Monday, June 30, 2008

Same baby? You decide.

Day One:


Day Eighty:

It's hard to believe how quickly their features develop! He's a cutie, for sure.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ox cart, meet space shuttle

Personal transportation has become an experience.

When we were on the road yesterday, I noticed that nobody had their car windows open. Back in the day, it was unusual to see a window closed. When you did, you'd know the lucky son-of-a-bitch had air conditioning.

My first car, which belonged to my grandparents for years prior to being sold to my Aunt Sharon, then being kindly donated to me, was a 1965 Dodge Coronet.

Let me describe the "experience" of driving it: Get in, bypass the seatbelt (they were long buried in the crack and would have required an archaeologist to remove) and adjust the seat. (the entire bench moves) Start the car and let the engine warm up a little so it won't stall.

Turn the AM radio on. Listen to the crackle and broken signal for a few seconds. Slap the dashboard to try to make the radio work. Give up and turn it off, since it hasn't worked properly for years. Put the car in drive and go. Use a map to get where you're going, or stop at a gas station for directions.

That's it. No air conditioning, no radio, nothing. It was simply a means of getting from point A to point B.

Fast foward to today's experience: get the baby's diaper bag, bouncer and other equipment ready to go. From inside the house, click the auto-start button on the van and get the cabin temperature to 68 before stepping out into the heat.

Push a button to open the doors, load the stuff in. Get in, set the GPS to our destination address and watch as it reroutes us based on real-time traffic conditions. (a new Sirius feature)

Back out of the driveway with the help of the reverse camera and object sensing radar. Either hit 'play' on the iPod, choose a playlist from the 30 gig hard drive built into the vehicle, turn on Sirius radio, play a DVD or watch Sirius TV on one of the three video monitors. (yes, they now have satellite television in vehicles)

Or you could go retro and choose AM or FM radio.

Make a phone call to your friends through the built-in microphone and speaker system (via bluetooth through the cell phone in your pocket), and let them know you're on the way.

Whoops, there was no time to use the breast pump before leaving, so plug it into the 115-volt outlet on the wall of the van and pump as you go. I'll try to avoid driving alongside an 18-wheeler at this time, since they can see right into the vehicle.

That was us yesterday. Next year, Chrysler will have broadband internet service built into their vehicles, with WiFi. Each equipped vehicle will be its own "hot spot."

Personal transportation has definitely changed.... it's the freakin' Jetsons. Sometimes I just want to turn everything off, roll down the windows and drive. "Jane! Stop this crazy thing!!!"

When the "roll" is called up yonder

Friday night, what began as a nice dinner at McGurk's (without children) turned into a high-school level prank. (which are the best kind)

After a few drinks, Emily suggested it might be fun to Kareoke. For whatever reason, the rest of us agreed. (fewer cocktails and I would have put my foot down - I am not a fan of Karaoke) During the process of waiting her turn, Chris and I soundly kicked Wendy and Em's asses at a game of darts.

Em karaoke'd "I Touch Myself" and as we prepared to leave, someone got the hair-brained idea that we should TP Dr. Mike.

Let me make myself perfectly clear. I hate the concept of TP-ing. Nothing is harder to get out of a tree than six double rolls of Charmin, and I've decided that if anyone TPs me, I will force them to clean it up at gunpoint.

We decided that we'd do it the easy (less messy) way. One stop at the Super Wal Marts and we had purchased 72 rolls of high-quality butt-wipe. Funny thing is, I put it on my American Express and got travel points.

After another stop at QT for a 12-er of Pabst Blue Ribbon (it seemed the only appropriate beer for TP-ing) we entered Mike's backyard under the cover of night.

I wish we had a camera because I can't do it justice, but basically we spelled out "Hi Mike!" on his backyard berm with rolls of TP stacked end to end. We never unrolled it, lucky for Mike.

Afterward, we sat on his patio (without him ever hearing us) and drank the PBR, so we could leave our empties scattered about.

