Finding Damo

The story of a man, his job, two cats and the meaning of success.

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Phish n Chips

lunatic fringeToday in my news feed I came across this article on microchipping babies in Euroope. My conspiracy theory gene popped into overdrive. Not as much as the guy who told me to look up “Remote Neural Minitoring” [sic]. I’m thinking it may have been monitoring. I’m going to look it up. Wait for it.

The second flavour of comment was the religious “this is in the Bible” and “the end of the world is nigh”. I may have to look that up as well.

Finally, there were a bunch of “what a load of rubbish!” comments. And here, you might be surprised to hear, is where I’m laying my tin-foil hat. There is no way that any government would be so obvious as to microchip babies through a volunteer or compuslory “scheme” that requires parents to present their babies for chipping. No, this is merely a smokescreen for the nano-tracker plan which is already in place. eye in keyholeWhen a whitepaper about tracking babies is leaked or lost, the government has to come up with a viable reason for this and invents the microchipping fiasco. The general public shoot it down and go back to their oblivious lives, smug that they have beaten the government again and blissfully unaware that said government is virtually peeking in through their bathroom windows.

Although, it must be said, government cleanup crews and conspiracy generators are getting sloppy. If you’ve read the article, you’ll notice that there is no verification of anything in the article. No fake experts, no links to “reputable” organisations and no referencing of obscure government whitepapers. Gone are the days when a government would create a false company to take the hit for a drug that genetically mutates a third of the population (as if it wasn’t a carefully executed operation to test alien DNA melding). Gone are the days when a newspaper was completely run and operated by a government secret department. No wait, there’s the Herald-Sun. No wait, it’s the government that’s under the control of the paper in that instance.

Shame on you, secret government department, for releasing such rubbish writing upon the world. Unless it’s a legitimate news report by a lazy journalist who has done no fact checking whatsoever, in which case: shame on you, lazy “journalist”. Do your job properly.

Speaking of which, it’s time to do some research… I say research. I mean typing “microchipping babies in bible?” into Google and reporting on the results. But at least it means you don’t have to do it.

OK. The top three include two rubbish online news sites and urbanlegends.com. Not promising. Then there are a couple more rubbish news sites and… ooh! CovenantofLove.net! Sounds legit (Damn. This is actually a really nicely written site by a moderate, well-spoken commentator – can’t pick on them). But it led me to the following verse from the Bible:

a cover recreationRevelation 13:16-18

New International Version (NIV)

16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

Biblegateway.com

Very good! I always love a good Revelation quote. So the end times are upon us, as people are being forced to accept a microchip (presumably in their right hands). And it will eventually be linked to them being able to buy anything, and then the weather will call for rains of fire and rivers of blood and the special effects will be incredible!

Personally, I can’t wait until I get my microchip. My wallet is stuffed full of cards, and I don’t have nearly enough technology stuffed into my body. BRING IT ON!

What was the other thing I wanted to research? Ah yes, remote neural Minitoring. Strangely, the only thing that comes up when I type that into Google is that very article. But if I try spelling it correctly… oh crap. I have hit on the motherlode of crazy conspiracy nutjobs. Check these sites out:

  • Dreams of the Great Earth Changes
  • mindcontrol.se
  • brainhacked.blogspot.com
  • remoteneuralmonitoringindia.blogspot.com
  • targetedindividualsworldwide.wordpress.com

This is brilliant! And that’s just the first few entries. Well done, ladies and gentlemen, on properly labelling your blogs for maximum exposure. Surely, you are either government plants, or have been killed by the government and you’re now posting as automated robot posters, with posts designed by algorithm. But what do you have to say about RNM?

Well, that was pleasantly disturbing! Apparently, the government – usually the NSA – can beam low frequency waves into your skull and read the electrical impulses in your brain, using clever technology to read the impulses and translate them into thoughts and words. This technology was designed after years of torturing people and experimenting on small communities. It can manifest as schizophrenia, and is now being transmitted via satellite, which is far more efficient.

I must say, the tinfoil hat is looking pretty cosy right about now.

So, having looked into a dodgy article on microchipping babies in Europe, I now have to worry about the end of the world and the voices in my head.

So glad it’s Friday.

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The coincidence thing…

After my Bullying post, I received a Like from Christine Barba, who writes a blog called Project Light to Life. I checked out her page and, coincidentally, found the name of the coincidence thing I keep talking about on Finding Damo. It’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. So thank you to Christine. Go read her blog.

That means that I can now add BMP to all of the posts that have previously referred to ‘that coincidence thing’.

And speaking of which:

A couple of weeks ago I finished the third book in a most unusual trilogy.

Not that the books were written by the same author, had the same characters or were written in the same universe. None of the three writers wrote their novels as part of this trilogy. But they were a trilogy nonetheless.

Holding to my desire to write about things when they turn up more than three times in a row (BMP!) I wanted to chat briefly about this trilogy.

The Body SnatchersChronologically, the first book in the series is a little known story entitled “The Body Snatchers” (later re-released as Invasion of the Body Snatchers). It’s popular enough for the term “pod people” to have entered into standard English speech, so I won’t worry too much about spoiling the story. It is set in a small town in the United States where a doctor starts noticing unusual behaviour from his friends and neighbours. After an encounter with the town’s resident author, the small band realise that they are being invaded by beings from space, who are rapidly replacing the locals with replicas grown from giant pea pods.

It is an easy read, but Finney manages to really hook you in with some incredible prose. There were moments where a chill thrilled through me at a passage in the story. This book is a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream. I’m pretty sure there is a dissociative disorder that manifests itself in removing the brain’s ability to connect to people, leading to a person thinking that their family have been replaced by exact duplicates.

