A new twist on an old story

I have been trying to play with new creative outlets. I decided to take a stab at making an audio version of a story I wrote a while back. I am tentatively calling it "Raven Haired Ladies". I have tweaked it and re-recorded it and i think I am going to stop messing with it and release the story to the world.... again. So here it is. I hope you enjoy it 


 Raven Haired Ladies Audio - Right click to save.



I am writing from a much needed vacation at the beach, in the central coast of California. The vacation, which we would normally take in July, had to be postponed due to the arrival of my second son. We chose to vacation over Labor day and tack a few extra days on to the end of vacation. The weekend of Labor Day, including today (Monday) was very busy and the evenings were punctuated with firecrackers and music from our neighbors. Now, as evening is winding down and people have to go to work tomorrow, the beach town has returned to it's sleepy state and we still have another full day at the beach before we drive home the next morning. I plan to make the most of it.

It has been great so far, eating food with reckless abandon, drinking mocha and lattes every morning, and enjoying the sights and sounds of the beach. I would say that I am almost energized to head back to normal life and my 9-5 job as a writer. Almost. I am getting some inspiration, as I often do here, to write in the many stories that I have in the works, which is something I have needed but have been unable to find time for as of late. I know as the little one gets older I will have more time to spend on writing. I would love to stick around here more but I hear the ocean calling me. There is a bowl of Gilatto with my name on it.


The problem with a personal blog

One of the main problems with a personal blog is that it can represent a checklist of all the things one said they were going to do and ultimately failed to accomplish. I have said all over the place that I would do more reading, and I had every intention of doing so, and yet life intervened, or my laziness intervened, or who knows what happened. So I ignore those failed attempts and I reset my goal and I write away.

Currently I am working on a few projects with a writing partner. The way I see it, if having a work out partner helps so much for getting your ass to the gym then having a writing partner will help me get my butt in front of the keyboard or notebook to write. So far it has worked wonders. We are working on a story idea that I had brewing for a while but didn't know where to take it. We bounced ideas off each other, got excited, and decided we should both write the story because it is one we both want to read. We are also developing a whole new fantasy world, which will be a labor of love and will take some time to create. Once created we will write our own stories in it and see where the world takes us. I am very excited to see how this one works out because I like the idea of not having total control over the environment I am writing in. In this experiment we are definitely making the world a character of it's one.

Lastly we are both writing blog articles on the weird, paranormal, and sometimes scary. This one is purely a writing exercise that gives us a milestone to shoot for. One article a week, that has to be researched, written, and published by a deadline, which we both barely make each time. It started out as a labor of love for me but, again, the thought of having an additional contributor really helped to ramp up my drive to publish written articles by a set time. I can't keep tweaking and tweaking until I get it "just right". At some point I just have to edit it and post it and move on to the next one. It's a discipline that I need to learn anyway. I need to not hold onto my written words in the hopes that they might grow up, go to college, and support me in my old age. I have to cut them lose and set them free and see how they turn out.

At any rate, I am writing and writing a lot more frequently than I had in the past and it feels really good. I will have short stories and anthologies and novels to look forward to and I am energized by someone who has as much if not more enthusiasm about the things I want to create as I do.

Also, I am counting this towards my overall writing count :p


Test Tube Hamburger

Last week, on August 5th, two people in a television studio in London were the first public people to eat a hamburger that was created in  a lab. The hamburger was cooked in a pan and served as a hamburger in the first fully cooked demonstration of it's kind. O watched a great video from TheVerge, which I will post at the bottom of this blog post, and my first thoughts were "Sign me up." . This area of science is a growing field and has attracted some strong supporters, like Google's Sergey Brin who has funded $1 million dollars of research so far. 

Whether you like the idea or not, the conversation on how we are going to feed the people who continue to be born in this world needs to start somewhere. Increasingly I see arguments in favor of Non-GMO or All Organic food but you never see this argument from people who can't eat. At some point we are going to have to either figure out how to coax nature to grow enough food for our population, embrace food that is created by science, or select which millions of people have to starve to death.

The science that created this hamburger has the ability, according to Dr. Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, to take a few cells from a cow and create "10 tons of meat". The food that was prepared for these taste testers was 100% beef but no animal had to be slaughtered to obtain it. It had no fat and yet was said to have quite a bit of flavor. Naturally, the question of safety comes up but I think it's one that I personally can dismiss quickly. If we are alright with growing organs to put in our bodies then why should we not be alright with growing food to put in our stomachs? 

I certainly hope we see more of this kind of thinking as the day will quickly come where we outgrow our ability to survive.

Check out the full article and video here.



So this week should have been the start of a wonderful, and almost sacred, tradition for many. Shark week, which started in 1987, has been a week where discovery channel shows more shark programs than you might be comfortable with. The original intention of the show was to raise awareness and respect for sharks through educational programming with just the right amount of creepy music.  As the Discovery Channel evolved to add programming like Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs they also had themed episodes of those shows to air during shark week. 

This year shark week opened with a fictitious documentary styled show made to look credible and it left a sour taste in many mouths. Sure, I could have gone for the obvious "salty taste" or "something smells fishy" joke, but I am not writing for the Huffington Post. One notable, and in my opinion also well thought out, blog post from Internet Sweetheart Wil Wheton went so far as to claim that Discovery owes their audience and apology. 

He says: 


So last night, I tuned in to watch the first entry in this year’s sharkstravaganza: a documentary about one of the coolest megasharks ever, the prehistoric Megalodon. This thing was freaking 


with teeth the size of an adult human’s hand, and it is very, very extinct. Discovery’s special started out with what appeared to be “found footage” of some people on a fishing boat that gets hit and sunk by something huge … and I immediately knew something was amiss. The “found footage” was shot the way a professional photographer shoots things, not the way a vacationer holds their video camera. There was no logical way the camera could survive the salt water for the footage to be found. The footage was alleged to have been found in April … but then it got so much worse: 

Discovery Channel started Shark Week with a completely fake, completely made-up, completely bullshit “documentary” and they lied to their audience about it. They presented it as real.

I didn't watch it personally and I will get to the reason for that in a moment. The reason Wil is upset is because he cares about education and he cares about science. I would take a  step further and say that I also care about making quality educational and science based television that is accessible to everyone.  Back in the Pre-Reality days channels like Discovery and History  used to be a place to find quality and credible information. It was a way to passively learn about the world we live and and the history that makes our world what it is today. It's what turned me onto the "boring" subjects in school. It taught me that there are great stories in history waiting to be explored. Those days seem dead now.

Let's take a look at the list of shows on the History Channel - Bamazon which is about panning for gold in the amazon today, Chasing Tale which is about hunting deer today, Counting Cars which is one of the countless spin off shows from Pawn Stars. These are all the ones being pushed with big flashy images on their website. Now to Discovery - Amish Mafia which may or may not be based on real events, Warlocks Rising about a biker gang, and Street Outlaws which is about illegal racing. This stuff all seems like it is about sensational reality crap TV with very little educational value.

There is a reason I cut my cable out completely over a year ago now. The quality of programming seems like it is primarily geared towards mindless television watching. I am not advocating that those shows not be around. There is a lot of value to being able to veg on occasion. What I take issue with is that it shouldn't be a chore to find something educational to watch. It has actually become easier to find educational, and entertaining, programming online than it is on television and that is why I hear of more and more people cutting cable. Sure it isn't a majority, not even close, but there are enough that it has made me pay attention to these industries.

I think that this Megladon faux documentary is a desperate grab for ratings and I think it signals the end of a tradition for many people.

Shark Week is Dead. Long Live Shark Week.