Happy New Year!

Yayyyyy! It's the first day of the new year. 

Well, ok, MY new year. November 1 is when I start a new book, so it's the start of a new work year. Luckily I finished the last work October 30, so I am completely free to write this book and not have to worry about previous work. That's the rule. Write one, finish one. Finishing doesn't always have to be the same work as the written one, but November 1 - 30 one book must be written.

I've had my seven cups of coffee this morning, I've paid the bills (most of them) and now I must get into the characters brains. That means doing things like this. Wow, I'm less than twelve hours into this thing and already procrastinating. ahahaha, no not really. This is part of the process. What's the story about? I decided a lighthearted book would be nice. So...

Sezzi is an alien. A small, insignificant alien. Well, her parents and everyone around her hopes she's insignificant. That's what they want to be. They want to be small, simple, insignificant people. But Sezzi doesn't really want to be insignificant, and no one tells her WHY, so she does what she wants, when she wants, how she wants. 

....Did I say this was lighthearted? Maybe I should get to the lighthearted part.

Sezzi's race lives on a little planet with other little people. Their little planet is surrounded by a large asteroid belt and outside of the asteroid belt is a bigger planet. Not just bigger but a BIG planet. This planet is filled with BIG people. A big planet with big ideas. The whole place is filled with HUGE IMPRESSIVE things!

See? Lighthearted.

Sezzi's curiosity, piqued by her uncles tales of secret daring is going to take her on a journey to the big planet. Through the asteroid belt, she'll travel right there. Fun right?

BUT.

Uh oh, you are starting ruin my vibe here.

When she goes through the asteroid belt, she inadvertently shows someone else the way to get through. This someone else is not so nice. In fact, by the time Sezzi realizes what she's done, they will have put her whole little planet in quite a lot of jeopardy.

Ahh. So not all lighthearted. But I swear, there are really great parts. Like the Light Sail ships, magnificent space whales, tiny cute little space fish pets, the majestic beauty of the Big Planet and...did I mention this? No? Oh yes... the people on the Little Planet? Well...all their wishes become real. It's...complicated.

Becoming a book soon. 

#NaNoWriMo

Audio is ready for Betas!

Who knew that trying to get a book ready for audio publishing was so HARD?  I...did not. My attempt at recording of The Hunger Inside failed miserably, but I am lucky in that the recording and editing software since I made that attempt has improved dramatically. I was able to record all the short stories in Eclectic Reflections Of Now, then edited, and processed them myself. 

Now I need some help. I'd like people to listen to just one story and let me know what they think. All stories are fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Here is a brief rundown:

A collection of literary fiction, fantasy and science fiction short stories written from 1989 through 2016. Through fiction, these short stories reflect some of the changes that we have seen in the world. From the innocence of youth through the heartbreak of war and the ongoing decimation of our planet's ecosystem, each story contains a unique viewpoint intended to connect audiences with the hopes and fears that many societies face today.
The audiobook will also includes a peek into the fantasy novel "Hunchback" (not available for Beta)

  1. New Planet: Apocalyptic tale (1hr)
  2. Forgotten Heroes: Literary fictional account in WWII (8 mins)
  3. The Dragon Master: Sci-fi with dragons (35 mins)
  4. Holiday Values: Literary Fiction about being an immigrant (46 mins)
  5. When I am Old: Sci-fi account of an author who has come to a nursing home (11 mins)
  6. Machines Of War: Sci-fi about building the most destructive bomb ever created (40 mins)
  7. In Death: Sci-fi battle between a tiny invader and a civilian living on the edge (9 mins)
  8. Unicorn: Pure innocent fantasy. Written in 1989. (6 mins)

To participate, you can click Contact here on the website, you can also catch my post on Google Plus or Facebook. Files will be made available for download in MP3 format.

Update on Eclectic Reflections of Now

Eclectic Reflections of Now, my new short story book is almost done! yayyyyy! I am still on schedule for a release late February. I have recorded this in an audio book form as well and I am really hoping to release both the ebook and the audio book at the same time. The audio book is currently in editing and should be complete in a few days.  In the meantime, please enjoy this audio tidbit from: DragonMaster.

