Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Grinch that Stole Christmas...

Last year for Christmas, I narrated and produced "The Grinch That Stole Christmas," burned it to a CD and gave it to a niece and nephew, along with a copy of the book. It was hard work and I'm proud of the final result, so I thought I'd share it this year.

LINK

There is a musical element when it's time for the reader to turn the page. (it gets a little old if you're not following along with the book) I'm especially happy with the way the music and sound effects weave throughout the piece and lend themselves to the story line.* Theater of the mind.

It was Emily's idea for me to narrate the book, and she lent her talent by playing the part of Cindy Lou Who.

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We're spending the week in New England with family. Merry Christmas.


*I used music from The Abyss, Phantom of the Opera, Scarface and more, but they worked well, and it's not like I'm publishing it for profit.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thought sausage

Recently I was talking to a friend about Emily in the abstract, and couldn't decide how to refer to her. Girlfriend seemed trite. Wife is waaaaay heavy (and not even accurate yet) (and so scary too) so I settled for fiancée.

After I got off the phone, it occured to me that fiancée is a really stupid word. It's way too complicated. Fee-ohhhns-aaaaay.

The English language is like a five-bedroom house that started as a one-bedroom bungalow. You can tell where the original house was, and the additions look like... well, additions.

Side note: Before you tell me fiancée is French, yeah I know. There is no simple English word for it. Betrothed? Ha, it's like the sound you make when you throw up. Prospective spouse seems a little formal and like you're not sure it's going to happen.
The language is a mess. Lead and led. They're, there, their. Damn, dam. C'mon, aren't there (They're? Their?) open words available that aren't being used, so we can simplify a little??? It is my opinion that this five-bedroom house needs to be torn down, and replaced with a nice atrium ranch with a pool.

Yeah, I'm suggesting starting the language almost from scratch.

Side note again: The Mexicans will hate us, since they've only just learned to say "please," "thank you" and "your shrubs need trimming and I can help" in English.
I think we should begin converting the longest words first. We can assign them unused one-syllable words. For instance, the longest word found in major dictionaries is Pneumonoultramicroscopic-
silicovolcanoconiosis
. Let's give it... meeb.

Another good one is Antidisestablishmentarianism. It is now ard. We'll use (you's?) all (awl?) possible combinations of single-syllable words first, then move on and add (ad?) a second syllable as needed. No (know?) two words will have the same sound.

One of the other words I'll be glad to (two? too?) see changed is cantaloupe. What the hell is the deal with THAT word? It's now ap. (which is fine, because it's pronounced "app," not "ape"... and app is no longer short for application, because application is now bem.)

And so (sew?) now, fiancée is... beeb.

Final side note: As an example of how stupid the language is, how ironic is it that abbreviation is a five-syllable word?
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I was relieved to learn that they found a family that had been lost in the woods of Northern California for three days.

When they were back in civilization and were warmed up, they were asked how they survived in such harsh weather. "Jesus Christ" was their answer.

Let me say that I think faith in God is a fine thing, and many find great strength in their faith. (I don't go to church as often as I should, usually only around the holidays.) But it's sad to me that people rob themselves of credit for being smart, strong, or brave. It must be a pretty strange feeling not to feel like you're in control of your life. Personally, I think that Dad is pretty heroic.

Anyway, it reminded me of an old joke:

A guy was sitting on the roof of his house in a flood and a boat happened along. "Ahoy, climb aboard, we'll get you to dry land!"

"No, that's okay, I'm a man of faith and I'm waiting for God to rescue me." So the boat left.

A little later a helicopter hovered above and a man on a bullhorn shouted, "Grab the rope and we'll pull you up. The water's rising and you don't have long!"

"No thanks, I'm waiting for the Lord to save me. I'm sure he'll be along momentarily. Save someone else!" he said.

About then, a wave came down the river and knocked him from his perch and into the swirling water. A little while later he found himself at the gates of Heaven, talking to God himself. "Lord, I put all my faith in you to save me, and you didn't. Why?"

"Shoot, Bob, I gave you free will, a boat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"

(I love the idea that God would use a word like "shoot." Haha!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Inspirational quote of the week:

"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do." ~ Helen Keller

My equivalent:

"You want me to do WHAT???" ~ Dave Morris

Monday, December 17, 2007

"...and maybe there are seasons, and maybe they change..."*

Rest in peace, Dan Fogelberg.

I hadn't heard the news until this morning. I am profoundly sad. He was 56, and died of advanced prostate cancer.

He lifted all musicians, influenced almost everyone who strummed a guitar (some even unknowingly) and gave the feelings of millions a voice. If lyrics** are important to you, it's likely you own a Dan Fogelberg album. Check out this video on You Tube for evidence, or these lyrics from "Changing Horses":

Changing horses in the middle of a stream
Gets you wet and sometimes cold.
Changing faces in the middle of a dream
Gets you old...
Oh, gets you old.
Looking farther than you'll ever hope to see
Takes you places you dont know.
Search for someone you cant ever hope to be
And still you go
Oh, still you go.

God bless and keep ya, Dan.

If you're a male, please read up on the symptoms, and if you're over 50 (40 with family history) get checked annually.

*From "To the Morning."
**See Same Auld Lang Syne, Seeing You Again, There's a Place In the World For a Gambler, Heart Hotel.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Weather for the Gateway Shitty

In a ballsy move we didn't expect, our friends Mike and Diana decided not to cancel their White Elephant Christmas party tonight. Which was fine with us... if it's snowing, I'll find a reason to get out in it.

I somehow ended up taking home the most coveted gift of the party, a talking fly swatter, but it required a lot of thievery (if you've ever participated in a White Elephant event, you know what I mean). When you kill a fly, the Talking Fly Swatter says things like "Flight cancelled!" Or, "Hasta la vista, baby!" Yeah, damn right and it's all mine.

When we left the party, we hung out at the mall until Em's sister got off work so we could drive her home. She's not great on snowy roads, so it was the right thing to do. As we were pulling out, we noticed some people huddled around something in front of Best Buy. Naturally, we whipped around to take a look.



The "something" was a propane heater, and the people were camping out for tomorrow's shipment of Nintendo Wiis. I'd say these were the most dedicated (read: lunatic fringe) people I've ever met! I almost went to QT to get them hot chocolate, but realized that they will pay Best Buy prices for the Wii and sell them for a multiple of four or five.


The snow was exceptionally heavy at around 6 pm. We had just hit the drive-thru at White Castle for a "Crave Case" for the party (because we heard white elephants love White Castle) and found ourselves in near-whiteout conditions. (We're brilliant, creative and funny.)


This was I-70 near our house. MODOT had done a decent job of getting the road cleared by now. (12:45 am)


We paused in front of O'Fallon City Hall. I wish I had the good camera and a tripod, I could have taken some fantastic night shots.


At 1:00 am we were 10 blocks from home. This clock is also part of the City Hall complex. I was surprised the snow still hadn't stopped. We got a total of around 7-8 inches at our house.

I hope you enjoy the photos, the snow is exceptionally beautiful. Right now the tea kettle is whistling. One quick cup and I'm hitting the bed. I think we'll probably stick close to home tomorrow, make some bacon and eggs in the morning and relax all day.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Flakes and rubbers

If you lived in St. Louis, you would understand that I am skeptical of what I see out my window this morning...

More snow than they predicted!

St. Louis is on the southern edge of where the jet stream flows during winter nowadays (it has moved north in the last decade or so) so we don't get much snow. This weekend is predicted to be an exception, with 5 to 8 inches of snow on the way... says the weather men who are all sporting wood right now. These guys are edgy, caffeine-filled and frustrated by the lack of real winter weather for the last few years. Dave Murray's hair is puffed up even higher than normal.

I'll keep a running log and some progress photos throughout the day and night. Here's our overnight snow:



Ol' Puffy Hair says there will be a daytime lull and the snow will begin again this afternoon and evening, so I'm going to warm some milk for hot chocolate, pop in a few movies this weekend and watch the fun ensue.

