Darius McCaskey


Progress, Of A Sort

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Categories: Uncategorized

So I got on the scale this morning…

It’s the same scale I weighed myself at the beginning of my exercise adventure. I was wearing the same clothes and it was roughly the same time of day.

My weight was exactly the same too: 220 pounds.

I consider this “one little victory.”

I had a snafu last week that caused me to miss a day of working out in an already-shortened week. Thanksgiving and all the indulgence thereof was last week. Yet I didn’t gain any weight. This is a good thing.

More to the point, I fell pretty good about myself. It’s only a week into the quest, but so far, so good.

Sweet dreams, world. I’ll catch you later.


A Shape Other Than Round

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Categories: Uncategorized

I weigh 220 pounds according to my scale at home. This is unacceptable.

Those of you knew me in high school may recall that I used to weigh 145 pounds. A little quick math reveals that in the last decade or so, I have added almost another half of myself to, umm, myself. And not where it counts, either.

My waist has expanded from 30 inches to 40, 38 in a “relaxed fit” (read: fat guy) jean. My neck has mushroomed from 15 inches to damned near 18.

My blood pressure is on the low end of hypertensive and my resting heart rate is right around 90 beats per minute. I get winded climbing a flight of stairs. I probably could not finish a mile run anymore, much less do it in 7 and a half minutes (my previous normal time).

I used to be able to bench press my own weight (145 pounds). Now I can’t bench half that. I would probably die if I tried to bench my current weight.

I, of course, understand that I’m almost 30 years old and that trying to compare my physical condition now to what it was when I was 16 or 17 is asinine. I am not a professional athlete, nor do I expect to be one. (My dreams of being the starting center for the New York Rangers will have to be fulfilled vicariously through my daughter.)

So why am I telling you all this? My hope is that by sharing with the world, maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a few words of encouragement. (Yes, I’m fishing.) Perhaps by making myself partially accountable to the community at large, it will keep me honest and committed to my course of action.

So what is my course of action? What is my goal? To be blunt it’s this: to be a shape other than round. I hope to lose a pound a week. At that very achievable rate, I will hit my desired weight of 165 pounds in a little over a year.

I started my quest today. I got up at 4:30 AM today so that I could drive into work early, work out and hit the shower before the business day began. With a few minor hitches, my plan was successful.

I feel pretty good too. My arms are a bit sore and I’m sure I’ll crash hard later, but for now I’m alive and functioning.

I plan on updating you all with my progress weekly. If you don’t see an update related to my mission for better health, it means that I’ve given up and you should berate me fiercely.

Here’s to shrinking my plentiful gut!


Dear Santa

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Categories: Uncategorized

Dear Santa,

I would like the following for Christmas:

  • A customizable license plate frame (You can get them at Wal-Mart pretty cheap. They have letters so you can spell out your own message. I would like to add to the Punisher Malibu.)
  • An electric razor (Not that I don’t like my Gillette M3 Power, but it would save me some time in the morning.)
  • An iPhone (Yeah, I know, who doesn’t want one?)
  • An extra 3 hours every day (Once again, who doesn’t want that?)
  • My body, circa 1998 (I may have been scrawny, but at least I could walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded.)

I’m sure I could think of plenty of other things, but I don’t want to overload you. Plus, I’m not sure if I fall into the “nice” category, so I may be getting a lump of coal anyway.




