Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cara's Arrival

As I write this, it is 3 weeks and 3 days after the birth of my daughter, Cara. She was born on August 11, 2010, 8 lbs 9 oz and 22 inches long at 6:45 in the morning.

It wasn't an easy delivery. In addition to all of the usual monitoring devices and the epidural, Debby had to endure an IV of mercury flowing into her, being restricted from drinking water, and at one point even wearing an oxygen mask. I was standing beside her in the hospital room the entire time, helping as best I could. After 3 hours of pushing with the contractions (we had been told the normal max was around 2 hours), Cara had dropped far enough for the doctor to deliver with forceps.

With the final push, the doctor cut the cord and had the nurses whisk the baby away (I had been going to cut the cord, but due to the fact that Cara had already had a bowel movement inside Debby, they needed to clean her off as soon as possible. They still had me cut a piece of the cord later, I guess as a ceremonial gesture) and soon after, as the doctor continued his work to stitch up Debby from her new injuries, they called me over to where they had cleaned and measured the baby and started asking me questions, none of which I remember at this point. I was too busy staring at my new daughter. They had me put on her first diaper in my dumbfounded state, very clumsily and with much assistance. I couldn't resist taking out my blackberry and taking a video of Cara, which I then brought to the new Mommy as soon as I could. I felt it was unfair that it took so long for Debby to see Cara up close, but eventually the doctor finished, and they swaddled up Cara and put her in Debby's arms. Happiness.

I was completely exhausted after, so I can only imagine what Debby felt like. The delivery left her with injuries that she is still recovering from, and will be for some time. She was simply amazing in that delivery room, and fought as hard as I've ever seen anyone fight in my life to deliver the baby and avoid a C-section.

The weeks that followed have been sort of a blur, a period of getting used to feeding the baby every 3 hours (even the middle of the night, of course) and changing diapers (you start to get good at it after the first 30 or 40 or so). Cara has already been to Debby's school, our favorite pancake restaurant (4 or 5 times!), the new Target that opened a few blocks from us, , a Chinese restaurant, and her first gaming store, Chicagoland Games (sure, she slept through most of these trips, but hey...) Cara Jade is healthy, eating and sleeping well, and we couldn't be more happy.

Incidentally, my position on abortion rights has never been stronger at this point; I'm more pro-choice than ever. The idea that anyone would want the government to force a woman that doesn't want to have a baby to go through what Debby went through over the last 9 months, and force her to face having the same injuries or worse is monstrous. The decision to go through that must be the woman's alone, and some would have the government force underage girls, and women with no way to support a child, and women that had been raped...

No. For anyone that wants to live in a country that abuses their women that badly, I hear Saudi Arabia is a lovely spot for it. Not in the United States of America, as long as I have anything to say about it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Due Date

Today was Cara Jade's due date, but as we head to bed tonight, we still have no Cara. One of my friends joked that she was being like her old man and being "fashionably late". I think she's just showing signs of being a future gamer and is keeping us guessing.

Since I posted here last, my hard drive crashed, along with the motherboard which both had to be replaced, then the information and programs restored. My own personal disaster, which pales in comparison to the actual disaster brought to us by BP and their offshore oil drilling, which began with an exploding rig and led to a flood of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. Supposedly, it's now currently (mostly) plugged.

For Debby, this time has been especially challenging and she's had to endure quite a few painful and/or debilitating physical problems, as well as a few emotional roller coaster rides. We both wait anxiously now for the big day. I know Cara will make her appearance when she is good and ready, but I hope it is soon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's (going to be) a...! We just got back from the OB/GYN where Debby and I went for her ultrasound exam, which is where of course I finally got to find out if I am going to be a mother or a father.

Wait, that's not right. Actually, we found out the sex of our child, and can now proudly report that around August 1st we will be welcoming into the world Miss Cara Jade Prouty Daniels.

I must admit, we were both hoping it would be a girl (here's a clue: Debby's email name has been 'caraprouty' for the last 10 years), which is one of the reasons I was almost certain it would be a boy. Now comes the fun part: Since we know it's going to be a girl, we can head out to the stores that we're going to register at and pick out a lot of little-girl-themed gifts for the list.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fantasy Baseball? Wait Till Next Year...

I've made the decision not to play in a fantasy baseball league this year. I didn't reach this decision lightly; baseball is the only sport I follow and the fantasy league is a joy for me, mixing strategic gaming with the national pastime. Unfortunately, I've found that the amount of fun of playing FB is directly related to how much time you put into it. Preparing for the draft properly takes time, as does setting your daily lineup and pitching rotation. Not to mention following the real-life pitching match-ups, lineup changes, injuries, trades, rookie call-ups, and so on. If you don't put in the time, you don't get back the payouts, and it also lets the rest of the league down if you're not being competitive.

Why don't I think I'll have enough time this summer to do it justice? Well, for one thing, I've been given a chance to get involved in a Shadowrun campaign (running it, in fact) for the first time in around 15 years. In addition, I've been trying to increase the amount I write, and I sometimes remember that I'm a musician, as well. Also, there's this little matter of becoming a father in a few months...

Speaking of which, we are going to find out if we're having a son or a daughter next Monday. I wrote earlier that the initials are going to be "C.J." regardless; that's because we've decided that if it is a daughter, her name will be "Cara Jade", and if it is a son, his name will be "Colin James".

See you in a week with the answer.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Political Beliefs vs. Lies

Before I begin discussing the latest in politics here, I want to make something clear from the start: I don't give a shit what your political beliefs are.