 

The Day After (Trump got elected)

A short story within the book "To Be or Not To be" scheduled for release 2017

The Day After

The face on the screen was old, lined with wrinkles. She had sparse, wispy gray hair, but her eyes were a twinkling blue. Jorge couldn't help but make the comparison with the "ideal caucasian" theory. Jorge listened carefully to the old woman's words in the interview that had happened before Jorge was even born.

"The day after the election? Oh, goodness that was long ago. I think...we were all in shock a bit. At least those of us who were disappointed with the result. Lots of us who had not voted for him remained inside, especially those who were vulnerable."

The old woman's facial expression changed, becoming distasteful, as if she had bitten down on something very difficult to swallow.

"People of color, and especially the LGBT crowd in my neighborhood. And you have to understand we had a good neighborhood...they all just...withdrew. The man who ran the burrito restaurant, he..he closed down almost immediately. There was a lot of noise about some states seceding, chaotic protesting."

Her lips twitched, "The Canadian immigration site crashed. I think...it would have been hilarious...if it had turned out differently."

A disembodied voice off camera spoke, "And how did it turn out?"

The old woman waved a hand, "Oh, it..was..scary. But not immediately! Oh no. A few days, a week afterward and people had to go to work. There's only so long you can play sick out of despair. Outwardly, it all seemed to just, go back to normal. But there was this undertone. Like after having 8 years of hope, a piece of people's hearts had been ripped out. It was an ugly undertone. Even in our little community we had those who celebrated the result and that undertone caused those who were….different….to be scared."

"What happened after that? Can you tell me?"

Now her face displayed sadness.

"We...I wish we had done more to prevent it. It started with the usual policy changes. Rollbacks of certain decisions. At the time I felt lucky that he didn't have more power. I mean, what was it to me that certain people couldn't use my bathroom? What did I care if more hunters had access to automatic weapons? I didn't carry a gun and it wasn't permitted to fire a weapon inside our community limits. These were all little gifts to his cronies that had helped him get where he was. What was scary was the set-up for further policy. He was a sneaky bastard that one. While we'd all been complaining that politicians didn't consider the long term, he had a list a mile long of things to make his empire last."

The disembodied voice started to ask but she began speaking again. Her eyes drifting upwards into her memories.

"His tax policy seemed kind. He took only a quarter of a percent from everyone, but it was every single person. There was no accounting for social or economic status. It all went upwards, never down. We were all supporting the biggest three companies in the entire country, and it wasn't long before he owned those companies. Of course we didn't know that. He was very good at crushing media hype. He allowed certain things through, and it wasn't always good, just enough to make sure people watched him, paid attention to him. As the years passed and he gained more control over the government through the judicial branch than we had ever seen, we asked ourselves how did this happen? And we had no answer. Instead of improving the electoral voting system, he provisioned the system through his supporters that broke up voting into sectors. The sectors that supported his policies got more votes. The popular vote became just a figure. It didn't even matter anymore. Our votes didn't matter. And then…."

Her voice got rough and her eyes filled with tears.

"And then came the next four years. And he was celebrated. By so many.  And it seemed so NORMAL! Our children still went to school, but slowly their access to higher education depended upon testing that told them what they should do. Slowly, instead of us controlling what our representatives did, we found the representatives controlled what we did through manipulation. Even when the evidence produced was not based in reality, if a trusted figure tells you A causes B therefore avoid A...you tend to believe it right? And the pressure, the constant pressure from everyone around that believes it, even if it's tripe! All our trusted representatives began to disappear, replaced by those who were allied with him. And they began to call him The Great Man."

"And...after the next four years?"

"Oh, he didn't even have to be president to be in power after that. He was lauded as the man who made our country great. He had done it. He had fulfilled his promise to us. He brought in jobs, he reduced crime, he stabilized industry. The president after him barely even mattered."

"You seem upset. Would you like to stop?"

She dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief, taking a deep breath, "No. No thank you. This is so important. The truth is important, no matter how hard it is."

"Ok. So how is life different now than when you were young?'

"When I was forty, there were so many different stores and people in our community. Every street was different, every store, every house was individual. We had supermarkets and specialty markets. Over the years stores have become much less individual. Where we might have had a super market downtown, and then a mediterranean store north of town, a german store to the east and an asian market to the south, now we have only generalized supermarkets at regular intervals through almost every city everywhere."

