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.