Friday, November 27, 2015

We saved you a free sample of pie.

When you grow up in a divorced family, you get used to the idea of multiple everythings. Two birthdays. Two graduation dinners. Two places to go to be told what you should be doing more with your life. And of course, two Thanksgivings.

Cutting to the chase, unfortunately for me, my dad's Thanksgiving dinner this year was on Black Friday. And I work in retail on the weekends. So instead of spending any quality time with my dad, I spent the day putting expensive things in inexpensive cars while being told by customer after customer after customer, "Man, it sucks you gotta work on a day like this."

Thanks, guy.

But it's okay. Not a big deal. We'll find time to hang out. And in the meantime, my family left made me a plate of leftovers and stuck it in my fridge. So when I got home at midnight tonight, there was food waiting. Flank steak, veggies, bread, and for dessert, this:

Ah, yes. Pumpkin pie. My favorite dessert growing up. To the point that instead of cake on my birthday, we'd always have pumpkin pie. Twice! (Again, divorce) I loved it. I cherished it. It was always one thing that completely made the holidays for me. But there is something a bit off with that slice there, right? It doesn't quite look right in all that tinfoil. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed a little bit...

...SMALL. Don't get me wrong. A taste of pumpkin pie is glorious compared to no pumpkin pie at all. I really appreciate it. But it is a bit travel size, isn't it? Like this is the amount of pumpkin pie old people used to give away on Halloween before candy came pre-packaged. If I were to ask a professional pie maker how he feels about servings this size, I'd get a reaction like:

And if I ask his friends how they'd feel with only this much pie?

Maybe my family is trying to tell me that I'm fat. And I should start watching Pushing Daisies again.

Anyway, this sample of pie clearly wasn't enough. And I was in need of a solution.

Having heard of all sorts of math classes involving pie, I concluded this being an inadequate amount of pie meant I simply had to find the uh golden ratio of pi, and conclude on its ummm inverse, if you will. With maths. Anyway, it took a few minutes, but I concluded that if no more pie was possible (circles only go three sixty degrees or whatever) I'd have to find a substitution.

Problem solved!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Necromantica, a novel

I am so ridiculously proud and excited to finally have my first novel, Necromantica, available for you to read. It's been a long time coming and I'll discuss it further in this blog, including links to some of my earlier posts. But first, here's one of the ads and a few places to purchase the ebook and paperback:

From the book cover:

War and death have swept the Pure Nation of Fortia. What began as a skirmish on the outskirts of the kingdom spiraled out of control into a full scale orc invasion. With cities falling and countless lives lost, King Stolzel has arllied his remaining forces to gather in the holy city of Dromn; to make one final stand against their savage enemies. Amongst the soldiers and orc hordes, a thief and a necromancer arrive with plans of their own.

$3.99 ebook available at

$7.99 paperback available at

And if that wasn't enough, I also have a free novelette, Whisper, which introduces the world and main characters of Necromantica through the rotting eyes of a corpse who has a mouse living in his heart. It's available exclusively in digital formats, and can be downloaded from any of the following sites.

Free eBook available at:

For more info check out:

Before I go any further, the beautiful book covers and advertising art was created by Christina Irwin. Also, Necromantica was edited by Courtney Danyel. If you'd like to use either of their services, both come highly recommended.

Now then. With all of that business taken care of, let's talk about how awesome this book is. My compulsion is to just ramble and delve into the characters, the setting, the style, and music I listened to while writing it. I honestly don't know where to begin. So I'm going to give myself a bunch of categories and stick to lists for you to scroll through as delve deeper into the world.

Development of the book

140 characters: the origin of Necromantica

Necromantica began as all books do, a text message. It was either late 2011 or early 2012 (I'm sure if I scroll back enough in my blog I can find out. Christina Irwin, always a muse, texted me one night when I couldn't sleep, that I should focus on a fantasy story and try to make myself dream about it.

