All posts by Kris Johnson

Feliz Cumpleaños, mi amor.

Happy Birthday to Laura, who is babysitting her sister’s kids today (and most every Friday), and will probably not read this until it’s no longer her birthday anymore.

Laura’s first trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula happened around her birthday in 1994. Laura was on the verge of graduating from Bowling Green State University (Go Falcons!) at the time, while I was paying matriculation fees to Michigan Technological University (Go Huskies!) and living with my parents in Toivola.

While Laura was staying with us, there was a huge, nasty blizzard. Such an occurrence in the U.P. is not at all uncommon for mid-March, but I think it caught the girl from Ohio by surprise.

My mother made a cake for Laura’s birthday in 1994, and by the eighteenth of March the following year I’d been living in northeast Ohio for several months. Tonight, I’ll celebrate Laura’s birthday with her for the twelfth time. I’ve heard that it may snow.


At the monthly meeting of the Cleveland-area NaNoWriMo group this past Thursday, I began working on the first of seven short stories I plan to write over the next seven months. These stories will tell the origins of eight superheroes I created in City of Heroes. Here’s a quick rundown of the stories:

  • MarchCardelion: The Gladiator’s Tale. Max Barstow is a former television star attempting to reinvent himself as a costumed hero, despite a mountain of legal difficulties.
  • AprilQR7: The Android’s Tale is the story of an android whose origins are shrouded in mystery. A covert organization wants to find out who built the crimefighting automaton, who controls him now, and whether he can be recruited for sinister purposes.
  • MayDr. Garabiton: The Scientist’s Tale. Experimental physicist Patrick Nguyen finds himself thrown into a brutal conflict with CHAOS Factor, the supercriminal group responsible for the death of friend and mentor. When the mild-mannered scientist dons the Gravitas Mark IV battlesuit, gravity itself is bent to his whim.
  • JuneKaryx & Karykeion: The Tale of the Twins. Gifted with strange abilities to both heal and harm, Alexandra and Daniel Cahill kept their mutant powers a secret from the world, until a fateful car accident changed their lives forever.
  • JulyConflagrante: Phoenix Reborn. An arsonist falls into his own trap and is reborn as a costumed crimefighter, but who is pulling his strings, and what will happen if his past is ever revealed?
  • AugustKim Mak: Temporary Hero. Sometimes the difference between a hero and a villain is simply the outcome of a bet. When a world-renowned assassin loses a “friendly” wager with one of her peers, she must battle the forces of evil for a year.
  • SeptemberMajor Dorque: The Old Soldier’s Tale. Major Jeffrey “Torque” Abrams served his country honorably for most of his adult life. Now, unable to adjust to being a civilian, Maj. Abrams has decided to come out of retirement to assist in the battle against those who would prey upon the weak, the helpless and the downtrodden. But someone at the Office of Hero Registration has a chip on their shoulder, and now the old soldier fights for his dignity against the most implacable of foes… bureaucracy.

Home Alone: Post-Mortem

My head hurts and I don’t feel much like elaborating on the events of this past weekend, so I’ll do a quick summary:

  • Laura returned late last night to a still-standing house and a still-living, (relatively) mentally-intact husband. Rosie and Gil are still very much alive, and none of their little bones have been harvested as components for an ill-conceived pulsed plasma thruster.
  • I had planned to clean Laura’s car inside and out while she was gone, but settled for washing just the outside. Thus, the corpse of the moth remains visible through the rear window.
  • Also not accomplished: replacing the dryer exhaust hose.
  • I should also point out that the correct spelling is “Shaun,” not “Shawn.” So, Shaun of the Dead. Enjoyable flick.
  • I watched the season premiere of Deadwood on HBO last night. Ah, Al Swearengen. Good to see you again.
  • I was dismayed to learn that there are only three episodes of Carnivàle remaining in the current season. So much has happened in just the past two episodes it feels like Daniel Knauf is building to something huge. On a side note: I used to think of tarring and feathering as being humiliating without physically endangering the (for want of a better word) recipient. After watching Jonesy get tarred and feathered last night (and assuming the process was accurately portrayed), my viewpoint has changed considerably.

Home Alone: Day Five-point-five(?) – Oh, what fools these mortals be.

When the coffee maker is filled to the 4.5 cup line on the whaddayacallit, the … let me go look … (heh, those cats get all excited if you even move toward the stairs) the decanter is what it’s called. I thought it was something different, but it’s written right there on the lid. Decanter.

Anyway, 4.5 cups as marked on the decanter fills my Las Vegas mug (the one with my name on it) to the brim twice. I don’t understand that. I guess the point is that I either drank 4.5 “cups” of coffee or two mugs of coffee. Whatever the case, it’s 4:30 and I’ve got some serious jitters. I’m wired.

This is the stupid-thirty I was talking about earlier. Four-thirty, five-thirty, what-have-you. If it’s dark outside and I haven’t been to bed and the little hand is more than halfway from the 12 to the 6 and the big hand is pointing straight down, it’s stupid-thirty. Like right now.