Snowmen, balls, Santa, laughing all the way, etc.






Thursday, December 13, 2007

One of those personality tests but this one's cool because it has fancy sliders and stuff

I found this personality test on Blogarita's page... and like her, I can't seem to pass one of these up.

Here's how I scored:


Place your mouse over each section to see what that color represents.

Please feel free to take the test... it's pretty in-depth, it takes only about 20-25 minutes and it is aesthetically pleasing and quite functional. (a couple of things the test told me I should work on opening up to) It's all graphic slide-rules, etc. so it's fun to fill out.

As for personal accuracy in my case, it's fairly close. I don't think I have quite the attention to style is claims I have, and I don't think my "openness" is as high as they claim.

Eh, those that know me can be the judge.

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In my last post, I think maybe I made it sound like the Christmas tree in the photo was mine. It is not, but I can see why some might assume it is. Here's a photo of our main tree (which hasn't been set up yet):


I would love to show you a photo of the family room tree, which is currently up and decorated, but I'm too lazy to walk downstairs and snap one. It's a new tree with a snowman theme, and Emily picked out amazing decorations. Makes me feel all Christmas-y and shit.

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I posted more new material on RadorBad.net. I think I'm going to adjust the style of my writing over there - it's too boring and matter-of-fact the way it is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stay in the truck

There are very few more poignant, ass-kicking insults than telling someone to "stay in the truck." In effect, you are saying: "Your opinion means little here and you are a newbie, a rookie, a novice... therefore I shall handle this transaction and you are to remain silent."

Except all you need are those four short, mentally debilitating words.

In fact, I've found that with just a few added words, it can be even more stinging: "Stay in the truck with the windows rolled up." Meaning: "You are an EXTREME novice, and you don't even deserve to overhear the transaction I, alone, am about to handle based on your rookiness."

Level three is: "Stay in the truck with the windows rolled up and the radio loud." Meaning: "It is ridiculous that I would even attempt to explain the transaction I am about to handle singlehandedly, even after-the-fact, because you are the mental equivalent of a toddler with Reyes Syndrome."

Finally: "Stay in the truck with the windows rolled up, the radio loud, and a hose through the window from the exhaust pipe." This is the ultimate insult. Meaning: "I am so far ahead of you, and so much more capable of handling this transaction, you merely staying in the truck isn't enough... you've begun to take up space that I cannot afford, so the world would be better off if your noviceness were permanently removed."

I think I had too much coffee this morning.

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I've started a new website - Rad or Bad. It's a place where I'll post reviews of my experiences with customer service people, businesses, companies, restaurants, etc. I'll post both good and bad for the whole world to see. Via comments, it will be interactive - feel free to contribute anything you'd like. I will begin posting tomorrow, and I'm sure the posts will be every bit as sporadic as the ones here. http://www.radorbad.net/.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bottle Tree

I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger this week. Or a cat covering up crap. Whore in church? Neh, that's being sweaty. You get my drift.

Here's a Christmas tree I'm working on:


This has my name written all over it. Is that a cup of coffee on top of the red gift? Yeah, I'd say you'd need it after setting up THAT tree.

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I changed servers for my business website again this week, which is what kept me extra busy. If you ever get the chance, avoid ixwebhosting.com. Their service is spotty, their upload and download speeds are inconsistent and they don't answer trouble tickets in a timely manner. In short, they suck. I moved to Sectorlink.com. MUCH better already.

Side note: you can now reach this blog via two addresses. My new addy is www.davemorrisblog.com. Or you can continue to access it via the usual Blogspot address. Two, two... TWO ways to view! And yet the crap I write doesn't warrant one address...

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We're narrowing down our list of names for Sparky. We are down to three or four, but we're not telling anyone until he's born. That's right, even you Ma. Sorry.

Meanwhile, Em has been busy on ebay, she bought about six thousand onesie's the other day. Note to friends - we won't be needing any newborn clothing. Start with about three-months and up. Oh, and we don't need diapers, either. Every time we go to Sam's we pick up a jumbo box, along with baby wipes. I think we might have enough for two babies.

Which is great, because our friends Dr. Mike and Paula have announced they are having another baby. We're taking all the credit, because we made a pact that if we had a baby, they would have another one. (Although Ella is cute enough for two)

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A partner and I are getting into the video production field. It's not a big stretch for me, since I have most of the equipment sitting in my audio studio now. The software is installed and I'm preparing to build out a new green-screen room and office soon. We're going HD right off the bat.

So now I, who have never done video production, now must learn the new software, reorganize my office and schedule, and launch another branch of Morris Creative Services, Inc.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Slippin', slippin', slippin'...

My son is getting so big! Our recent ultrasound gave us a pretty good view of him, although not much in the way of 3D stuff, yet. The video below may not work on a dial-up connection, but if you're on broadband, it should stream smoothly.

video

Once in a while the picture gets really shaky... that's when Emily is laughing. It was a funny, tearful experience - one we can't wait to do again in a couple of weeks. Isn't it cool that technology allows you to "visit" your baby before he's even born?

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My blogiversary just passed, and I didn't even realize it! (ain't it just like a man?)

Three days ago, my blog turned THREE years old. I don't post as often as I used to, but it works for me. Free time is a rare commodity... especially now, when we're preparing for April and the new baby.

As of today this mundane, dusty little corner of the universe is closing in on 200,000 hits, which never ceases to amaze me. WTF?

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We went to an exhibition called Body Worlds 3 last night. It's a display of actual, dead human bodies that have been preserved and posed using a process called plastination. You are literally looking at real human flesh, bones, tendons, and other body parts. The photo to the left is an example, and eerily, the cadaver is holding up the skins of several actual people.

First, I should say it's very inspiring and educational, but I must admit to feeling a little uneasy. These are real people, dissected in various ways to show how the human body works. Here are a few pictures of the cadavers on exhibition. (click the links, they are really fascinating)

It's difficult to describe my feelings as I wandered through this exhibition, but I'd say fascination, sadness, elation, a little irreverence, some fear, and a deep realization of my own mortality. It was extremely impactful. I'm a pretty emotional person anyway, but this experience is one I will never forget.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'll take "things that are ridiculous" for 200, Alex

Part 1:

There is a website that can predict the approximate year of your death. Or, spinning it in a more positive way, predict the length of your life. Yeah, that sounds better.

I should point out that I don't really think it's ridiculous, but since the title of my post is "things that are ridiculous..." I'm going to ask you to go with it.

According to the website, (found at Steve Mays' blog) my current "real age" is 32. (they say 40 is the new 30, right?) You get huge points for having family who live longer than average, for not smoking, and for eating breakfast. Also factored in, family disease history, etc. It says I should live to be 86 before I croak. Today, I am exactly half that.

It's all downhill from here.

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Part 2:

A British woman is apparently being held in Sudan, and may soon be whipped by the Sudanese government, for naming her teddy bear "Mohammed."

It gives you new respect for the freedoms we have in the US, doesn't it? In fact, as a result of that freedom, guess what I've just named my penis.*

Screw you, Sudan. (and we're at war with IRAQ??????)

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Part 3:

Credit card companies have now resorted to making people feel foolish for using cash.

Have you seen the latest Visa television campaign? Swipe... cool. Swipe... party! Swipe, HAPPY!!! Cash... everything grinds... to... a... halt. (and the cash person looks like a real loser)

It's obvious Americans are facing a reality check right now. They've spent themselves into debt, mortgaged themselves into a corner, and have been forced to slow the use of credit cards as a result. Citigroup has announced huge layoffs, written off billions from sub-prime mortgage losses, and stock analysts are recommending their clients sell C.

