"Am I too dumb for a D300?" By the sounds of it, No. I'd therefore have to ask if you are passionate enough for a D300. Given Gentoo's great explanation of the growth options to be found on a D300, I'd say the D300 would be a great place to start (and possibly stay) should you want to invest time and $$$ into the glass and learning process. Learning how to master a cameras will take time as much as it will take intelligence.
I thought long and hard about getting a D300 too, but in the end, I bought a D90 on this past Sunday. I chose the D90 over the D300 based upon price, size, and ease of adoption. I think it slightly easier learning curve & I can grow into it and later on find out about weather or not I'm passionate about photography to upgrade to the next level. The D90 appears to be a great camera for aggressive growth ability. I've put close to 1.5 months into researching my options. Why, well I have a limited budget, plus I wanted to see if I was going to stick around for a while and "get into it" or if this was just another one of my latest and greatest fads I was getting into. Part of my decision process included holding the D300 & and D90 and imagining weather or not I was up to carrying around several lbs. worth of expensive equipment with me. Not that the D300 is a beast of a camera (although it is built like a tank, eh, Gentoo), but I did think about the inconvenience factor of having a large SLR camera with me when I wanted to take pictures. I don't (yet) get paid to carry my camera or take pictures. For me, it a new hobby to enjoy.
The "body vs. glass" debate is interesting b/c each and every person will factor equipment into different roles for producing a worthy picture. Some say it's body, others say glass. In the end, if I or my wife don't know what the heck we're doing with a camera to manipulate that worthy picture, we may find ourselves unsatisfied with the results.
- KG, are you going to be the only person in the family using this camera? I so, go ahead and get the D300 and some great lenses while you're at it. Otherwise, you may want to factor in the learning abilities of the other parties that may be involved in the picture taking process. (I know my wife would be a bit intimidated by a D90 or a D300)
All else, if you buy a D300 and some nice lenses and decide you're really not into photography, you're always welcome to sell the lenses back here on Nikon Rumors in the "Equipment for Sale" sub-forum.
Best of luck to ya!