February 16th, 2008

Word to Your People

Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

Anyone who wanted to be a politican in Greece would study the art of speaking from a master orator. This was absolutly necessary before you tried to convince the people to follow you to a better future. I suppose first you had to have a good idea of how to make the future better, but people wouldn’t follow you unless, through the art of speaking, you could organize and relay your idea.

In the 19th century presidential candidates would travel across America on a train giving speeches off the back of the caboose. They would sell them self and their idea to the people through the power of their speech (and possibly the height their stove pipe hat).

What happened?
Now you need to buy a lot of TV commercials. You also need… no wait, you just need a lot of TV commercials. You can have difficulty forming complete sentences let alone eloquent ones and still sit in The White House for eight years. W clearly never rode across America to dazzle us with his oration skills. In fact, I don’t think he’s even seen conjunction junction what’s your function?

Say what you like about any of the presidential candidates, but you have to give Barack Obama props for his old skool oration skillz. It’s a simple rule that hasn’t changed since the Greeks. You don’t really need a tall hat, or even a $500 hair cut. If you want to inspire people, master public speaking and deliver some stirring speeches.

They do say pictures speak louder than words though. Here are some pictures of Barack at his latest rally in Milwaukee.

February 9th, 2008

Please Tell the Internet I’m Alive

Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

Someone contacted me recently to see if i was still alive. It had been so long since a post to davauer.com that she thought I might have died or something. I feel flattered that someone must have logged on to the blog more than once in a six month period, but burdened by the idea that i must post to keep myself alive.

I know blogging looks like the most glamorous thing in the world right now with all the press it gets from confused adults above 50 but it ain’t like being a movie star or anything. Will Smith may be the most liked man on Earth in both movies and music, but hey, he doesn’t have a blog. “That’s because he’s the most liked man on Earth and doesn’t need to desperately write to no one in particular to get attention” you say, well… yeah, so? Anyway, I understand the burden under which I’ve placed myself and I plan to rise to the occasion. How am I going to quit my job and live on Google ad click-through revenue with only four posts a year?

It’s Orion’s first birthday today. I had planned many posts about the singular hysteria of the first year of first-time parents. The year seems empty now. No crazy diaper stories. A lot of nights with plenty of sleep. Seems weird to think my one year old son would be babbling incoherently while I write this.

A year from now though, I will be posting for three. In fact, starting in September I should have plenty of stories that revolve around the complex topic of doo doo.

(No worries, from day one the baby and the pee-stick of destiny have been under the protection of the fearless and noble Sir Gawain)

December 17th, 2007

Paging Dr. I. Chef

Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

I’m sitting with my niece in the hospital writing this post. To be more accurate, I’m sitting with my sister in whom my niece sits. I figure I’ll try to write something before I become a part-time babysitter and have even less time to do things like write vague essays to no one in particular. My niece is being coaxed out into our cold world by none other than the Iron Chef himself. He seems in quite a hurry to get his dish done by the deadline. We all watch anxiously, empathizing with his efforts. My sister also has something that needs to get done and the deadline is now. The oven is off and the bun is done. It’s just a few short hours before I’ll have one more loyal, related reader.

It won’t be long before the baby realizes she has mad cooking skillz. I’m already looking forward to Thanksgiving twenty odd years from now. That’s going to be good eatin’. So many of our best qualities are are inherited like a chicken breast inherits the flavor of the bay leaf. We stew in our families while young taking on all kinds of flavors. The final dish can be so subtle you don’t know why you do what you do and like what you like, but you know it has something to do with those years in the family crock pot.

The snow came down hard this week. It wasn’t so much the each-one-is-a-unique-individual type as it was the clump-together-and-git-r-done type. It was beautiful nonetheless. Huge globs covered our landing strip of a driveway. No less than eight cars share the tarmac between our house and our neighbor’s. My friends to the south think, “That must have been beautiful. All that snow piled up… just like a painting.” My stout and sturdy colleagues up north think, “You have a snowblower right?”

No, I don’t have a snowblower, but I do have my mitts. Like recognizing a flavor in the Iron Chef’s Porcini Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Reduction Sauce, I recognize my grandpa in me while shoveling. It wasn’t so much that he taught me how to work hard when work needed to be done. It was more like I just existed around him and pretty soon it soaked in. He always worked harder than anyone I knew while complaining about working less than anyone I knew. The work wasn’t easy work either. It was backbreaking crack-o-dawn work.

