On Death

I think about death a lot. And not the good kind like “Metal” or “of the Endless”, either. No, I think a lot about my own demise. Not necessarily about how it’s going to happen (because I already know it’ll be in my sleep, while I’m on top of a pile of money I didn’t have to work for… or spontaneous human combustion), but more what is going to happen at that moment. And it isn’t that I worry about not knowing what will happen or what it’s going to feel like… it’s more that I have a pretty good idea of what will happen when I die, and it kind of scares the shit out of me.

This is what I think happens when people die: You know that very brief moment between when you fall asleep at night and when you wake up the next morning? That split second that sleep seems to take when you have no dreams? That’s death. Only you never wake up, so that split second lasts forever.

And that thought absolutely fucking terrifies me.

I think it’s the fact that the nothingness will never end that scares me. If I knew that something came afterwards… after the moment where life ends and death begins… maybe I wouldn’t pee a little bit every time the notion of eternal sleep pops into my head. And as much as I’d like to believe that there is a heaven or some other place where you go where you can be reunited with all of the loved ones that already passed away (including pets, like my first and second hamsters, both of whom were named Muffin), I just can’t bring myself to think it’s going to happen. It’s such a nice thought, but I am far too cynical to believe that the universe functions in such a way, so as to bring about a perfect outcome when all is said and done. Life is far too messy for everything to work out in the end. Why should death be any different?

Do you know what would be great? Reincarnation. It would take an absolutely terrifying thing like death and turn it into a more nerve-racking experience… like the first day at a new school. But instead of wondering what your classmates will be like or whether your teachers will be any good or whether the pretty girl sitting in the front row will ever acknowledge your existence, you’d wonder about what you are going to come back as. Another human being born in a different part of the world? Or maybe a blood-sucking leech? Either way, it would be interesting to see the world from the prospective of a different creature. And you wouldn’t… you know… completely cease to exist.

Or what about being a ghost? Maybe after I die I can come back as a spectre. I wouldn’t haunt anyone or be cause for alarm. I just want to hang out on Earth and look at stuff. The world is full of things to see, and new things are being made all the time, so it’s not like there’s a risk that I’d get bored and start messing with the living (by, like, hiding their shoes and whatnot). It’d be cool to be able to communicate with other ghosts, but hey, if I just have to bomb around the planet, being invisible and not able to talk to anyone else, that’s okay. I can live with that. Or rather, I can be dead with that. Transitioning from being alive to being ghost doesn’t seem scary to me.

I know that some people will think, look, dummy… you don’t need to worry about death because once it happens you’re not going to care. It’s hard to care about something when you’re brain no longer functions. My response is twofold: First, shut up. And second, while it may be true that I won’t care about death once it happens, I know now that it’s going to happen, and I can’t just not know something I already know… you know? Other people may say that I should just not think about death. It can’t scare me if I put it out of my mind. Well, to that I say, please refer to my first response to the last suggestion.

Here’s another idea. How about instead of dying, we all just live forever? Poppycock, you say? It’s impossible, you say? Well, you know what? If God can create us, then He sure as hell can give us eternal life. Or, if He can’t (because He’s too busy with other important matters, like creating new super viruses that will one day wipe us all out) I’m sure science will find a way to let us live forever. I’ve heard people say that they wouldn’t want to be immortal, because eventually you would be tired of living. I call bullshit. Think of all the shit you could get done if you lived forever. Of course, you would accomplish dick-all if your body turned to mush, but I figure if science can make you live forever, then it can find a way to stop your body from completely falling apart. The moral of this is if you or someone you know is a wizard or deity or some other type of omnipotent being that can grant me everlasting life, please send them my way. Living forever sounds amazing to me.

So, to sum up: Death is nothingness. When it happens, you don’t exist anymore, even though your physical body is still there. This is a concept that scares the shit out of me, and I can’t figure out a way to stop thinking about it. I understand that death ultimately comes for us all, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I just wish it didn’t have to last forever.

Sorry this was such a bummer of a post. I wish I had something else to say so that I can end on a high note. Wait… I think I have…

Nope. I’ve got nothing.

DOWNER-BAMPF!

Now with a new fresh scent! (or Keeping up with the Lackies)

Hello there!  Welcome back to another exciting post on Chris Lackie – The Blog!

I’ve been away from this little corner of the internet for a while now, busy with the responsibilities of a parent with a young child, and a regular job that has required me to put in a lot of extra hours over the last while. But do not think I have forgotten about you!  I’ve actually been working on something that has turned out to be a fair bit larger than I had originally thought it would be, but that only means that when it’s ready (which will hopefully be soon-ish) it will be the greatest (or at least largest and newest) thing I have ever done! So keep your eyes open for that!

