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Go See The Avengers. Today.


It’s no secret that I’m a comic book fan. I talk about comics all the time, I write/blog about them all the time, and I tweet about them all the time. So it’s probably not a surprise that I was excited for Marvel’s The Avengers.

Like…really excited.

To be clear, I get excited for pretty much any superhero movie. As someone who has maintained a childlike fascination with comics since I was childlike, it’s just fun to see superheroes in movies. Seeing these characters whose stories and adventures I’ve only read on a panel-to-panel basis suddenly in real, tangible action is an exhilarating experience every time.

Even when it’s not the best “movie,” I can still enjoy it simply because superheroes are involved. Whether it’s the Daredevil movie with Ben Affleck (which I enjoyed, but most people don’t consider to be a “good” movie), or The Dark Knight (which a number of people consider to be one of the best movies ever, superhero or otherwise…even if Batman is a DC character), I’m able to get a thrill out of them strictly because they involve superheroes.

As a Marvel fan my entire life, I was excited when Marvel started making its own movies through Marvel Studios. As a very quick explanation, Marvel had to sell of some character film rights to other companies in order to make some money in the late 90s and 2000s. For example, Fox owns the rights to the X-Men franchise and Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man films. That’s why you’ll never see Wolverine or Spider-Man in an Avengers movie (at least not anytime soon).

All that is to say, Marvel’s recent success with Marvel Studios films (Iron Man & Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America) is really, really exciting as a lifelong Marvel fan. Marvel was finally able to make movies the way THEY wanted to make movies, and they turned out amazingly.

To sum it up, The Avengers somehow manages to both complement those previous Marvel films while simultaneously blowing them out of the water.

The eye-popping action, the laugh out loud hilarity (seriously…the whole theater was laughing…it’s not just me being a comic book nerd…), and the genuine emotion each hero brought to his or her character instantly catapulted Avengers right up near the top of my all-time favorite movie list. I’ve only seen it once so far, and I already know I’m going to love it when I see it again.

Basically, as someone who has spent thousands of dollars (probably) on Marvel comic books, hundreds of hours in my childhood playing with Marvel toys and games, and dozens of hours watching the various Marvel films, The Avengers was everything true Marvel fans hoped to see in a movie of this magnitude (and, selfishly, deserved to see). And then it was more.

Whether or not you’re a comic book fan, you should go out and see the Avengers on a nice, big movie theater screen. I promise—absolutely promise—it won’t even sort of disappoint. Even my wife, who is in no way a “comic book nerd,” said she loved it. And she doesn’t lie about stuff like that.

You don’t have to be a comic book fan to enjoy The Avengers. You just have to be someone who enjoys an epic, emotional, action-packed story that somehow makes the unbelievable feel absolutely, entirely, and entertainingly believable.

Now I just can’t wait for the next batch of Marvel films. Should be amazing.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Time To Make the Opposite of A Huge Mistake

I'm finally back, and I'm back with exciting news. A few weeks ago, my friend Miles Rausch decided to start a podcast dedicated to discussing his favorite TV shows. The podcast is appropriately-titled "Man, I Love This Show!", and while that's exciting, what's more exciting is that Miles asked me (along with his brother Bryce) to CO-HOST the first season of the show.

So why am I so pumped? Because the first season of "Man, I Love This Show" is dedicated to none other than my favorite show of all time, Arrested Development and that's even better than the South Coast Boutique having a fire sale, if you ask me.

For your listening pleasure, here's the first episode:


We're already a few episodes deep now (I probably should've updated my blog with that info a little sooner), so I hope you enjoy listening to the show as much as I enjoy recording it. And rewatching the episodes of Arrested before recording each week. And reading the "Man, I Love This Show" blog for the random updates and tidbits that we (mostly Miles) share throughout each week.

Seriously though, if you're a fan of Arrested Development (or even if you're not), be sure to check out the site, the podcast, and the show itself so you can follow along with the brilliance we spout every week. You won't regret it. Probably. Hopefully.

Thanks.

-Mike

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Blue Man Group, Dr. Tobias Fünke & Me

I love Arrested Development. For a lot of people who know me, that’s not news by any means. In fact, I love it so much that I’m recording a podcast about it with my friend Miles Rausch (and his “Hey, Brother” Bryce).