The disembodied voice questioned, "But..wouldn't different kinds of markets be confusing?"

"And that was the reasoning! Instead of a city bustling with all sorts of variety, our cities became...homogenous. TEll me young man. When you look around your neighborhood, what kind of people do you see?"

"Oh...well..this isn't really about me."

The old woman shook her head, "No, this is meant as an example of the change that has occurred. Just answer the question."

"Well, I...see journalists. And I think there are some lawyers down the street. Not many couples and no kids for sure. We aren't set up for children. No schools nearby."

She nodded vigorously, "Exactly! These people are all like you. When I was young, the people in our neighborhoods were all so different. We had people who had been born there, and then we had people from India, from Europe, from Mexico, from Canada, from so many places and different backgrounds. It was interesting."

"But, wasn't it difficult? All those different people."

"Yes. It was. And it was wonderful because none of us had the same views and when we took a moment to step back and consider what it was that made us different, it made us feel special and important to know someone else who wasn't like us. And we didn't agree. We didn't agree on how or where the homeless should be housed, we didn't agree on how taxes should be spent, and we didn't agree on well...very much at all. But we found compromise. The compromise led to new ways of thinking, of doing things, new ways of learning. We made each other better."

The disembodied voice became slightly argumentative, "How could that make anything better though? If no one really got along well? Now we all know our responsibilities, we know exactly how our money works, and we know where it goes. We know who uses what and everyone has a job. How is that bad?"

The old woman sighed, "Young man, when was the last time a major invention was announced? Besides virtual reality and the automatic car, when was the last time someone came up with a new computer, or delved into a new math theory. The last new elements were discovered in 2016! That was sixty years ago. What happened to the space stations, the robotic planetary explorers? When was the last time we sent a rocket into space?"

The camera view shifted as the old woman lifted herself up and walked toward the window with careful steps. Her wrinkled old hand reached out toward the glass.

"There is a reason we have TWO walls encompassing the entire of Central America young man. There is a reason we no longer have communications with anyone in Africa, and that our trade with China is strictly regulated. I assure you it is not terrorism. This homogenization of our country is not a portend of success. It is a blazing neon sign of doom. So long as we plant those trees only in rows instead of letting them grow organically, we will reap nothing but the same boring reward, for the rest of humanity's existence. Until something comes along to smack us in the face."

--

Jorge watched the interview fade, "And then the Eoirkoran came."

Sam's voice echoed solemnly, "And then the Eoirkoran came. Humanity was forced to adapt again, to improve in fear of being wiped out by another space faring species. But along with the Eoirkoran's new knowledge came the knowledge that inconvenient people could be taken care of wholesale. The people that the woman knew early in her life would have been horrified. But by the time she grew to be one hundred, even that young journalist interviewing her had no idea that there were even people who were sexually differentiated from himself."

"You mean people who wanted to be with people of their own sex?"

Sam grunted in agreement, "And those who were bisexual or transexual. Those people didn't "exist" in his world anymore."

"That's why she said the change was scary."

"Yes Jorge."

 

 

 

Firefly

So my husband says, "I don't understand why anyone likes that show."

And I have to wonder why I liked it. Why do I like it still?

The music, fiddle/violin all jaunty one moment, sad and sweet the next.

Was it the cowboy guns with bullets, space guns with lasers, or was it the interaction in the crew? The crew that reminded me so much of Star Trek. Humor and danger and moral conflict. Every single person with a distinct character.  Dangerous space captain, elegant women who think for themselves, a slightly idiotic/typical enforcer, a preacher who doesn't ever preach. A kid with "magical" powers of the mind.  

These people were forever getting into trouble and scraping themselves off the floor with a spatula. But they kept coming back. Is that it? That they just didn't give up? No, I know what it was. The ship. That beautiful little rust bucket that was one step ahead of soaring into a black hole and never coming back. She must have been something back when she was new, all shiny and sparkly, like a real Firefly. Then she spent her latter years serenely soaring through the stars, a partner in crime. She had a personality, just like Enterprise. She turned into another realistic home for us.