By that, I mean it doesn't matter. Whatever your ideology is, if you want to discuss and debate, I'm ready to have at it. Many of my friends are in very different places on the political spectrum from me, and I've enjoyed many a debate with someone that has an opposite opinion but knows his or her stuff. For instance, you might believe that America is best served by leaving health insurance to be provided by private companies only, rather than by the federal or state governments. I might counter by pointing out the great success other countries have had in providing their people health coverage, and you might counter me by saying that society in the U.S. is different from those others and might not be able to handle their system, and so on. Both sides are presenting a legitimate political opinion, based in reality, ready to back it up with facts, and I'm fine with that.

What I have NO patience for is falsehood. During the presidential campaign of 2008, from the primaries on, I did volunteer work for Barack Obama. I did data entry, made phone calls and donations, and wrote letters to newspapers. At times, there was good political discussion and debate involved. Unfortunately, all too often the bulk of the work was simply to tell the truth in the face of the continuous waves of lies being spread. I can't tell you how many times I had to explain that Senator Obama was a Christian, not a Muslim; that he was born in Hawaii, and having lived in the state where he had served as a State Senator for 8 years, I could safely say that he wasn't a Socialist. Again and again and again.

So today, I don't waste my time with people that vomit lies like a Freshman at his first keg party. To paraphrase Mike Singletary, I can not not play with 'em. Can not debate with 'em. Can not win with 'em. Can't do it.

Whether the person is spreading a lie intentionally with malice, or through sheer ignorance repeating what he's heard without checking the facts or judging the source, the fact is that life's too short to waste on people that don't value the truth. An honest difference in political opinion is often engaging and even fun for me to debate, but I'd rather not even talk to someone that claims that Neil Armstrong never set foot on the moon, or that President Bush schemed and ordered the 9/11 acts of terrorism, or that President Obama was born in Timbuktu.

In other words, I could probably have a decent discussion with, say, a George Will. I wouldn't even bother trying with a Sarah Palin.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Avatars, Shadowrun, and the Matrix

I went to see Avatar recently with Debby and some friends. When it was done, I had an itch to play Shadowrun again. It's an RPG I haven't played since around my college days, that mixes futuristic technology with elements of fantasy like demihumans and magic.

I thought at first that it was the technology shown in the movie that made me want to pull out that RPG again, like the dual-rotor helicopters, one of the many things that look great in that movie. But as I thought more on it, I realized that one of the main concepts of Avatar, that someone can plug their brain into a machine and remotely control another entity that represents them, was triggering my memory of one of the elements of Shadowrun: the Matrix.

The Matrix in Shadowrun is a world-wide network far more advanced than the internet, where users are represented as icons in a virtual reality. Those that are especially good at it can have implants put into their heads to allow them to hook up their brains directly to the Matrix, and hack their way into places that they aren't supposed to be by fighting icons representing security programs. It should be mentioned that this game came out with "the Matrix" in 1989, well before the movie of the same name that shared some of the concepts. Really though, hasn't this concept been around since the days of Tron?

I've been talking to folks about getting a regular Shadowrun game online going. I've had ideas for a campaign based in a future Chicago for quite some time, but haven't had a chance to do much with them - the problem has always been finding a time when I and my fellow gamers are free on a regular basis. A lot of us have games on the schedule already, so it can be tricky.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year, New Blog

Captain's Log, Stardate 219,710,852.93...

No, I don't think so. That's been used WAY too much already.

Besides, it's too formal. This isn't going to be any kind of formal journal, to be updated on a regular schedule, and it's not going to be focused on any topic in particular. In fact, it wouldn't be here at all if I hadn't seen that my friend Andrew had started a blog of his own to talk about his insights on writing at which got me thinking about it. I'd like to do some fiction writing myself, but I suspect that on here there are some topics I'll post on more than others:

As a political junkie, I know I'll be putting down what I'm seeing happening in politics from time to time, and as an old-school gamer, I'm sure there will be posts of games I'm playing, new ones coming out, old ones revisited, and so on (The "Dungeon" part of the title of this blog comes from the Dungeons and Dragons definition of a dungeon: a place that can be dangerous, but is often also filled with treasure. Sorry to disappoint any S&M fans).

Mainly, though, I just wanted a place to put my thoughts down about events going on in my life for anyone that's interested. I have friends and family members that seem to be able to write long letters or emails on a daily basis. Now, I'm not much for writing letters or emails to begin, and I'm also not too keen on phones, so for those folks that like to "keep in touch", this site will let be a good place to let them know what's going on without me getting overwhelmed/frustrated trying to respond to calls/letters/emails. I'm just not a "chatty" enough guy, I suppose.

I should probably start with the recent big news: We found out that Debby is pregnant, with the birth date expected to be around August 1st. It will be the first child for either of us, and I've had some friends ask me if I'm scared shitless yet, but that doesn't really describe how I felt after I found out. I was happy of course, both of us wanted this to happen, but what really surprised me was how quickly my mindset started to change. It seemed that almost immediately I was thinking of plans for the future, things I wanted to do and choices that would have to be made over the coming months and years. Even as I write this, I'm wondering if the child will some day read it, and what he or she will make of it.

Debby and I have thought of names already, and perhaps I will tell them in later posts, but for now I can say that whether it is a boy or a girl, we will be able to call him or her "C.J." for short. I do like ending a post with a tease... happy guessing!