Speaking of things I am working on, I am also planning on doing another Funko Fight Club in the relatively near future (after the other thing I am working on is done) which will be functionally similar to the other versions, but with a twist (which isn’t much of a twist… it’ll just be… very slightly different)! To whet your appetite for that, I thought I would share a couple pictures of some of the Funko figures I have recently acquired.  First, let’s head to Sunnydale to see what’s going on near the Hellmouth!

From left to right: Oz, Willow, Buffy, Angel, Spike and The Gentleman (also featured - Silent Bob, because I am a terrible photographer)
From left to right: Oz, Willow,Buffy, Angel, Spike and The Gentleman (also featured – Silent Bob, because I am a terrible photographer)

It pleases me to no end that Buffy is holding a little tiny spike (not a euphemism), and that Spike has a scar on his eyebrow (just like the show!).  I think the people at Funko did a great job with these figures, but how does the first release (I assume there will be more) not include Xander? It’s like doing a line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures and not including Donatello.  Xander is part of the Scoobies and he should have been included in the initial release.  I assume the lack of Xander figure will be rectified in the near future.

Now let’s move away from the Hellmouth and head to the literal hell on Earth that is Arkham Asylum!

There's nothing Batman likes better than being surrounded by his friends.
There’s nothing Batman likes better than being surrounded by his friends.

Of all the different versions I have, these may be my favourite renderings of Joker, Harley Quinn and Batman. Joker’s outfit and face are incredibly detailed (it’s hard to see, but Joker’s got a bunch of wrinkles on his forehead, and if you’ve played the Arkham Asylum games you would know why), Harley’s costume looks plain awesome.  They’ve even found a way to make Batman look like he’s wearing armour, which is consistent with the games. Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate the Poison Ivy and Killer Croc figures that are part of this line, but hopefully I’ll get my hands on them relatively soon.

Okay, lets change direction now and take a look at what is happening in my life.  First, Sarah has decided that the main floor of our house needs a new coat of paint.  Here is what our front hallway and foyer look like now.

It's blue now!
It’s blue now!

Beautiful, no?  My wife has excellent taste (which I guess means I also have excellent taste because I chose to marry her).

And did you guys know that Sarah and I have our own podcast called Our Kid is Asleep? You can download any or all of our episodes from iTunes (just search for Our Kid is Asleep!), or you can listen to the latest episode here:

Our Kid is Asleep! 6 – Keanu Reeves is the Greatest Actor of Our Generation

In this episode, we talk about the amazing acting of Keanu Reeves, John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, as well as a bunch of other cool stuff, like telemarketing and furnace repair!

Moving on, earlier I mentioned my parental responsibilities.  Well, I feel I would be failing in those responsibilities if I did not share that our little baby boy is now one year old! This kid is practically a giant.  Take a look at how big he is now.

IMG_4972
He’s the one on the left.

Super adorable, right? I guess that means that I am also super adorable since, you know, I helped make him.

So that’s it for now. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Hopefully you’ll be hearing from me again soon, but this time with something so huge it will blow your socks off!*

*Sock blowing not guaranteed.

BAMPF!

Dear Baby: You Need To Sleep Now

Hello friends,

As you know, I am the father of a beautiful baby boy. Being a parent is wonderful, incredible, fun, exciting, fulfilling and rewarding experience.

Except for those times when it isn’t.

Believe me, the tough times are relatively few and far between, but when things go south they go very, very south.

Recently my son decided that sleep was for the weak, and that he wasn’t going to go for something so typical and average. So instead he decided to stay awake, and keep his dear old dad up for company.

He was up for hours.

I wondered to myself, why won’t my baby go to sleep? He’s tired… it’s dark… what’s the problem? Of course, my son couldn’t answer me except to say: “uhhhhhhhhh!”

Why would an exhausted human being (even a little one) do everything in his power to stay awake? He was kicking his legs, stretching his head back, twisting his body around in a hundred different ways. Why? What does he think he’s going to miss?

So once I decided to give up trying to put him back down to sleep (guess 5 AM is as good a time as any to start the day), I went online to figure out why exactly my exhausted kid wouldn’t go back to bed (because if the internet can’t solve a problem, no one can).

I Googled the phrase “I’m exhausted my kid won’t sleep why is this happening to me SRSLY WTF!?!?!?” As expected, this turned out to be a very common Google search term with many results. I clicked on one of the first links which led to a website called Mummyology, with an article called “10 Reasons Why Babies Don’t Sleep”. Perfect! If I can figure out the root cause of the problem, then finding the solution to that problem should be easy-peasy, right?

So here is the list from Mummyology, including my thoughts on whether this particular reason can explain why my special little guy can’t manage to fall asleep, as well as if I can use this information to help my kid fall asleep in the future.

1. He’s hungry – Nope. I offered him formula and he responded by spitting out the bottle and slapping my hands away. Doesn’t sound like the actions of a hungry baby.

