Thursday, September 27, 2012

Future State: Full Control and Candy For All

In my upcoming sci-fi action thriller novel “Every purpose under heaven” my protagonist Culver Bishop lives in a society governed by a technocratic authoritarian government that uses nano tracking chips inserted into each “citizen” for identification and control purposes.

In my depiction of this creepy future America the government also uses designer nano-drugs to subdue and control the populace.

To most people this idea of such an overtly despotic tyrannical government probably seems pretty farfetched. And, when I take of my tinfoil hat I will usually agree with this estimate.

But... (cue spooky music)

Today I read of a marketing campaign taking place in good old free and easy England by the chocolate company Nestle that has made me reevaluate the possibility of a government that wants to control us.

Now, what kind of marketing campaign could a simple and trusted and cuddly candy maker launch that would make me want to include it in a blog post titled “Future State: Full Control and Candy For All?”

Check it out. The marketing campaign is called “We Will Find You” and in a nutshell Nestle is putting tracking chips into some of its candy bar wrappers that once activated will trigger a team of military like commandos to track you and find you and confront you in public and present you with a suitcase filled with... money.

Here’s a couple of links:

If that’s not enough to at least make you mute the television adjust your sweat pants and sit up a little straighter on the couch spilling Doritos crumbs all over the floor then you are a steely eyed missile man my friend and likely nothing I could say would rock your belief that the world is exactly what you have always imagined it to be.

But, if like me you view this video and read these articles and think “Hey, that’s kind of creepy and hey didn’t some guy say he was writing a book about the government tracking you and hey maybe this is like a trial balloon and they’re using a company like a candy company to make it seem innocent and maybe just maybe we should stop and take note and maybe even object to this because hey it’s kind of creepy...” then I just might reward you with a pat on the back and a free beer if ever we meet provided you are of the proper drinking age and provided you are willing to sign a waiver stating that you have no legal recourse against me if the beer makes you sick or stupid and/or any possible combination of the two or any other stupid thing as long as we both shall live.

Most likely we will all be restricted soon on international travel anyway, so I’m pretty confident I can save my money and drink my own beer and never have to print out that waiver.

Here’s the bottom line folks: watch out how much and what kind of candy you are eating in the future ESPECIALLY if you are traveling abroad or amale or azebra.

That next Kit Kat you eat just might be the thing that makes you a permanent controllable trackable and identifiable enemy ward of the state.




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Permanent storage

I sometimes wonder about the shift away from traditional forms of data and knowledge storage like books and such to the cool new way of storing stuff on digital formats (OK, who’s kidding who, I wonder this a LOT).

Digital storage is cool and has provided tons of new ways of working with data and new toys with which to interact with that data. Take eBooks for example.

But think about this... this new eBook thing is really great and a great way for Indie Authors to “publish”... but what if something happened that would render it impossible to view an eBook?

You might think that would never happen, but imagine if an EMP were detonated over all the major cities in America causing a full tilt black out of the entire power grid that we could not recover from? Or how about a CME (coronal mass ejection) from the Sun?

Might just ruin your day.

What worries me though is what would happen to all of our knowledge, our books, if something like this happened. In the past we had to worry about ways to preserve regular books, devise new and better ways to make paper last longer. Long ago, I am sure they had to worry over ways to keep your stone tablets from breaking before you finished the next great novel.

If we continue on the course that we are currently on where we are storing more and more data and knowledge ONLY in an electronic format, then in the blink of an eye we could lose ALL OF IT.

But wait! There is hope!

Today I read of a new technology developed by storage experts at Hitachi and to be released in 2015 that would make digital storage last for 100 MILLION years.

That’s right... 100 MILLION years.

Jesus fresco
100 Million years from now historians will use this picture to prove Jesus was an alien.

That solves one problem. The quartz storage plates would be impervious to the EMP’s and CME’s. And don’t worry about leaving it on the dashboard either, as these babies can withstand temp’s above 2000 Celsius.

But, if all the computers are fried from the evil EMP’s then how are we going to read the data?

Good question.

And in answer to this, I think about the Voyager probes they launched back in the 70’s. Each of the probes they sent out carried a Golden Record that had tons of stuff on it about us and the world we live in. The records are gold plated copper and etched into each record is included instructions on how to make a device to play back the info stored there.

So that is what we must do with the new quartz storage devices. It’s imperative. 

If we are going to create a way to store this information for 100 Million years, then we need to devise a way for our future selves to retrieve that data.

Otherwise, they might just think it’s some really plain and ugly jewelry.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Six And A Half Ways To Get Up Off Your Lazy Butt And Motivate Yourself To Do Something

I haven’t done a Top 5, or Big 3, or List O’ My Fave Fat Finger Mistakes lately so today we are going to do just that and venture off into a plane of more than mere existence and journey where no Overweight American Sluggard has ever gone before (no, I am not talking about the gym).

Einstein says: "Seex and Von Haaf is goot!"