Night on Roxbury

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Categories: Rockford

For those of you not living in the greater Rockford area, many of the details of this post will be lost on you. I hope you at least take something away about the human condition.
Last night I had to take my mom back to her car after being at St. Anthony’s Hospital. My mom works on McFarland Road, so the fastest route is Roxbury to Guilford to Perryville.
By way of backstory, several years ago, the privileged residents on Roxbury lobbied to have speed humps installed on their street to cut down on speeding traffic through their neighborhood. They were successful.
The first time I drove down Roxbury after the speed humps were installed, I drove over the first one at the recommended speed of 15 miles per hour. I bottomed out my 1999 Chevy Malibu. In fact, to this day the plastic shield under my engine is cracked.
I decided for myself that the idea of people having speed humps that large on a street where the speed limit is only 25 was a bit ridiculous. I began my campaign of civil disobedience that very day.
Now, when I drive down Roxbury (which isn’t very often), I slow to about 5 mph to go over the humps, then immediately accelerate to 25 as fast as I can while laying on the horn until I reach the next speed hump. I’ll admit that this is a dick move on my part, but I cannot abide by people with money using that money to get what they want at the expense of the populace at large. If you’re on the northeast side of Rockford, many times Roxbury would be the quickest route for an ambulance to take to get you to St. Anthony’s. Now the ambulances are forced into a longer, more congested route because they cannot drive down Roxbury.
Back to last night: I once again engaged in my standard practice while transporting my mom to her car. This was at about 7 PM, well before Rockford’s noise ordinance goes into effect. Upon reaching the stop sign at Roxbury and Guilford, a man rushed my car and attempted to open my driver’s side door, screaming profanities. I quickly yanked the door back shut and locked it, at which time this “gentleman” advised me that I’d better “keep on moving.” I put my car in park.
I don’t know if this guy was in a car behind me or if he was a disgruntled resident, but he quickly faded back into the night and whatever rock he crawled out from underneath. Either way, the incident ended and I proceeded to turn on to Guilford. Civil disobedience = 1, stupid citizens = 0.
I will once again freely confess that what I do on Roxbury is a dick move. It may even be a misdemeanor disturbing the peace. Yanking open a car door and threatening someone is, last time I checked, assault. What’s more, it’s stupid. If I had a gun in my car, I may have shot this man. If I had a knife, I may have stabbed him. I was incredibly startled by his attempt to force his way into my conveyance.
The next time you drive down Roxbury between State Street and Guilford Road, think of the people that live there. Think of the ridiculously slow speed limit and the ridiculously large speed humps. And think of the sheer insanity the sound of your car horn can cause.
Have a wonderful night on Roxbury.


Time Flies…

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Categories: Blackhawks, Cold Sun, DDO, Hockey, IceHogs, OGL, Rockford, Shadowrun

So, it’s been almost three months since I posted a new blog entry. “WTF?” you might ask. Truth is, several things have kept me from the bliggity-blog page:

  1. Dungeons & Dragons Online is now free to play! Come join me on the Khyber server. My characters are named Mana Starfire and Iocasta. I usually play a few nights during the week, after I put Muirne to sleep (around 7:30 CST).
  2. I am playing virtually in a Shadowrun 4th Edition game run by my friend, Alex Rodriguez (not the basball player). Using a PHPbb message board, all of the game’s legwork and downtime activities are managed without using up valuable time at the gaming table on Sundays. This is a great idea and I’m glad to be able to get my tabletop gaming on without actually being at the table.
  3. Cold Sun is almost ready for alpha testing. What is Cold Sun? Cold Sun is my first solo attempt at a tabletop RPG. It’s a post-catastrophic contemporary setting, in which mankind’s hubris is proving to be his downfall. The struggle to survive against the forces of nature and man is the focal point of the game. The system is based on the 3.5 OGL SRD from Wizards of the Coast. Veteran 3.5 players will recognize the nuts and bolts under the hood, but the system’s far more flexible and intuitive than standard d20.
  4. Hockey season has started! Woot! As a matter of fact, I had the chance to go to my first Rockford IceHogs game of the season last Saturday. It was a great game (after the first period) with multiple fights, close scoring chances, an overtime and a 9 round shootout! The Blackhawks aren’t looking too bad either, if you ignore the goaltending crisis that seems to be shaping up. I hope Cristobal Huet can pull it together and start putting up some numbers. Ce qui la baise, Chris?
  5. And, of course, all the other various and sundry bits of modern life.

I will endeavour to be more timely with my blogging going forward. After all, I’ve got a game to start building Internet buzz on! 🙂



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Categories: Loves Park, President Obama

OK, maybe Gatesgate is a bit of a stretch, but I thought I would opine on the state of race relations in the quiet white- trash suburban utopia of Loves Park, Illinois. For those of you who do not partake of mass media, click here to get up to speed. I’ll wait for you…

Good, you came back. I’ll preface my narrative by making a few qualifying statements:

  1. I did not personally witness the arrest of Professor Gates.

  2. I have not read the police report of Professor Gates’s arrest (and yes, the “s’s” is correct: read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White).

  3. I am an American of European descent; in other words, white.

I’m sure that there’s blame on both sides of the Gatesgate incident. I’m sure that President Obama could have “calibrated” his words more carefully. I’m sure that racism exists within the ranks of police forces around the country, just as there are still prejudiced paddys, spooks, krauts, spics, heebs, slopes, ruskies, chinks, guineas, limeys, frogs, canucks, camel jockeys, redskins, gobblers, punjabs, noogins… whoa! I kind of lost it there for a second. What was I saying again? Oh yeah, there’s racist and prejudiced people all over, in every profession.