Next morning my phone rang. I answered it with "paybacks are hell, aren't they?" Mike said "Uh oh. What did you do?"

"Have you even bothered to look out your back window??"

That's probably the worst thing to hear when you're not home. He had to wait 30 minutes to see what we had done... which was just great for me. Sweet, tormented anticipation.

A couple of years ago, Mike had TP'd me in much the same manner while I was on vacation. I never forgot. Don't you hate it when retribution happens after you've forgotten you had it coming?

Unfortunately it didn't rain, so clean-up consisted of picking up dry rolls of ass parchment. You're lucky, Mike. Next time we'll do your pine tree. (Poor Paula - look at the crap she has to put up with because of her prank-happy hubby!)

Filthy Simians

During our trips to Mexico, and now at Ada & Angie's pool parties, we've enjoyed a drink called the "Dirty Monkey," and it's very difficult to find the recipe online. Therefore at this time I will both share it with you, and save it for my own future reference, with the help of my high quality blog.

I introduce to you, the Dirty Monkey:

Fill a blender almost to the top with ice. Add:

1 1/2 bananas
3 shots of Creme de Banana
3 shots of Creme de Cacao
1/2 cup of half and half
10 shots (yes, 10 shots) of vodka (don't waste expensive stuff on this - use Gilbey's or something)
About 6 seconds squeeze of chocolate syrup
Blend for about 30 seconds or until all ice is emulsified. Here's the important part - adjust to taste.

Viola! Now drinky-drink, while it's cold.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Sad Neighborhood

Two paramedics came to my garage door this morning, apparently at the wrong address. They were looking for my next door neighbor, who had called 911.

Sometimes when I get up in the middle of the night, I notice that the lights are on next door at #22. The lady who lives there is elderly and her back is horribly bent forward - I can only assume from years of arthritis and hard work. I'm guessing we are both members of the "brotherhood of the insomniac" and find a certain comfort in sitting by the kitchen window with a snack at 3 am as the rest of the world slumbers.

Aside from the neighbor, the only people I ever see next door are hospice nurses, keeping a 24-hour vigil, tending to her needs. Occasionally one of them will be on her deck when I'm outside, and we'll exchange pleasantries. From what I can tell, she seldom has other visitors.

I don't know her name, but she died this morning.

For whatever reason, I feel more than just the sadness of knowing a neighbor died. She passed without family around, and with no friends in the house except a paid caregiver.

I think that's what we all fear most - dying alone. Ultimately, it's a trip we can only complete by ourselves... but it helps when someone walks you to the door and reassures you that it's OK to go through.

My Sad Driveway

Before:
After:
What the hell. In two years, I've gone from a free-wheeling, red blooded, single, Hummer driving male... to a mi....... um, mini.................. uh. A van driver.

The things that changed my mind:

1 - The ecology. There, I said it. I don't drive a lot of miles, but the new vehicle is much more fuel-efficient, while still packing over 250 horsepower.

2 - Grayson wouldn't be able to climb into the Hummer by himself for eight years.

3 - GM is considering stopping production of the H2 for a while, and possibly indefinitely. The winds of change are blowing... and it was either trade it in or keep it forever. Its value would have plummetted.

4 - I'm no longer a free-wheeling, single guy. This min.... um, mini.... uh, this van is fine for our family, and will provide room for growth. (if Em talks me into another child)

5 - My driveway is breathing a sigh of relief, since it's no longer supporting over four tons of metal and rubber.

The 2008 Town & Country has the new "swivel 'n go" seating, which allows five passengers in the rear to sit facing each other with a table in the middle. Check it out.


For several years, the Town & Country has been the only "cool" mini van on the market. I'm happy with our decision.

And yet... now I have to worry about snow, curbs and not getting that awestruck look from kids.


I was sad when my BMW lease was up, but this is even worse. Goodbye old friend.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

George

He was an intellectual's comedian. He was an activist, in many ways. He certainly was thought-provoking.