2. He’s thirsty – Nope. See above.

3. He’s over-tired (over-stimulated) – Well, he was definitely over-tired. That happens when you’re already exhausted and you refuse to sleep. And over-stimulated? Well, if the small green light on the baby monitor counts as stimulation, I guess that could be a problem as well. It’s amazing when I think about it. Every time I try to get him to sleep, he always manages to find a small source of light to focus on. It could be the light from his baby monitor, the light that creeps into his room from downstairs, or even the light from the neighbour’s house across the street coming through his window. Either way, light somehow manages to help him stay awake. I may have to institute a neighbourhood-wide no light policy in the near future.

4. He needs movement – It never occurred to me, but I guess this explains why babies are more likely to fall asleep when they are being walked around or rocked. However, it is impossible to either walk my kid around or rock him if I am to sleep. So unfortunately, keeping baby mobile in the middle of the night is not an option.

5. He needs to suck – If this refers to my life force, mission accomplished. Just kidding, I know what this means (but seriously, my kid can completely drain the energy from me). Luckily, my son is willing to use a soother, but sometimes it doesn’t have the desired effect of helping him sleep. Instead, using a pacifier can lead to my son waking up if it falls out of his mouth. Either way, sucking wasn’t helping my kid (or me) the other night.

6. He’s learning a new skill – Is keeping me awake a skill?

7. He needs a change in routine – I get that. When your life consists of eating, playing, pooping and (occasionally) sleeping, things can get stale after a while. Well, I can assure you that nothing changes a routine like staying awake all night.

8. He wants to be close to me – Well that’s just adorable. At least it would be if his desire to be close to me didn’t extend into the wee hours of the morning. It can be pretty frustrating. When I hold him, he sleeps like… well… a baby. He can sleep like a rock in my arms, but the moment I put him down he wakes up. If he’s asleep, how does he know I’m not holding him anymore? He’s got some form of superbaby alertness superpower.

9. He’s teething – I think we have a winner here. My little boy already has two teeth popping out of his lower gum and has a couple others starting to show at the top. His cheeks are all red and he’s super drooly. If only there was a magical pill to make teething pain go away. Baby medicine can only do so much.

10. He’s in pain – Yup, having little pieces of bone poking through your gums will cause some pain. Raising a baby would be so much easier if they could tell you what’s bothering them. In this case, I know my kid is teething, so I know that’s where his pain is coming from. If he wasn’t teething however, I would have no idea what the problem is. I guess you just have to do your best in making your baby comfortable. Unfortunately, sometimes that means being awake at all hours of the night. Remember that episode of the Simpson’s where Homer’s brother (did you remember he had a brother?) invents that machine that can translate baby talk into English? Someone needs to get on making that a reality. Now.

Well, I don’t know how helpful this list is, but at least I know there are only 10 reasons why a baby may not be able to sleep (yup).

Having a baby that can’t sleep can be frustrating to say the least, but I guess it’s the price you pay to be a parent. And being a parent is the best job in the world…

…Except for maybe an ice cream taste tester for Ben and Jerry’s. I hear those guys get full health benefits.

What was I talking about again?

Oh yeah…

NO SLEEP BAMPF!!!

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night

Hello blog fans!  Welcome to the latest edition of Chris Lackie – The Blog!

So how about those Olympics?  Those Canadians did pretty well, eh?  In addition to all the ass kicking the individual competitors did, our teams dropped a Hulk Hogan-sized leg drop on all the other nations.  Both the men’s and women’s curling teams proved they are the best in the world at throwing rocks down a sheet of ice.  Our hockey teams also showed those Americans who’s the boss (and I’m not talking about Angela).  First the women came back from a 2-goal deficit with only 4 minutes left in the game to win in overtime, and then the men shut out their cross-border rivals 1-0 to move on to the gold medal game.  Then Canada played Sweden, and we all know how that turned out (Canada won! Can-a-da!  Can-a-da!)

All in all, I’d say we have a lot to be proud of.

Now on to business.

I made my very first post on this blog on February 20, 2013 and I’ve been posting on a pretty regular basis ever since.  That’s a whole year of giving you, my loyal reader, thrills, chills, and a plethora of examples of literary skillz (tip: replacing the s at the end of a word with a z makes it hip). 

Let’s just take a moment to reflect on all the awesome things I have written over the past year.

*moment*

Ahh.  Wasn’t that a great moment?  Wait, what?  What do you mean you don’t remember all of the excellent posts I’ve made?  I am offended, sirs (and madams).  Well, how about I refresh your clearly failing memory on some of my more… let us call them… creative posts?

I told you guys about that time I was abducted by aliens and then I ripped a hole in their spaceship with a gigantic fart.

Then there was that time that me and my Grandpa kicked some ninja fools in their stupid fool faces.

I used some of the skillz I learned fighting ninjas to deal with the militant feminists that kidnapped me behind a department store. (Two parts!)

There was also that time that I found myself in an underground push up competition in Antwerp, Belgium.