Yes. That was it. The writing that allowed us to just sail off in a very realistic spaceship, almost as if it was us, ourselves. We could all see ourselves actually doing something stupid like hijacking alliance goods or doing some backyard smuggling deal. Using a ship to just jaunt through the galaxy.....I wanted to do that. Many people wanted to do that. Someday our descendants will actually get that opportunity. 

What a glorious daydream. 

I did it. I'm a good mom.

This morning, I woke up at 3am. My first thought was "Hey, what a great time to pay bills!" and then I agreed with myself. 

Yeah, so that's how the day started. I paid bills, then I hovered, playing games, watching Sword Art Online, until I managed to bother my husband enough to get up with me. We changed the guinea pigs blankets and I hovered some more. 

I started to wonder if I could REALLY do it. If I could let go long enough to let Talon walk away from me. I made him some eggs and toast, but none of us really ate much. We made sure he had packed everything, was dressed appropriately, had his paperwork, and then we got ready to get into the car.  We went from this:

To the airport where he checked in, his monkey in his backpack. He did fine on his own at the desk. 

and then another photo. 

We ate a bit, but I didn't eat very much. I had waves of nausea mixed with a vague suspicion in the back of my brain that there was something very wrong about this situation. I held it off with promises of chocolate and ice cream. And then his Rotary officer Barbara joined us in saying goodbye to him. I am immensely grateful to these wonderful people who helped make this happen for him.

And then it was time. I hugged and kissed him, watched him go through security.....

One last wave, and he walked away through the crowd to his gate. And then my brain realized that the promises of chocolate and ice cream were all bullshit. I had just allowed my little boy to walk further away from me than he'd ever been. 7,416 miles according to Google.

The first 30 miles home were hell. All the way to our favorite restaurant my brain screamed full volume. "YOU JUST LEFT YOUR INFANT SON AT THE AIRPORT AND YOU HAVE TO GO BACK FOR HIM!!!!!"

Which of course isn't true. He's not an infant. He doesn't need minding like a child. He's 16, he's fine. But my brain doesn't believe that. It pulled every emotional trick in the book to get me to go back, and I kept driving. This of course led to comfort eating. Not the promised chocolate and ice cream, but it was enough. I made it home. 

Now I can drink beer in my underwear, eat popcorn all day, and have the knowledge that my home is safe from Windows for a whole year as well as my wallet because I don't have to buy endless bags of rice and noodles to feed a growing teenager. I did it. I let go. I was a good mom.

Dear Jill Stein

Dear Jill Stein,

This election has been the first truly stressful election for me. I hate politics being referred to as a game. A game is something that is not supposed to be taken seriously. This affects our lives. It's not a game.  The media treats elections as it's own special opinionated playground when they should be restricting their reporting to facts. Then the behavior of some candidates has been atrocious.

Bernie Sanders political schooling, activism, public interaction, and experience as a long running elected official made me very confident that his intentions to champion equality, schooling, and progress, were well founded and reasonable. I was more than willing to support Bernie Sanders all the way through this election.

Unfortunately, there are people who do not want to play "by the rules." They must resort to humiliation, manipulation, and outright lies to get what they want. Hillary Clinton has proven that these are tools she is willing to utilize. The DNC has proven they are willing to utilize these tools. I have no proof that Bernie Sanders had any part in anything the DNC had planned. Because he was the vilified party, it is reasonable to believe he was not. Bernie did, however, encourage people to vote for Hillary Clinton. I cannot do this.

I feel I have to draw a line somewhere. I have to support someone. I cannot choose the "least of all evils." Voting for Hillary Clinton would be like walking back into a job where I had been purposely abused and asking them to take another shot at me. There is no reason to believe that Hillary will keep any promise OR that she can actually act upon her own volition. Even the media is posting photos of her husband, not her. Having been proven she will break the rules out of sheer greed, she cannot be trusted.

I know that voting for Donald Trump would be supporting another Hitler. He is a racist, sexist, bigoted man who has control issues and lies constantly, switching to whatever he thinks someone wants to hear at the moment. He has a scary amount of charisma to those who want to listen to him. When he speaks his own words, they do not make any logical sense or reason. He denies  He is nothing more than another flag waving extremist ready to use the United States for his own inconsiderate needs.

