2. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, by Annalee Newitz (2013. Doubleday)
This year I’m keeping track of all the books I read and you are going to see A LOT of entries that are being read in research for my own book, working title The End, due out 2018 from Chicago Review Press. I will be working on it until Nov.2017, so almost a year of reading about the end of the world and global catastrophe. When I’m done, I’m planning to read Hello Kitty comic books for a month as a palate cleanser.
I won’t be writing in-depth reviews, but I’ll share a couple notes and let you know if I recommend it or not.
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember was well written, well researched, and ultimately optimistic on the Earth’s ability to survive disaster. It gave a fascinating overview of the mass extinctions the earth has faced over millions of years and how animals and humans have persevered by using the three keywords of the title. I learned a lot about a variety of things from Google Flu Trends to the ancient (literally) underground Turkish village of Göleme.
In 2015 I kept track of every published piece I wrote on this blog. In 2016 I did absolutely squat with this blog. This year I thought I would at least keep track of every book I read. I mean, I am paying for the domain name. I do plan to read a lot this year, some related to research I’m working on, some for pleasure (and how I do miss that while I’m working on researching a book). This first book was started in 2016 and finished yesterday– I read it in fits and starts.
1. Burning Bright by Nicholas Petrie (2017, Putnam)
I’m not sure where I first heard of Nicholas Petrie’s debut book, The Drifter, but I picked it up and read it and enjoyed it. It’s an action thriller/ mystery and I loved it because the backdrop was Milwaukee (Petrie is local). The key scenes take place in Riverwest, the north side, the east side, and downtown. Several specific locations are visited– Colectivo on Prospect, Cafe Corazon, the US Bank building. Petrie’s protagonist Peter Ash is an interesting character, too– a veteran struggling with PTSD in the form of extreme claustrophobia.
When I saw that Petrie had a follow up Peter Ash novel, Burning Bright, slated for a January release I pitched an “Off the Cuff” (Q & A) to the Shepherd Express to tie in to the book release. I interviewed Petrie by phone and his publisher sent me an advance reader copy of the book. Here’s the feature: http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28983-a-thriller-with-a-milwaukee-setting.html
In Burning Bright, Ash is trying to find solace in the Redwoods of northern California when he encounters a woman who needs help– a cute, wily investigative journalist name June (be still, my beating heart). The two embark on a danger filled ride from California up to Washington. The MacGuffin of the story is a computer program named Tyg3r which may or may not have something with June’s father, who is nicknamed “the Yeti.”
Petrie did a great job with this book. Character development was great, the plot intriguing, the action satisfying as eating popcorn in an air-conditioned movie theater in July.
You don’t necessarily need to read The Drifter to understand Burning Bright, but it would add another level of understanding.
Nicholas Petrie debuts the novel at 7pm tonight at Boswell Books.
(originally appeared in the Milwaukee edition of The Onion’s AV Club section, 2011)
The Harlem Globetrotters have been entertaining audiences with their skillful basketball antics (set to the whistling tune of “Sweet Georgia Brown”) for over 80 years. They’ve dominated their long-suffering rivals, the Washington Generals, over and over. Multiple exhibition teams travel and often play more than 365 games annually around the world. Along the way they’ve sometimes jumped the shark, but have also acted as goodwill ambassadors. Throughout the 1950s the team visited places like Berlin and Buenos Aires offering a positive, basketball spinning image of America. Here are five moments in Globetrotter history that are even more incredible than “Curly” Neal’s dribbling skills.
1950- The Globetrotters smash the color barrier
In 1948 the all black Globetrotters took on the all-white Minneapolis Lakers in an exhibition game. Many believed the showboating ‘trotters would be soundly defeated by the professional Lakers and there was also fear of race riots. But what transpired was simply a well-played basketball game. Globetrotter Ermer Robinson won the game with an exciting buzzer shot for a final score of 61-59. In a 1949 rematch the Globetrotters were again victorious over the Lakers and the exciting games led to a change in professional basketball. Globetrotter Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton was the first African American to sign a contract with a NBA team- the Knicks- in 1950.