So we get to see how cool it is to use your credit card. (youtube examples of the commercials)

*Slappy Johnson, but I'll bet you thought Muhammed, right?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful

As Thanksgiving 2007 comes to a close, the dog and cat are at my feet, my lovely Emily is in the next room reading, Christmas carols are playing, and I am sitting in my kitchen with a cup of tea and a wandering mind.

I just had a particularly nice chat with my daughter. We told each other the stories of the day and talked about when we'd see each other next. I held Em's tummy and bonded with my little Sparky for a while, and I wrote a note to my Mom. I told her how horribly I missed her today.

Last night Em and I spent time with our friends, Mike and Paula. She made a fabulous dish and we had great conversation. I plucked around on one of Mike's guitars for a while (I can't play at all) and we played a few rounds of "Scene It." They gave us a teething toy for the baby. Friends like that are hard to find.

Today we went to Em's Grandmother's house. We had the usual Thanksgiving fare, played a few games, and lit a candelabra floral arrangement on fire. It was a very memorable day.

I spent a lot of time today in thoughtful reflection. I thought of the many people who have been in and out of my life over the years. Bosses, friends, co-workers, loves... I hope they are all well and happy.

I thought for a while about those who have passed on. I miss my Grandparents and their influence so much. I had a little pumpkin pie in honor of my Grandfather, who was quite the dessert lover. I thought of my friend Adrianne and her son Truman. My Grandma Varty, Aunt Mildred and Uncle Ed all crossed my mind today, as well... all people without whom life isn't the same.

I thought of my friends, and pondered what they were doing today. Gary probably spent the day at his Mother's house. His Father died recently, so I'm sure his day was bittersweet. I thought about him a lot today. I am guessing Ron spent the day with his Mother, wife and their son Preston, who was born almost a year ago. As for the rest of my friends, they were probably flung far and wide, on various ends of town and the Earth. They all snuck in and out of my thoughts today.

Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday. I spend 364 days a year taking everything for granted. Then along comes this one, wonderful day that reminds me of all the things for which I am so incredibly grateful.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dick & Jane

I'm not sure if there is a more culturally influential or familiar book series than Dick & Jane. From the 1930's through the 70's, Dick & Jane were probably the most popular children's book characters in the world. And why not? I mean, come on... the kid's name is Dick. We had all kinds of fun with these two. If you were old enough to make Barbie and Ken do dirty stuff, you probably changed the words of the D & J books.

Once at a trivia night, someone told me that no two-syllable words appear in the book series. I've since learned that's not true, there are several two-syllable words, like "Mother," "Father," and "oral."* I think it would have been more fun if there were a syllable restriction.

Just for fun, I thought it would be a timely exercise (considering Violet and I are having a baby boy in April) to have Dave's Window readers write our own version of Dick & Jane. Write a paragraph and post it under "comments," and let's see how the story evolves. Write whatever you'd like, just make sure it flows with the previous paragraph. Don't worry, I promise I won't let Sparky see this until he turns 18.

I'll start it out:

See Dick and Jane. They are playing in the back yard. Spot and Puff are chasing each other in the sand box. "Look, Dick," said Jane. "There is something behind the fence. What could it be?"
It's your turn.

*Okay, so "oral" only appears in my perverted versions of the book, but whatever.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

And the results are...

It's a boy!


Looking a bit skeletal - since that's mostly what the ultrasound "sees." We can now start shopping for gender-specific stuff. Proud as I can be, happy and loving life.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Our boys

Not enough is said about the effort of our people in uniform. 2007 has been the deadliest year yet in the Iraq war, not to mention those who are serving in Afghanistan and other places around the world.

Agree with the war in Iraq or not, the people who are serving are heroic. They lay themselves on the line every day... and as we approach Veteran's Day, this video brings it all home. If you are currently serving, or you've served before - thanks.

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Computers are our friends"

Repeat that phrase 20,000 times, so you will be convinced. "Computers are our friends."

I spent the entire weekend setting up a new computer in my office, which replaced an old one that bit dust this week.

I have two pieces of advice for anyone who deals with computers, which obviously means you.

First, never... never ever ever never ever ever trust your valuable photos and data to an outboard USB hard drive. I've been burned twice in the past year... most recently, tonight when I plugged in the drive that contains (er, contained) our entire library of photographs.

Dark power button. Nothing.

Fuck.

The second piece of advice is never, never, ever trust your valuable photos and data to an INBOARD hard drive.

Basically, don't trust a computer to safely store anything. Do yourself a favor, and burn them to DVD. It will save you from patching drywall holes and paying major money to the Geek Squad to retrieve your data.

Which is where I will be going tomorrow.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Apply directly to the forehead

If you're a consumer who has actually purchased the product Head On, you deserve a headache.

No offense, of course. It's not like you're stupid or anything, it's just... no wait. Yeah, it is like you're stupid.

Ironically the head-bone is the reason that using Head On is a bone-headed idea. If you apply it to your forehead, there is a huge barrier between the medicine and the pain... it's called the skull. Ironically, using Head On makes you a real numb-skull.

Ah, so much irony in such a stupid product.

The funniest line of the commercial (besides the annoying "apply directly to the forehead" crap) is "no prescription necessary."

No shit? Look, if your doctor tries to give you a prescription for this product, you should open your network provider booklet immediately.

End rant.

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I was listening to a song from Buffett's album "Barometer Soup" this morning. Is it just me, or do the words "barometer soup" give you wanderlust?

I love the fact that Em and I have a baby on the way. I can't wait. But it's bittersweet because I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm 43, and have lost the ability to do some of the things I've always wanted to do.

Such as selling all my stuff (except a few pieces of equipment I'd need to do my job) and hopping a plane to Mexico to live on the beach for a year or two. A sunset every night, low rent, a blender with a limitless supply of limes and tequila, a hammock strung between two palm trees. I'd stroll inside a few times a day to do voiceover sessions, then spend the rest of my time swimming in the ocean, making friends with the locals and relaxing with my best friend.

Another dream was to live in Manhattan for a year. I love the bustle of the city. I love the food, the atmosphere, the lifestyle. I could store my vehicles in a warehouse and rent an apartment on the lower west side. I'd go to the diner on the corner every morning for breakfast, (a la Seinfeld) catch some shows on Broadway, hit all the museums, walk in Central Park...

I always wanted to live in a cabin about 9,000 feet high in the Rocky Mountains. I love the idea of spending a couple of quiet years writing, with a snow-covered mountain view for inspiration. I'd keep a fire burning almost constantly, and drive my Hummer into town during a snowstorm for supplies.

I wanted to live in France for a year or two, in a chalet somewhere in the Champagne province, among the rolling hills. From there I would take weekend trips to Normandy, Paris and the Riviera. I'd drink fine French wines, sleep in every morning and maybe invest in a winery.

Among all of it, I wanted to travel to Australia to hike the Outback (the steakhouse is a poor substitute) and experience a concert at the Sydney Opera House. I wanted to see the pyramids in Egypt. I wanted to camp in Yellowstone.

Plans change. Life's strange that way. Some of these things Em and I can still do, but much of it is permanently "on hold."

And it's all worth it.

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I forgot to mention that our friend Mikey and I won a contest for funniest Halloween costume!

We dressed up like the guys from the "dick in a box" video. (click the link, if you've never seen it - it's hilarious)


The costumes involved quite a bit of preparation. We actually put fake "junk" in the boxes and equipped them with a hinge mechanism so people could open them and peek inside.

Purchasing our rubber "junk" was quite an experience. Let me give you some advice: if you ever go into a dildo shop with another dude looking to buy something, take along a female chaperone. Thanks again, Violet.

To save money, we purchased a huge double-dong and cut it in "half." My part was about 1.5 inches long, and Mikey took the rest. (about 12 inches) We attached them to the inside of the box with drywall screws and adhesive. It's funny how women enjoyed looking in HIS box more than MINE! I thought size didn't matter.


Violet was a pregnant trailer-trash chick with a missing tooth, a pack of Virginia Slims and a Milwaukee's Best Light "tall boy." And still, quite hot.