While you do not have the same political education, nor broad sweeping political clout that Bernie Sanders has, your education from Harvard is equally acceptable as Bernie Sanders. Your medical practice and activism tells me that you  have had significant interaction with the general public. That is, you have had interaction with the public that requires your help. You are not likely to ignore scientific evidence about global warming, environmental issues, medical proof, or social issues.

Other candidates such as Gary Johnson competed for my attention, however there are some concerns that will not leave me alone. Gary Johnson has made millions of dollars and he has nowhere near the public interaction I consider sufficient to understand the daily problems that those of us who need help the most.

The people in our society who need help are those who are the most vulnerable. As well, we need to move to a global society, not the flag waving insular United States we have become. We used to welcome people of all backgrounds, and now those people are afraid of us. It's not right. We can't get to space without cooperation with other countries, we can't even feed the American people without the assistance of other countries. Pushing them away makes no sense.

Perhaps we can stop killing our citizens, get our education back on track, and allow people to stop being afraid, Because every one of our population is important. I understand that no candidate, even you, will be 100% perfect, but with Bernie having walked out of the arena, I am looking to you to keep fighting on the behalf of all Americans who need your influence.

Author Sharon Bayliss holding a contest!

So...I have to come out of the part of my personal closet. I ... LOVE....contests. No seriously, if the prize is a book or food, I am there. I'll go do the dance of the seven veils for Hades for that stuff. Tshirts? Meh, not always...unless they are linux tshirts...and then I AM SO THERE!!!! 

When I saw a post by Sharon Bayliss on Facebook announcing a contest that involved gardening, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It's a contest...to win a book...and I get to grow something!

**SQUEE!!** I mean win or lose I still win because I get to grow something!

Ok. Enough fangurling. I signed right up and yesterday I received a package containing an envelope and a lily bulb. 

Now... wait...what? Who is Sharon Bayliss? Ahh...soonest mended my friend. 

Sharon Bayliss: Author of The December People series in which people fall outside the norm. Those who are different are considered "dark wizards."

In Destruction, David Vandergraff rediscovers his two lost children who have undergone terrible abuse. To his shock, the children not only claim to be dark wizards, but his wife admits she and David himself are also dark wizards. David must now keep the family together while dealing with the knowledge that they may all fall into the category of "evil."

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Watch Me Burn David must continue to battle his own personal demons about being a dark winter wizard, but also a missing girl that David believes he can help save. The situation is made more difficult by his daughters resentment that he seems to care so much about the missing girl.

"As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win."

 

 

 

 

The third book in the December People series "A Taste of Death and Honey" will be out June 20, 2016 and I am hoping to snag myself a copy! Which is why I took out that little lily bulb and put that puppy in my super-sekrit-proprietarykindofnotreally growing mix. I hope that my touch of magical love will give this lily the impetus it needs to become a beautiful bloom. :) 

 

If you want to find out more about Sharon Bayliss, take a look at their website at:

www.sharonbayliss.com

Sharon's Amazon page where you can purchase all their books: http://goo.gl/9jzysZ

and Sharon's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/authorsharonbayliss/

And may you too have a magical day! :D

Back to Normal

We are back from Las Vegas. The main point in going was to meet up with my husbands friend Sid. Sid is a slick looker, but he is an incredibly gentle human being with a big heart.  He has a wonderful sense of humor as well. I am happy to call him my friend too. 

My tastes in vacations have changed a huge amount, however. Las Vegas just was not for us. It was crowded and pushy. The noise was constant no matter where we went. We got nickle and dimed to death the whole time. Although we did have a few good moments in the Lego store, in the Hard Rock Cafe,  we just wound up feeling overwhelmed most of the time. I far prefer the beach or the forest. 

Most people who have traveled with me have noted my increasing discomfort with airplanes over the years. This time it came to a head. The slightest bit of turbulence on the way back to Portland sent me into helpless, and humiliating, tears. So I did the only thing I could do, I wrote. 

"How Is It?"

How is it that the strongest of medications no longer work? I weep public tears of humiliation when there is the slightest tremor. Yet I have flown a military jet strapped in sideways and thought nothing of the tremors that now threaten to send me into hysterics.