Most recently, I took on a nest of vampires in the most beautiful of places, Oshawa, Ontario. (Two parts!)

And of course, there was the wonder of Funko Fight Club.

Why am I taking you on this trip down memory lane?

Well, it saddens me to say that Chris Lackie – The Blog will be going on a short hiatus.  It’s time for me to take a little break and recharge the old brain battery.  With the addition of the little bundle of joy in my life, I find myself with less time to sit down and write.  I think it would be best to take a break and let some of the creative juices come out on their own, instead of trying to force things.

Writing this blog is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.  It pleases me to no end that over the past year people from 60 different countries have visited my little piece of the internet more than 3,000 times.  You will never know how grateful I am that you all take time out of your busy lives to read my words.

So there it is.  I know you’re sad.  Try not to cry. I will be back, bigger and better than ever (or more likely, about the same as ever).

TEMPORARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE BAMPF!!     

There’s something lurking in Oshawa

Welcome to this week’s edition of Chris Lackie – The Blog!

         So last week I mentioned that I kicked a vampire in the nards.  Now, I am fully aware that stories about kicking a vampire in his undead testicles are a dime a dozen, and are usually more boring than watching the paint dry on your medieval heater shield, but I assure that this story is… probably about the same as the rest.

         Last weekend, me and the family went to my mom’s house in Oshawa, Ontario for a visit.  Before going to bed one night, I decided to take a stroll down the incredibly clean and safe streets of the town that the locals lovingly refer to as the Dirty ‘Shwa.  Just as I passed the third adult video store on the same block, I came across a common sight in Oshawa:  A homeless gentleman, wearing a Burger King crown, drinking from a bottle of Aqua Velva aftershave.  As a guest of the ‘Shwa, I thought it would be polite if I started the conversation.

         “Hey, you gonna finish that?” I asked.

         “Give me your goat and I’ll trade you,” the homeless man offered.

         “I don’t have a goat, but I may have some magic beans somewhere,” I countered.

         “Just as well,” the homeless guy who smelled of musk and urine replied, “it’s too cold for a goat, anyway.”

         “It is cold.  You should be inside somewhere,” I suggested.

         “The shelters are terrible,” he explained. “They’re crowded, they’re messy, and they smell like piss.”  He paused for a moment to wipe away the frost that hung in the course yellow hair around his mouth. “And worst of all, they end up being all you can eat buffets.”

         “They have all you can eat buffets?  That sounds pretty sweet,” I offered.

         The homeless gentleman’s eyes narrowed as he spoke.  “No.  They are buffets.”  I must have looked at my new friend with a puzzled expression because he continued.  “They come out at night.  Just like in the story books and the movies.  They come out and they feast on people like me – people who have no family and no one who will care if they’re gone.”

          I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “What are you talking about?  Who is feasting?”

          “Vampires, my friend.  There are vampires in Oshawa.”

          Now, most of the home-challenged people I talk to are crazy, but at that moment I thought the person I was talking to was the nuttiest of them all.  “Are you on crazy pills?  There is no such thing as vampires.  Except of course for the ones that glitter in sunlight.”

          “Oh no?” said the homeless guy using a sarcastic tone that is usually reserved for people who don’t sleep under garbage bags on a regular basis. “Well, I guess that’s just a bunch of big kittens living in the cave down by the lake.”

          I couldn’t help but grin. “I know you’re being facetious, but thinking about a cave full of big kittens gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.”

          “I hear the vampires are getting more aggressive,” noted the man as he finished his bottle of after shave.

          “Oh really,” I responded, “did you hear that in an internet chat room for homeless people?”

          “There are rumours that they are looking for the chosen one,” the man continued, not acknowledging my very clever jest. “They seek the one true human child that will lead them to the glory that their prophecies have promised them.”

          “A human child?  Okay, let’s assume that you are correct and there are in fact vampires living in a cave here in Oshawa. How is a human child going to help them?”

          “They say that once the chosen one is turned into one of them he will lead them in the war against man.  It is said that no one will be able to stop him.”

          I sighed loudly.  “Right.  Anyway, it’s getting late.  I should probably head back.  The wife’s at home with the baby and I don’t want her to worry.  Have a good one.”

          As I turned to leave the homeless man exclaimed, “You know, they say the chosen one is an infant.  Maybe it’s yours.”

          I paused as a sudden sense of dread filled my chest.  What if it was all true?  What if my baby was the one the vampires were looking for?

          “Of course,” the homeless man continued, “the likelihood of it being your kid is pretty small.  In fact, the odds are astronomical.  I mean, how many infants are there around here?  A thousand?  Tens of thousands?  And that’s just in the immediate area.  Who knows how many babies have been born around the world, and who knows if the vampires are even looking in the right place?”