After our victorious result, we're already working on next year's costume. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Your standard pan, you know, cake

Saturday morning. Nice day. Good night of sleep. I decided I would make the lovely Violet a pancake breakfast, which was to consist of pancakes. (I realize using the term "breakfast" may be misleading - it sounds like there were side dishes, OJ, etc. Nope, just the cakes.)

So I pulled out the pancake mix and began the preparation. It wasn't long before I realized it wasn't your standard pancake mix, it was something quite alien. By alien, I mean it was the manual mix.

Damn. I hate the manual mix. If a recipe requires more than adding water, I'm lost.

No worries, I thought. I can do this.

So I pulled out the other ingredients - oil, eggs, milk. I stood gazing at the recipe for about ten minutes, trying to reduce the "8 to 11 cakes" down to four. Finally, I decided, screw it! I didn't need this Jemima bitch telling me what to do. I tossed in a couple of eggs, a drip of oil, then mixed in milk until it was the consistency of... something that would be, you know, a similar consistency to pancake batter.

Apparently it wasn't thick enough, because when I put it on the griddle, the cakes immediately ran together. I tried using the spatula as a batter-dam for a while, but gave up when it oozed around the edges and made contact anyway. "Just let the bastards cook," I said to myself, "and see how they come out."

Then I began to experience cake-flip anxiety. Will they flip cleanly? Will there be side-slippage? Overlap? Will the color be consistent? I broke a sweat.

By that time, not only had they run together, but also in the other direction, all the way to the lip of the griddle. So I would have to flip them with a sort of diagonal gesture, a fluid motion. This would require a level of grace I'm simply not known for.

Upon flipping the first one, all of my fears were realized. Slippage, overlap, burn. Half of the first cake flipped off the edge of the griddle, the other half went on top of the second cake. Long story short, I had to abort the entire first batch of cakes.

Luckily, the kitchen sink was directly behind me so at least THAT motion was graceful. I cursed the stove manufacturer, the rough edge of the spatula and whoever invented the dish. Sir Richard "Flap" Jackson, if I'm not mistaken.

Upon beginning anew with a fresh, clean griddle, I applied the batter, only less this time. Suddenly, I realized I had started without allowing proper warming time.

The new, smaller pancakes ran like a mother.

This time I was able to salvage them by turning the burner to the "spot weld" setting for about two minutes. It froze the cakes in their tracks and restored my smile. Which, at this point, had become more of a smirk. I was ten seconds from hitting the McDonalds drive-thru.

Anyway, the second batch worked. They weren't great, but at least edible. Em dutifully consumed the cakes with a smile. Maybe more of a smirk.


I snapped this picture of the aftermath. Some of the mess is visible, but it's not a perfect representation of "pancake ground-zero." Note that the cake is quite well done. That's from the "spot weld" maneuver. Also note the clear signs of side-slippage.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

10 signs we should have seen that Dumbledore was gay

These days, it's chic to be a can-diver. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

The new social trend is the "coming out," and actors, neighbors and even spouses are doing it. And that's great - if you're gay, you might as well live an open, happy life. (unless of course you're in the military)

But now it's chic for even fictional characters to be gay, as J. K. Rowling has brought her Harry Potter character, Dumbledore, out of the closet.

I hope she gave him time to tell his parents first.

Yes, Dumbledore is a donut puncher, and children everywhere will be thumbing through their books ravenously, looking for signs. Sort of like the first time you leave a ten-year-old alone with a dictionary. The first word they look up is "vagina." He he he he he!!!

We should have seen this coming all along. I've not even read the Potter series, yet I had my suspicions. So I've compiled a list of signs we all should have seen that Dumbledore was a "confirmed bachelor:"

1 - All those "layovers" in the Minneapolis airport.
2 - First name? Albus.
3 - His title was Wizard, but they all called him Queen.
4 - He was the "headmaster" at the school of wizardry David Copperfield attended. (allegedly)
5 - In the movie series, he was first played by Richard Harris. HELLO?!?
6 - He always tried to show Harry what he called "the headmaster's log."
7 - He always tried to get Harry to touch his "magic wand."
8 - Middle name? Percival.
9 - That whole stint working part time at Deb.
10 - Griselda Marchbanks, Head of the Wizarding Examinations Authority, remarked that the young Dumbledore had "...done things with a wand I'd never seen before."
I spent my entire breakfast writing this. Note to self: Find a hobby.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wii, the people

Emily, regarding whether we should order dessert last night: "The baby wants some, I can't help it."

Emily, explaining how she knows: "Have YOU ever had a child? It told me telepathically, through the umbilical cord."

I wanted to make a record of those quotes, I'm sure we'll want to reference them at a later date.

This probably won't be the last time the baby will be used to get her way... in fact, I'll bet it's the BABY that doesn't want me to have a Wii. It already has Dad wrapped around its little finger. Apparently, telepathically.

-----

Speaking of dessert, it was only yesterday that I divulged (on Annie's blog) that Em and I are vowing to eat at home for 30 days. Just for a change of pace, we're preparing menus, power-grocery-shopping, etc. in order to prepare each evening's meal ourselves.

About six hours after I told Annie of our "dine-at-home" plans, we were sitting in Bristol's restaurant browsing a menu.

It's not that we're weak. Em found out late yesterday afternoon that her classes had been canceled for the week. Since she isn't usually home Monday nights, we hadn't planned dinner.

At least that's the excuse we're going with.

Monday night is my "night out" when I generally watch Monday Night Football on TV at a bar somewhere and have beer and a salad. Spending it with Em was MUCH more fun... although there was nothing on television except football.

We could have played the Wii, I guess...

-----

This little piggy said "wii, wii, wii..." all the way home.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Heyday

Technology is a reckless, take-no-prisoners force, relentlessly moving forward in fits and starts. Unstoppable. Sort of like Rosie O'Donnell at Old Country Buffet.

As I was eating cereal and listening to Dwight Yoakam's version of Wichita Lineman this morning, it occurred to me that as technology progresses, there will eventually be no more linemen. Granted, it will take a while, but within my lifetime, cellular and wireless will replace the need for phone lines. Underground power lines will carry electricity to houses, and, with rare exceptions, they are nearly maintenance-free.

The linemen are a disappearing breed.

Few images are as stirring as a view down a long, straight highway, with lines and poles running alongside, heat causing the mirage of puddles of water... until the curve of the earth takes it all over the horizon. Those lines have carried generations of telephone conversations, power for bedside lamps, and television signals.

I feel a little misty. While some consider them eyesores, there is something nostalgic about them. And the lineman is sort of a heroic figure, sometimes.

From vinyl records, to drive-in theaters and VCRs, technology is leaving quite a path of destruction. Movie rental stores are succumbing to pay-per-view, malls are giving way to online shopping. Most board games come on DVD now.

Not that I'm anti-technology, I am quite the eager consumer. My home is a monument to the electronics industry. My cars have all the latest gadgets. Heck, I used to have a car with a refrigerator in the back seat.

But I miss the old stuff sometimes. I wouldn't want to have to drive on hilly, narrow, curvy Route 66. But I sure wish I still could if I wanted. And all along it, there were telephone lines, and linemen keeping them in working order.

Where will all the birds sit?

I'll bet you can think of other cultural icons that will soon be going away.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Insurance sucks. Wii rules. Did I mention insurance sucks?

I knew I disliked living in this area for SOME reason... (no offense to minivan owners, it's just a thing for me)


This confirms why. Fuzzy picture because I had to snap a pic from the television.

-----

Honesty is not the best "policy."

When applying for health insurance, do yourself a favor, if you don't already - lie about everything. Pre-existing conditions, pending babies, recent colds... everything.

Recently, when filling out an application for individual insurance, I (mistakenly) answered the questions honestly. I admitted we were having a baby.