I feel such a weakling. A child who knows no better. An ignorant savage who does not trust the technology she espouses.

Are there really no atheists in foxholes? Am I calling for some god to save my physical being or perhaps just something to keep me from being afraid of the fear itself.. I wonder. I do not wish to die. I am afraid every moment I will do so. I have confidence in those who do this every day, but can I trust the machine itself. The construct my brain has come up with to replace this comfortable airplane. Every tremor sends me into a paroxym of fear. please...please...please... Who am I begging? What am I really afraid of? Is it that I haven't finished life yet, or that it (death) might be painful?  I control nothing. I know this.  Yes, that is what I am most fearful of. That I really do not control my own destiny, my own fate. I want to control that.

Absolutely.


But the fear ends eventually, and we made it safely to the ground. The kindness of an ex sonar-tech kept my attention through the worst of the descent. My thanks. And now things are getting back to normal. Our two guinea pigs are back in their big cages for which they are enormously grateful. I have my computer, my comfortable seat, my quiet house, my Oregonian neighborhood. We've got some nice photos and great memories with Sid :D

Bowie? Yeah, lets talk about David...Bowie.

I never went to a Bowie concert. Never heard him live, never met him. Yet David Bowie was the same part of my life that he was to millions of others. I watched his videos, I listened to his music. I was entranced by the way he wove his art. 

In Blackstar we see lots of images, very very Bowie like. Not always understandable, at first. But I can see lots that makes sense to me. I see lots of imagery that occurs from his entire career, his life.  

Now I note that there are lots of people out there with their own take on the imagery that Bowie put out in this video. Some people have said it's based in the occult. I don't agree with this. Though David Bowie did take inspiration from the occult, from Kabbalah, even from Judaism...I think that's where it ended. I don't think he took occultism or any religion very seriously. I think I take occultism more seriously than Bowie, I offer up a pomegranate every winter for the Gods sake. 

Symbolism was a big part of David Bowie's work. In the beginning of Blackstar we are seeing an astronaut very far from home. Has Major Tom landed on some other world, dying there after leaving the bounds of Earth? He got farther than anyone else ever did.  Surely Major Tom did a MAJOR thing for the human race. He surpassed his tin box. 

Blackstar then shows us what appears to be a woman walking toward Major Tom's corpse with an eclipsed sun in the background. On second look, however, the woman has very masculine features, a cleft chin, a strong nose. If this is a woman, it's a VERY strong woman. And the tail seems to mark them not as a woman, but as some evolved form far in the future. They walk with the assurance of a person who knows exactly what they are doing. 

One of the reasons I don't like popular rap is because rap artists scream at me. I don't want people to tell me what to be, what to think, what to do. And I really hate being yelled at.  I want someone like Bowie who is enticing me to think. "Look at this Linda. These people, they're shaking. What does that mean to you?"

David, people shake when they are scared. When they are so scared there is nothing left but to just stand and shake. It's almost like these people are afraid of life itself. This woman knows what she wants. She just goes and gets it.   Whether the interpretation is right or wrong, I've been forced to think about it. 

Holding that book up, Bowie is offering me his whole life story. "Read my story and then be free. Be free and write your own story."  Bowie spent his whole life trying to be his own person. He wanted to be who he wanted to be, say what he wanted to say, do what he wanted to do. 

Major Tom wound up far from home, but he escaped the boundaries of Earth.  And when I see that castle, the fortress that I am positive could be nothing other than the fortress from Labyrinth, it's very nostalgic. 

It is fitting, so very fitting, that when I search the BBC for news about David Bowie's album, what I see is quite possibly the best tribute of all.


Shots. omg...shots.

I have to go get a shot. An immunization shot. I am not a fan of this. But it's necessary. A Tdap shot is a vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).  Now when I say I'm not a fan, what I really mean to say is that I am pooped scared of the needle. Getting blood taken from me is one thing, but actually putting something IN is totally different. It's like a violation. 

But then I think of the alternative. Tetanus, or lockjaw causes stiffness of the jaw, possible seizures, involuntary muscle spasms in the stomach area (like doing hundreds of sit-ups and not being able to stop), high blood pressure, difficulty swallowing...oh yeah, then there's that death thing. I've seen cows with tetanus. Untreated they walk around with their tongues hanging out woodenly, drooling like mad, until they fall over and start seizing, and then they die. It's awful.