          It all made sense.  My son is the best baby that has ever been born in the history of the universe, so obviously the evil vampire clan that I know for a fact totally exists would want him as their savior.  I knew what had to be done. “I have to go,” I told the homeless gentleman.  “Enjoy your evening.”

          “Yeah sure,” he said.  “Say, can you spare some change?”

          “Absolutely not,” I replied as I walked away.

          My mission was clear.  I couldn’t let the vampires find my son.  I had to stop them.  Once and for all.

TO BE CONTINUED!

BAMPF!

A great-grandson meets his great-grandfather, a man reads some comic books, and then that same man buys some toys

Hello friends!  How are things?  Good?  That’s super, I’m glad I asked.  Is something different about me?  Did I cut my hair?  No, but it did grow some.  That’s probably what you noticed.

Things have been pretty good for me lately.  This past weekend my wife and I took our son to meet my side of the family.  The little guy got to meet a grandma, a grandpa, an aunt, two great aunts, a great uncle and his first cousin (I think… I don’t know how cousins work).  What did we all do, you ask?  Why, we watched Sharknado, of course.  Finally, a movie the whole family can enjoy.  And if that wasn’t cool enough, our baby boy got to meet his great grandpa.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen my son so happy.  He smiled the entire time his great grandfather held him and he even giggled a little bit.  The two of them looked adorable together.  Do you want to see a picture?  Of course you do.

grandpa

In addition to all the family fun, I got to do something that I haven’t been able to do as much since my wonderful son was born.  I am of course referring to reading a butt load of comics.  I managed to get through Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 9: volumes 3 and 4, as well as the Marvel event comic Avengers Vs. X-Men.

It’s been a while since I read the first two volumes of Buffy Season 9 (and even longer since I read Season 8), so I was happy to get back into the Buffyverse.  Season 9 is a little more grounded than the crazy, anything-can-happen Season 8 (in which Buffy and Angel have sex and literally create another universe… or something like that) and I think it makes for better comics.  In volume 3 (called Grounded), Buffy works as a personal security guard and fights a giant tentacle monster (which is pretty much all you need to know) and this is followed by a charming story of a young gay man who trains to became a male slayer (which, if you know the history of the slayers, is something that doesn’t happen). In volume 4 (called Welcome to the Team), Buffy has to fight a slayer-turned-vampire (which is an awesome idea) and deal with a big bad who sucks energy from supernatural beings.  Also, one of the original scoobies goes rogue.  It’s a dark time.

Overall, these Buffy books are awesome.  Pure awesome.  If you liked the show you owe it to yourself to read these books.

As I mentioned, I finally got around to reading Avengers Vs. X-Men.  As far as so-called event comics go it was pretty good.  This limited series utilized numerous artists and writers over the entire 13-issue run.  Now normally that sort of thing would bug me a lot.  I hate when different artists work on the same story.  I always feel it breaks up the storytelling.  And having different writers work on the same story is a pain because everyone has their own style and sometimes the styles don’t work together.  All that said, I think all the art and the writing style work well enough together that if you weren’t paying attention, you may think that the same creative team worked on every issue.

If you like event comics you’ll probably like this one.  I liked it because (spoilers) it has not just one person with the power of the phoenix, but five of them!  If that doesn’t get you going, I don’t know what will.  Also, this book is way better than Age of Ultron, which was a waste of time to say the least.

In other news, I recently picked up some new Funko Pop Vinyl Figures.  First, I picked up this awesome Christian Bale Batman figure.

bale

If you’re keeping count, I now have 4 different Batman Funko figures.  It’s a real crisis of the infinite Batmen in my house.

And in what may be the greatest purchase I have ever made, I finally picked up New Jersey’s most popular drug dealers.

jaybob

It’s Jay and Silent Bob!  Snootch to the nooch, am I right?

With these new characters the next Funko Fight Club is shaping up to be a doozy.  It’s going to be awesome.  Whenever it ends up happening.

So that pretty much sums up what’s going on in my life right now.

Oh I almost forgot.  While visiting my family I went for a walk and kicked a vampire in the nards.  But more on that later.

BAMPF!

2013: A Year in Review

Hey Folks!  Another year is in the books.  Was it as great for you as it was for me?  Probably not.  My life is pretty awesome.  How awesome, you ask?  Well, the good people at Facebook have summarized the highlights of my life over the past year (I assume they only do this for their favourite account holders).  Let’s ring in the new year by reminiscing about the 365 days that made up 2013. 

While I had many great posts on Facebook , apparently my year didn’t start until March.

March 9, 2013

I read A Storm of Swords for almost 6 straight hours today and I’m still not done.

Update: I’m still not done.

May 13, 2013

2013 Ottawa Comiccon – 3 Days of Fun!

It sure was.  Hopefully I’ll get to do it again this year!

June 1, 2013

I am so full of shrimp…

Need I say more?