Apparently in Missouri, when an insured person has a child, their insurance company is required by law to cover the baby from birth to a certain age. Therefore, if they approved my application, they might be liable if we have any kind of problems with the baby.

They declined me in SPITE of the fact that we're insuring the baby through Em's work insurance.

Fucking blood-sucking bastards. Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the culprit, but I'm sure it doesn't matter WHO you apply with. They are all the same, sadly.

For the moment, I am without health insurance. Oh, and if you ever WANT health insurance, do yourself the favor and DON'T call anyone at the Brooke Insurance & Financial Services agency. They are a waste of time.

-----

Life is GREAT right now! Things are coming together around the house, Em is ever-so-slightly showing, which makes her even more beautiful, and I'm almost caught up with paperwork and stuff in my office.

We're starting to put money away for the baby and wedding, so Emily is insisting I DON'T buy a Nintendo Wii. But the more I play with Dr. Mike's Wii (that didn't sound right) the more I think I will sneak to Best Buy early one morning and grab one.

Yeah that's what I said.*

-----

I'm about to kick off the weekend. First, I will go to McGurk's outside patio and have 2 martinis and an order of wings or rings. (or lings, if you're asian) Then I plan to relax a lot this weekend, probably watch some television, maybe go on a bike ride. Weather will be perfect, 78 degrees both days.

Have a great one.

*of course I will have to deal with Em's wrath, but hey, I'm 40-something. I do what I want.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sparky

It is a frustrating combination to be a credit card user and a resident of a town with an apostrophe in its name.

To complete an order on the internet, usually you must provide the billing address for the card you're using. I live in O'Fallon, and sometimes the card companies use the apostrophe, sometimes they don't. It's a bitch trying to remember which card is which, so tonight I decided to give up.

I think I will start paying for everything with live chickens, like back in the day. Unleaded gas, three and 9/10 live chickens. A Bud Light 20-pack, fifteen live chickens.

I wonder, could you pay at KFC with live chickens? Would the ratio be 1:1?

-----

I sat at the bar at Chili's tonight watching Monday Night Football and eating salad. This has become my Monday night routine.

The bartender had an obnoxious habit of calling me "partner," "bud," and "champ." I tipped him one percent less with every nick-name infraction. He ended up at something around seven percent by the time I finished my food. "Thanks, zippy."

-----

We're getting extremely excited about the arrival of the baby. Every time Em talks to her mom, she asks if we know the sex of the baby yet. Every time, Em reminds her we'll find out right around Thanksgiving.

The funny thing is, she will be present when we find out, or will be the first person Em calls.

Speaking of the baby, mommy has had a few instances where she thought, just MAYBE, she felt the baby move. They all turned out to be gas bubbles.

Apparently we're going to have a cute little fart.

Oh, and until we decide on a name, the baby's official nickname is Sparky.

-----

Why do I keep getting drawn into political debates? The world is wound so tightly right now, nobody gives an inch. No compromise. No shades of grey. Each side is practicing the ready dispensation of lies, half-truths and bullshit. Mostly bullshit.

To me, arguing politics is like lighting a fart. Just because it burns doesn't mean you can read a book by it.*

-----

I'm sick of the buzzword "terrorist." It's so overused, it has become a synonym for bad guy. Ahmadinejad is a terrorist. Hugo Chavez is a terrorist. Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Il are terrorists.

They certainly don't instill terror in me... they're just bad guys. And they probably all smell funny.

But as tired buzzwords go, "terrorist" is the mack daddy of the 21st century so far.

Other buzz phrases or words I'm finished with:

  • Pull the trigger
  • Synergy
  • Mission critical
  • Paradigm
  • You're doing a good job, Brownie
  • Outside the box
  • Peel the onion
  • Test the waters
  • Big picture
  • Outsource
  • Forward thinking
  • Evil-doers
  • (anything) 2.0
  • Execution
  • Cluster
That's all I can think of right now.

Conversely, one of my favorite new buzz phrases is, "Don't taze me bro!"

-----

* I can read that line one time and it sounds brilliant. The next time, it hardly makes sense. So my advice to you is to read it until it makes sense, then look away.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The War

As I wind up the weekend, I am sitting down to watch another installment of The War on PBS. After watching the first 2-hour segment, I just sat in the dark for a while, thinking.

This is an amazing documentary which focuses on the people, the heroes, of WWII... those Tom Brokaw called the "greatest generation." I am positive I wouldn't be here today without the sacrifices made by these people.

There aren't enough Veterans or Memorial Days.

Tonight I'm watching segment two. The whole experience is very moving.

-----

My daughter made a rare appearance at the house this weekend. She came to town Friday night and left this evening. It was a nice visit. She definitely has some issues in her life, and continues to struggle to get a handle on them. I'm doing all I can, but at this point, she will have to decide when she is ready to make some changes.

-----

We went to the Botanical Gardens today, and although I had to leave early, it was a great day to get outside. I had to sweat out some of the wine consumed at the Oktoberfest celebration in Hermann, MO, yesterday.

One of the many blessings of fatherhood is having a nine-month designated driver.

-----

My friend Mike and I are talking about playing hookie Thursday and doing something outside. The hot weather is supposed to break Tuesday, and it will finally feel like autumn. I think August lasted three months.

One 35-year-old guy died and hundreds of people had to be treated for heat-related illnesses today in Chicago during a marathon. Heat-related illnesses in October??? Where are we, Death Valley?

-----

Kramer the cat is staring at me, wondering when I'm going to hit the 'play' button on the Tivo. He is really into The War, too. Talk to you guys this week. I will start blogging more often. I mean it this time.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dave's on a rant again

America, I hardly recognize ye.

This is a great country, and what I am about to say takes nothing away from that. I love her with all my heart. It is why I'm writing this in the first place.

Six hundred eighty billion dollars. 680,000,000,000.00. Two-thirds of a TRILLION dollars.

That's a running total, including projected budget for 2008, of what we have spent in Iraq. A country which was attacked preemptively because we thought maybe they were building a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.

We thought. Maybe.

We had satellite photos of something that might be the weapons. We had hearsay, we had conjecture. We had "intelligence."

So we attacked a sovereign nation, dethroned a brutal dictator, and made a mess that won't be cleaned up anytime soon.

Why? Since when have we become a nation of preemptive attacks? It's never been our M-O. Did 9/11 really change our approach that much? If so, the terrorists have already won.

Further, we decided that, since the hijackers on 9/11 operated within our country, trained and planned their attack, moved about freely, undetected, that we needed to be able to tap the telephones and intercept emails, without a warrant, of citizens who we think are conducting themselves in a suspicious manner.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing to hide, read my email all you want. (you might want to avoid the stuff from my friend Ada) But gosh, doesn't this all seem less free to you? Don't you have a problem with any of this?

"They hate us for our freedom." That's insulting, simplistic bullshit... but apparently someone believes it, because the current administration is slowly removing the reason for the hatred.

And now, the sabres are rattling all over again, as congress approved a bill that asks the administration to use "all means" to contain Iran's influence on Iraq.

Iran has 65 MILLION people.

America undoubtedly has the most advanced, skilled and technologically superior military in the world. I am proud of our soldiers and their skill and dedication. God have mercy on the country that ever tries to take us on. The problem is, the "war" on terror can't be fought with military might. We're going into a knife fight armed with a tank.

The president of Iran was invited to speak at Columbia University. Why? I can't imagine giving this guy a pulpit, it seems silly to me. But why do we fear him? Isn't freedom of speech what we're all about? Give the man some rope... he'll hang himself. But instead, congress spent its valuable time hand-wringing over it, instead of doing the work of the people.

What else has congress done recently? Passed a resolution condemning moveon.org for the "General Betray Us" ad in the NY Times... and they are now trying to pass a resolution condemning Rush Limbaugh for his "phony soldiers" miscue.

Guess what - get the hell back to work! It's NOT your job to worry about what is being said by the citizens of a nation that is supposed to have freeh speech. Instead, DO YOUR JOB.