I know. I know. It's so incredibly lame if I say this story came from a dream. But I honestly don't know if it's even more lame to explain that I still didn't sleep that night. I didn't dream about it. I sat in bed and came up with a brief outline for a fantasy story. Just a quick little tale about two thieves breaking into the king's palace and stealing an amulet. As I started to text back this quick little romp I decided it was too long to type out on my phone, so in the morning I started typing it out in an email. The characters were incredibly basic. The narrator was "I" and his partner in crime, "You." It was more or less just one big action sequence. But after four pages I realized I wasn't even scratching the surface. I started coming up with other characters and events. I started coming up with background for the you and I characters. So what started as a quick text outline became a ten page story. Then a sixteen page story. And then I started thinking I could flesh stuff out enough for a thirty or forty page novella. It wasn't a project I wanted to commit myself to. I'd recently published book one of my Roadside Attraction series and was in the middle of writing book two. But the more touches and details I added, the more I felt compelled to continue. Several years and fifty thousand words (Two hundred pages) later, I can finally say it's complete.

Keeping it between us: blending a first and second person narrative

There was something about writing a story with the main characters being described as you and I. It was a format I stuck with for the initial ten pages because I really didn't plan on developing the story.  It was just a text. Then, just an email. Something amusing for Crissy that was simple, quick, and easy to work with. But as I developed the story I started to really enjoy with the blend between a first and second person narrative. Always experimental (check out Tender Buttons Two), this became a unique canvas to play around in. I'd never seen a story told in this way, and my closest references were the Choose Your Own Adventure books I grew up with, and a couple rare occasions of playing Dungeons & Dragons. In both of those cases, the reader/player assumes an identity or makes up their own character. But I'd never seen anything where the reader is given a specific character to embody while another character within the story is telling the events around them. A lot of questions came from that. How immersive is that experience? What is the impact on the reader when the you character makes a decision the reader disagrees with? How easily can I take the reader through the strengths, weaknesses, and flaws of the character while still limiting the perspective to a first person character? Even if the reader doesn't associate himself with you, can I still maintain her as an interesting character without ruining an otherwise cool story? What sort of relationship do these two characters have that can be strengthened by the intimacy of calling them you and I? What will this do the for the story that can't be done in a third person or first person experience?

Another main point that drove me to stick with this format was the idea of seeing the world through someone else's eyes. Truth and beauty are in the eye of the beholder, but how do you see yourself and how does that compare to how others see you? Telling a story in this format gives us a unique perspective to look through both lenses. How the narrator sees you and how you feel about the narrator develops a complex relationship. The narrator is entirely loyal to you, and the reasons why are explained throughout the story. To the extent that feeling is reciprocated is entirely up to the reader, and (I hope) varies from person to person. 

I haven't seen any reviews. The only feedback I've received on the format so far came from friends, family, some writing workshop buddies, and my editor, Courtney. All around, I'm told it takes a little getting used to, but there's definitely something special about it. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it's received by a wider audience.

The story

A walk in the park: The overall plot

At its heart, Necromantica is the story of the relationship between you and I. And while I could see this being an excellent format for stories about more contemporary relationships (a parent and child, a newlywed couple, a divorcing couple, coworkers, serial killer and his victim, and so on), I had something with a bit more adventure in mind. You and I are thieves and assissins. We're mercenaries. Wanted criminals, fighting our way through an epic fantasy cityscape. The main plot is a heist. You are a necromancer, a magic user capable of controlling the dead. The king, Stolzel, has in the highest tower of his palace, an amulet that can focus the energies of the world and use them enhance the powers of its user. With it, a healer could mend mortal wounds in seconds. Someone with powers over water could control ocean currents. In the hands of someone like yourself, who knows? So the mission is to sneak through the most fortified city in the kingdom, break into the castle, steal the amulet, and escape unnoticed.

There's just one minor complication. At least, one minor complication on top of the king and his entire, heavily armed military. Which happens to be the strongest army in the world.

Orcs have invaded the kingdom. Not just a few. Not just one a group. All of the orcs on the continent have invaded the kingdom and are slaughtering people in droves. City after city has been butchered and King Stolzel's only option is to summon all of his forces into one central location for the final battle. So the mission is to sneak through all out war while the army fends off countless foes and somehow escape without being captured or killed by either side. 

This does not go as well as expected.

