Being the Best Father I Can

It’s weird to think that I have a son now, a living breathing flesh-and-blood human being who shares some of my same genetic material. And I love him so very much, although all he seems to do is eat, sleep, and relieve himself of waste (i.e. pee and poop… a lot). Even with the eight months of my wife’s pregnancy to get used to the idea, nothing really quite compares to the first time I saw him. Nothing could prepare me for that moment when he reached out his little hand and for the first time grasped my finger so very firmly and held on while the nurses cleaned him up. It was awe inspiring. I found myself later that day just staring at my right index finger, replaying that moment over and over. This little creature that I had only been speaking to through my wife’s stomach and here he was for me to hold and cherish and love. 

Gabriel Alexander Olten Campa was born on November 9, 2013 at 7:21am, weighing in at 4lb 13oz and 18.1 inches long. He captured my heart in an instant. Since then, he had a little stay in the NICU but is home now with my wife and me. Now, I wake up every morning and go to work, looking forward to that time when I get to go home and hold him. I already told me wife that when I get home every day, I get at least a half an hour of undivided time with Gabriel. Usually it’s just enough time to feed him, making sure he gets his daily dose of vitamins, before I have to scarf down dinner and get to work on my writing. But for that half an hour, when I get to hold him in my arms while he is so very contented… Well, let’s just say nothing comes even remotely close to what that experience is like. 

This transition from being a regular guy to being a father has happened and I plan to give it my best. There were several instances growing up where I told myself I would do whatever it took to be a better father than my own. And I will definitely be doing everything in my power to make my son happy. I’m going to be there for him, supporting him in whatever life decisions he makes. I’m going to push him to be better than I was, better than his mother was. But I am also going to show him how to care for others without regard for what he gets in return. Some friends of mine told me that I was always that guy that they could count on, the one to call at two in the morning to come pick them up from work because they missed the metro. I want my son to be that kind of person and I hope he will be one day. Because he could be a doctor or a lawyer or even the President of the United States and yes, I would be proud. But my proudest moment would be to see him looked up to by his peers for being a good person. 

Well, the next stage in my adventure begins here and now. Expect frequent updates and a life full of joy and happiness. 

Ronald Malfi “Snow”

I found myself enjoying snow for what it was from the get go. It was a pretty quick read for me with a quick pace and some really intriguing monsters. However, the story did lack in character development and the plot was pretty obvious.

So Snow follows Todd and Kate as they try to survive during a storm where monsters that live in the snow or are the snow (this is ambiguous throughout) are attacking and killing everyone in the town of Woodson, Iowa. The pacing was really quick, getting you launched into the action right from the get go with Kate and Todd leaving the airport and driving into the blizzard. Clearly a bad idea, but ok.

My favorite part of this book was definitely the monsters. They are these incorporeal snow creatures with these scythe like hands. For some reason in my head I saw them as slivers from the card game Magic the Gathering. Anyways, the monsters use their scythe like hands to puncture a persons back and pull themselves in, taking over their bodies. When the persons head is shot off, then the snow creatures escape. But if they go into a child, something weird happens and the child’s face melts away. Definitely creepy, especially when Todd is in the woods and sees a whole bunch of them.

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While I found the concept of these monsters to be intriguing and a bit scary, I really wanted to know more about them. Where did they come from? Were they aliens or some new type of creature? Why didn’t they react well with children? And what happened with the ending? ( more on that later)

So, for the others problems I had with this novel. First, I didn’t really find myself getting attached to any of these characters. This probably had something to do with the fact that I got attached to Fred and he was the first to die. I didn’t know who was going to die and so I didn’t grow too attached to them.

And the ending. What happened there? I had several problems. First, the military coming to the rescue at the end. Seemed kind of obvious that this would happen. I kept thinking of Stephen Kings the Mist. It was too easy of a finish for me. And what exactly did the military do to scare off the snow monsters? It seemed like they just rolled up and the monsters got scared and left. Too easy for me. Also, nothing happened between Kate and Todd. Kate went back to her fiancé and I think Todd was going to go back to his ex. No, no, no. That just ruined whatever characterization I was getting for them.

Overall, the book was a good read but I probably wouldn’t read it again.

Relic

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s “Relic” was pretty interesting for what it was. There were some decent characters and some really great moments. There were also moments where I was just like “eh, whatever, just turn the page”. However, I think I would still enjoy reading this again. Except for the Epilogue. I would never read that again and I’d rather forget that it happened.

The best part of this entire book was the setting. Like in Alien, the setting adds so very much to the overall story. This is a huge, labyrinth of a museum with so many nooks and crannies to hide in that I’d be afraid to walk around on a good day. And there are all these bones and stuffed animals. It was way worse than the Nostromo from Alien. I mean, this place was massive. No wonder they couldn’t find Mbwun. You wouldn’t be able to find a regular killer. In addition to this being a huge place, I kept imagining it as being dark anywhere that wasn’t regularly traversed by museum visitors. It was all around creepy and would have made a great setting for many different genres to add some tension.

The monster was also a very interesting creature. Mbwun was this hybrid super monster of a reptile and ape and human. It is designed to be the perfect killing creature and, although we never get a really good view of it until closer to the end, its killings are always quick and precise and brutal. And even though we never get into its head, we can imagine its thoughts as it tries to survive in this chaotic city environment. I also really liked the way that the back story of this monster is explained. It’s not like it randomly occurred. It evolved as a perfect killer and could be tracked well back to the dinosaurs. There was a lot of science in this novel and used well to support the monster, unlike Pinborough’s Widows.

My biggest problem with this novel was the Epilogue. I would have been completely content to end at the last chapter, where everyone is happy and celebrating Pendergast leaving. But then this chapter occurs out of nowhere explaining that Mbwun was actually Whittlesey infected with a virus that turned him into a monster. No! I liked the evolution of the superior killer. Not this virus. And Kawakita trying to recreate it and creating some kind of drug. Just was not happy at all with that. I understand that it was likely a way to set up the sequel but still, I’d have hoped for something else.