1968- The Globetrotters play Harlem…for the first time
Despite their namesake, the Harlem Globetrotters called the Chicago area home for decades. They currently have headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona and have never been based in Harlem. The “Harlem” name was added as a bit of show business. Globetrotters manager Abe Saperstein thought it would sound more novel if the team name reflected the center of African American culture and in 1929 he began to tour the Midwest with the “New York Harlem Globetrotters.” It took over four decades before the team’s globetrotting led them to play a 1968 “home” game in Harlem.
1981- The Globetrotters battle robots on Gilligan’s Island
In the 1970s and 80s Trotter-mania hit TV Land. Hanna-Barbera created a cartoon version of the team that teamed up with Scooby Doo and the gang to solve mysteries. They were also given a couple of short lived cartoon shows (Harlem Globetrotters and later The Super Globetrotters) of their own. They made a live action appearance playing a pickup game aboard the Love Boat, and in their most strangely scripted adventure, the team co-starred in the 1981 made-for- \TV movie The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.
That movie starts with the Globetrotters crash landing and meeting the castaways, who now run an island resort together. A corporate raider wants the island for himself and makes a bet with the castaways that his robots can play better ball than the famous basketball players. Fortunately, the illogical Globetrotter style outwits the robot programming and saves the day.
1995- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ends 8,829 game winning streak
A common myth is that the Globetrotters are unbeatable and undefeated. Globetrotter losses are few and far between- but they have happened. The Washington Generals have won about six games against the Globetrotters, although this might not be a huge morale boost as they’ve also lost over 13,000 games against them. In 1995 the Globetrotters played basketball legend and former Milwaukee Bucks player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s All-Star Team in Vienna and lost by six points, their only loss in an 11 game European tour and their first loss in 8,829 games. Their next loss was to Michigan State five years later during a college tour.
2000- Pope John Paul II joins the team
Although he wasn’t known for spinning a basketball on his fingertip, Pope John Paul II became a member of an elite group- the honorary Harlem Globetrotters-in a 2000 ceremony in Vatican City. Induction of an honorary member is rare, only 8 so far, and their assembled line up would be a baffling sight on a basketball court.
Besides the Pope, the other members of the honoree roster are: Henry Kissinger, Bob Hope, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Whoopi Goldberg, Nelson Mandela, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Jesse Jackson. Bill Cosby and Magic Johnson also are on the team- they were both signed with one dollar a year lifetime Globetrotter contracts. -Tea Krulos
Where to begin? In 2010 I was working on my first book, Heroes in the Night, and maintaining a blog of the same name. One day, I got contacted by a man named Richard McCaslin who had discovered my blog. He told me that in 2002 he had raided a place called the Bohemian Grove in the hopes of freeing slaves bound to be sacrificed by the New World Order in front of a giant statue of an owl. He had done this while dressed in his superhero persona, the Phantom Patriot.
Since that initial e-mail, I have spent countless hours researching conspiracies and corresponding with Richard and people in his life. I’ve met him three times– here in Milwaukee in 2011, again in San Francisco in 2012, and last year in his hometown of Pahrump, Nevada. All of this is leading to a book (working title Phantom Patriot) I’ve been slowly writing. I think it’s the best work I’ve done. I might possibly publish it through a site called Inkshares and have a sample chapter HERE.
Anyway, a focus for Richard the past couple years has been peacefully protesting at political events in Las Vegas and also producing show that stars a fiction version of himself titled Phantom Patriot’s Retro Cinema. He just dropped the latest episode a couple days ago. Extensive notes follow:
Here’s a break down of all conspiracies mentioned in the video and other notes. I’ve rated some of these theories “Deep Dish” which means they are pretty far down the conspiracy rabbit hole, but I should mention that these theories don’t originate with Richard, which means at least a few people think they are valid. I’ve also noted when evidence indicates it’s at least partially a true story. Ready?
0:20: If there’s a familiar sound to this theme song, it’s actually performed by Les Claypool (of Primus). He wrote the song after reading a news report on Richard’s raid. It appeared on his 2006 album Of Whales and Woe. After months and months of asking his publicist for an interview, I finally got a brief phone interview with Les. He was somewhat concerned Richard might show up at one of his concerts to kill him, which put me in the odd position of trying to reassure Les Claypool that a conspiracy theorist wasn’t stalking Primus.