Forests, valleys, and everything on fire: The world of Necromantica

This isn't going to come across in the novel at all, but I came up with the general world of Necromantica about fifteen years ago while in college. I was a little bit into fantasy. Not much. I'd played Dungeons & Dragons a couple of times. I was into the Final Fantasy games on my PlayStation. Most of my fiction at that point was either set in modern day Michigan or by a much further stretch, sci-fi future Michigan. But I had a roommate who drew comic books and had a few characters for a fantasy story based around a mythical Japanese setting. He got me into the idea of world building and the endless exploration of different cultures, societies, and species of people. So without getting too far into it, over the years I've been outlining a story that takes place in this world revolved entirely around a mythical object called The Vecris. It doesn't matter what it is. It doesn't matter what it does. We'll get to that in future stories. The point is that in those stories, there is a city called Dromn, and thousands of years ago there was a war with orcs. That became the setting for Necromantica.

Nobody is going to care about this but me (and this section only explains what a massive dork I am), but I wrote this novel keeping thousands of years of geological and social history in mind. The technologies, the societies. What did people believe back then compared to what they believe now? How have religions developed and changed over the years? What was a desert landscape is now a lush forest. The main religion in the future is stemmed from the one presented here. How the events of Necromantica change into myths over the years is all going to have an impact on the future. Again, not that anybody is going to care right now. You, reading this paragraph, will probably notice tiny hints and teases of things to come, but there's nothing at this point so significant that impacts the narrative. Once the story of this world is completed, it'll be fun for people to go back explore those transitions.

A bulk of Necromantica takes place in the city of Dromn, and again, it's ground zero. Men are making their final stand against orcs and only one side can survive the war. The original draft I created was a ten page action sequence. While I developed a lot of history and character moments around the battle and the heist, it was important to keep that same intensity throughout the novel. So the world starts gruesome, grisly, and on fire. Things only fall apart from there.

Main characters

A little song, a little dance: King Stolzel

King Torquemada Stolzel was the kingdom of Fortia's arch bishop until about fifteen years before our story opens. An illness had spread over the royal family, taking most of their lives. The old king, Yossifin the Butcher began to heal but was then found with a cleaver in his head. That, he did not recover from. The kingdom didn't exactly mourn for him. He'd been a violent ruler and amassed the largest army the world had ever known. He was kind of guy who advocates the death penalty for petty theft and wearing white after labor day. Although labor day is not at all a holiday in the world of the Vecris. I don't even know why I said that. Anyway, after his rule came to an abrupt end, the arch bishop, a holy man, a peaceful man known best for inspiring hope, was sworn in as protector of the kingdom.

Stolzel is a holy man, a pure man. And like all men of power, he wants to see his kingdom safe and close to godliness as possible. So after being seated at the throne, one of his first orders was to eliminate all threats to his people at the borders of Fortia. First orcs were driven back. Giants were brought down. Barbaric dwarves were buried in their caves. Heretic elves were burned alive in their forests. Then other elves were too because, hey, they might become heretics one day. Because nothing says safety like an ethnic cleansing. Our story opens several years after this campaign ends.

You are a woman of few words: Mornia

I'm told the word mornie in elfish means darkness. And what could be a better name for a necromancer who can raise and manipulate the dead at will? Mourning. Good morning. I want to leave all of Mornia's surprises for the book, but she's an elf and a survivor from King Stolzel's conquesting years. Her background starts with survivor's guilt. Her entire village was exterminated, and from that there's not only the overwhelming loss and loneliness, but a profound sense of weakness. Everything she ever knew and loved is gone and there was nothing she could've done to stop it. So when she learns about this amulet that supposedly can make her more powerful she becomes fixated on it. She couldn't have saved her people, but maybe with it she can save others. Maybe she can stop further death and destruction.

We see Mornia over the course of a decade. The story is told somewhat out of sequence, but we go from when she's first beginning to understand her skills as a necromancer to her pushing her limits in the middle of a battlefield. In that there's also the transition of having just lost her people to those wounds being calloused over time. For better or worse, the relationship with I shapes her, forming the woman she becomes.