He had more bullshit email forwards attributed to him than anyone I can think of, with the possible exception of Andy Rooney. If you knew even a LITTLE about what he thought, you'd know he didn't write that garbage.

Neither headed for heaven nor hell (since he believed in neither), at the age of 71 he's headed six feet under I suppose.

So what do you say about such a man? He was right, he was wrong. He was Carlin.

I agreed with him more often than I will admit, and I won't reveal which subjects.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Things that unfortunately occur to me

So goes the cat foot jingle from the 1980's:

"My kitty cat craves chicken,
my kitty cat craves milk,
my kitty cat craves tuna,
so my kitty cat craves Crave."

You know what? I don't give a shit. I hope for his sake that he's craving Meow Mix again today. When he contributes in a meaningful way, he can choose his own food.

-----

Emily's running around like a crazy woman this morning, so I'm staying out of her way. She clearly has tasks and an agenda.

Isn't that man's finest role? Just being a stay-out-of-the-wayer? Grayson, ESPN and I will just be over here on the couch with our breakfast Budweiser until she needs us to work the grill or something.

-----

Yet another old friend has found me via this blog and Google. It's a guy I haven't talked to in 20 years, so we played catch-up via email this weekend. Very cool! We had a lot of fun back-in-the-day.

Several old friends have now Googled me up. Isn't it weird (not that I'd WANT it to happen) that no old girlfriends have seeked me out? I suppose that says something about my dating prowess.

Oh wait, I always used fake names with girlfriends. Never mind.

I hope no old enemies look me up.

-----

Is it possible for there to be an epidemic of hypochondria? Think about that for a few minutes - it gets funnier.

-----

Here is a picture of some gnarly-assed chompers that'll make bile rise in your throat.







Remember kids, at least 10 strokes for each tooth.

-----

Speaking of teeth, my son just gave me a big, toothless grin. There is no amount of money that I'd trade for one of those per day.

Ok, so he just barfed on my robe and let a rather suspicious sounding fart. I'd consider trading those.

-----

New e-trade baby commercial with a Blackberry phone. I wonder how much it cost them NOT to make it an iPhone...



-----

I'm considering doing something so emasculating - so incredibly capitulatory - I almost hesitate to bring it up.

In fact, I've decided not to say anything about it now. I'm completely on the fence still, so bringing it up will only tempt fate and cause the cold, noxious prejudice to seep from your black soul.

I'll let you know if/when I decide to remove my own testicles by committing this act I'm considering.

-----

I'm pretty tapped now. I'll add more if I think of anything. Grayson and Dad, signing off!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (and by Margaret, of course I mean Dave)

My blog has Junior High readability.

blog readability test

Click and test your own blog. Apparently, I write for 8th graders. (no reflection on you, of course) That puts me right up there with Carolyn Mackler, who wrote "The Earth, My Butt, and Other Round Things" and J. K. Rowling. Yeah, we're pretty much birds of a feather.

Via Steve.

Know what I don't understand?

When did camels ever carry straw? In all of history, I've never heard of a camel carrying a single straw, much less enough to break a back.

Chicken Freakin' See (repost just for fun)

One of my real head-scratcher type days... a Dave's Window "greatest hit":

----------------

I was working in my garage one day when a guy got out of his car and walked up the driveway. "Are you Dave Morris?"

"Yeah, can I help you?"

"Social security number XXX-YY-ZZZZ?" At this point, I'm wondering who's dead. I asked who he was. He pulled out his card. "Officer Ben Dover (real name) (not really, I'm protecting his anonymity) (actually that's not true either, I just don't remember his real name, otherwise I'd gladly use it - I have no respect for others' privacy) from the Ellisville police department." Unmarked car, plain clothes.

I invited him in. He proceeded to tell me about how he'd tracked me down via my former apartment manager, who knew my butcher, who was friends with my baker, who's sister dated my candlestick maker, who knew my address. He said they had a guy in custody who had stolen my identity and was opening accounts, renting vehicles, etc. under my name.