Congress has an approval rating of 11 percent, yet continues to plod clumsily forward. We have citizens who have no insurance and no prospects of medical care, if needed. We have a huge education problem. Our borders are as loose as Paris Hilton. We HAVE Paris Hilton.

Yet we're foolishly on the way to spending a trillion dollars on a war that cannot be won... and if you say that aloud, you're considered a traitor.

The apathy of the citizenry is pathetic. As long as the economy is "good," as long as we can shop, continue receiving reality television and play our video games... we're all good. My grandpa would be embarrassed.

I'M embarrassed.

Where is the America I know? Where is the wisdom? Where is the leadership? Where is the pride, the dignity?

Sometimes I don't even recognize this place anymore.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ten things about Dave (because I am mentally comatose right now)

And, since this post contains only nine things, the title is very misleading. Deal with it.
  • I have a problem with restaurants who advertise that they feature "home-cooking." Unless someone lives in that restaurant, it's total bullshit.
  • When I get the first dent on a new car, I lapse into a fairly deep depression for about 12 hours. My new car has no dents - however, it has one of those really low front spoilers that hits the ground when I pull into a driveway with a slope. Although the resulting scratches are out of view under the car, I am still affected. Not full-blown depression, but I find a sad song on the radio and mope a little.
  • Recently, I've taken a stand against those smiley :) and sad face :( thingies. They are to writing as cheerleaders are to a chess match.
  • I hate the concept of "average." Lately I've begun using it as an excuse. "Hey, at least I'm average." Through most of my life I considered myself above-average at everything. The slow realization that I am not... has been a fairly crushing experience. In fact, I am actually below average at golf and sex.* (this would be a great place for one of those sad face thingies, but I've taken a stand against them)
  • I love early mornings when the sky is just starting to lighten. It's a really refreshing time of day. (unless you're driving home... that's hardly ever good) As I write this, it is exactly that time of day.
  • I am a victim of the Curse of the Frontloader. Which means things seldom make it back to the garage where they belong. Instead, they end up in the laundry room on top of the washing machine. You people with normal top-loading washers probably have tidy laundry rooms. Jerks.
  • A lot of the fun in life is lost simply maintaining. It's almost a full-time job to keep clothes clean. It takes a lot of time to cook meals. We work hard just to stay where we are. I resent this... especially during football season.
  • I love country music. Most of it is very earthy and simple. Listen to "Sunday Morning Comin' Down" by Johnny Cash or "Better Man" by Clint Black and you'll know what I'm talking about. "Late Night Grande Hotel" by Nancy Griffith. "Go Down Easy" by Fogelberg. "Chisled In Stone" from Vern Gosdin. Pure gold.
  • I also love jazz. I go through classical phases. I love rock & roll. I admire barbershop quartet singers, but can't stand to listen for long. I categorize rap as poetry. And bad poetry, at that.

Later.

*EDIT: Em said I have to add something to this post. She says it makes her uncomfortable that I say I am below average at sex. Apparently she thinks it's untrue - apparently, I'm quite the maverick. (*cocky sniff*)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tangerine flashlight

We've been busily narrowing down our list of names for the new baby. The trouble is, we've eliminated a lot of possibilities. To wit:
  • The names of all people we've dated or been married to.
  • Names of Em's really irritating students.
  • All my past pets. (Pecos, Sassy, Regis, Sparky, Kramer, Grab-ass)
  • The odd names. (Hunter, Levi, Kodiak, Buford)
  • All colors. (Violet, Fucia, Rose, Chartreuse, etc.)
  • Weather terms. (Sunny, Rayney, Wendy, Updraft, Coldfront)
  • All the months. (April, June, May, October)
  • The name Mike.
I've also been making a list of names that would be easily taunted on the playground, or that rhyme with naughty words. So the chances are slim that we will be naming our child:
  • Peter
  • Paul (ball)
  • Richard (duh)
  • Delores
  • Chuck
  • Maryola
  • Rock (or Brock, or Jock)
  • Deaver (or Weaver)
  • Venus
  • Moobie
  • Rick
  • Festicle
So it's down to either Phillipe or Sue.

-----

On my last post, you may have gotten the impression I was under the influence. Actually, the only crack I was exposed to was the crack of dawn. I guess you write some really goofy shit when the sleeping meds start kicking in.

At least I didn't impart upon you my theory about each atom being its own universe.

-----

Tonight, Ella's spending the night with Uncle Dave and Aunt Emily. She has been a great visitor. We played with my computer, where she stumbled across a few new mathematical parodoxes, studied the properties of a mobius strip and discussed Mahavira's theorem on a college message board. She's still a rookie, but learning fast.

While she was doing that, I was making her Winnie the Pooh toy hump her Tigger toy. We all have our comfort zones.

-----

I went to a Cardinals game with a few guys last night. We lost EIGHTEEN to ONE. The Astros basically took batting practice.

Next time this particular group of guys are together, I'm going to propose a drinking game. Every time Ada (an Englishman) makes a reference to the game of soccer, we all drink. When I check email on my phone, we drink. When Scuba Steve plays air guitar, we drink. When Cornett... uh, drinks, we all drink.

We'll need a designated driver, I'll tell you that right now.

-----

I hacked my iPhone and added a ton of useful programs. Included, the game of Yahtzee, and something called "Pig Shooter," a game where you shoot spaceships with flying pigs. For the intellectual in all of us.

-----

The weekend is ON, bitches! Have a great one.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lex parsimoniae; fear the marmosets*

Consider only what is necessary to reach a valid conclusion.

Occam's Razor is a neat principle that drives my philosophy. All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be correct. Not always, but usually.

For instance - Alan Greenspan appeared on the Today show and proclaimed that the Iraq war was about oil. Gasp! How dare he? It's really about peace in the middle-east. Democracy. Ridding the area of weapons of mass destruction!

Nope... it's really about oil. It sounds cold and impersonal, but it's true. If there were no oil in the middle east, we'd have little interest in the area. That's fine... hey, at least we have a reason for spending 200 million dollars a day on the war.

But let's call it what it is. It was an impressive moment of clarity and Occam's Razor. It's about oil.

Of course, Greenspan had to come back the next day and change his story. He was apparently misunderstood. The war isn't about oil, it's about peace in the middle-east. Democracy. Yada yada. Sounds like he got a phone call. (PS - I'm all for replacing fossil fuels with renewable forms of energy, the sooner the better, then packing our bags and heading to the Baghdad airport)

You know, if we don't start admitting some things, we stand to lose everything. If we don't start being honest with ourselves, shunning political correctness, we'll lose the opportunity. It's time to have a dialogue and be reminded what mankind is really about, lest we lose the thread and this beautiful sweater becomes a pile of errant textile.

So what is the purpose of mankind? Bottom line, what is your body built for? Creating art? Entertaining each other? Dancing? Hunt/gathering?

As unseemly as it sounds, propagation is our primary function. It's really very simple - nature cares only that it continues. We make babies. We replace ourselves, hopefully in larger numbers and with better features. That is what nature insists upon. Everything we do, by her standards, should be toward the advancement of the species.

When a species begins to lose focus, to forget their function, they fail. It's happened to countless species over millenia. Humans may be on the verge of that, I think.

I forget where I saw a study recently, but it found that the most intelligent among us aren't having kids. Higher IQ people have decided, for whatever reason, they are not interested. (Until recently, I felt that way too) Meanwhile, more and more people are coming out of the closet.

These types of abnormal behavior can't bode well for the future of the species, can they?

It's strange how, out of political correctness, we bury the concept of "normal" and "abnormal." From nature's perspective, (and oh, can she be a bitch) anything that we do which doesn't contribute to, or worse, detracts from the propogation of the species, is destructive. Abnormal.

Don't get me wrong, I believe every human being has the same right to do and be what they wish. I detest haters. If more people are choosing not to have children, that's fine. If more are coming out of the closet, that's just great. I celebrate their new-found happiness!