July 14, 2013

Anyone in Ottawa looking to acquire a sega genesis?  My neighbour is selling one.  There are also a bunch of games (including Shaq Fu) for sale.

Locating a buyer for this amazing find was my good deed for the year.  Sometimes it’s nice to do things for other people.

August 10, 2013

A Fresh Prince of Bel-Air marathon?  Yes please!

That was a great day.  It’s too bad that James Avery passed away recently.  Fun Fact: James Avery was the voice of Shredder in the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.

August 13, 2013

In what has been a bit of a downer of a day, it was nice to feel my baby kick me.  

This post was in reference to the passing of my Grandmother.  Life just isn’t the same without her.

August 30, 2013

How did I spend my Friday night?  Why, I read 8 X-Men comics.  I’m super cool.

Fun fact:  I am, in fact, super cool.

September 8, 2013

Huck it, chuck it, FOOTBALL!!

Obviously.

November 23, 2013

Who has two (sore) thumbs and just beat Batman: Arkham Origins?  This guy!

Just to be clear, the reference to “this guy” is a reference to me.

So that was my year in review.  Oh, and I had a kid, too.  Whatever.  No big deal.

2013 BAMPF!

Giving Birth: A Male Perspective – Part 2: Even More Perspective

Hello Everyone!

In my last post I discussed the birth of my son.  In short, it took a long time and was really gross, but both my wife and I were happy with the end result.  Now I am going to discuss what happened when I officially became a parent.  Like last time, I will start off by saying that everyone who helped us at the hospital was great, and by no means should anything I say be taken as a slight against the hospital or its staff.

Once the little guy came out I was suddenly very aware of how many other people in the room.  There was me and my wife (obviously), the doctor who delivered our baby, another doctor watching our baby be delivered, two nurses (one encouraging Sarah to push, another… doing something I can’t remember), and four people from the critical care unit… or was it intensive care?  My memory is already failing me.  Anyway, when my son was born he was immediately carried over to the critical (or intensive) care people so they could suck the poop out of his mouth and nose before he took a big breath (that’s a thing, apparently).  While they cleaned him up, Sarah and I just looked at him.  I was already enthralled, and I’m sure my wife was too. That, and exhausted.  After a few moments they offered him to me.  I was incredibly nervous.  I walked around my wife and the doctors that were tending to her, and made my way over to him (careful not to look at what the doctors were doing… I know there are some things you can’t unsee).  As I held him for the first time, I was amazed by how alert he was.  His eyes were open and clear, and he seemed to be giving me the “shifty eyes”.  My first thought was that my son was evil, but then he peed on me, which made me realize he’s just a practical joker. 

I walked him back around the doctors who were tending to my wife (still careful not to look at what they were doing) and took extra care not to slip on any of the fluids that were all over the floor (yup… that’s a thing you have to worry about).  I held him for a few moments and then passed him over to his mom, which was awkward because she was still lying on her back.  Even so, she still managed to hold him for a few minutes. 

When they were done with Sarah and baby, we got a chance to relax by ourselves (with the exception of the nurse assigned to us) in the birthing room before heading to the “Mother-Baby Unit”.  After moving to the new unit, I realized we were spoiled in the birthing room.  The birthing room was private and I had a place to sleep.  No such luck in our new room.  The recovery room was semi-private and there was nowhere for yours truly to sleep.  For the first night, we shared the room with another couple with a newborn (who will forever have parents who don’t seem to get along and a father with a face tattoo… poor kid).  Luckily on the first night we had a nurse who didn’t mind bending the rules as I got to sleep on a gurney mat on the floor next to Sarah.  What amazed us was how quiet our son was.  Even with another baby in the room screaming (which was all the time), our guy barely made a peep.  It was actually a bit of a relief on the second night when our son woke up screaming.  It was nice to know that if he was hungry, he’d let us know.

What wasn’t nice was that on the second day our little bundle of joy wasn’t eating enough, which resulted in him having low blood sugar.  This meant the pediatrician and the nurses wanted him to stay in the hospital for another day.  This sucked because it meant we’d have to stay an extra day in the hospital, and, more importantly, I believed I had already failed as a parent.  How could I have done so poorly that my son already had a medical problem?  As it turned out the solution was as simple as supplementing his meals with formula, but for a moment I really thought I was the worst parent ever.  What I learned from this experience is that breast feeding doesn’t exactly come naturally to babies.  I mean, they know that they are hungry and they know that they need to suck to eat, but they don’t necessary know that they need to keep sucking in order to get food from their mom who isn’t producing a ton of milk (or as I also learned, milk-like substance… because women don’t automatically start producing what the average joe would consider milk).  In fact, there were two different “lactation consultants” who gave Sarah advice on how to feed our baby and how to produce more milk.  Who knew such a position existed?