0:27: After his parole, Richard settled in Las Vegas before buying a home in a strange little desert town called Pahrump, in Nevada near the California border. One of the selling points to the house was a large Quonset hut on the property, which he’s transformed into a superhero headquarters. He still goes to Vegas regularly to protest at political events and buy comic books. Scenes in the opening sequence here are shot on the Vegas strip, at his home, and the outskirts of Pahrump.
1:30: This character guarding the Sons of Saturn meeting is comrade Bernie Sanders. More on him later.
1:35: Cameo by the ghost of Ronald Reagan.
1:57: Wall signs: “Novus Ordo Seclorum” appears on the Great Seal of the United States and translates as “new order of the ages.” Democrat party symbol matched with ISIS flag, Republican with Al-Qaeda, suggesting the terrorist groups are in league/ puppets of the political parties. Each symbols are in what appears to be a Star of David. More on that later. “NSA” would be National Security Agency. Not sure what “RUT” means.
2:04: Deep Dish: World Leaders are actually blood-drinking, shape-shifting extraterrestrials known as “Reptilians.” This theory is largely attributed to originate with British conspiracy theory superstar David Icke, who has written several books and frequently lectures on the topic.
2:33: The Emerald Tablets of Thoth the Atlantean. Believed by some to be a mystic translated text from the lost city of Atlantis, non-conspiracy researchers say the script is a hoax and a plagiarism of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.
3:43: The Reptilian theory states that all U.S. Presidents (as well as many other world leaders) are from the same Reptilian bloodlines and are secretly all part of the same organization. That’s why you have Democratic presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama…
3:52: …at the same table as Pope Francis and George W. Bush…
3:56: …and Trump!
4:24: Richard loves to clearly label things on his show and in his comics, editorial cartoonist style. Nefilim: The Bible refers to these as fallen angels, aka Reptilians.
5:07: Here we got W doing blow, a message that says the CIA controls the drug trade with the Clinton and Bush family as partners, and then George H.W. Bush shows up and is a pedophile with a mind controlled subject.
Ok! A lot of Richard’s information on this subject comes from a book titled Trance-Formation of America (1995). It was written by a woman named Cathy O’Brien who claims that for many years she was brainwashed by the CIA and used as a sex slave, drug mule, and encoded message delivery person for Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the Clintons, Senators, world leaders, and many other politicians, musicians, and her “handler,” a ventroliquist.
Also, the Nazi armband is an allusion that the Bush family (Senator Prescott Bush, H.W.’s father) did business with the Nazis. That is a true story: www.theguardian.com/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar
5:53: You’ll note George H.W. Bush’s mind control slave is wearing an owl mask (from a Batman storyline about a group called the Court of Owls– more on that later) that is labelled “Bohemian Grove.” Richard still maintains that Bohemian Grove, which he raided in 2002, still features mind controlled sex slaves, some who are sacrificed at the altar of the Great Owl of Bohemia statue on the property.
6:39: This allegation about Cheney is from Trance-Formation of America, not sure where the Biden info would be from.
7:17: Reference to the group’s leader, the “Demiurge.” More on that later.
7:21: “ISIS inspired false flag attack and the Donald’s racist fearmongering.” I’m not sure what ISIS attack he is referring to, probably all of them. “False flag” is a common conspiracy description meaning that it is meant to look like an attack on a country, but was actually engineered by the country itself. Donald’s racist fearmongering…well, that’s certainly a true story.
7:30: Deep Dish: Mass shootings are staged and people pretending to be grieving relatives are “crisis actors.” This theory really makes me upset because it targets grieving people. The theory is that mass shootings like Aurora, Sandy Hook, etc. didn’t actually happen, it was staged to help institute a repeal of the 2nd Amendment and institute martial law…a lot of good– there’s over 300 million guns in America! Anyway, to help “sell” the fake tragedies, the New World Order hires actors to portray grieving spouses, fathers, mothers, friends.
The supposed evidence is people who look similar to each other at different tragedies and people apparently not emoting the correct way. Read an account about a man who helped out at Sandy Hook who ended up getting harassed for being a “crisis actor” by dicks HERE and a victim of the Orlando shooting targeted by complete wankers HERE.
8:12: Great banter here between all guilty parties about who masterminded the 9/11 attacks and the Iran-Contra scandal.