But nature is simple. It's all about making it to tomorrow. If some of our smartest people are discovering they aren't interested in propogating, and we reach a tipping point where those who are interested can't produce enough quality offspring to replace themselves AND the others... it doesn't take a scientist to figure out we're on a risky path.

Russia had a country-wide day off recently. Instructions were to stay home with your significant other and make babies. Russia loses 700,000 people annually because they aren't replacing their population. Maybe they are worried about the trend, too.

Same thing in Japan. People are working too much, and having intercourse too little.

If the trends continue and smart and gay people stop having children - abnormalcy in nature will exist. The dominant species may become the marmosets.

Fear the marmosets, always. But at least they know when it's time to copulate.

*a prolific lack of sleep has precipitated this entire post. As I speak, I can barely type what I'm thinking. It's 5 am and I have to get back to bed.

Friday, September 07, 2007

"Ffff-uuuuhh-cccck" says the caterpillar

I am a bad blogger.

Although, if you'd seen my office/recording studio recently, you'd recognize how much progress these photos show. In other words, I actually have an excuse for not blogging lately.

I've been filing papers, hooking up computers, installing software, upgrading machines, hanging pictures, decorating... and between it all, actually doing a full load of voice over work and watching Tivo'd episodes of Scrubs.


Maybe it doesn't LOOK organized. But it is. Trust me. Maybe I should find another place for the decorative "globe." And that joystick? That's for BUSINESS purposes. Sometimes in my job, I am required to fly an airplane, and this will keep me in practice.


Another view of that stupid globe. And the joystick. I might have the only desk with a 5.1 dolby surround speaker system and subwoofer. Maybe not - most cool people have them.


This is a peek into my recording booth. There are no joysticks or globes in there. Just a microphone, headphones, a copy stand and stool.

For two years (embarrassing) I've been in "temporary" mode in my office. All of that is changing now, as I try to get prepared for the new baby next spring.

-----

Something to try: Wipe your ass while smiling. It's not as easy as it sounds. You end up with sort of a grimace-smirk-smile.

You know you'll try it.

-----

Emily and I have been discussing our halloween costumes for this year's big bash. We both believe this will be the year she stops winning the "sexiest costume" award. I can't divulge anything more... except to say that if she doesn't win, it has nothing to do with her not being sexy.

-----

Our schedule is pretty crazy this weekend. We're headed out in a few minutes to the Clayton Art Fair, to check out some of the stuff they call "art." (although if you've ever been in my house, you've seen a sculpture I bought in a drunken haze one year and wondered "WTF?") I'm not taking my checkbook, so it's not likely we'll need to drive the Hummer for it's copious cargo space.

Tonight we're babysitting Ella, and will continue her accelerated education by teaching her combustion theory and chemical equilibrium, and we'll probably touch on quantum mechanics.

Plus, we'll play with her caterpillar toy that you can use to sound out dirty words. You should hear what Dr. Mike made it say last night. I am blushing as I type this, and Mike... you are an animal. Completely disgusting.

Tomorrow, we'll be attending a football party at Bill & Chris' garage. Emily will need to be the designated driver. Again.

That should be plenty for a weekend. I will write more this week and it won't be so boring.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Kid Nation

Reality television scores another huge victory, as CBS (Children Being Screwed) wraps up taping of what I'm sure will be a highly viewed reality series, "Kid Nation."

Synopsis of the show: Forty children between the ages of 8 and 15 are dropped off in an abandoned New Mexico desert town and left to fend for themselves without adult intervention (except of course for the grown-up camera crews poised to capture all the action.)
The network is taking alot of heat about the concept of the show, and rightly so. But why would I be particularly harsh on the network? Oh sure, they dreamed up the idea, had their attorneys draw up the 22-page non-disclosure and indemnification agreement (which also absolves the network of responsibility in the event of injuries - the attorneys even thought to include sexually transmitted diseases) and taped the whole thing, but c'mon. It's really the PARENTS WHO AGREE TO ALLOW THEIR CHILDREN TO PARTICIPATE that I take issue with.

So a closed circuit message to those people:

You are stupid. You allow a television network to take your child out of school and put them in a "town" without you (and with minimal adult supervision) and let them fend for themselves.

Then, when something does happen (and who couldn't predict that???) you bitch to the media that your child was injured. Hey "mom and dad," you knew the risks, but for a little fame and five grand, you were willing to risk it.

You, the parents of the children who "star" in Kid Nation, are witless, and should be stripped of your parenting license. (if there were such a thing, and don't you wish there were)

It's more than just this one show. And it isn't the kids, but the parents, who are responsible for the popularity of shows like this, or networks like MTV (M T&A). They allow their kids to do whatever they want. To run amok. Watch whatever, do whatever... hey, they need to learn to express themselves, they need the freedom to make their own way and be who they are.

You are the same parents who allow their children to scream at the top of their lungs, run from table to table in restaurants, throw fits when they don't get their way and hit or yell at you in disrespect. They are spoiled, loud, narcissistic meglomaniacs.

And you know what, people? You get what you deserve. If you allow your child to participate in a TV show, get burned by a grease fire, sunburned until scarring takes place or catch an STD, it's all on you.


And hey CBS... anything for money, right?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Momentum

Life is all about momentum.

I'd need a doctor to confirm or deny it, but cataclysmic medical issues aside (such as cancer or heart attack) you die when you lose your momentum.

My grandmother worked in a restaurant, lugging plates of food and platters of drinks until about a year before she died. She decided it was time to "retire," so she quit. The problem is, she didn't have anything else to DO after that... so she sat in her house watching television and eating the same thing... day after day... until she died.

And all it took was a year.

Pray the day never comes when you hear Mom say "I think I'll skip my walk today." Or from Dad, "I'm too tired to go to the strip joint."

You must keep moving forward. To slow down too much is to stop. And we all know what stopping means.

I'm writing this down... so in 40 years, I won't forget.

-----

As we prepare for the baby's arrival, Emily and I are each working on our individual preparation projects. She is shopping for outfits, diapers, wall decorations for the nursery...

I went shopping for this.
It's a high definition hard-drive camcorder. If we're having a baby, we need to record as much of him or her as possible. I don't have a lot of video of Courtney when she was little. Sure we rented a camcorder for the big events, but we have very little footage of her everyday cuteness. That will change with little "Earl" or "Earlene." (only temporary names, don't worry)

As you've probably gathered, electronic gadgets are my weakness. I sit around all day playing with this thing. I've videoed the dog and cat, Emily lying in bed with morning sickness, a Mexican guy fixing the telephone lines behind our house, even us watching a baseball game... at home in our living room. WTF?

I think I'll tape myself taking out the trash later.

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Nothing is spookier (besides maybe Hannibal Lector or Rosie O'Donnell without makeup) (or Rosie O'Donnell with makeup) than finding out somebody else is living their life... as you.

I found out a guy in Indianapolis is working and living under my exact name and social security number. I received a letter from the IRS saying I hadn't claimed some income from 2005, because I failed to report my W2 from a brick and shale company based in Tennessee.

When the smoke cleared, I learned (through local law enforcement and the feds) that an illegal immigrant has been using my name and SS# for three years, in order to work and live in the US. I can't imagine where he got my info, but I'm hoping by now he's been arrested and his ass is sitting on a bus back to Mexico.

This immigration thing MUST be fixed. This is the second time in seven years that my identity has been stolen.

Now I just need to find a way to convince Master Card that it was that Mexican guy who fraudulently charged a new camcorder to my account.

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I'm in the middle of a complete redesign of my website, planning a wedding, planning for the arrival of a child, organizing my office and recording studio, getting the odds and ends of my life cleaned up... as you can see, I have a few things on my plate. Sorry I haven't posted in a while, and when I finally did, it wasn't that interesting.

