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.


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.


I broke 100,000 words today. Whew.

Repentance in Narnia

Brenna and I have been reading the Chronicles of Narnia together. We’re currently perhaps a quarter of the way through The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”, and last night we read the chapter where Eustace becomes a boy again. Now, I’ve always recognized the religious overtones to the series. On my last (personal) read-through of the series a few years ago, I even mapped out the specific religious themes and biblical stories that Lewis drew from (for example, “Dawn Treader” follows the theme of the seven deadly sins).

Rereading a good novel is much like reading the same scriptural passage over and over—each time you get something new out of it. As Brenna and I read about Aslan cutting deeply into Eustace and peeling away his draconic skin, it really hit me that this wasn’t just a fantastical representation of Eustace’s becoming a rather pleasant boy. It was a literal description of the process of repentance.

Eustace began the scene trying to peel away his own draconic skin. He was able, at first, to rub away a few scales. Then, with a little more effort and discomfort, he peeled away a knobbly, dead skin. It hurt, like peeling away a scab, but once it was off, it felt good. Still, he was left in yet another layer of reptilian skin. He repeated this process a further three times, each time removing another scaly layer, only to be left with yet another beneath.

Finally Aslan stepped in to help. He cut deeply (Eustace described it as down to his heart and more painful than anything he’d ever experienced) and then peeled away the thickest layer yet. Eustace was left a small, naked, skinless boy. Aslan took him in his arms, which hurt—he was yet tender, with his tiny, naked body—and then threw him into a nearby pool of soothing water. It stung for just a moment and then was utterly soothing—Eustace described it as “delicious.”

How true to the process of repentance this is. There’s only so much that we can do by ourselves. In the end, we have to rely upon Christ to excise the sin and torment—our own metaphorical draconic skins. The process will hurt. Repentance isn’t easy, and it’s awful and painful and often embarassing, but the end result is so wonderful. “Delicious” is an excellent word to describe how we feel afterward.

I’m always thankful for good literature, especially a book that can uphold good standards, teach true principles, and still be a good read. Thank goodness for authors like C. S. Lewis.

In other news, Jonas has been pretty sick recently. Kristy took him to the doctor yesterday, and it seems that he has RSV (a pretty common cold-like condition). It’s nothing serious, and there’s no real treatment—it just has to run its course.

Kristy and the kids were due to leave for Alabama today, but what is being called a “deadly” storm has swept across the Midwest, cutting off Chicago and Indianapolis, so they’ve delayed leaving until tomorrow when the weather will have cleared and roads should be better.

Finally, Twin Shadows is coming along. I’ve written almost 95,000 words of the first draft now.

Friday the 13th

My father has been going through the last of his deceased mother’s belongings this past week. Among other things, he found a stack of hand-annotated wall calendars stretching back to 1974 or so (the stack was “a foot high,” he said). Most of the entries were germane things like hair appointments and the like. However, he did find an interesting fact in the 1978 calendar.

I was born on Monday the 9th. According to my grandmother’s record, my parents brought me home from the hospital four days later on Friday–Friday the 13th. I suppose that that explains a lot.

And it’s official…

We have a renter, complete with contract. This is a good day.