Diptheria aka throat distemper...Sore throat, fever, weakness, trouble breathing because of the junk that congeals in your throat. In 1735 an epidemic swept through New Hampshire. Almost 50% of the children in one town died in that epidemic. It wouldn't be until 1826 that it would have a name, and it wouldn't be until 1883 that that the bacteria would be identified. Effective immunization didn't occur until the 1920's. 

Whooping cough, obviously...a cough, but a particular kind of cough. When you breathe back in it sounds like you're making a whooping sound. That's because the breath is slowly being squeezed out of you. The coughing gets so bad you literally can't stop. You vomit violently and the respiratory damage can cause secondary problems such as pneumonia. Seizures, brain damage, and death can follow. A preventative vaccine wouldn't be available until 1930. I think what is most scary about Pertussis is that the single most vulnerable age range is infant. Imagine that..an infant with an uncontrollable cough, perhaps dying from lack of oxygen.

When I think about these diseases, it scares me. It scares me because I take the opportunity to cuddle other kids. I'm all too happy to hold an infant for a few minutes for an overwhelmed mom. If I were to be the one to pass on these diseases because I was selfish enough to refuse to protect myself, I'm not sure that's something I could live with.

So the vaccine, while scary, is something I can live with. And this is how I do it. When I go into the lab, I will ask for two minutes, just two minutes to close my eyes and envision that I am a fucking superhero. I am going to get this shot and it's going to give me my own special superhero power.

Yeah...silly. Insanely silly to imagine myself like that. But c'mon. I'm a geek. If I could walk in there with a costume on, I'd do it. Every once in awhile, I gotta get this shot to make sure that I can use my superpower. But I have to hide it from the government, because if they knew, you know, they'd want to dissect me. So after my shot I give the nurse a wink and say "Thanks" as if we've just conspired and she's my undercover hook up. 

And suddenly, it doesn't hurt so bad anymore and I feel a little better about the world. 



Peas Are The New Beef (review of Beyond Meat)

As a foodie, I'm always out to try the "new thing" and today when I saw a video for Beyond meat 100% plant protein meat, it intrigued me enough that I thought, "Sure, why not?"

The video explained how it wasn't just vegetables smushed together like most grain or veg burgers. It was proteins extracted from the source. The Beast Burger is Pea Protein Isolate. Basically they extract the proteins from peas and put them together into a format which is supposed to taste like and feel like, beef.

Well, even right out of the package, these looked a lot like beef patties.

The smell off the frozen patty is reminiscent of bbq sauce. Slightly smokey and sweet.  They cooked up well. They juiced a tiny bit, didn't stick a whole lot, and only took max 6 to 7 minutes to cook. These patties do not shrink because the fat as the ingredients state are Canola, Palm, and Sunflower oil, no animal fat. The scrapings off the bottom of the pan tasted like the same seasoned scrapings you would get off a regular beef burger pan.

The smell of the cooked patty was definitely meaty. It wasn't as hefty as beef, but it was apparent that enormous amount of thought went into the creation/flavoring/smell of the patty itself.

A taste test proved that this YES, tasted like meat. There is just the slightest textural difference in the bare patty itself. Just a hint of a gelatinous texture difference. A regular beef patty is more grainy. The meaty flavor was wonderfully prominent and wasn't too smokey or salty. 

When it came to eating the burger complete with condiments and lettuce on the bun, I have to admit there is very little noticeable difference between this and a normal 1/4 lb patty you get at the store. It's rich and filling. If someone gave me these burgers with all the trimmings, I might notice a slight difference, but this is not something I'd put down or turn away. One was enough to fill me up. 

I say that this is a viable alternative to beef for me. The care with which this product was crafted gives me hope for the future of meat alternatives. I hope I see these appearing in my local restaurants and likely, I'll be introducing a few of them to these products.

Thank you Beyond Meat team!

Want to try it? You can find a store near you here: http://beyondmeat.com/store-locator

Youtube: The future of protein and meat: https://youtu.be/uJoOAOtugS4

Youtube: Super Meat is better than the real thing: https://youtu.be/2TpQl9V9yoA