Author Archives: Christopher

Stranger than fiction

So, I was watching an episode of Dr. Who while eating breakfast. The Doctor and Donna were exploring a planet-sized library when shadow creatures began to stalk them. They were racing down a book-lined corridor as the overhead lights blinked out one by one, chasing them. And then, just as the darkness was about to reach the Doctor and Donna, just as the tension was at its highest…

…the power went out, leaving the room dark. In real life. Very uncanny. I blame the Vashta Nerada.

Final Fantasy IX

Brenna and I beat Final Fantasy IX this evening. We’ve also previously beaten Final Fantasy VII and Chrono Trigger. I’m not quite sure what to play with her next. She really grew bored with the constant grinding in FF9 (FF7 seemed to let us progress through the game without much grinding at all), so I’m reluctant to play another Final Fantasy (thought not dead-set against it). I own Final Fantasies 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 10-2, and 12.

Any suggestions? It doesn’t even need to be a roleplaying game–it just needs to be something that Brenna and I (and possibly Jonas) can play together and enjoy, and I’m open to buying the right game, if it’s worth it.

Ruminations on books

Brenna and I are currently reading “The Magician’s Nephew.” We just read the chapter in which Aslan creates the world of Narnia out of an empty void. After we finished reading the chapter, we ended up talking about the allegorical nature of the chapter (and the novel as a whole). Brenna already understands that Aslan represents Christ, and we talked about how this was like the creation of the world, with Adam and Eve being put into the Garden of Even.

As we talked about the biblical Garden, Brenna wanted to know what happened to it. We discussed modern-day LDS thoughts about the subject (Independence, Missouri, for example). Specifically, she wanted to know where the Garden of Eden was today. I told her that I didn’t think it was still on the earth. She thought for a moment and said, “I think Jesus took it away because it wasn’t needed anymore, once Adam and Eve left.”

I don’t know if Brenna’s right or not, of course, but her thoughts are as astute as any I’ve heard. I was just impressed with how hard she was thinking about the topic. I really like that not only are we reading a fun novel together, but it’s spawning interesting discussions between a father and his daughter.

Computers and hand grenades

Today was an utter fiasco at work. My computer has been running slow basically since day one, so IT decided to upgrade me to Windows 7 and see if that’d fix the problem. They said it would take a little over an hour, so I have them the go-ahead to do what they needed to. In fact, it took three hours, and even then I was left with a crippled computer. The video card (which allows for two monitors) isn’t compatible with Windows 7, and I lost all customizations, shortcuts, etc. that I had set up. Tons of work piled up while I was offline, and it’ll take most of tomorrow just to catch up.

While I was offline, I worked through some boxes of files, sorting the contents into “keep” and “recycle” piles. In the middle of thick wads of acquisition contracts from 2000 and 2002 I ran across a sheaf of photocopied papers. The first page was about CPR, and the second was about dealing with cuts and lacerations. The rest of the packet was about building homemade hand grenades, setting up automatic machine gun turrets, and even a whole page devoted to grenade-throwing techniques. It seems that back in 2002 or so someone really didn’t like their job.


Brenna and I recently played through Chrono Trigger (she called it the “time-traveling game”). I think she was just old enough to really get the concept of the time-traveling, what with certain events in the past affecting things in the future. She especially liked Frog (“But his name’s really Glenn, Dad”). She actually bragged to Kristy when we beat the final version of Lavos. “Mommy, we killed Lavos, but it was only his shell. Then we went inside and killed the real Lavos!” Jonas watched a lot of Chrono Trigger as well; he liked Robo and called it the “robot game.”

Now we’re playing through the “Cloud” game (Final Fantasy VII). Just this evening we found out about the huge Sephiroth/Jenova connection and watched Nibelheim burn. Brenna seems especially enamored by Barret and Red XIII (the “experiment”).


Me: “Are you just a force of Lego entropy?”

Jonas (taking apart every Lego in sight): “…yeah.”

April Fools

Yesterday was quite the day. Work went fairly well, though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have due to the onset of a rather nasty head cold (it’s been going around the family, and I thought I’d dodged the bullet until yesterday morning). My father came into town on Thursday, and he was able to spend more time with Kristy and the kids yesterday. After work, I met them all at Manny’s, an excellent Mexican restaurant in Onalaska. The food was very good, as expected.

Driving home from Manny’s (Kristy and the kids were in the minivan), some teenagers threw a rock from the highway median and hit my windshield. I whipped around, jumped out of the car, and managed to get one of them to stop (the rest just booked it). He was so sorry it was almost pathetic. I got the idea that he was generally a good kid that had, unfortunately, made a really, really stupid decision. I called the police. As the rock only dinged the windshield (no cracks or anything), I declined pressing charges. The policeman said he’d give the kid a stern talking-to and then call his parents (the worst part of all of it, I’m sure–it would’ve been for me, that’s for sure).

Driving home, I thought about that kid. I rather felt bad for him, because he sort of reminded me of myself–a good kid that just made a dumb choice that came back to bite him. I hope that last night was a learning experience for him and that he won’t do anything like that again (I don’t know what happened with the other kids who ran off).

When I got home and explained it all to Kristy and Brenna (who was headed to bed), I recalled an incident that happened when I was probably about 10 or so. I was at the base of the driveway throwing pine cones into the street. A car passed and (I don’t recall whether or not it was deliberate) a cone hit the car’s side. The car screeched to a stop and pulled into our driveway. The driver spoke with my father, who then spoke (rather sternly) to me. I guess it was a “life-defining” moment for me, because I’ve never done anything like that since.

Oh, and for the record, all of this is true, despite the themed title of the entry.

It is done

The first draft of Twin Shadows is complete. It’s a low fantasy set in an alternate-history Victorian England. It’s currently 125,406 words, though that’s likely to change heavily based on the list of revisions that I already know I need to make. So, no rest for the weary–off to begin rewrites and revisions!

I’m still excited, though. This is pretty important to me.

Consumerist and dogs

So, I submitted a story to the Consumerist blog and it was actually published (see here). I thought that was pretty cool.


Also, while doing my hometeaching this evening (I’ve never visited this family before), their rather friendly bulldog spent a fair amount of time licking at me and generally showing off. Unfortunately, it seems I’m allergic, as my arm broke out in hives.

Saturday evening

Kristy and the kids will finally be home tonight, so I spent much of yesterday cleaning and preparing the house for their return. Since Kristy wasn’t here, we ended up having role-playing at one of the players’ new apartments (he just moved and was pretty excited to show off his new space). He owns a pet boa constrictor and let me feed it a dead mouse (they’re purchased online specifically as snake food). Basically I held the mouse with foot-long kitchen tongs and held it in front of the snake’s face. After a moment, the snake struck and curled away to eat. Pretty fun stuff.

On the way home from role-playing, just as I was driving through downtown La Crosse and dodging the usual drunk crowds that frequent the dozens of bars there, I watched a shooting star streak down over the buildings. Also pretty cool stuff.