I'll be your guide: Lama

Our narrator is essentially the kingdom Fortia's last great threat (until the orcs arrive). From childhood, his father was a slumlord who used to pit his bastard children in dogfights for profits. As he grew he became a thief, a murderer, and eventually an assassin. He's a man who'll always seek the greater challenge and bigger fight. So when he and Mornia meet and she wants an amulet, impossible to steal, from the most powerful man in the world, he's quick to agree. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The blood tie

I recently received a custom tie from Dapper On Arrival. Just to give a little info, this is a little Michigan based company run by Joseph Cayao. He and his wife make some of the coolest ties ever and you should definitely check them out. Or if you have an awesome idea for a tie, for yourself or as a gift, pitch it to him. There's a pretty good chance he can make it for you. That said, let's check out the tie they made for me:

To give a bit of background, I teach forensic analysis and am developing a class on serology and blood spatter. And nothing says cool teacher like an interesting tie.

...No, really. I'm fully aware of how incredibly dorky I am. But this tie is sweet! So back off man!

Anyway, I absolutely had to wear my awesome new blood tie for my Halloween lecture. Granted, the lecture had absolutely nothing to do with Halloween, blood, or ties. But as it's my lecture that happens to be closest to Halloween, this is how I'm celebrating.

Also, I'm putting this out there to other adults. It's one thing to have costumes for parties and all, but we really should be doing more to work this holiday into our October fashion. Hence the tie. Hence why you should be heading to Dapper on Arrival.

So I wore my blood tie to lecture this evening, and several of my students said I was adorable. Not quite the compliment I was going for, but I'll take it. And I told them I was so exciting to wear the tie this evening because my lecture hall in late October is really the only appropriate time and place I have to wear such a tie. They argued this, saying there have to be other occasions. So off the top of my head I came up with a quick list.

Inappropriate occasions for wearing a blood tie:

  1. Weddings - This feels pretty obvious. Unless it's a Game of Thrones or Kill Bill type wedding. Then it's just camouflage.
  2. Funerals - Although this is arguably more appropriate than a Jerry Garcia tie.
  3. Job Interviews - You only get one chance to make a first impression. One student pointed out that it may show enthusiasm when applying for a job in a serology lab. I... suppose.
  4. First dates - Because they're the job interviews of the dating world.
  5. Second dates - Still too soon.
  6. Actually pretty much all dates - Whether you're meeting the folks or out for a night on the town, this is really is a bad idea. Not that there aren't dates when a blood tie can't be worn. Halloween parties, sure. But most people will be in costume so you're still kind of a dick for half-assing it. Maybe a date to a haunted house or hay ride type deal, but think about it. Do you really want to be wearing a tie for those activities?
  7. While being a defendant on trial - Nothing says guilty like prison jumpsuits and blood ties.
  8. Church - Ever. But even more so during holiday mass.
  9. While speaking with child services - Whether or adopting or proving your home is a nurturing environment for current children, nothing says questionable parent like a blood tie. Also open booze containers.
  10. Giving an important speech - I mention this because of all the political debates on TV these days. Honestly, if a candidate is well spoken enough to make me overlook the blood tie, he's probably the right man for the job. But if he screws up in office, shame on me and the American public. Dude was wearing a blood tie and we voted for him. (This is my same argument when discussing Donald Trump's hair.)
  11. Operating heavy/dangerous machinery - Really, no tie is appropriate in this situation, and the blood tie doesn't have any particular disadvantage over any other tie, but if I left this out and somebody got themselves killed while using a wood chipper I'd feel incredibly guilty.
  12. Grocery shopping - I don't know why it's inappropriate exactly. But I stopped for groceries on my way home from work and some of the looks people were giving me indicated I was not dressed to their standards.
Anyway, the blood tie is something I obviously highly recommend. It's just finding times to wear it that's the trick.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Heh. Run li'l piggy, run!

Well. There I am. Taking a topless bathroom selfie for all to behold the glory of my love handles. World, I apologize. And more so because this is an improvement.

In January I went to a doctor because I was having some really sharp pains around my prostate. Probably chronic nonbacterial prostatitis (something I have, complete with flair ups), but it was a unique in that usually that pain is a heavy pulsing/throbbing type agony and shifts throughout everything unmentionable in that region. So my doctor put me on an antibiotic, just in case it was a bacterial infection.

It may or may not have been. But the antibiotics caused another. C Diff. Which if you don't know anything about it, it's a highly resistant asshole of a bacteria that emits toxic gases in your intestines. And about ten percent of people just have it. Not a lot of it. Nothing to get excited about. But it can't be killed by most antibiotics so when you're on antibiotics and killing off every other bit of flora in your gut, it suddenly has all the room in the world to populate.