Yes, here we go. Capgras Delusion. I typed “pod people delusion” into Google. Anyway, where was I? OK, yes. For anyone who has seen any of the numerous film adaptations, it is well worth taking the time to read this novel. You can knock it off in an afternoon, and Finney’s son, in an interview on the audio adaptation, states that his father was never really happy with the movie version, even though it is a cult classic.

RedShirtsThe second book in the trilogy was written much later. It is an amusing, meta little story called Red Shirts, by John Scalzi. It has nothing to do with The Body Snatchers, but the third book I want to talk about links these two together so tightly that I just had to write about it.

From Amazon:

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, with the chance to serve on “Away Missions” alongside the starship’s famous senior officers.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to realize that 1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces, 2) the ship’s senior officers always survive these confrontations, and 3) sadly, at least one low-ranking crew member is invariably killed. Unsurprisingly, the savvier crew members belowdecks avoid Away Missions at all costs.

Then Andrew stumbles on information that transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

I listened to this one as a download from Audible. Wil Wheaton read it and between Shereen and I, we almost crashed the car at least twice from laughing so hard. The line between reality and fantasy is severely blurred in this novel. It is almost a drinking game turned into a novel. But Scalzi quickly takes us to a point where we really care about the characters, so much so that by the end of the third coda, I had tears in my eyes (again, making it hard to drive). And yes, the codas take a bit of staying power to get through, after the rapid pace of the rest of the story, but they are definitely worth it.

To explain why the third novel in the trilogy actually makes these three novels a trilogy I need to go spoiler-fest on it. I won’t spoil RedShirts, and I assume you already know enough about Body Snatchers that conversation on it isn’t a spoiler (and if not, you might not want to read further).

Night of the Living TrekkiesKnowing the storyline of the third book – Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall – isn’t going to affect your enjoyment of the story. The spoilers are on the covers (I really LOVE the German cover). Basically, Jim Pike is an ex-soldier, returned from fighting in the Middle East. He is settling into quiet obscurity as a security guard at a posh hotel in Dallas. On this particular weekend, there is a Star Trek convention. Also on this weekend, a number of staff are off sick, and others are in, but suffering from illness. There have been a number of unusual biting attacks, and the wounds just won’t stop bleeding…

Soon, the Trek convention is completely overrun with zombies. Not only that, but Jim’s sister is in town for the convention. Jim Pike (get it?) needs to save his sister and get over his fear of command before day break.

That’s the premise. Now for the spoilers.

Spoiler Alert
Early in the novel, Jim notices that the zombies are manifesting an eye on various parts of their body. These eyes are a vulnerable spot. They appear after showing up as a bruised lump, finally splitting through the skin and taking over the host. Here’s the sequel to Body Snatchers: these eyes are an alien life form that drifted to earth as spores, traveling through space for aeons and then landing on earth. They take over the hosts and use them as spreading mechanisms (hence the zombies) but their more sneaky goal is an amalgamation with the Earthlings and eventual colonisation of the planet.

The link to RedShirts is more mundane. The novel is littered with references to Star Trek, and the rules of surviving a Trek episode (even one with zombies). The funniest moment in the novel was the discovery of the last surviving member of a pack of Red Shirts. None of the others had died from zombie attack and he didn’t even realise that the hotel had been infested.

Night of the Living Zombies is the love child of Body Snatchers and Red Shirts. It is a bastard child, not written as well, or with as much raw talent. Neither parent would be overly proud of their offspring. But they, like me, would love it anyway, for the simple joy of laughter and dead trekkies that it brings to the world.

Dwarves in Space

The last time I was this excited, Shereen was walking up the aisle towards me on our wedding day. I jest; that was far more exciting, but this is a close second.

Dwarves in Space eBook coverDwarves in Space is now available for purchase on Amazon in paperback or as a Kindle eBook, and on Lulu.com in paperback.

It has been a long road (see my first post on Dwarves in Space) to this point. I have sent the novel to half a dozen publishers and the same number of agents. Each time I would send the excerpt or manuscript off, there would be an 8-12 week wait before I’d hear back, and no useful feedback even then. Rather than spend years sending my manuscript to publisher after publisher, I decided that I would take my destiny in my own hands and give self-publication a shot.

I had no interest in spending thousands of dollars on extensive print runs. The eBook option was an easy choice. Even those people who have iBooks and iPads still buy a lot of their digital books from Amazon. At the moment, I have a 90 day exclusive contract with Amazon. After that, I might extend to the iBookstore and Nook etc.

Anyway, the useful information:

Clicking on the links to Amazon and Lulu.com above will take you to the books on the respective sites. I’ve kept the Kindle price low to offset the price of the paperback. The print-on-demand nature of the paperback means that I don’t really make any money on it, but I don’t really care. I just want to build a market for now.

And how can I go wrong? Who doesn’t want to read a story about a young king and his wizard friend who travel through space in a ship shaped like an eagle? A ship that is crewed by dwarves, elves and barbarians with no idea how to operate an electric can opener, let alone a starship? And how could you possibly pass up a novel containing space battles between this crew and a necromancer flying the skeleton of a dragon? There are even some quite funny bits, if I do say so myself!

Not to mention gods, demons, zombies, holograms, trolls, prophecies, mice and a very famous three-headed dog.

Please enjoy my first novel while I finish off the second.

Dwarves in Space paperback cover

Also, if a novel is too much for  you, you could try one of my short stories, available for sale on AlfieDog Limited.

Both are ridiculously cheap and are available for all eBook readers.

Ted's Souls  be practical

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