I immediately freaked out. I'd heard stories of how this happened fairly regularly, but it had never happened to me. I'd never lost my wallet, never left my credit cards anywhere... nothing.

The cop said this guy had gotten a driver's license, gym membership, etc. using my name, but hadn't charged anything to any of my current accounts, banged my wife, or anything else of a malicious nature.

Well, maybe he had banged my wife. I didn't know for sure. But anyway.

Just then, the doorbell rang. My brain still swimming, I left the cop sitting in the kitchen for a minute while I headed to the door, prepared to bust some Jehovah's Witness cap. I never anticipated what I'd see next.

Skinny legs, fluffy white feathers, beak. Your standard run-of-the-mill Gallus Domesticus. Well, I should say, a guy dressed up in a chicken suit.

I took one hesitant step backward, while quickly replaying the last few minutes in my head.

Cop tracked me down. Stolen identity.

Man in chicken suit at door.

Yep. It was all true. For a moment, I contemplated the possibility that I had slipped deep into the Twilight Zone. Next, I considered that huffing whipped cream from aeresol cans throughout my adolescent years had taken its toll.

Then, I became suspicious. It crossed my mind that these two guys could be working in cahoots, looking for unsuspecting people to rob or pillage. Or, that my friends had been busy planning some sort of retribution for something.

So with chicken man in plain sight, I looked back into the kitchen, half expecting to see that the cop had changed into a gorilla suit and was rifling through drawers, pocketing silverware. That was not the case, he was quietly sitting at the table where I had left him.

"Can I help you?"

Off came the chicken head. It was Bill, the Schwann's man, making the rounds, taking orders, delivering food.

In a goddamn chicken suit.

Side note: It must have been a real shitty day when Bill - a grown man making 10 dollars an hour driving around in a smelly, faded mascot outfit selling frozen food door-to-door, realized that he had made such a serious vocational error.
Despite it all, I was curiously calm. This was, I reassured myself, simply a set of coincidental circumstances that, in a billion years, could never be repeated.

I told Bill we didn't need anything this week, but that he made a really good-looking chicken. He laughed and informed me he had studied method acting in college. He went on his way.

I then went to the phone and called the number on the cop's business card, just to make sure he WAS an officer. It all checked out.

The cop told me he needed nothing from me... the suspect was in custody and would be facing all the appropriate charges, but that he'd follow up in a few days with a progress report, to give me a little peace of mind. I told him thanks, and he left.

I sat quietly for a few minutes, pondering the events of the day. I'm not sure if I felt more violated by the stolen identity or the chicken man. It was only about 11 am, but this would be as good a time as any to start drinking.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bailing wire and chewing gum feeling "left out"

I drove my Chrysler 300 SRT8 on the trip to Columbia yesterday. It gets better mileage (by just a little) than the Hummer and has an input for my iPod, so that made the decision easy.

About 30 seconds after I headed west on the interstate, I heard a loud flapping noise. I immediately pulled over, but I already knew what it was.

Some background - the Chrysler 300 SRT8 is a freaking beast. It produces 425 HP from a bored out 6.1 liter, Mercedes Benz-built Hemi V-8 (zero to 60 in 4.7 seconds) and is one of the last of the American muscle cars. I've raced mine twice (impromptu fashion at a stoplight) and never had to put the pedal to the floor. Honestly, you'd have to spend 100 grand for a factory vehicle that can beat this Chrysler.

Trouble is, it has a really low profile front spoiler. Sometimes it's impossible NOT to hit it against the concrete barriers in parking lots. Which is exactly what we did the last time we drove it.

The undercarriage piece had popped out of place and was catching the wind. I pulled over onto the shoulder, did some tucking and popping into place and thought I had fixed it, but in about 120 miles my handy-work came undone. I was out in the middle of nowhere with a top speed of 20 mph before the panel would start flapping against the inside of the tire.