So when your entire GI track is full of C diff, it's a problem. Non-stop watery diarrhea while feeling like your entire body is going to explode. And the only reason you don't explode is because you're constantly shitting yourself raw along with farting and belching.

I looked inflated. Puffy and massive. And it didn't help that I weighed in at 206 lbs, even without all the toxic fumes puffing me up.

So I spent some time at the hospital. I spent some time being misdiagnosed and given drugs to stop the diarrhea, which apparently prevented me from flushing out bunches of the C Diff. So then I was admitted into the hospital and put on much stronger antibiotics to kill the stuff once and for all.

The thing is, it didn't kill it. I was having serious digestive problems for another month and the C Diff came back on Easter. So I was on another round of ultra powerful antibiotics. Tons of digestive issues, yada yada. 

The point is, people have started telling me how thin I look, and what's my secret? Well, for having lost twenty five pounds, my secret is having shat myself stupid for three months and keeping to a diet of basically toast and applesauce because everything else is agonizing.

Thankfully I discovered I can juice my vegetables. And sunflower seeds seem to be pretty easy on my system.

Anyway, now that I'm used to this diet and am actually eating pretty well because of it, I'm looking in the mirror and thinking these are changes I can continue with. I can continue eating better. I can be healthier.

I also think about murdering anybody who has a slice of pizza or can of Coke in front of me, but that's beside the point.

So my body seems to be plateauing right around 180 lbs. At one of my jobs I'm on my feet all day, but it clearly isn't enough to keep my body weight going down. And I'd like to get myself down to around 150 lbs. That feels like a reasonable goal. It feels like I got halfway there in a completely horrible, awful wrong way. So the rest I'm going to have to do the right way. So on top of being on my feet at work, I need to start exercising. I need to tone and work out. I want to look good.

Okay, okay. More specifically, when I wear my Batman symbol t-shirt, I want people on the street to think, "You know... he might just be the Batman... No. No. He couldn't be... But maybe..."

So to get myself off my feet and attempt to realize my highly unrealistic goal of being Batman, I decided to start running. And then after another couple of days, I found the energy to dig my old running shoes out of the closet and dig within the deep recesses of clothes I'll never wear again and probably should've donated forever ago to find some of my old work out clothes. And amazingly, I discovered that having lost what weight I did meant I fit into some of them.

So I went for a jog. Not that far. Nothing to be proud of. I made it about a block and a half before I was out of breath. So roughly a third of a mile. But instead of turning around, I picked a direction and kept walking. And as soon as I caught my breath, I started jogging again. And again. So in the end I made it about a mile and half, jogging/mostly walking. Again, not that far. Nothing at all to be proud of. But I want to lose this weight. I want to be in better health. And I most definitely don't want to look like that above picture when I know I can be better to myself if I just give the effort.

Anyway, I got home from my jog. I checked my phone for all the calls and text messages I hadn't missed. And I went upstairs to shower. So I got in the bathroom, looked myself over in the mirror, and then noticed the sweat stain on my shirt. Kind of a V shape, with wings. 

... Wait a minute?! NIGHTWING?

Well... It's a step in the right direction. I guess.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Helicopter seeds

I've been doing yard work at my grandparents' house for the couple of months.

I know. I know.

There really isn't much to say beyond mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, trimming hedges, and awkwardly waving to suspicious neighbors.

I assume they all think I'm a prowler.

Probably because of the mask.

Anyway, my grandparents' backyard has several massive trees in it. Plenty of shade, but come springtime, there tends to be a slight overflow of helicopter seeds.

I mean, A LOT of helicopter seeds.


So my question to all of you is, anybody know of a country anywhere that accepts these as currency?

Or perhaps some well off nature conversationalist groups are looking to start a forest somewhere?

Anybody on Etsy looking to mass produce their helicopter seed art?

Maybe a flight school with a severe budget is trying to teach future helicopter pilots about airflow, rotation, lift, and all that sort of stuff?

Or maybe one of you out there is in more of a Breaking Bad type situation and and knows the exact chemistry to turn these bad boys into something a little more addicting?

I'm just saying I have plenty. PLENTY.

I don't even know if there are animals that eat them.Certainly not around here.