8:31: Operation Mockingbird: the CIA controlling media. Actually, this one is a true story, folks. The CIA had a program in which agents actively tried to control messages going out in media and to discredit enemies. The program was officially terminated in the 1970s, but the relationship between the CIA and the media continued.
9:04: Here is an unflattering spoof on conspiracy superstar Alex Jones and Info Wars. Richard was originally heavily influenced by Jones, and his documentary Dark Secrets Inside Bohemian Grove is what led to Richard’s raid. After he was caught, Jones denounced Richard to the media, saying he was shocked by his behavior.
Richard did not appreciate the comments from Jones and was glad to discover that other conspiracy theorists had worked out that Jones in actuality is an agent provocateur for the government as part of a Counter Intelligence Program style infiltration. Kind of like hipsters who are over a once trendy place, Jones became too popular and his followers turned on him. Also mentioned here is the conspiracy claim that Info Wars is actually owned by cable TV mogul Ted Turner.
Extra Deep Dish: Alex Jones and comedian Bill Hicks (who died in 1994, a year after Jones graduated high school) are the same person. This conspiracy is fucking hilarious!
9:35: Kevin Booth collaborated with Alex Jones on some of his documentaries. The image of Alex Jones is a parody that reflects the “Joker Obama” image, which originated with Jones.
10:00: UN agenda 2030 is about “sustainable development goals” which of course means “a practically undisguised roadmap to global socialism and corporatism/fascism” as one writer puts it. HAARP is one of my favorite conspiracy theories. It suggests that the government has a giant weather controlling facility in Alaska that is responsible for creating natural disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Holy smokes!
10:45: Hellary the Horrible. I bet you were wondering when she’d show up.
11:03: Trump hair joke, classic.
11:46: Planned Parenthood has a number of conspiracy theories associated with them including the one about them selling fetus tissue/ body parts, and that they are trying to cause the eventual genocide of African Americans.
12:10: I have no idea why Sarah Palin would appear here subservient to Hillary other than to drive home the fact that Republicans and Democrats are in league with each other. And, of course, Palin always adds comedic value in every appearance she makes.
12:22: Deep Dish. Clinton is supposed to be in Africa working with Bill Gates on a vaccine initiative to sterilize people. I hadn’t heard this one before!
12:47: Deep Dish. This is a pretty gross one. It’s transphobic and the type of stuff conspiracy theorists make up when they don’t like women. The “theory” here is that Michelle Obama is secretly transgendered and was born “Michael.” Source: comedienne Joan Rivers.
13:40: Deep Dish (and topical): A pretty recent conspiracy (and one nodded to by Donald Trump) says that Hillary is terminally ill/ dying/ already dead and replaced. Richard is implying here that she will/has been replaced by Teresa Barnwell, a lookalike who has found gigs impersonating Hillary since 1993.
14:30: Quadruple conspiracy!!!! Obama’s hit list shows that he has successfully killed off his enemies: conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart, 81-year-old comedienne Joan Rivers (for outing Michelle Obama as being transgendered, see above), and 79-year-old conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Next on his list: term limits, meaning Richard’s prediction is he will server more than 8 years in the Oval Office.
14:47: Feminist/ witch humor. 😦
The Wizard of Oz references in this video might not be coincidence. In Trance-Formation in America, Cathy O’Brien claimed that her mind control mode was often triggered by references to the Wizard of Oz.
14:56: HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE! Here at last is our hero, the Phantom Patriot!
15:07: Richard’s sidekick G’Nik is an extra-terrestrial. I was a guest star in Episode 2 of this show, where Richard, G’Nik, and I confronted Illuminus at Area 51. I got to see the perimeter of the actual Area 51. I also crashed Richard’s ATV shown in the opening credits trying to do a stunt. Episode 2 is here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-shrYze8lQ
15:39: Rich are told me some therapists might call his works “revenge fantasy” but he prefers to think of it as “art therapy.” Here Richard therapeutically punches George H.W. Bush (who was VP while Richard was in the Marines) in the face!
15:56: “Magog” refers to George H.W. Bush’s membership in Skull & Bones, a Yale fraternity with some spooky ooky rituals. His father Prescott Bush, his son George W. and many other influential politicians and businessmen were members. 2004 saw Kerry and Bush running for president, both former “Bonesmen.” All club members are given spooky ooky nicknames like “Long Devil” and “Odin.” H.W.’s nickname was “Magog.”