Our stay was pretty uneventful after that. Our poor little guy had to undergo regular tests to check his blood sugar levels, but in the end he was fine.  I didn’t get the gurney mat the second night, so I tried to sleep in a chair.  When that failed, Sarah and I tried to share her bed, which was moderately more successful than the chair, but still terrible.  The next day I went home to grab a camping mat to sleep on the third night.  It wasn’t as good as the gurney mat, but way better than the chair. 

We were finally able to bring our son home on a Wednesday.  For those of you keeping track, we checked into the hospital on a Friday, which means we spent a total of 5 nights in the hospital.  It was a long time, but totally worth it.  I was thrilled to give our little guy a tour of his home.  He is a big fan of my Funko Pop Vinyl Figures.  I know this because it was the only part of the tour he didn’t sleep through.

So that’s how it all went down.  It was a long process (especially for my wife), but I don’t think we would change anything.  Except for the fact that our son likes to sleep during the day and be awake all night.  I really wish we could change that.

BABY-BAMPF!  

Time is Precious

I have spent a lot of my life living in the past.  Not so much lately mind you, but it still happens from time to time.  And in my younger days, it was pretty much my primary occupation.  I was always questioning every decision I made (even those made years in the past), and I was always wondering why things didn’t work out and how I could have made things better.  How I could have been better in those situations.  I’d like to think there is some benefit to reflecting on the past.  I think it’s important to remember your history; otherwise you may keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  But given how much time I have spent reflecting on yesteryear, I’ve probably just stopped myself from focusing on the future and moving forward.

On August 12th of this year, one day before her 80th birthday, my grandmother passed away.  It wasn’t a complete shock.  Grandma’s health had deteriorated in recent years, and she was completely wheelchair-bound for the last portion of her life.  It was sad to see someone who used to be so independent have to rely on others for pretty much everything.

A while ago, I wrote a little story about my grandfather’s recent birthday party. While the story is pretty much all fiction, I tried to make the silly parts with my Grandma capture how I saw her; as a charming, beautiful (and kind of funny) person.

One of my favourite things was playing cards with Grandma.  More specifically, I loved watching Grandma get mad at Grandpa for not playing cards properly.  Whenever my wife and I would visit my grandparents at their cottage, I would force them to play Euchre with us.  My Grandma was fairly competitive while my Grandpa is not, leading to lots of hilarious situations.  My Grandpa could care less about winning, so he would play cards seemingly at random, and every time, without fail, my Grandma would get mad at him for “not playing right”.  You may think it was mean to put two old married people in a situation where I knew they would get mad at each other (and you’d probably be right), but I could tell they were never seriously upset.  You could tell that after all those years they still had love in their hearts. 

The memorial service for my Grandma was short and sweet, and I think the reception afterwards would have met with her approval.  The service was led by a reverend from a local church, and he said something that made me rethink how I have lived most of my life up to this point. 

Time is precious. 

It’s something I have always known, but never fully appreciated until the moment the reverend said it.  I have spent a big chunk of my life thinking and worrying about things I cannot change, and in the end, the exact same thing will happen to me as happened to my Grandma.  I don’t want to leave this earth regretting things that happened years before, and I don’t want to regret wasting time thinking about things I can’t do anything about.  It’s unfortunate that it took the passing of my grandmother to make me see something that is probably obvious to most people, but better late than never I suppose.

It’s not going to happen overnight, and I’m not even sure how one goes about not thinking about things that happened a long time ago.  I mean, how do you intentionally not think about something?  Anyway, I’m sure the coming of my son will force me to think more about the present and future than ever before.  No pressure, kid.

In the meantime, I’m going to think about my Grandma and remember what a wonderful person she was and how much she still means to me.  I’ll always miss her, but I’ll take comfort in the fact that I got spend time with her for almost 30 years; each one a gift better than anything I could have asked for.

As disappointed as I am about my Grandma’s passing, I’m happy that I got to talk to her on her last day and tell her that my first child is going to be a boy (she wanted it to be a girl, but she forgave me).  And maybe even more importantly, I got to tell her that I love her.

I love you, Grandma.

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I Fought a Zoo

Remember that movie where Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson bought a zoo?  Well, my weekend was exactly like that, except instead of buying a zoo, I fought it.  And I won.

I should start at the beginning.  My sister recently turned 14 years old (yeah, there is a big gap in our ages), and to help her celebrate, my wife and I decided to take her to the Toronto Zoo.  It was good timing, because it was the first weekend that the newly acquired panda bears were on display.  I really wanted to see the pandas.  Not because I think they’re cute, but because I wanted to tell them how dumb they are to their stupid faces.  Seriously, those animals shouldn’t exist.  They are so stupid, they won’t mate in captivity and all they want to eat is bamboo.  Do you know how good bamboo is for them?  Well, the zoo supplements the pandas’ diet with dog food. What does that tell you?

Anyway, I really wanted to master the art of telling off animals before getting to the ridiculous overrated pandas, so I thought I would practice on all the other animals in the park. Enough with the monkeying around (hehe, I’m clever), here is how it all went down. 