Anyway, with no working leaf blower in sight, I swept them all up into a pile on the driveway.

 Nobody should ever have that many helicopter seeds. I can't give you an exact quantity, but there are enough here to fill two and a half garbage cans.

And what a waste. All because I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with them.

Well... except for the one thing.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A salty piece of land

I should preface this in saying that I know it's a bad idea and destructive for at least a couple of environments on Earth. But just of the sake of conversation, I woke up thinking about the polar ice caps. I can't imagine why. Last night I fell asleep contemplating the idea that I don't read as well as I used to. My dreams mostly consisted of having parasites in my intestines (which turned out to be the worm thingies from Tremors). 

But for whatever reason I woke up contemplating the polar ice caps shrinking at an alarming rate, the ocean levels rising, polar bears drowning, and the entire planet baking as a result.

"Okay," I thought. "I'm sick of this shit. I need to rebuild the ice caps right fucking now."

Why this duty fell solely on me, an amateur author with minimal scientific experience and no previous travel to anywhere polar, I really couldn't say. But in my pre-coffee haze I couldn't think of anybody else to tackle the problem. Surely not the well studied individuals who understand the ice caps. All those guys think about is the problem and -dammit- we need a solution.

I started to consider my resources.

My first thought was that the ice cube maker in my freezer was pretty full. Since we moved into this house, I doubt it's ever once been even half empty. So all this time I've had ice on hand, perfectly suited polar purposes and I've been too lazy to donate it.

But would that really help? I mean, even if I managed to get all that ice North, tweet about it, and get everybody else with a freezer to do the same, it's still ice. If there's one thing we know about ice in the North, it melts. A lot. At increasing rates every year.

But it also keeps wildlings out...

...I spent a moment considering that if the people of Westeros -who can't even go a single wedding without somebody being raped or murdered- could ban together to build a snow fort, in spite of winter just ending and there probably being very, very few of them, then surely the people of Earth muster up the tolerance to do the same. I mean, obviously Canada is going to have to do most of the heavy lifting on this one, but the rest of us can chip in as well.

There was still the problem of the ice though. If everything keeps melting the way it likes to, all that effort is only adding to the problem. We lost all that ice in our freezers and probably made the oceans rise a little bit higher than they would've before. So anything water based is probably a bad idea. We need some alternative to ice with similar properties but able to withstand the heat.

At first I considered the idea of staking out thousands of white, reflective sheets to reflect the Sun's rays. But the logistics seemed awful. They'll get covered in snow. They'll rip. Heavy winds will knock them out of place. And most of the world is capitalist. There's nobody around who's going to continuously manufacture and transport tons and tons of giant sheets without a pretty solid profit. And nobody else is going to want to finance those greedy bastards. So I needed a more permanent solution. Something solid, white, reflective, able to withstand heat, easily mass produced, and cheap.

When the bright spot on Saturn's moon, Ceres, was discovered astronomers were considering the possibility that it was composed of ice or salt. Just look at how much it's reflecting the Sun's rays.

Gandhi led the Salt March in 1930, in which thousands of people protested against British rule in India by making salt along the shores of the Arabian Sea. The British had a monopoly on salt, forcing people to purchase it. To which Gandhi said something along the lines of, "Oh yeah?! Well -KAPOW- I don't need your stupid salt!" Actually, I'm pretty sure those were his exact words. But for our purposes that doesn't matter. The point is simply that making salt is easy and pretty much anybody can do it.

Let me again say that I know this is a terrible idea. I definitely lack any sort of qualifications to suggest an actual good idea. But hear me out. Don't take me seriously. But hear me out.

As far as reflecting the sun's rays, from a far enough distance, salt is very similarly reflective. And we have oceans full of it. We have way more salt than we even know what to do with. More than we could use in thousands of life times. Not to mention that the current ice caps are the world's largest supply of fresh water.

Have any of you been to California recently? The water situation isn't pretty. And the same goes for, well, pretty much everywhere. We need fresh water. The ice caps have it. But we can't take anything without replacing it because we still need to keep Earth within a certain temperature range and reflect those damn, dirty cosmic rays.