As many people as there are running around the city doing things that make them money to pay the bills, there just isn’t that much hard work being done. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people doing things that are hard and putting in long hours but it’s still not life on the farm. Sometimes, like when the snow piles up on the driveway, I can go back to the farm and life becomes clear for a while. It becomes a simple equation: Hard work/Time=Job Well Done. It’s a chance for me to see my grandpa again. I see him when I come back in and my back is killing me but I know it doesn’t matter. I see him when I wake up and there’s twice as much snow as the day before and I think, “Well, looks like that driveway needs shovelin’ again.” For the next couple hours, I know exactly what life holds.

My niece will be a whole new spin on the family recipe. I’m seeing an intelligent, well traveled, multi-lingual chef with a great smile. Hopefully I can get her out to shovel with me a couple times.

“She’s got some sugar on top and some really nice carmelization” That she does Iron Chef, that she does.

May 15th, 2007

Welcome to Dawn: Mirror Fish, the Coyote and Me

Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

I decided not to go to bed last night. It was late and getting later until the later turned to earlier. I decided not to because I could. I didn’t have anything to do in the morning or late morning… or early afternoon. Going to bed seemed more optional than usual so I chose the unusual option.

The sky was an amazing shade of blue-green. As if the world had sunk in the darkness of night and everyone would awake that morning looking out their windows to the eerie glow of the sun above a million gallons of water. I struggled with the choice of whether to follow the glow or not for some minutes until finally abandoning sleep for the mystery of light.

I left our house as if leaving an airport. A strange country awaited on the streets of Dawn. It was garbage day today so the highly manicured streets of Shorewood were lined with overflowing buckets, baskets and boxes of junk. It wasn’t so dissimilar for the world of Dusk of which I travel on a daily basis, but it was also foreign at same time. Maybe due to the fact the light was backwards. Or that there was not a single person in sight. It seems a fact that there is little travel between these two worlds. If you travel Dusk, you will rarely make the journey to Dawn.

I snaked through the streets on my bike like lanes on a board game imaging how may points I might get for turning this way or that. The green was turning to blue and the wind in my hair reassured me I would not drown riding a bike. I came to the edge of our world and watched the new light introduce itself to the cold, dark lake. “Hello old friend. I see you’re still here.”

The problem with photographing a sunrise is that you don’t know when it is at its best. You have to keep taking another picture just after the last. Alas, the effort is wasted as you know it won’t capture the glory of it no matter how many you take.

You are either predator or prey in Dawn, depending on your biology or perhaps your social persuasion. The stars cast a silence on the world that one could use to roam about with little worry of discovery. This same silence could be employed to help one sneak about with thoughts of mischief, deceit and even death. As the sun raises the stars from whatever possible tragedy or comedy they are background to, those who would set out to accomplish their silent deeds are for a moment revealed to one another. Who is friend? Who is foe?

First, it was I who saw the coyote. He trotted seemingly secure under his cloak of diamonds and hush. Then he caught notice of me. He did not figure me for friend nor figure me at all really. He wasted no time in disappearing because all to a coyote in the city of Milwaukee are safely assumed to be unfriendly. If he only knew how afraid I was of him. He may have seized the opportunity to press on me just to watch me cower for a bit. A fun story of Dawn to tell the wife and little ones.

pierIt seemed for the smaller part of a second that the world split in two. It seemed that for the shortest and all together longest period of time you had a choice of whether to believe you were standing on your feet or your head as the sun began to mix it’s colors for the morning masterpiece, the Lake explaining what went where or was it the other way around?

fish2The little silver fish were not flickering in delight as I did truly wish they were. Playing with the pale light on their sides as only a swimming mirror is meant to. No, they swam the slow circles of death. Closer and closer to the surface until the circling becomes floating and the mirrors become tarnished. Some evil in The Lake will not abide them anymore. I hope that they can watch their final sunrise with their one sky bound glassy eye.

fish1The deer like me, may have spent too much time trying to decide if he wouldn’t just walk about the day as he did the night. Or maybe he felt that his call to the woods before tomorrow arrived was as optional as my forsaking the comfort of my bed. For he could remain in Dawn as easily as he could leave it. And why shouldn’t he? It is a bit unorthodox for a deer to stroll through Milwaukee in daylight, but it is the Upper East Side after all. He would be as likely pet by a small child as anything else.

birdsI believe as I watched the sea of birds I could watch one split into two and two into four. My eyes rapidly trying to count, figure and organize this city on wings would only find birds where there were none and countless where there were any. A great jealousy filled me as I watched them soar about what is by now surely a somewhat mundane morning breakfast. I think of my own breakfast. My uninspiring trip from the bed to the fridge to some chair-shaped object or even possibly back to my bed again. What I would give to soar above the house in the washed out light waiting for my moment to swoop down through the window and into the cereal cupboard.

deerAs for most who whisper about the dark though, it is the other who is up to no good. It was me who would catch the deer and bestow some cruel punishment as soon as I had the chance. It probably has something to do with the biology of an eyeball sensing movement, but it does seem that a deer will first defer to you before making his next move. “You seem to be standing still. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you will continue to stand still indefinitely, but if you so much as twitch, I am going to haul tail out of here faster than you can possibly imagine.”