Cabin Fever is on HBO. It’s a movie about some people getting a flesh-eating virus while staying at a cabin. I only watch a couple of minutes. Some kid named Dennis bit one of the guys who had the virus, and now his dad is pissed that the guy “gave” his son the virus. And then there were some boobies, I think, back at the cabin. On G-String Divas one of the strippers was getting all pissy about other strippers “stealing” the songs she dances to. Yeah, there were some boobies on that show, too. I turned the TV off, though. Maybe I need output more than input right now, so I can’t just sit and watch TV.

I guess it’s day six. If I’m awake before noon, it won’t be by choice. I hope I’m asleep before six. Wasting half a day off because you decided to make coffee at midnight just reinforces the assertion that you require constant adult supervision.

I think I’ll probably play five hundred games of Spider Solitaire now.

Edit: Carafe! On our old coffee maker, the pot was called the carafe. “Do not use if carafe is cracked or chipped.” That’s what it said on the old pot. The old carafe. Why did we get rid of that coffee maker? It had a timer on it. The new one doesn’t. I don’t remember why we got rid of it. “Decanter,” my ass.

Home Alone: Day Five – Productivity’s Last Gasp

I carved another notch in my Xbox controller last night after Miscellaneous G™ and I completed Dungeons & Dragons Heroes. This is the third game that we’ve battled our way through, the others being Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance and Hunter the Reckoning.

As anticipated, we also played Pimp the Backhanding last night. My record is 1-2 so far mano a mano. Miscellaneous G™ and I both agreed that the dynamic of the game would likely change with additional players. Nonetheless, it’s a fun (if politically incorrect) game with a fairly straightforward mechanic.

Thanks to some scheduled time off, Thursday is the new Friday. At least for this week. That means staying up until stupid-thirty tonight playing video games and/or watching movies and crawling out of bed at the crack of noon tomorrow (see previously revised scheduleThat’s right, no colorful table today.).

Yes, I remembered to take my lunch again today. Each turkey-bologna sandwich not left in the fridge is a gold medal in an Olympic event for me, and I’m gonna jump and holler, ’cause I’ve saved up my last two dollars. ((Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow. I was a coach for the Special Olympics held at Central Michigan University back in the early 90’s. I forget which year it was, exactly. I’d been a counselor at a week-long camp for special kids a few times, and one of the administrators asked me to be a coach that year. The Oak Ridge Boys played at the closing ceremonies. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a happier group of people than those kids when ORB played “Elvira.”))

Note to Self: In the future, please check the blade depth before trimming your beard. Seriously. Take a picture of yourself and tape it to the bathroom mirror if you need a reminder of why this is important. Ass.

Home Alone: Day Four – Threat Level Beige

This week is turning into a real nail-biter, isn’t it? Well, to answer the question that is undoubtedly weighing on everyone’s minds, I remembered to take my lunch today. I expect that your collective sigh of relief will eventually alter weather patterns in the Andes mountains, which could ruin some folks’ skiing vacation. Them’s the breaks.

The Old Man dumped a fair bit of snow on us yesterday, and continues to do so even as I type this. Last night the entire driveway was a giant drift, and I had some difficulty finding the front walk. Instead of doing the sensible thing (shoveling and snowblowing), I shut myself in for the evening. I did shovel the front walk this morning, but I’m sure that effort was in vain.

As if to reward my sloth, the Sunbird decided that the heater/vent/defroster fan didn’t really need to blow this morning. It was a cold drive to work.

As yesterday’s schedule change implies, I have opted not to work on Friday. This will leave me with entirely too many consecutive unsupervised hours.

Tonight’s City of Heroes playing will not take place as scheduled, so that we may bring you the following special activity…

  Morning Afternoon Evening Late PM Early AM
Wed 02 Mar Work Game Night Includes Pimp the Backhanding and one or more of the following Xbox games: HALO, Hunter The Reckoning: Redeemer, Dungeons & Dragons Heroes, Red Dead Revolver.

Also, I stopped by Blockbuster last night and rented Shawn of the Dead which will require watching at some point in the next couple of days.
(FEAT. Miscellaneous G™)


Home Alone: Schedule Update

In order to allow for the aforementioned spiral into chaos, I have decided that a schedule change is necessary. Please make the appropriate updates to your calendar.

Original Schedule:

Date Morning Afternoon Evening Late PM Early AM
Thurs 03 Mar Work Play City of Heroes Sleep
Fri 04 Mar Work Play City of Heroes

Revised Schedule:

Date Morning Afternoon Evening Late PM Early AM
Thurs 03 Mar Work To Be Announced ((Actual activities may vary, depending upon level of madness reached. Possible activities include playing City of Heroes, mopping the dining room floor, conversing with cats, conversing with microwave, and curling up in the fetal position on the bed.))
Fri 04 Mar To Be Announced ((Actual activites may vary, depending upon level of madness reached. Possible activities include playing City of Heroes, mopping blood off the dining room floor, building a rocket with microwave parts, building a rocket with cat parts, and setting fire to the bed.))