But for as much as I love Arrested Development, there are facets of the show that I can only appreciate from a distance. One such facet is Dr. Tobias Fünke’s desperate attempt to serve as an understudy for the Blue Man Group. Even though I know about the Blue Man Group, I really have no direct experience with them other than knowing they paint themselves blue (much better than Tobias does) and play awesome music on instruments made of PVC pipe and whatnot.

Fortunately, because of my cooler-than-me wife, my non-experience with the Blue Man Group came to a glorious end last weekend. Blue Man Group was in Springfield on February 18th and Lindsie and I were right there in the front (actually more like 300th) row, enjoying the spectacle that is a Blue Man Group performance.

While I’m not sure I’d pay another $28 each for our seats, which were about 10 rows back in the very top balcony, I will say that the Blue Man Group puts on a really entertaining, crowd-engaging performance that ended up being a lot of fun. For not saying a single word throughout the entire performance, they’re pretty funny. And listening to them play classic rock and pop covers on xylophones made of PVC pipe was nothing short of awesome. In fact, I’d probably pay more to see an entire concert of just that, but I have a feeling that won’t be in the cards anytime soon.

All that is to say, I now have a better idea of why Tobias is so desperate to become a Blue Man and, thanks to my wife, I find Arrested Development even funnier than I found it before. Which is an incredibly impressive accomplishment.

Best of all, my wife had a local clothing store print up the shirt you see up at the top of this post basically overnight. For all of you (sad, empty) non-Arrested Development fans, that’s Dr. Fünke himself, as a Blue Man on a blue shirt. Pretty funny, and cool of my wife to get that taken care of with only 36-48 hours to make it happen.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ll have more info on that podcast I mentioned later on (as far as when it’ll go live, etc.). If you haven’t checked out the Blue Man Group, it’s a fun performance. If you haven’t checked out Arrested Development, it’s an incredibly funny show that is absolutely deserving of your attention.

Thanks to my wife for a fun night and a funny set of matching shirts.

-Mike

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why I'm Excited for the New Spider-Man Movie

The new Spider-Man movie, The Amazing Spider-Man, comes out on July 3rd. And based on the new trailer, I'm pretty excited.



Some people are wondering why they'd already be rebooting the Spider-Man franchise when the previous trilogy just ended a few years ago. The first, most obvious reason is money. They'll make money off of it, so to the movie studio people, it's worth doing.

The second reason is that, right now, the superhero movie boom is still alive and kicking. In another 3-5 years, things might settle back down. People might eventually get tired of seeing superheroes in capes and tights running around beating up bad guys and making witty puns and quips, but the superhero movie genre still has life left in it - hence, a Spider-Man reboot.

To be completely honest, I'm most excited because this new franchise doesn't star Tobey Maguire. I don't know a ton about Andrew Garfield (other than the fact that he played Mark Zuckerburg's taken-advantage-of friend in The Social Network), but I do know that just the scene where he's catching the car-jacker is funnier than ANY line from the original three Spider-Man movies.

And that's important to me. Because in the comic books, Spider-Man is a funny, funny superhero. Like, laugh out loud funny when he's written well. And in the original movies, Tobey Maguire was about as funny/witty as a wall. He got the "nerdy" Peter Parker persona down pretty well, but Spider-Man has always been a two-sided coin. Nerdy Peter Parker disappears when the mask goes on, and witty Spider-Man takes over. In fact, part of the reason it's so important is because one of Spider-Man's strategies with a number of his villains is to mock them and talk trash to them in order to distract and frustrate them. It takes them out of their rhythm and he eventually wins the fight as a result of the villain making a mistake out of frustration.

Instead, throughout three Spider-Man films, we had to listen to Tobey Maguire's nasal-y, whiny voice as he got tossed around by every bad guy he fought, barely surviving every fight. If it weren't for Spider-Man 2, I don't know if I would've really enjoyed any of the films from that franchise - and I'm a HUGE Spider-Man fan (although, I'll admit, the series' target audience might not have been those lifelong fans who would be more opinionated than the average moviegoer).

Either way, this new franchise looks to be really well done. The cinematography looks gorgeous and the whole movie just feels grittier and realer. I mean, Spider-Man lives in (and fights crime in) New York City. It's not exactly the land of sunshine and smiles all the time.

I'm excited. I guess that's what it comes down to.

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