I did share a moment with this fellow traveler as might two passing in the customs’ line. He is leaving, and I am coming. He knows the now quickly rising sun will only cause more of these uncomfortable situations to occur. Staring down people all day would make getting anything done impossible. And what is there for a deer to do in Milwaukee anyway? In a split second he took two great leaps and then floated over a chain link fence thrice his height pausing for a moment as if for me to regard his grace and consider it’s value compared to our brilliant but quite clunky frames. For all of our paintings, airplanes and libraries we can not sail our bodies through the air without the slightest hint of doubt.

polesI did fancy myself a deer as I glided home on my bike, peddling through the warm crabapple blossom currents. I am faced again with the decision of whether or not heed the call of my bed. I will, of course, sooner or later, but I savor the choice for the time being. What I have decided is that I will remember the coyote’s meek silhouette, the fishes’ glittering facets, the birds’ casual loveliness, the deer’s graceful leap and the sunrise’s modest blessing for as long as I can. And hopefully when the strange light of Dawn calls me to the window and seduces me away from my bed, we will meet again and be for a moment less a stranger to one another.

April 22nd, 2007

Happy Earth Day from Oil Corp Inc.

Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

The telephone I had growing up had the big dial on it. It came in one non-customizable color (beige) and only had one ring tone. Our computer was even worse… wait… what computer? Technological advances in the last 25 years have been incredible. So what the hell is the problem with gas mileage?

The current manifestation of any given technology hardly resembles it’s not-so-distant relative. And this is just for things we all see day to day. The advances of things like weapons, satellites and home coffee brewing machines are beyond our wildest dreams. Gas mileage, you would think, being nothing more than another automobile technology, would have advanced right along side it’s more stylish peers like in-car entertainment, climate control, fuel injection and brakes. Our cars glow in their nethers and even hubcaps are moving in a whole separate plane now. The only technology besides gas mileage that seems to be left behind is cup holders. They really are never in the right spot.

Let’s compare Honda Civic you would have drove off the lot in 1973 and one you would drive home today.

1973 Civic:

Not much in terms of amenities actually, and probably not too comfortable either. Radio sucked I’m sure. Heat? Maybe. But it got 40+ MPG!

2007 Civic:

(Straight from Honda’s website) With cutting-edge looks and the latest Honda technology, the Civic will get you there with style. A two-tiered instrument panel and available XM Satellite Radio with Navigation System make driving a true pleasure. And its i-VETC 16 valve, 1.8 liter engine with Drive-by-Wire throttle system will make sure you arrive early.

So they’ve been pretty busy in the last 34 years. Got a whole other tier on the ‘ol instrument panel. Thank God. I don’t even know what a Drive-by-Wire Throttle system is, but I’m sure it’s complicated. Sounds like a bonafide space ship that would make George Jetson proud compared to the ’73. What does it get for mileage though? Oh, 35 overall miles per gallon.

MPGIs there any, and I mean any technology that has gone backwards in the last 34 years? I’m not talking retro, I’m talking just plain worse. Now, maybe the car is safer and handles better and is more powerful and all of these things require going backwards in fuel efficiency, but I don’t think so, because you see, everyone including Honda is trying so hard to make vehicles that have even better mileage than a ‘73 Civic. They are working on it. They are working hard. They are figuring out the problem.

They’ve created a car that has two different power sources and can switch between them and use one to charge the other and has a digital display that shows you live what’s happening inside your technological wonder car. Wow, that sounds even more amazing than a two-tiered instrument panel. So, 34 years later they have used all the amazing advances in technology and applied them to the fuel economy of a car. What did they get with the 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid? 48 MPG. That’s about seven, possibly eight miles better than the ’73.

Cars can see you coming and unlock after “sensing” your digital fingerprint, hot-sync to your phone as you get in the car, automatically adjust your seat, dictate directions on how to get to the McDonalds drive through, shift automatically while pretending to let you shift, entertain everyone in the car with as many DVD players/Xboxs, break for you if you aren’t paying attention, beep at you if you didn’t check your blind spot and parallel park for you because you obviously know how to spend money better than you know how to drive, but they can barely get you better mileage than a car that was basically a cardboard box strapped on to a motorcycle. What has really been the focus for the last three decades?