Today I will regale you with:
The Top Six And A Half Ways To Get Up Off Your Lazy Butt And Motivate Yourself To Do Something!

And when I say something, I mean ANYTHING!

Yes, this means you, you thirty year old male still living in your parents basement for no other good reason except that you want to keep up the payments on your subscription to GAME FLY.

If you have a dream, why NOT go for it? What’s stopping you? Money? Time? The fact that you don’t want to get your pretty little hands dirty?

Well I say STOP IT!

Er, that is, I mean stop being lazy or procrastinate-ive about it...  (Yes I made that word up)...

Stop being all down in the mouth and mopey about it and GET UP AND START DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

But, why 6 and a half? Why not just 6? Or just 5? Or how about an even 7?

Well there’s your FIRST problem!

Stop asking questions and just go with it would you?? It’s SIX and a HALF because I SAID SO!

That’s right... I got up off my voluminous butt this morning and decided that today would be a SIX and a HALF day. So there!

So, without further ado AND with no further stupid questions... (I’m watching you...) HERE THEY ARE!

#6 - GOTTA BREAK SOME EGGS TO MAKE THAT OMELET (yes, I am going backwards today)
What’s your dream? What is it that you want to do? Doesn’t matter what it is, any dream or goal that you have. Now, picture that goal in your mind. Got it? Can you see it? Is it sitting there like a cute little fluffy and innocent baby seal pup cooing and whining that it wants you to pick it up? Yes?
That’s right... do it! Kill that stupid little dream of yours with a baseball bat and then kick it a few times with your boot!
But Paul! I mean, Mr. Carter... why on earth would you do that for?
Because you need to realize that YOU have control over your dreams. If you just let them sit there looking all cute and cuddly but NEVER pick them up and try to make them into something real, then you are a willing participant in the greatest scheme ever known to man: SELF DELUSION.
STOP deluding yourself! You have to get messy to make your dreams come true. Sometimes you have to club that baby seal to death in order to realize it was never a baby seal at all but rather a nasty little Chimera that NEEDED to be slaughtered.
You did a good thing. Enjoy it.

Go on. Touch it. You know you want to. Everybody wants to. You would not be human if you didn’t want to touch the nice shiny new Lamborghini sitting on the dealer’s showroom floor. Or how about the new puppy in the pet store window? Or... how about that dessicated mummy at the museum? Wouldn’t it be great to just one time reach out there and grab a hold of Amenhotep’s hanging shard of cloth and unroll that old geezer until he stands stark-mummy-naked in front of the whole third grade class that has made your entire supposedly relaxing day at the museum into a migraine inducing nightmare?
Yea, we’d be in jail, right?
But, unlike Amenhotep’s ancient attire, you HAVE to touch your dreams to make them real. There’s no other way. If you put them up on display in your living room so only a few people close to you can see them, well, that’s cool I guess. But don’t come crying to me when you realize you never realized your dreams.
See, in order to make a dream “come true”, or, in other words, to achieve a goal, you HAVE to break the protective display glass you have put them under and reach out and take them down and play with them like that Special Collector’s Edition Lord Sauron replica doll from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King movie that your mom told you to never open but you did and now it’ll be worth nothing and you’ll have no retirement!
Do it! Play with Sauron’s one Good Eye! You might find you like it! 

Ever seen an alligator dance up close? Well, ok, me neither. But I HAVE seen it on the Discovery channel and man let me tell you that is some BAD ASS dance moves those mutha’s got.
I’m referring of course to the method alligators use to subdue and kill their prey.
When an alligator is hungry for a snack he will latch on to whatever is nearby with his giant alligator teeth and his massive jaws and then he will pull it under water where he proceeds to twist his muscular body around all snake-like so that it can’t get away and then he keeps it underwater until it drowns or taps out or promises to give him a pedicure or something and then he will chomp and slather and throw pieces of it around like a prized beach ball until he gets tired of playing and then swallows it whole.
THAT is how you should approach your dreams and goals. Tear them mutha’s up and swallow ‘em whole!

#3 - SHARE WITH OTHERS (even if they don’t want it)
Yes, eat up my little pretties! Eat more! That’s right... keep eating... it’s good for you!
Here’s my take on this. I have been doing this writer gig for a while now. I have seen some things, and some stuff, and I wouldn’t recommend it.
Actually, I DO recommend it... that is, if you got the stomach.
Do ya?
Do ya got the stomach? Cuz it’s not for everybody.
But, if you think you wanna trail along like me and trek into the great unknown of indie writer-ship, why should you go blind?
I haven’t seen it ALL, but I have seen SOME stuff. And I believe that if I have been there and done that then why not share that with the rest of you’s?
Take it. Leave it. I don’t care. But at least I put it out there for you, if you want it. And you can do the same. It might help some other poor schlob out there to get out of a rut.

