Category: Life

Reid Newton: 1 Week Old

Just over a week ago I announced that my wife and I were about to become parents.

Of course, it all worked out well in the end. Reid James Newton was born at 9:33pm last Friday. He suffered a little from bilateral pneumothorax, a condition where a pocket of air forms between the body wall and lungs. He was monitored over night, and again periodically throughout his stay at the hospital. We were home 3 nights later.

I’ve taken some time off work to get used to having a baby in the house. I’m trying to not worry about my work and I’ve managed to not check my work email since my wife and child came home from the hospital. That’s stressful in itself 😀 I don’t want anyone to break anything while I’m gone but at the same time I hate to think I’m holding anyone up.

Thinking that two weeks off work would be a sort of vacation was a mistake! Up to last week I had managed to read 5% of a book every day (the Kindle app shows percentages). I’m reading The Return of the King in preparation for the BluRay release at the end of June. It’s the 9th today (I think) so I should be at 45% completion. Nope, I’m 8% in. Reid is taking up a lot of time. When he’s awake, and he seems to be awake in the middle of the night, then I’m awake. When he’s sleeping I’m sleeping.

We’re learning. And I’m sure eventually things will be relatively back to normal.

Coming soon: Baby Newton

Woke up relatively early for an appointment at the local hospital this morning. My wife and I are expecting our first child. The due date is June 5th, less than a week away, but due to some potential complications we were scheduled to induce labour this morning.

It was a long day today. And uneventful so far. We’re back home for the evening, waiting on “true labour” to set in.

After the baby monitoring this morning, and then the induced labour (contact hormones), followed by 30 minutes of walking up and down the maternity hallway, we were allowed to go home. Our doctor, the one we got to know over the last 3/4 of a year, said she’d meet us back at the hospital at 8pm (approximately 12 hours from being induced) if full-on labour hadn’t started yet. If it had, she’d of course meet us at the hospital sooner.

We arrived at the hospital a little sooner than 8 expecting to meet our doctor. Nope. Nurses monitored the baby again, did their diagnostic stuff on Crystal. Her Mom and sister arrived soon after as we all expected our doctor to move on to the next step. She sent us home. Over the phone. So we’re bummed about that.

I’m a big planner. When I have a plan, I stick to it. She said she’d meet us at 8pm and she didn’t. So 7am tomorrow she’s no longer the doctor on call and we’re going to be stuck with some strange doctor.

Life gives you lemons, right? So we’ll see what tomorrow brings. I’m just looking forward to being able to give that birth announcement and we really thought our baby’s birthday would be June 1st.

June 2nd isn’t so bad 🙂

Not a Penny in 2011

I have a goal for 2011 that should benefit a few areas of my life. Simply, I will not purchase a single video game or downloadable content (DLC) for a video game in 2011. This means pay-what-you-want sales/bundles are off limits, as is pirating said bundles (or any games for that matter). This isn’t a decision I’ve made on a whim, either. I’ve had a few months to let this sink in and to work out the details. Note: I’d have linked to twitter rather than identica except Ping.fm was misbehaving the day I initially announced my idea.

On to the details, the only allowable ‘new’ games that I can add to my collection are:

  • Gifts — but I am not allowed to prompt the purchase with, “Hey, I’m not purchasing any games in 2011 but if you buy me X then I’ll buy you Y in 2012,” because that is cheating.
  • Board and card games — they are not video games.
  • Game demos, trials, and ‘free’ games — XBoxLive Indie Game trials, Steam demos (and mods and free games), etc, so long as they are freely available for download by the developer/publisher.
  • Code giveaways — kinda sorta the same thing as ‘free’ games
  • Borrowed games

If the game doesn’t fit the criteria above, I can’t add it to my collection.

Why? Well, this is where the benefits come in. See, I went kind of crazy with game purchases starting at the end of 2009. My Steam collection ballooned to a crazy size over the course of the last year. I don’t think I could possibly complete all the un-played games in my Steam games list if I try all next year, and an un-played game is an unappreciated game.

Why else? I’ve got a note taped to my monitor that says, “Why are you sitting here? Spend some time with your wife.” I put it there, and it’s pretty self explanatory.

I expect to enrich my personal life by putting less emphasis on video games and more time with family and friends (non-gamers). I expect my wallet to thank me. I expect my productivity to increase as I will cease to compulsively check Steam Game Sales and Cheap Ass Gamer throughout the day. I expect to spend more time reading through my neglected bookshelf. I’ll never make it as a game designer & developer if I spend more time playing games than making them.

Wish me luck in 2011. I have no doubt this is going to be a hard habit to break. I’ll post throughout the year under the tag #stateofthepenny here on the blog and twitter.

Linux friendly browser game: Lord of Ultima

I’ve been playing Lord of Ultima in my spare time. It’s a browser-based city-building strategy game. Being that it’s played in a web browser, it’s Linux friendly (much like Ikariam).

Did I mention it’s free? It’s currently in open beta, anyone can sign up so long as there is space.

The following is a mock-up of what I’m aiming for one of my cities to look like. The layout was created with the City Planer tool (yes, planer, not planner), created by LoU player Nova.

That was the original plan. Here’s the updated city, using the existing resources.

Free (as in Freedom) Entertainment

Where is that free entertainment I mentioned earlier? Oh… not just free entertainment, it’s also legal entertainment. Legally free.

Here are some resources for free and legal entertainment. You won’t find any pirated works here, because the authors give it away free.

Books

  • MCM – A Canadian author with everything from children’s stories to adult humour and science fiction. He’s also insane.
  • Cory Doctorow – Another Canadian author of science fiction with a focus on freedom.
  • Many Books – Where you can find books by the likes of MCM and Cory Doctorow and many many more authors.

Video

  • Waaay too many to list, seriously. Here are a few.
  • Revision 3 – Internet television hub that offers tech shows, bar tricks, stand-up comedy… and more.
  • Miro – An internet TV client, like satellite for your computer.
  • Public Domain Torrents – Old movies and TV shows that have passed into the public domain.

Music

  • Beefy – Nerdcore artist.
  • Jonathan Coulton – Geek folk-singer. Songs about vampires and scary dolls and robot friends (and overlords).
  • Brad Sucks – Canadian musician and one man band (with no fans).
  • MC Frontalot – Nerdcore’s originator. May not give albums away but he’s got a bunch of singles for download.
  • Rhyme Torrents – 8 volumes of music, in addition to multiple halloween albums. Yes, I like Nerdcore.
  • Hipster Please – DJ of Radio Free Hipster.

Games

  • Newgrounds – Could almost fit into all the above categories. Flash games.
  • Puzzle Pirates – Is a subscription service, but you can play for free as well. Puzzles… with pirates.
  • Runescape – It’s a role playing game, and like Puzzle Pirates, you can play for free.

Now you can be poor and keep entertained at the same time, just like me!

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