Now, there's still the problem of the world's oceans rising. We're taking all that ice and cultivating fresh water, which will no doubt pour back into the oceans. I haven't done the math here (but if you pass this blog around enough somebody will, and likely win an award for actually freaking doing it), but if we desalinate the oceans enough to make artificial polar caps, surely that will lower the water levels. Enough? Maybe not. But keep desalinating. Build a giant salt wall to protect us from those pesky wildlings. We'll get there. Remove a component from a solution, and everything that remains won't fill as much space.

Let's say we make too much salt and the world starts to freeze? We find ourselves a shovel and dump it back into the oceans. 

Yes, just one shovel. At least if we can find one big enough. Otherwise, maybe a few.

Okay, so we stopped the oceans from rising, brought fresh water to the people, and figured out how to manipulate the polar caps enough to turn them into a giant, natural thermostat. But in doing so we're creating several other problems. Or at least one glaring problem I only have wise-ass solutions for. If we desalinate all of the oceans, we destroy the natural environment for not only all the animals and both documentary film makers who live on the polar ice caps, we also wipe out everything living in the oceans who survive at specific salinity levels. Sure. For some species that isn't a problem. For most, it is. And there are several schools of thought on how to handle this. One, we were killing those guys anyway so let's just finish the job and be done with it. Two, would we even be taking enough salt to negatively impact their lives? Let's chance it. And three, it's not enough to play god and manipulate the world to our advantage. All life is important and we must commune with our environment. Saving humanity is meaningless if we don't protect everything else and history shows that every single time we think otherwise is devastating for both us and all of nature. Just look at the peppered moths and the industrial revolution. 

So clearly I'm in the third school of thought. And I'm open to options. Let's pretend my bad idea is actually a good one, and something we as a whole could actually manage. While we're at it, just how many natural preserves will we be needing?

See, that's not fun enough. Sectioning off animals into giant zoos and such while maintaining controlled populations. Come on. This is a blog about saving the world by replacing the ice caps with absurd quantities of salt. Let's get wild with it.

So, given what we know about evolution, bacteria, plants, and animals, manipulating an environment over a long period of time allows species to change and adapt. Life will find a way. It's why yesterdays bacteria can't survive antibiotics while today's c-diff infections are pretty much invincible, and tomorrow's bacterial infections will probably kill most of us well before we're able to solve the polar ice cap problem. It's also why wolves in captivity produce offspring that -after several generations- become cuter and more domesticated. And it's also why tapeworms don't have brains and certain peppered moths survived the industrial revolution. 

So I hypothesize (sidenote: quick lesson for some of you to puzzle over: Why didn't I say, "In theory?") that if we were to desalinate and alter the environment at a slow enough rate, most species salinity tolerances will adjust over multiple generations. Sure, we're still kind of sort of wiping out all the current animals, but technically that's supposed to happen anyway. Survival of the fittest. We're forcing evolution and progress. Not ours. We're still the dicks that slowly killed the world and had to completely change it in order to keep ourselves going. But perhaps the only evolutionary direction left for our species is done through education and technical achievement. But as stated, this is a really terrible idea and I have no idea what I'm talking about. So don't pay attention to me.

Next on the problem list is that if our oceans won't have as much salt. At least on the surface. I assume any salt we'd be taking would more or less be skimming the surface and the deeper into the oceans you go, the saltier they get. So I assume this means the oceans would be more likely to freeze in places, possibly cutting off shipping routes and creating hazardous waters with ice burgs and such. Technically, if we outdo ourselves here we'll turn the entire planet into a giant ice ball. Again, I offer the suggestion that we need tons of fresh water anyway, so if it starts to happen, cut back on the desalination and... I dunno... maybe feature Penguin and Mr. Freeze as villains in Batman comics more often as a way of communicating the cultural climate? (hue hue hue)

But as long as I'm being ridiculous, Mars colonization seems to be a topic trending these days. I read that NASA was looking for possible ideas for colonizing mars. Let's say we over do it with the ice once we've saved the world? Well, other planetary colonies surely are going to need bunches of water. And I'm no scientist, but my understanding is that space is pretty darn cold. So while most of us have considered the possibility of transporting water in some giant container to Mars, it'd probably be a lot easier to launch of bunch of small glaciers into orbit, force some accretion, and then use a few rockets to hurl a giant-ass snowball at our neighboring planets. Make them big enough and we'll increase the mass of Mars enough to alter the atmosphere and maintain large bodies of water.