16:34: “This one!” Richard’s dream army of decent, pissed off Americans, including a cop, a solider, a nun with a gun, and the guy dressed as a rancher represents Cliven Bundy, the rancher who had a stand-off with the feds, who Richard admires.
18:16: Here Richard is saying all of these politicians deserve to be arrested because they were unfairly elected as the Illuminati chose them from their bloodlines. Also, they’re Reptilians.
18:54: Project Monarch– CIA mind control program described in Trance-Formation of America. There is significance to the victim’s name being Richelle, but you’ll have to read my book for that one as it’s way too much to explain here.
19:35: “Did those lizards make you work for Disney?” My favorite line. Suggesting that the Reptilians own Disney and are employing mind controlled children. This is a true story. Just kidding, I have no idea.
22:21: Revenge fantasy or art therapy 2: Richard gets to punch Alex Jones in the face!
22:36: Bernie bros won’t like this scene at all. Apparently the “Rebels” were assisted by Bern-dog but he can’t get a break as he must be imprisoned because they “can’t let a Socialist con man walk free.” Harsh!
Let’s talk about that Zionist “Rothschild (prominent Jewish banking family) symbol” aka the Star of David. Anti-Semitism (hatred of Jews) and anti-Zionism (against the Israeli state) are not identical, but there is a fine line that you can trip over pretty easily.
23:31: Revenge fantasy or art therapy 3: Reptilians end up in Gitmo fighting over a barbecued rat!
24:42: All just a dream. Classic! Possibly another Wizard of Oz reference.
27:41: The Demiurge (described as a world or universe creator)! So much conspiracy he’s an Eye of Providence AND a Rothschild symbol in one. And he lives on Saturn, a symbol of the New World Order/ Satanist connection. To make a Marvel reference– he is the Thanos of the New World Order.
29:29: Bonus feature: out of the three stories Richard mentions, I think the Court of Owls story is the most interesting. Batman finds a secret society is ruling Gotham City and in their headquarters is a giant statue of an owl. Coincidence? It’s got to be at least partly based on the Bohemian Grove, and maybe Richard’s story.
Hopefully everything is perfectly clear now. Stay tuned to this blog for developments on the Phantom Patriot book.
I wrote an article that appeared in this month’s Scandinavian Traveler magazine and was posted to their website today. Scandinavian Traveler is the official publication of Scandinavian Airlines and the most popular lifestyle magazine in Scandinavia.
The article is about the Mars One program, a story I’ve been keeping tabs on for a bit and am fascinated (and a bit starry eyed) by. Mars One is a Dutch company that says they will be the ones to land the first colonists of Mars, beating out NASA and other space programs.
This article gives an overview of the program and quotes from several Mars One candidates (a group known as the Mars 100) I had e-mail correspondence with. I am also working on a book with the working title “The End” which will feature a chapter on the Mars One program. It’ll share some of the same facts, but will also include my experience meeting four of the Mars 100 in Boston (Boston happens to have the largest population of Mars 100 candidates in the world). This article was turned in before my Boston trip.
You can read the article here: scandinaviantraveler.com/en/lifestyle/they-will-settle-on-mars-in-ten-years-time
“The End” will be published in late 2017.
A few months ago, I was contacted by a company called VoiceMap. This app offers audio tours of locations around the world, some of them are pretty traditional tours, some of them have a creative twist. VoiceMap uses GPS triggered files to narrate the story as you walk. The company is based out of South Africa, with an office in Singapore, and an international cast of contributors. I’m happy to be the first VoiceMap contributor from Milwaukee (or for that matter, Wisconsin).
One of the folks from VoiceMap encountered my strange adventures via the old Google and suggested this might be a platform I’d be interested in. I was. I had a couple ideas, but I thought it would be best to start here in my backyard, the neighborhood of Riverwest. A couple years ago, I wrote a story for the Riverwest Currents about neighborhood ghost stories, so I decided to base the “Riverwest’s Ghost District” tour on that.