Wait... isn’t this something you’re NOT supposed to do? I mean, won’t you need them at some point?
A HA! Gotcha! I threw that in there to see if you were still paying attention! Nice job, grasshopper!
No, what I mean by this is DO NOT let the Negative Ned’s and Nellie’s pull you down. There’s always someone out there who you THINK is looking out for you and who you THINK has your best interests at heart and you THINK they always have the best advice.
Well, I say that if there’s something out there you REALLY want to achieve, and it’s not causing your family to live in a car and eat Ramen every night and day... then why SHOULDN’T you do it? Why would you let someone stop you?
OK, so someone REALLY might mean well and might REALLY have your best interests at heart. Does that make them right?
Think about it...

Man, if I hear another person say “I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?” I am going to SCREAM. How should I know what’s for dinner? Do I look like some kind of freaking Emeril clone who can grab a can of tomato paste and some hard breadsticks and make a freaking gourmet Italian dinner for five? Huh? Do I???
(pant, pant, pant)
Ok, I am calm now.
Actually, I LOVE to cook. And I love to cook for my family and that INCLUDES my hungry children (love you kids!!)
But there comes the time when the little birdies have to learn to fly on their own.
And the same goes for your dreams and goals. If you have made it this far then you have already done steps 6 through 2, correct? So that means you have killed the seal, touched the mummy, danced with alligators, force fed your friends, and left your family in the dust.
So, the time comes now when you have to GIVE YOUR DREAMS SOME WINGS!
Let them fly!
Push them out’da nest and see if they either 1) flop dead to the ground, or 2) fly up into the tree next to you and sit there chattering away about how pissed off they are that you kicked them out of the nest. Hopefully that’s the result you get. Hey, at least they are outta your hair, right?

So, if you have made it this far and done all this stuff written above (man are YOU a sucker!!) then it is time for you now to move on to the next project!
That’s right! Moss won’t grow on Mick Jagger’s balls or something like that.
Don’t just sit there and waste away thinking and wondering if what you just completed will be the next big thing or just another nothing... go out and make ANOTHER thing!
I read somewhere that authors, especially INDIE authors must have MULTIPLE projects (books) listed to seem “professional”. I know... that’s a turd in the punchbowl. But such is life.
I also read somewhere that the MAGIC NUMBER is 3. As in three BOOKS. Once you get three legit books out there on your Amazon page then something clicks in the mouse’s mind and he suddenly finds a path through the maze all the way to the page where he can buy your book. That’s a real thing... NASA funded test or something like that.

Anyway, get out there and do your thing and then KEEP doing your thing over and over again until you get to a point where you think it’s OK to stop.

But don’t stop. Keep going. Like a shark, it’s the only way to survive.




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I remember...

I almost didn’t write this.

It’s hard to say why, exactly, except that one reason is that I do not want to contribute to the static that inevitably seems to rise to a mind-numbing volume around inauspicious anniversaries such as this.

It should be hallowed. It should be revered.

Because that day changed me. It changed America. It changed the world.

It changed everything.

It’s impossible to describe the feelings I had that day, many of the same feelings everyone probably had then. The disbelief. The numbness. The heartbreak.

I heard the first report on my half hour drive into work. It was just a small plane, they said. Probably an accident.

By the time I got to the parking lot at work there had been another.

One thing was clear: it was NOT an accident.

I watched the news from the TV in the lobby of my office, along with about 100 other employees. We all were voicing our disbelief that anyone could be so brazen. Back then, hijacking planes was a known possibility, but flying them into buildings??!!

Then we heard there might be more than just the two, and that they were shutting down all air traffic for the first time in history.

In the lobby, we all gasped when the buildings fell. We all grasped for some sort of semblance of reality to hold on to, please God just something to which we can all look and say “Ah, that’s the real world.”

But that reality just didn’t come.

Then the Pentagon. And then Pennsylvania.

It just kept getting worse.

We watched the news, needing to know more, dreading to know more.

We speculated: Who did it? Are there more? Will they have nukes? Will they declare war?

We tried to explain it all to our young children, but how do you explain such a horrible thing?

No one knew ANYTHING then. And that lasted for months. Even after we thought we knew, we really didn’t.

The only thing we knew for certain was that a horrible tragedy had occurred, the result of a willingly executed act of inexplicable violence against the United States citizens. Many innocent people had died. Many innocent and heroic people had sacrificed themselves to help out their fellow citizens.

Eventually, we had a pretty good idea who had done it.

Not exact. Not precise.

But we had a good idea.

And we reacted, because that’s what you do when such a horrible act of violence is done against you and your people.

You fight back.

And I for one am not ashamed that we did something to fight back.

I believe the old quote that all that is required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.

I will never say that what we have done as a nation was/is/or ever will be perfect.

But we did something! I believe that you cannot allow yourself to become so frozen that you do nothing.

But even the fact that we reacted and did something in retaliation pales in comparison to the suffering that our friends, our neighbors, our loved ones, our PEOPLE, were subjected to.

And on this day, I remember them, the ones who died, the ones who suffered, the ones who are suffering still.

May you one day find peace.