It’s sad to ask that question because I know the answer. The focus is on useless junk that makes us feel important. This can be seen by looking at the home page for the new Civic. Even today when gas prices are a “big deal,” there is no mention of the car’s economy on the main page, but at the very top, in bold are the words: “Ready for a little attention?” Attention to the world and it’s environmental issues? Attention to our country and it’s political issues? Oh, attention to yourself and your instrument panels. Yeah, that. Nice.

I joke but it’s not even that funny. All of these cars need oil to run. Even the amazing hybrids need just about as much oil as my wife’s 16 year old Honda (clocking in at 40 MPG regularly.) This oil has to come from somewhere because you don’t have it, and I know I don’t have it. Maybe you don’t care about polar bears and wildlife refuges, but would you destroy an ecosystem if you didn’t even have to? Maybe you’re afraid of terrorists and want the troops to get ‘em before they get you, but would you even consider having someone die for your oil if there was even a remote chance that’s what is really happening?

What if things could be better but someone isn’t letting them get better. Here’s a page out of our recent gasoline history:

A year after the National Academy of Sciences reported that leaded gasoline is the largest single source of atmospheric lead, the Reagan Administration’s Task Force on Regulatory Relief (chaired by Vice President George H. W. Bush) proposed abandoning the planned phase-out of leaded gas.

But then, the EPA Administrator Ann Gorsuch admitted to a gas refiner that the agency would not enforce lead limits. The resulting bad publicity prompted the Bush Task Force to abandon its proposal, causing an unplanned speedup of the phase-out.

Exposure to lead negatively affects children’s cognitive development and behavioral skills. Between 1976 and 1980, as the amount of lead in gasoline dropped 50 percent, blood-lead levels in children dropped 37 percent. The decline continued. (http://zfacts.com/p/35.html)

So, not too long ago the gas we were burning was not just poisoning the world but actually poisoning children’s minds and the Vice President of those children’s country didn’t want to stop it. Why not? What’s in it for him to poison children? Oh yeah, truckloads of money. He was an oil company millionaire when he opposed the lead gas phase out.

There are powerful people that stand in the way of technology doing what it does best, namely: get better and better. Powerful people that are willing to do what they do best at any cost, namely: make money. Luckily, there are alternative ways to “get attention” in your car while still paying attention to what actually needs attention. We need to expect as much advancement out of fuel economy that we expect out of each successive generation of iPod. Fifty-something miles per gallon is not alternative living. Getting a car that has more to do with what’s outside rather than inside is alternative living.

In part two of this post, I will bring you one such alternative. You are what you eat and now you can drive what you eat. (No, Marty McFly, it is not Mr. Fusion. But you can still wear the raincoat and sunglasses.)

March 14th, 2007


Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

NatThe world is not perfect. That’s for sure. Thankfully, there are computer programs that can show us what the world would be like if it was.

Apparently, if I lived in a perfect world, I would look a little bit like a gnome.

I think I prefer our imperfect world with it’s large chins and large but not insanely large ears. That is unless we were all issued really tall pointy red hats. Then maybe.

February 20th, 2007

Trial by Fire

Posted by natdavauer in Baby

Orion Cupid Davauer was born on February 9th. He lived for two hours and fourteen minutes. He lived his entire life in his parents’ loving arms. We all live longer lives complex with love, fear and sorrow. In the end trying to tip the scales in favor of love. I believe as we get older, we think back more and more to the time when our parents held us and all we knew was love. If only our whole lives could be so simple one might wish. If nothing else, Orion’s life was that pure and simple. He was held and loved every waking second of it.

As I drove away from the hospital I glanced in the rear view mirror and stopped. I pulled the car over for a minute just to figure out what I was looking at. There were eyes staring back at me that I had never seen before. They seemed old and deep with sorrow, but there was a strength in them.

What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.

This couldn’t have felt more true at that moment. There is a pain in life that you might think can strike you dead. As it turns out, we are capable of more than we think. You’ve heard of the person lifting a car when someone’s life is in danger? We all have this. There is a fortitude in us that is only available when we are most desperate for it. It waits just beneath the surface betraying our confidence, then when we finally succumb to self doubt and fear, we find ourselves still alive.