Again, we have more ocean than we know what to do with.

Of course, if we increase Mars' mass, we're decreasing Earth's mass, and therefore its gravitational forces. So we as a species won't weigh as much on Earth, have lower blood pressure, and over time be better suited for interstellar travel. Unless you're of the mind that people in space need to be really, really fat to survive extended periods of time

So that's my solution. We salt the polar ice caps, make a bunch of fresh water, save the world, colonize Mars, and see the universe. For a flat out bad idea, that's really doesn't sound too terrible.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

On tipping scales in the face of adversity

I weighed myself today at 178lbs.

This means I'm officially 86% of the total amount of Keith Blenman the world has ever known.

And I lost the weight the natural way.

I had a C-diff infection, shat myself raw for several months and developed IBS, and therefore the blandest diet known to man until my body decides to start acting like its old self again.

The doctors tell me this may or may not ever happen.

Anyway, you're down to about 86% of a Keith, world. And that's pretty much how I feel.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Inner monologue, day 12,533/?

For what it's worth (and we both know it's never been noteworthy), you are the smallest, least significant person on the face of the Earth. But do you even care any more?

Every time you cross paths with someone else, you're always the one to step out of the way. Always. You don't say hello because you're not someone worth saying hello to.

Your life is going nowhere.

Let me say that again. Your life is going nowhere.

The two most governing forces of your identity are fear and weakness. Every word spoken, every joke cracked, every conversation attempted is suffocated by self depreciating anxiety before you can even open your mouth.

You can't even hold a conversation any more, you're so wrapped up in being worried about what to say. You don't have a mind to speak of because the only thought left is that if you die in your sleep tonight it won't make a single difference for anybody.

The world will keep moving. Your greatest achievements will remain invisible to the rest of the world. You don't matter. Nothing matters. Even if you had something to say, how dare you have the audacity to pretend any of it was worth being listened to.

You are nothing.

You are nothing.

You are nothing.

Just another unloved, empty husk fearing death as if it's going to be anything other than a ceasing of that fear. The only thing less noteworthy in this world than your life is going to be your death.

I give it six years from that day before you're forgotten by everything. Only because I'm being generous.

Another day of being sick. Another day of being afraid. You've given up on yourself and everybody knows it. You can tell because nobody's reaching. Nobody's trying to lift you up. They're all just watching you slowly suffocate yourself in these dismal, lonely thoughts. Why save the drowned rat?

The whole world is moving on and there's no place for you. There never was. You're the man who gets out of the way.

You'd be pitiful if you were worth a lingering thought.

Small, sad, nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Just a husk going through the motions of being a man. But not much of one. Something insignificant going through the motions of pretending to find meaning.

There's no point in screaming from the rooftops when people have better things to worry about than your sorry voice.

Small, sad, pathetic. Doesn't even know how to speak anymore. The forgettable little nobody, only seen in the moments when he trips over his own foot. A stupid, little husk.

After thirty four years, you'd think whatever chemical imbalance in my brain would find something else to think about. Why not movies? I like movies. Why can't it just think about them?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pondering during a c diff infection

To shit or not to shit. That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler behind my sack to suffer the farts and brewing of inglorious indigestion or take arms against the sea of troubles and by holding it end them. To shit, to fart no more- and by fart to say we end the ass ache, and a thousand ripple shocks that air moves flesh to. Tis an evacuation devoutly to be wished. To fart, to shit- to shit, perhaps to wipe. Aye, there's the rub. For in that shit of death what stinks might come when we have blasted out some brown coil, and gives us pause. There's a respect to the anus that make so long of turd.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Excerpt from my bucket list

Bucket List is a phrase I've been hearing more and more lately. To the point that I thought I should start my own. The thing of it is, I can only come up with so much at a time. And while I could post the entire thing as one long blog I thought it might be more fun to present small portions of it every now and again. So as part of an ongoing series, here are two items I'd like to experience before I die:

#13 - Eat an entire box of thin mint Girl Scout cookies without any feelings of regret afterward. Particularly the regret of knowing that I now possess one less box of Girl Scout cookies.

#29 - Hold something of either extreme importance or value for a long, lingering moment and then casually toss it into a large, metal drum. Followed by a Molotov cocktail.