Monday, November 13, 2017

My Brain is on Hyperdrive

So much is going on, it's difficult to pinpoint what I'm thinking about long enough to write a coherent post. I suffer from adult ADD, but I'm usually pretty great at managing it. Today, however, I'm having a tough time focusing.

Here's a stream of consciousness post for you:

1) NaNoWriMo is going really well for me. My first WriMo since 2013 has been a volcano of creative energy. Maybe all this pent up imagination over the last two years has been dying to get out. You can check out my progress in my sidebar. I cracked 30,000 words on Sunday night. I'm way ahead, so now I'm running downhill from here.

2) My body hurts. Last weekend, I painted a bathroom. Have you ever done that? I was finding myself in all kinds of crazy yoga poses. I can paint three regular rooms in the time in takes me to paint a bathroom. This past weekend, I completely reorganized my horrible garage. I went from a three car to a two car garage. I know, First World problems.

3) No, I didn't see Thor. I hope to, but I'm just so busy. Justice League is coming, and I'm excited about it. I've been reading about some kind of Justice League project since 2007.

4) The time change has really screwed me up. It takes me over a month to adjust. Dark at 4:30 just isn't very nice.

5) Two of my neighbors put up their Christmas lights, which is fine. But they turned them on. I'm downright militant when it comes to celebrating Christmas too early. Yeah, the itch is there, but let's have Thanksgiving first!

6) Speaking of neighbors, this guy down the street told my youngest and his friends to get the f---k off his sidewalk. This idiot is always wearing a blue robe, and he punched out a construction worker for using his outdoor spigot during construction of his neighbor's house. I did go down there and explain to him that he doesn't own the sidewalk. He wasn't too happy about me standing on it, but he was too chicken to do anything about it.

7) Anybody else excited about The Last Jedi? I'm not too sure about yet another trilogy in Disney's future plans. They are just sucking the Star Wars franchise dry. At some point, there has to be some kind of diminishing returns on this thing.

8) We say this every year, but how the heck did it become almost mid-November? As we age, time seems to speed up.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mike The Headless Chicken

Thanksgiving = Turkey. But since one of my favorite holidays is just around the corner, let's talk chicken. I'm not sure why, but I get about 50 hits per day from people searching for "headless chicken." I posted about Mike, the Headless Chicken back in 2006, and it seems to be a favorite among those googling for more information on this spectacle. 

For those who don't know, Mike was a chicken that lived for 18 months without a head.

That's right, his owner chopped off his head...and the chicken survived. Here's how it all began:

On September 10, 1945, Lloyd Olsen picked out a younger but plump rooster out of his chicken coup in Fruita, Colorado. His wife, Clara was going to prepare a wonderful feast - as Lloyd's mother in law was going to be visiting. Lloyd brought his ax down on the chicken's neck, and the poor thing struggled and did all the normal things a chicken would do after having it's head chopped off.

The bird would not die.

With his head laying on the ground, the rest of Mike walked around quite normally. He flapped his little wings, and probably walked right into the side of the barn. But the darn chicken had survived. I can only imagine the shock Lloyd and Clara experienced. Lloyd decided to leave the chicken alone.

The next morning, Mike was quite alive. This was a special chicken indeed, and Lloyd devised a method of feeding this headless chicken. He used an eye dropper to feed it water and ground up grain. Lloyd dropped the 'food' right down Mike's esophagus. Sounds strange, but the method worked. Mike continued to thrive.

Mike was able to balance himself on perches without falling. If you can imagine, he was even able to crow - creating a gurgling sound made in his throat. Mike even tried to preen his feathers with his nonexistent head. 

Lloyd brought Mike to a promoter, and soon "Miracle Mike" toured the West Coast. Mike was even featured in Life magazine. At his pinnacle of fame, the chicken was bringing in $4500 per month. Back in the 40s, this was really a ton of money. Mike was estimated to be worth $10,000 and was actually insured for that amount. The sideshows consisted of bringing Mike out to greet the paying customers, and they got to see his head pickled in a jar. Actually, a cat ate Mike's original head, so Lloyd sacrificed another not-so-lucky chicken in order to show the amazed audience.

Mike did have one major complication. He often choked on his own mucus. Lloyd and Clara had to use a syringe to suck it out. Otherwise, Mike would die. One evening, the Olsens were at a motel in Phoenix. Mike began to choke on his mucus. They searched in vain for the syringe until they realized that they had left it at the sideshow from the previous day. Sadly, Mike died that night.

So how did Mike survive his own beheading?

Scientists examined Mike and determined that Lloyd had in fact chopped Mike's head off 18 months prior. Most of the head was actually removed, but one ear remained intact. Lloyd's ax actually missed the jugular vein and a clot prevented him from bleeding to death. Most of a chicken's reflex actions are located in the brain stem, which was also unharmed.

Shouldn't Mike have been put out of his misery though? Mike was also examined by the officers of several humane societies and was declared to have been free from suffering. When Lloyd chopped the chicken's head off, Mike was only 2 1/2 lbs. When he died, Miracle Mike was a robust 8 lbs. Had the Olsens been able to syphon Mike's mucus that fateful night in March of 1947, who knows how long Mike would've survived without his head. His 18 months is still a world record.