It was fun! I eventually learned how the entire writing/ recording/ editing process works for this and now the route is done. You just need to get the VoiceMap app and then you can download routes, including mine, which is a 99 cent download. You can find it here: https://voicemap.me/tour/milwaukee/riverwest-s-ghost-district-2
I’m keen to record my next one (after I catch up on a couple other things), which will be a tour of Brady Street.
I used to do a lot of artwork, I’d say between the years 1999-2007 it was the major thing I did. I hung out and I drew. My roommates would watch movies and I’d hang out and drink beer and draw. Sometimes I miss those days.
I self published quite a few little zines and drew spot illustrations, cover art, and comic strips for the Riverwest Currents. Toward the end of my comics career, I curated a few shows of local artists and also edited an anthology called Riverwurst Comics. It was fun, and I still draw from time to time. Most recently I did a little self published zine style chapbook titled Palookaville which was silly poetry and illustrations.
But as I alluded to with “the end of my comics career,” around 2006 or 07 (I forget) I was going through a rough time and kind of fell out of love with drawing. Just didn’t have the same level of passion or interest. Fortunately, I found a new path in writing to keep me busy. It’s now infrequent that I would put effort into any drawing other than a quick scribble.
The folks at the Riverwest Currents asked if I would draw some art for the paper and a flyer for the Riverwest Follies, which is a fun annual variety show they put together. So I drew what I do best– funny animals wearing hats. David Beyer Jr. helped greatly by adding the vivid color.
The Riverwest Follies take place Sat. March 19, 7pm at the Falcon Bowl. Be there!
I had my first published piece for 2016 this week, which was one of those great stories you just stumble across. My friend Shane was giving me a tour of Makerspace Milwaukee, which is an amazing place in Bay View. Woodworking shops, metal work, electronics, fabrics, 3-D printing, a huge, well organized space. If you can imagine it, it probably can be built there.
Well, as a long-time fan of the BBC sci fi show Doctor Who, you can imagine my delight when we turned a corner and saw a full size, totally impressive Dalek. Exterminate!
Of course, I had to ask Shane all about it and he told me about Dalek Asylum Milwaukee, a Dalek building collective working together to build Daleks to break a world record for Most Daleks Assembled in One Place at One Time. Wow! I pretty much look at everything I look at and determine if there is potential for an article and this one was an immediate YES. I think even if you are not a Whovian, a collective build to beat a world record is interesting. I thought Milwaukee Record might be into the story, and they were.
Here’s the story: “Dalek Asylum Milwaukee Assembles Record-Exterminating Army of ‘Doctor Who’ Villains.”
I went down to Makerspace to talk to Dalek Asylum Milwaukee and was really impressed with their craftsmanship and attention to detail. They let me climb into one of their Daleks to take it for a test spin. I was skeptical I would fit since I’m hella tall, but I did. It moves on an electric wheelchair base and was a pretty smooth ride.
I’m really excited to see the day when the record is beat and an army of Daleks descends on Maker Faire. What a sight that will be!
This Christmas I bought myself two books (my publisher Chicago Review Press offers authors a December discount) and received TEN books as gifts, which was just wonderful. Books are my favorite thing to get as a gift! So here’s what I got to read for early 2016:
- The Whale Chaser, Tony Ardizzone (Academy Chicago), an imprint of my publisher’s, the description of the novel grabbed my interest, so I bought it.
- Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters, edited by Jeff Burger (Chicago Review Press), Cohen is one of my fav singers and this is part of my publisher’s popular “Musician on Musician” series.
- Edgar Allen Poe: Complete Tales and Poems (Castle Books), I’m organizing the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, which will have a Poe themed Masquerade Ball after party. This hefty tome will help me get in the mindset.
- The Good, The Bad, and The Mad: Some Weird People in American History, E. Randall Floyd (Fall River Press), Wendy found this book for me and it’s right up my alley.
- Blue Men & River Monsters: Folklore of the North, John Zimm (Wisconsin Historical Society Press), looks like an interesting collection of Wisconsin folklore.
- Final Jeopardy: The story of Watson, the computer that will transform our world, Stephen Baker (Mariner Books), research for a book I’m working on.
- Lights Out, Ted Koppel (Random House), research for a book I’m working on.
- Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon (Penguin Books), Milwaukee mourned the loss of Dave Monroe in 2015. I read somewhere that this was one of his favorite books, so I thought I’d try reading it.
- UFOs Caught on Film: Amazing Evidence of Alien Visitors to Earth, BJ Booth (D & C), a gift from my sister, looks like an interesting collection.
- How to Podcast 2015, Paul Colligan (colligan.com), I’m trying to get into podcasting a little bit in the future and thought I should start reading up.
- Disco’s Out…Murder’s In! The true story of Frank the Shank and L.A.’s deadliest punk rock gang, Heath Mattioli and David Spacone (Feral House), I already zipped through reading this one. Interesting and disturbing look at 1980s Los Angeles area punk rock gangs.
- Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint, R. Andrew Chesnut (Oxford University Press), I started reading this, an examination of Santa Muerte.
Ok, 2015 is drawing to a close. What a year! This year I kept track of every published article (and a book) I wrote, as well as the total running published word count. The year ended a little slow. I spent some time working on my next book, other projects, and took some time off for the holidays. I did write a second article for Scandinavian Traveler and a couple for Milwaukee Record.
41. “Off the Cuff: Angel Alvarez,” Shepherd Express, November 25
42. “Meet Katrina Markoff- Chicago’s luxury chocolate maker,” Scandinavian Traveler, Dec. 10
43. “4 Milwaukeeans Who Recently Scored Bit Parts On Popular TV Shows,” Milwaukee Record, Dec.9
44. “Last Octopus standing: Milwaukee keeps car wash chain from extinction ,” Milwaukee Record, Dec. 18
Final total 2015 word count: 124, 865 words.
Notes on 2015:
The reason I kept track of my work this year was just out of curiosity. How many published pieces do I write in a year? I had no idea. My guess was an average of one a week. With 44 published pieces in 2015, that estimate was somewhat close. The word count was almost 125,000, but that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you write a single haiku or a 500,000 epic novel in a year, as long as you are putting your best work forward. I’m still learning what my best work is. It’s been interesting.
A lot of great highlights for me in 2015; My book Monster Hunters was published, I organized the first Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, I was a guest on Coast to Coast AM (along with a lot of other great radio and podcast programs), I made author appearances at paranormal cons, comic cons, libraries, and Ripon College, I sold my third book.
Writing is sometimes a struggle. You don’t know if anyone reads or cares about your writing. People sometimes say bad things about you and you wonder why you even bother. That makes recognition all the more rewarding.
Milwaukee Record included two articles I wrote for them (one on a music project called All Messed Up and another that was a photo essay collaboration with Wendy Schreier) in The 25 Best Milwaukee Record Stories of 2015.
In the post previous to this one, I also described what a great honor it was that my book Monster Hunters was selected by Loren Coleman of CryptoZoo News as the top pick in his Best Cryptozoology Books of 2015 list.
What’s up with 2016
I’ve got two major and two minor writing projects I’m working on in 2016. Outside of writing, I am also organizing a second Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Oct. 15-16, 2016, and hoping to help organize a Milwaukee Krampus Night on Dec. 5, 2016.
Major writing projects: I’m happy to say that my publisher, Chicago Review Press, has signed me up for a third non-fiction book. This has the working title The End and is about different predictions, preparations, and personalities relating to the end of the world as we know it. I also have a non-fiction book I am about 3/4ths done with that has a working title of Phantom Patriot, about an interesting person I met while working on my first book. My goal is to see some forward motion with it in 2016.
Minor projects: I want to self publish a mini-book/ e-book that is an expanded version of an article I wrote for the Riverwest Currents titled Riverwest Ghost Stories. It’ll premiere at the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference. I’m also casually working on my first novel, based on experiences from my young adult life. It might graduate from minor to major project in the future, but for now I’m just having fun writing random parts of the story for a couple hours every Sunday. I’ll post more info on this project here on the blog after I hit the 15,000 word mark. For now I will just say that the working title for the book is Brady Street Diner.
I have a couple other things in the works, too, I’ve been working on a comic book/ graphic novel with David Beyer Jr. titled Ballyhoo. We’re trying to figure out where to go with it and hopefully it gets forward traction soon. I’m also collaborating on a story with Tim Demeter and I think you’ll be hearing more about that soon.
Happy New Year!