Our sadness had little time to breathe as we went straight from the hospital to one of our very best friend’s funeral. Rachel was white as a ghost due to lack of blood. She doesn’t have a lot to spare. She isn’t even allowed to donate blood due to her meager resources. But we needed as much as anything else in the world to be at this funeral for some reason. We needed to be in a place where death and despair were matter-of-course.

Sunday we sat by a hot fire preparing to embark down the road to recovery. We watched in horror as the smoke coming out of the wall at my parents’ house turned to fire. Everyone’s quick thinking and possibly the fact I was not wearing shoes left an outcome where everyone was safe except for the soldiers at Fort Union. You would think after having emotionally lifted our car, we would be incapable of being in a burning house. It turns out though, that this was our trial by fire. If we made it through this, we would make it through anything.

And we have. It seems we have been through an earthquake of suffering this year. Our baby was supposed to be the only thing that shone above it all. We have lived such a wonderful life recently either it’s time to pay the piper or we may have been cursed while traveling. We came across many people that looked like they could cast a pretty mean curse but I can’t remember doing anything to deserve it.

Within the last year: Three of my family’s horses died, two of my family’s dogs died, my cat died, my mom came very close to dying, my brother could have as well, two friends were diagnosed with cancer, my friend died and my son died.

This sounds like a curse, but I believe it is the nature of life on Earth. If I was to make a list of all the good things that have happened to me in recent years, it would be infinitely longer than that.

Orion CupidAfter the fire, my eyes had cried out all of their tears and were filled with nothing but soot and smoke. However, they could still see my wife. They could still see my family. The could still see my friend even as he burst through the door to rescue us. They could still see themselves and their own strength in the mirror. And they can see a near future where this is all a memory.

In the short time he was here, Orion gave Rachel and I a parting gift: A bond that goes deeper than what I previously thought possible. Something about being together for those two hours and fourteen minutes with him and Rachel was deeply spiritual and life-altering. Seeing life and death so close together while trying to love and grieve is heartbreakingly affecting.

We will always remember to look up through the smoking rubble that can sometimes be our lives to the winter sky and thank Orion for all he was. We’ll look to him to remember that strength, to feel it… even for just a couple minutes.

January 30th, 2007


Posted by natdavauer in Baby

The management at Davauer.com would like to express its deepest regrets involving an error in an earlier posting. The board of directors has notified publishing that there are no hot flashes being experienced and that they are not an old lady or something. The writers would like to take this opportunity to explain that, while knowing there were no hot flashes, they could not pass up the weather system/ultrasound joke opportunity. They insist they are only doing their best to entertain the readers, but would also like to acknowledge they don’t think The Board is an old lady or something. Thank you for reading Davauer.com.

January 24th, 2007


Posted by natdavauer in Baby

You know you have the coolest baby around when they are on YouTube and they’re still five months away from being born. Hey, some parents start their kid’s trust fund early, some start their MySpace profile.

The video doesn’t seem to show much at first glance, but it turns out that ultrasound is a deep and complex world of baby information. I know, it’s pretty easy to tell it’s the smartest, most handsome and best dancing baby ever, but other thingsbabyfronts are less obvious. You can, for instance, tell the sex of The Bean from close inspection of the video. Shhh! Don’t tell us. We prefer not to know weather we are going to have to get our whining adolescent a pink iPhone or a blue iPhone until we absolutely have to know.

Now, I am no expert, indeed, I have only experienced one ultrasound in my life, but I’m pretty sure that the baby has it’s own weather system. This may be what responsible for the temperature changes of the mother. Hot flash? Or Cold front coming down over an area of low pressure?The Real Baby Bean

Baby BeanWhen you’re all done they give you a picture* - the first picture ever - of your baby to take home. The problem is that the first picture ever of your baby looks more like a picture of a hobbit demon or maybe a scene from Leprechaun. Honestly though, it is an intensely emotional experience to look into the eyes of the hobbit demon. To make it a little easier though, we had an FBI profiler do an artist’s conceptual drawing of what The Bean might really look like in there… listening to his mother laugh all day… sitting under his own weather pattern…

To Bean: Nice stash, I like your style dude.

*They also give the mother a towel to wipe off the enormous amount of what looks like snot that they smeared all over her belly.

January 19th, 2007

Gallery Night

Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

PortraitFor anyone in the Milwaukee neighborhood who’s interested, I’ll have work hanging in a show that opens today, Gallery Night.

I am part of “Wisconsin Portrait Artists” that will be up on the ground level of the Reuss Federal Plaza, 310 W Wisconsin Ave in downtown Milwaukee, from January 12th to February 16th.

Oh, and I’m sure the building has a max. capacity in the hundreds so you might have to wait in line for a while.


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