PS - I just noticed that Google now lets you add video directly to your blog posts. Sweet! I have some great footage of me clipping my toenails in HD.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Big Daddy Dave

You may choose to skip this entry, some of it might be boring. It's more or less a personal perspective of where I am right now, and where we're going as a family. More of journal entry, really.

Lightning Bug's Butt has called me Big Daddy Dave for as long as I can remember. I'm not sure why - maybe he had a premonition that I'd sire a child soon. ("sire a child" - I sound like a horse... although it would be "sire a colt" I guess) I regard the nickname as one of those oddities I can't explain.

It's weird how your goals and motivations change when you find out you're going to be a parent. Women tend to begin nesting pretty quickly - they start picking out clothes, furniture, cleaning the house, getting the baby's room organized, the warm-fuzzy stuff.

Men start thinking of ways to provide for the family. I've been on a kick to do some things I've been meaning to do for a while, such as updating my demo audio, getting my business matters organized, aggressively pursuing new business, etc. In just a week I've signed two new clients, and have another big one ready to go. Pretty exciting, considering all I needed to do was get off my lazy butt and DO it.

I had become complacent. I have more than enough business to pay our bills and support our lifestyle. But with a baby on the way, we have the future to worry about now. It's not enough to be OK today, we have to be OK for twenty more years. In just a few days and with some aggressive moves... my business grew five percent. In another month or two, I have no doubt I can hit twenty to thirty percent.

I remember when I was first building my business... it was sink or swim. I chose to swim, and it took hard work and long hours, but things worked out. That's what it feels like now... like I'm starting over from scratch with the renewed energy and enthusiasm I've lacked for a little while.

Dr. Mike has it right when he says this is the perfect time to be a father. He is also in his low 40's. He has Ella, who is one year old, and he and Paula are trying to have another. I agree with his philosophy - we are having kids when we can actually enjoy them. Not that Courtney (my 18 year old) didn't provide fulfillment, meaning and purpose to my life, but I made almost no money back then, worked 50 and 60 hours a week and had the patience of a 25-year-old.

Imagine how things will be different this time. I make twenty times the money, have tons more patience, and I work from home. I have a flexible schedule that will allow me to spend quality time with the baby, take him or her to the park, to school, to play dates, etc. The same with Emily. She's getting her PhD in psychology and will open a practice, which will eventually allow her to set her own hours and really be a parent.

I'm really looking forward to the whole thing. I was hesitant about having more children, and being the selfish bastard I am, was close to deciding against it. I'm glad we made the decision we did.

We had our first ultra-sound yesterday. We got 3-D pictures and saw the heart beating. What an amazing ride this is going to be!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dang! - a weekend update

I didn't get my office painted over the weekend, my back was too sore. I'm thinking about heading to the doctor, I might have a slipped disc or cancer or something.

A bunch of friends went to see Bourne Ultimatum yesterday... totally great flick. Lots of action, really intense story line... the only thing I can even remotely complain about is the camera work. It's the shaky stuff. You know, like the camera operator is trying to follow the action and send a text message at the same time.

It looks like there will be more sequels after "Ultimatum," the ending was wide-open. I'm glad Ada lent us the first two movies. After seeing the third one, I'm like a fat kid in a donut shop.

Not sure what that means.

We went with two other couples. I can't remember ever attending a movie with a group of people - it's always been me and one other person. It was fun, although Dr. Mike kept flipping me off and throwing popcorn. Paula, please control your subject.

So all-in-all, I'm glad I didn't paint my office. Dave procrastinates again, what a shock!

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Sixty mile per hour winds woke me up at midnight last night. OK, actually the dog (who was freaked-the-hell-out) woke me up, but you get the picture.

I love storms. There's just something exciting about watching the lightning across the sky and feeling the ground shudder when thunder booms. And hearing the sump pump kick on. And resetting all the clocks. And picking up limbs.

OK, so storms suck.

I was hoping to see some of the meteor shower last night, but was unable because of clouds. Did you get a look from your location???

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wilt thou?

Over 100-degree highs for the forseeable future. Oh, sure - they say by next Thursday we may dip down into the low 90's, but weather guys are about as reliable as coal mine operators.

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On the weekend schedule, we're headed to a St. Louis Cardinals game tomorrow, where game-time temperatures will be around 100 and humidity will make it feel like 110. If our seats are in the sun, we might just head down the street to Mike Shannon's restaurant, sit at the bar and watch the game in high def. Three or four dirty martinis with bleu cheese olives will make me think I'm still at the game.

Plus, they are about the same price as a small beer at the ball park. I'd make that trade all day, every day!

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I love painting. And when I say "love," I'm really saying "never ending hate." This Sunday I will be painting my office. That is, if the searing pain in my lower back subsides.

I can lift 50 pound bags of potting soil, dog food or whatever all day, then lean over to pick up a sandwich and be out of commission for a friggin' week. Back problems are a recurring thing for me... much like marriage, only less expensive and I don't end up hating my back and thinking of ways to exact revenge upon it.

Oddly enough, I originally injured my back loading my stereo up when I got divorced the first time. I find that kind of funny!

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Irony: Writing your final child support check on July 19, and finding out you are having a new baby exactly one week later.

My favorite thing in life is being a father. I've gotten more satisfaction and enjoyment from it than everything else in my life combined. I can't wait for April 6th!

But it's still ironic.

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Tivo is an amazing tool. It has done more for television than anything else I can think of for the past 30 years. We are definitely a Tivo household... we have four. Tivo is my crack.

Do you have Tivo? If so, do you ever find yourself catching a glimpse of a chick in a bikini as you fast-forward through a commercial break, then actually scan back through the commercials to get a look?

Yeah, me neither.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Taurus rising

Prejudice: an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.

For years, I've been pre-judged because I am a Taurus. Oooh, I must be one stubborn son-of-a-bitch... after all, I'm a BULL. Bull in a china shop, bull headed... all of that. And while I may be stubborn sometimes, most of it is bull shit.

So I was ever so slightly offended, but mostly just disappointed as I listened to a group of people tell me what our new baby will be like based on the fact he or she will be an Aries. "Oh my, Aries children tend to be collicky, and they take longer to potty-train."

Hey, the little tike's Dad is an asshole, that's factual, and far more impactful.

The irony is, none of these people really realized what they were doing. They were pre-judging him/her "without knowledge, thought or reason." (no, the zodiac calendar isn't considered reason) Come on, folks... it's 2007! Do we still insist on judging people based on where the sun was during their birth? I will save you some time - it was in the sky.

The same group of people would never judge someone based on color... these are all reasonable, thoughtful people. Yet they will say that Bob can't possibly marry Sally... she's a Capricorn with Mars rising, and he's a Pisces with Moon in retrograde. That would never work!

How about Bob's gay? That would be a reason.

Reading tea leaves? Same thing, it's all bullshit. You'd be better off sniffing the person's middle finger. A "breakthrough" can really ruin a day. The tea leaves will only tell you if they backwash.

Although I do love me some chinese fortune cookies.

(yeah thanks Confucius. I already knew that)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A picture says a thousand words...

So FIVE pictures would be, like... um. Well anyway, I was never good at math.

Car air conditioners have changed a lot through the years. Apparently this is the latest incarnation. When we were returning from a night out recently, we stopped for gas in a sort of bad part of town. It proved to be a rich stop for us.

A closer look shows that the guy apparently didn't want anyone to steal his AC. He's installed the newest security and locking system.

We attended the boxing matches last night, and included was a righteous chick fight. These girls turned it on from bell to bell without letting up. Notice the picture is blurry. That's how fast they were moving. That, or the beer I was drinking affected my photography prowess.

Naw, they were moving fast.

Token photo from the dude fight. Nobody really wants to see it anyway, so we'll move on.

For Sale: One slightly used Sprint PocketPC. All documentation, charging base, original box included. It was only driven to church on Sundays. If you'd like to buy it, email me.