So I did the only thing I could do... I bought some duct tape off a guy and used it to fix my car. I can't decide if that's a new high or low for me, but it happened. I made it home with a 2.99 roll of tape.

Screw you, McGyver.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hey Dave, where's your briefcase??

Back in 1986 Norbert Hopfer used to ask me that question almost daily. "I can't imagine you'll accomplish a thing today without it."

When I first got into radio sales at KFMZ in Columbia MO, I used to carry this ridiculously huge briefcase which made me an easy target for ridicule. Norb was the station's general manager and one of the good ones - a very warm, personable guy that made you want to work hard for him... but he always gave me shit about the case. All in good fun, of course.

He retired soon after I started at KFMZ, but we worked together long enough for me to learn a lot. Over the past 22 years, he has crossed my mind frequently but honestly (and I feel major guilt for saying this) I thought that, considering average life expectancy, he had probably died.

Like, 10 years ago.

So it was a really cool surprise when I took a last minute detour through the McDonalds drive-thru this morning and saw him walking to his car. I thought I was seeing a ghost, so I rolled down the window and asked if it was him.

"Hey, Dave! Where's your briefcase??" That dude has a great memory.

It made me wish I had looked him up years ago. We stood there in the parking lot and caught up on each other's goings-on. He's 85 and hasn't changed a bit.

Out of interest, tonight I googled Norb Hopfer. Nothing. By the time the internets became popular, he had retired.

It does my heart good to know that now when someone searches Norb, they will see this story. Norb is a good man and deserves to be googleable.

I think we should take an hour or two every month and look up an old friend. Do it now and drop them an email. You might be surprised at how many are still alive! (wink wink - sorry Norb)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Impressive

The backyard has now been transformed into a usable space, with the addition of a patio and deck stairs.

Honestly, I am not that easily impressed... but my friends Gary (who built the stairs) and Bill (who poured the patio) are incredibly talented individuals, and I cannot show them enough respect. I wish I had that kind of talent. Absolutely incredible work.

Truly guys... thanks very much.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Stunner: Tim Russert, R-I-P

One of the most important figures in political news coverage, NBC news' Meet The Press moderator and Washington DC bureau chief Tim Russert has 'signed off' for the final time at the age of 58. He collapsed of an apparent heart attack at work this afternoon.

It really hits when friends in the media pass on... especially such preeminent masters of their craft.

Godspeed, Tim.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Patio progress (final)

I figured I would condense all patio posts into one, and keep it updated with progress photos.


Pre ground-breaking. The yard is great, but there's no access from the back door. (notice the deck has no stairs)

Day one, 6/10/08. Bill and crew got a lot of work done this morning, clearing out the vegetation and brick work and building most of the form. The concrete truck is coming tomorrow, when they'll pour, stamp and finish it.

--------

Day two, 6/11/08. The concrete truck arrived, they mixed in the dye for the concrete, (sort of a reddish-tan, to match the deck) and started wheeling it down the hill to fill the form.

Offloading and filling the form - it required 3 cubic yards of concrete.

After smoothing out the pour, they wait for it to start drying... then apply the stamp, which will make it look like stone work instead of concrete. Hey, why buy stone? This is much less expensive and looks nearly as good.

The surface is stamped, and the "grout dye" powder has been added. (so it will look like the stones are grouted with reddish material) This will settle and dry overnight, and tomorrow the forms will be removed and the surface powerwashed. I'm going to add a sealant to the surface to keep it in good condition.
The finished product! We started building the stairs at 10-ish yesterday, and finished about 10:30 last night. I can't stain the wood for about 60 days - it needs time to dry and season.

Thanks, Gary and Bill, for making this happen.

Newgrill isn't a city in Jamaica

Last weekend my friend Mike Cornett and I picked up my Father's Day present, the first new grill I've had in seven years.