But don't worry, Mike's legacy lives on. In his hometown of Fruita, Colorado, they hold a "Mike the Headless Chicken Festival" every spring. The festival also features the infamous 5K "Run Like a Headless Chicken" race.

When you have time, you can go to Mike's offical website HERE.

Mike, the Headless Chicken statue in Fruita, Colorado

Monday, October 30, 2017

Accidental Politics

Earlier this month, the IWSG topic was about how many writers often inject some of their real life into their writing. Up until my latest WIP, I believed that I, in no way, included any real-life details about myself in any of my writing.

But then I was editing Death Returns (dropping on November 6th), and I recognized how my personal politics is not only subconsciously infused into this novel, but it's also apparent in the first book in the series, Death Knocks.

Allow me to get political on here for the first time in, oh, 12 years. I'm like many Americans. I consider myself Independent. I have many beliefs that are Conservative, and I have many beliefs that are Liberal. And my beliefs do change. For fun, I've taken a few political quizzes, and it seems that I do have a Libertarian streak in me too.

I've been called a "conspiracy theorist," and I suppose I've earned that moniker. History has made me suspicious of my own government. I believe it's wrong to be enamored with ANY politician. They should all be held on short leashes. Here in St. Louis, we've had two HUGE government conspiracies come to light:

1) From the 1950s-60s, our government tested the effects of zinc cadmium sulfide on its own citizens. They sprayed this radioactive material from the tops of buildings here in St. Louis, allowing men, women, and children to inhale this radioactive material. 

2) St. Louis is home to Mallinckrodt Chemical, the first uranium producer/purifier in all the world.
The company supplied all the uranium for the Manhattan Project, and the waste was stored at a facility near the airport. Several areas all around the St. Louis Area is still contaminated, including Cold Water Creek where there's been a crazy amount of rare cancers diagnosed. And the biggest heap of radioactive waste is at West Lake Landfill where there's an underground fire raging, and it's inching closer and closer to the deadly stuff. Yet, the EPA keeps telling us that all is just fine.

If you've been watching Stranger Things 1 & 2, the writers have pulled directly from all kinds of Black Projects including MK Ultra, the Philadelphia Experiment, and the Montauk Project. Many of these secret projects including trying to perfect mind control and utilize "remote viewing" to create a small army of gifted people to use their ESP to spy on our enemies. Now if you stop to think about it, is that really so farfetched when you look at all the crap our own government has done?

Earlier this year, the CIA did release almost 1 million pages of declassified reports on UFOs going back to the 1940s. But this barely made the news. Why? Because only crazy people care about this stuff, right?

Well, call me crazy.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Big Finish Before I Begin

Release date: November 6
With NaNoWriMo just a few days away, my huge goal of finishing Death Returns loomed ahead of me. My writing partner and I worked tirelessly every day, especially last weekend, to get it done. We had a hard deadline, and in order for our timeline to stay intact, our editor had to get our manuscript on Sunday.

It was a flourish of writing, but we got it done! Death Returns, our long-awaited sequel to Death Knocks will be available on November 6th.

So with that out of the way, I've been working on outlining and plotting for my big WriMo project.

I've been so crazy busy lately, I didn't stop to really look at the calendar and realize, wow. November is really just around the corner. This time of year is always exciting and fun, yet a little nuts.

Yes, I have a one-handed backhad
Once Halloween comes and goes, it seems the rest of the year just goes into hyperdrive, and then we're into the holiday season. After that, we'll be counting down the year and looking forward to 2018.

Even my oldest son has noticed that time seems to accelerate much faster now.

With many of us standing on the precipice of all this craziness, I think it's always good to try to carve out a little time to ourselves and slow things down a bit. I can't remember the last time I just sat down to read or even watch a movie on Netflix.

Many of us deal with stress, depression, and all kinds of end of the year challenges that threatens to keep us from stopping to simply breathe and just BE. I have to pledge to make the time to just chill out. I'm also a tennis player, so going out and hitting the courts is a great stress reliever.

How do you deal with stress this time of year? Any strategies you could share with me?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Return to Productivity

These last two months have felt like a nice comeback for me. Blogging is like anything else you do on a regular basis. Once you stop, it's difficult to come back to making it a part of your routine. Same goes for writing in general.

Here's a quick list of stuff I've done in the last few weeks that I'm very proud of:

1) My writing partner Miranda Hardy and I have been working hard on our sequel to Death Knocks. We did six chapters alone just this weekend. Death Returns will be out before the end of the year, and I look forward to sharing more about this project with you.

2) I gathered all my notes and free-writing for The Gateway Mothman, a manuscript I started before my writing drought started. It's three years in the making, and I look forward to cranking it out very
soon. Which leads me to...

3) Lord of lords, I have committed to NaNoWriMo this year. I last participated in 2013, so I'm pretty nervous about it. It's the perfect kick in the ass I think will help solidify my writing comeback and immerse myself back into the writing world. If you're doing NaNo, look me up and let's be buddies. I'm "Jay Noel" on there.

4) Joining the Blogosphere. I've really missed being here and visiting all of your blogs. I'm sad about one thing, though, and my blogroll has been annihilated. So many bloggers also disappeared since I've been gone. I hope some of them will return, but it looks like many probably won't. If there's any blogs you recommend I add, please let me know in the comments.