At about 9:00 PM on a Friday night in 1999 I was driving with my friend Alex to my then- girlfriend’s house to hang out and watch movies. There was an electrical issue with my car, a 1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo, that sometimes caused my rear lights to fail. I had turned onto a major street from another when I saw flashing lights behind me. I pulled over, oblivious to the recurrence of the light malfunction. I should mention that, at the time, I was 19 years old and familiar with the standard “license and proof of insurance” shtick when stopped by the police. Alex was too, obviously, and we both got our wallets out to produce our ID. Being normal guys, we both carried our wallets in our back pants pockets. In order to get our wallets our of our pockets, we had to remove our seat belts (which I insist passengers in my car use). That was mistake # 1.

When the officer approached the car, I already had the window rolled down, licenses and insurance card in hand. The cop asked the same question they all do: “Do you know why I stopped you?” I honestly didn’t and said so. The policeman told me that my rear lights weren’t on and I explained that I did not know that the issue had cropped up again. I told him how the switch had been replaced once already and that I would definitely get it fixed again. “So where are you headed tonight,” the officer asks me. I tell him we’re going to my girlfriend’s house. He responds, “Both of you?” Apparently it’s against the law in Illinois for two guys to hang out with one girl: we must have been planning an orgy. I tell him yes.

The cop’s next statement floored me. He said, “I also noticed that you guys weren’t wearing your seat belts.” As I told you above, I told the officer how we had taken them off after he stopped us so that we could get to our wallets. He stated that he had seen that we were not wearing the safety restraints when he first pulled us over. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from looking at pictures of the Nissan 300ZX.

It’s at this point that Officer Friendly asks if I mind if he takes a look inside my vehicle. Being a fairly well- informed citizen, I opt to exercise my rights and tell him that I do not consent to a search of my car. My reasons were two- fold: one, I was starting to get a little irritated with this guy; two, the entire interior of the Z is visible from the window. Serpico responds with a threat to summon a drug- sniffing dog to check the car out (which Illinois law allows, much to my dismay as a strict constructionist when it comes to the Constitution). I snap back, “Get the dog, I don’t care: he’s not going to find anything.” Mistake #2.

The cop returns to his squad car, presumably to start writing tickets. While we’re waiting for the officer to return, a tow truck pulls up in front of us. The policeman walks up to the tow truck driver after a few minutes and chats with him, motioning in our direction a few times. After about five minutes total, the truck drives off. When the cop returns to my car, I tell him that if he’s going to write us some tickets he should just hurry it up so we can be on our way. He asks me if that’s what I want him to do. I reply, “No, but if you’re going to, could you just do it so we can go?”

The officer then shines his flashlight on the large, very full backpack between Alex’s feet on the floor of the car. He asks, “What’s in there?” I don’t let Alex respond: I’m pissed now. “Books,” I say. Indeed this was true. Alex had an entire bag filled with gaming books and Magic: the Gathering cards. The officer proceeds ask Alex if he can search the bag. I tell Lex he doesn’t have to let him do that. He accedes, however, and consents to the violation. The cop finds nothing but books and cards. He returns again to his vehicle.

After about three or four minutes he walks back up the the car, clipboard in hand. Here come the tickets, I think. Super Trooper hands Alex a citation for failing to wear his seat belt, a $75 fine, if I remember correctly. To my amazement, I am given a warning for the tail lights. The officer bids us a good eve and we are released. I pull away with my hazard lights on (which do work, for some ungodly reason) and proceed to Tiffanie’s house. The cop follows us all the way there, which is actually outside his jurisdiction as she lived in Machesney Park at the time.

What did this incident teach me? Don’t mouth off to cops, no matter how out of line they are. That’s what court is for. It also taught me that keeping receipts for repairs in your car is never a bad idea. Finally, it taught me not to be brown in Loves Park: Alex is of Haitian and Mexican descent.

Fuck the police, comin’ straight from the underground…


That’s Right, Bitches!

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Categories: Aegis Studios, Bastille Day, Blog, Cold Sun, Family, RPG, Rush

OK, so I swore I would never do this blogging thing. I lied.
So, what’s going on in Dariusland?

  1. My tooth is killing me. I had a cavity filled on 1 July and apparently it’s aggro’ed the nerve, so now I have to have the tooth removed. I go tomorrow for that.
  2. I’m working on my tabletop RPG entitled Cold Sun. I expect to begin playtesting before the end of the year. Chances are extremely good that it will not be published by Aegis Studios, the company of which I am a partner. More on this to come…
  3. It’s Bastille Day! I would encourage everyone to check out the Rush song entitled, appropriately enough, “Bastille Day,” from their A Farewell to Kings album. Congratulations on your revolution, frogs! (Just remember we did it first. 😉 )
  4. I’m doing some geneology research about my family. There’s some pics of my family on my flickr feed. It’s quite interesting to see where we come from, and just a bit challenging too.

That’s all for now.

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