Halogen-lighted fire box, LED lights on the instrument panel, and an oven... roughly 100,000 BTUs. Now that'll cook a steak. Well, er... veggies, I mean. (trying to watch my diet)

I needed Mike's truck, (and his back) since the grill weighs 425 pounds. It takes up a huge section of the deck - good thing we're getting a patio.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Unabashed coverage of the iPhone

For anyone watching for developing iPhone news from the WWDC today, here's the link of a guy, Pete Mortenson, who is blogging live from the event and will have the latest news first.

During the keynote address today by Steve Jobs, the unveiling of the newest version of the iPhone is expected. It's a 3G model (broadband access) and rumor has it, will include lots of new, nifty features.

Click the link above to follow the news via Pete's blog on Popular Mechanics' site. When there, hit 'refresh' for updates. The announcement is expected at Noon, eastern. (30 minutes from now) Update: It's actually noon central time, so it's underway now.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

What's next, stroller spinner rimz?

We took Sparky for a walk around the 'hood this afternoon (if you're familiar with my subdivision you know how funny it is to refer to it in "street") and mom thought it was a good day to break out some of his badazz threads. I had to snap a pic to share wit' my homies.

It follows you around... (revised with demo)

Here's a demo of the webcam in action:
video


I recently upgraded my webcam to the new HP Elite, which includes a stereo microphone and "face tracker," which allows you to move around at your desk and the camera actually follows you around and auto-zooms/auto-focuses so your face (mostly) fills the screen.

It is high resolution (up to 12 megapixel still shot or 3 megapixel video) and looks really neat. Now if I could only find someone who wants to video conference! Wanna?

I've officially "made it"

It's a quaint moment in any blog's history when you reach the top of the Google search list for "whale shaped spanking paddles."

I'm number ONE. Read it and weep, lesser bloggers.

Before

This week our friend Bill will be pouring a concrete patio behind our house. Then Saturday, our friend Gary is building stairs from the deck down to the new patio. With friends like this, who needs contractors?

Currently, we have no outside access through the back door - only access to the deck. This will serve to open up the backyard, which includes a beautiful lake with fountain, ducks and other natural shit.

Here's a "before" shot of the back yard and deck:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

GPS (Greatly Profane Slanderer)

Yesterday, as I cursed and honked at dolts who clearly couldn't pass a Missouri driver's test, it occurred to me that I need to develop a data set for GPS systems that provides directions in the same way Ed Debevic's in Chicago serves its patrons - rudely.

"Take a left turn in a quarter of a mile, douche bag." If you pass the turn, the unit gets indignant: "So why don't you just turn me off if you're not going to pay attention, idiot?"

"Only your Mom would be driving this slow - what are you, handicapped?"

"Well, well. You reached your destination. Aren't we both a little surprised? Now turn me off, I'm tired!"

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wiling away the hours

One of the first "skills" my son has learned is to make his stuffed animals shake. The three of them hang above his bouncer - Zippy the zebra, Gary the gator and Edgar the elephant.

video

Witness the brilliance - and he learned this at about 5-6 weeks.

Don't we all believe our children are advanced?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Somewhere...

Leave it to the Missouri weather to both disappoint and amaze.

Yesterday we attended a 30th birthday party for a friend, and naturally it had to rain. The downpour sent us scurrying into the garage for shelter, and when it stopped we witnessed one of nature's most beautiful events.

In fact, it was a double rainbow for a while.

What a sight...

Shhhhhh, the baby's sleeping

Monumental day. Huge.

We put the baby down for the night at around 9:00 pm. He woke up at 6:30 am.

This would qualify as his first time sleeping through the night. He is only 7 1/2 weeks old, which is pretty phenomenal! We'll see if it continues, but all things considered, it's very, very big.

We started doing something called a "dream feed" this week. We put him down at 8:30 or 9, go in and feed him while he sleeps at about 11, and that usually tides him over for 5 hours or so. Last night it lasted quite a bit longer.

He woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed this morning - and so did his parents, for a change.