The first animal I came across was a peacock.  If you’ve ever been to the Toronto Zoo, you know that peacocks wander around the entire park.  This particular peacock had some attitude, so I felt pretty good about putting him in his place.  Here’s the peacock before:

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Then, after I gave him good old-fashioned stare down, here was the peacock after:

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That’s right, you better run!

My first attempt at shaming an animal was successful, but it was just a peacock (hehe, pea-cock).  I was going to need to up my game to make sure I was ready to knock the pandas down a peg.

The next creatures we came across were the flamingos.  I knew how to handle these guys. 

“Hey Flamingos,” I said, “why don’t you guys act more like lawn ornaments?”

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The silly pink birds didn’t know what hit them.  They just stood there, pretending like they didn’t hear me.  That’s how I knew I got them good.  I’m sure I scarred those birds for life.

Next we came across the penguin exhibit, and I was all set to continue my training by giving them a piece of my mind.  I had already psyched myself up:  Stupid penguins, always swimming around, eating fish, and sliding adorably down ice slopes.  Stupid jerks.    

I was ready to give them the putdown to end all putdowns, but when I saw one of them I was suddenly filled with an emotion I had never felt before.  Pity maybe?  Empathy?  Hunger?  Either way, I felt bad for the little guy.  Stuck in that little paddock with only a little bit of water to swim in.  No ice slides to slide down adorably.  I didn’t have it in me to be mean.  I mean, look at him:

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The little guy didn’t even jump in the water.  He just looked at it, as if pining for something more.  I could relate.  There was this one time when I had a bowl of Doritos and all I really wanted was a bigger bowl of Doritos.  Life is hard, guys.  Life is hard.

After a few moments I shook off whatever I was feeling (I’m leaning towards hunger) and carried on.  I wasn’t going to let my interaction with the sad penguin get me down.  I had a mission and I was going to complete it.

We decided to move on from the birds to the animals without wings.  We went over to the Australia exhibit so that I could match wits with a wallaby.  For some reason the wallaby shares a space with a porcupine, which is weird.  I mean, why would you risk having any of your animals getting a face full of quills?  Anyway, I locked eyes with the wallaby (or maybe it was just a small kangaroo?) and I told him:  “Hey wallaby, maybe a dingo ate your baby!” 

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Hehe.  Got him.  Bet he’ll never look at humans the same way after I shamed him in front of his porcupine pal.  That guy’s a prickly customer (hehe, I’m awesome).

At this point I felt ready to take on the pandas, but I decided I wanted to see a couple of my favourite animals before taking them on.  We went over to the arctic exhibit to check out the arctic wolf and the polar bears.  Now, these are animals.  Check out this picture of the awesome arctic wolf.

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After locking eyes with the majestic beast, we went over to check out the polar bears.  This is what a bear should be.  Both of the polar bears made their way over to greet us. 

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After being in the presence of greatness, I could tell that the arctic animals supported my intention to knock the pandas from their high horses.  Arctic animals are survivors, and do everything they can to ensure the continued existence of themselves and their species as a whole.  Not like the stupid lazy jerk ass panda bears.  Those coddled jerks. 

I was ready.

I was ready to take on the overly fussed-over pandas.  We made our way over to the panda exhibit.  The Toronto Zoo has turned about a fifth of their property into the “Panda Experience” (which made me think of the Teriyaki Experience, which made me think maybe there was a chance I could eat one of these things) and they make you walk through a queue that seems like it’s a hundred miles long, only to have everyone bunch together at the end to look at the pandas.  The Toronto Zoo has two of these things, and to respect how they live in the wild, the pandas are not kept together.  The male panda is outside, and in order to see the female you have to line up in an additional queue.  We had no interest in lining up again, so we stuck with the male.  I figured the male would give the female my message the next time they saw each other, anyway.  After pushing through hundreds of people to get close enough to see the panda, I was ready to give it a piece of my mind, but what did I see?

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The stupid thing was hiding behind a rock, filling his stupid face hole with stupid bamboo (of course).  How was I supposed to let him have it if he wasn’t going to pay attention to me?

Then I figured it out.  He knew.  He had heard through the animal grapevine that I was coming, and instead of facing my wrath he decided to hide.  Like a coward.  It was even better than I had hoped. 

It was over.  And I was victorious. 

I accomplished what I had set out to do.  I had gone into enemy territory and taught those stupid jerk pandas a lesson that they will never forget.  No matter how cute they are, no matter how endangered they claim to be, they are still only animals.  And from this day forward, they will know that the most dangerous animal…

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…is man!

That’s not me, but this is what happens when you take a picture of yourself with my camera while I take a leak.

Oh, and did my sister enjoy her birthday? 

Um… I dunno.  Yes?

ZOO-BAMPF!