A Cold Black Wave: Revelations (Chapter 1)

As I work on the sequel to A Cold Black Wave I decided to try a bit of an experiment: post a few chapters as I write them.  There’s some risk here, I think, in presenting an unfinished and unpolished work.  But with ACBW and Dustland, I didn’t dramatically change much from the initial versions.  For those interested in following the development of a story and those waiting for the sequel, you can watch the drama unfold for a few chapters.  Enjoy!

 

Chapter 1

 

Josh awoke to thunderous explosions.  Glass shattered windows and sent dust and smoke billowing down the street and through every crevice in the room.  His eyes stung as he tried to shield them.  Coughing, Josh tried to stand and felt a tug on his arm.  A thin tube ran from a metallic wrap around his left arm to a cylindrical machine that sat next to him.  He groped with his other arm to disconnect the tube when an explosion sent chunks of wood and tile showering down from above, just missing his head.  Gunfire smacked into a building nearby and voices called out to each other amid the firefight.

“Leah?”  He groaned.  His voice came out dry and raspy.  “Leah!”  God, where is she?

A heaving explosion sent the ground rippling and knocked Josh sideways against a wall.  Someone outside screamed in pain.  Josh managed to undo his wrap and release himself from the device as he rolled away from another piece of ceiling coming down.  He looked around for a weapon.  Nothing.  His leg hurt and he had difficulty walking.

A soldier appeared in the doorway covered in blood and dust.  She wore armor that contoured to her body and a metallic apparatus covered her left ear and ran down her face and to one side of her lips.  It was flush with her skin and moved just like it as she spoke.  “We need to go.  Come on.”

“My leg.  I can’t move very fast.”

She went and held him around the waist.  “Put your arm around me.  Let’s go.  My name’s Jayce.  Don’t die,” she warned.  “Or everything is lost.”

Amid the fighting and confusion, a lucid thought crossed his mind.  How can I understand her?

Jayce helped carry Josh across the street as streaks of light passed back and forth in the air around them.  The sun retreated from the sky behind a grey haze that cast the land in a dreary light.  An explosion rocked the third story of a building not a block away, sending up a voluminous cloud of black and fiery ash as wood and concrete blew out in every direction.  Shrapnel of all types whizzed through the air and fell from the sky around them as they dove inside another building and lay breathing in gasping breaths on the floor.

“Where’s Leah?”  He asked between pauses in the fighting.  “The girl, where is she?  I’m not going anywhere without her.”

“She’s safe.  Deas has her at the pickup site.”  Jayce touched her ear and spoke to someone else.  “Rechtel, this is five one, do you copy?”  A pause, then, “I’m two clicks away from extraction.  I have the boy.  Pull your people back immediately and return to extraction point.  Do you copy?”

Two shots pierced through the wall just above their heads, leaving a clean burn the size of a fist that glowed orange and then died away.

The room spun and Josh’s vision distorted as objects flickered into and out of existence.  The world turned jagged with sharp edges and a grainy texture filtered through everything.  Josh lifted his hand and examined it but everything appeared normal.  He looked up again to see if the distortion returned.  Nothing.  He squeezed his eyes shut and pressed his fingers just above them to dispel the sensation.  It passed and he regained his feet as he found Jayce reaching down to lift him up.  “Come on,” she said, standing over him.

She grabbed Josh by the shirt and lifted him to his feet.  She pulled him along.  “Keep your head down!”  She yelled before crossing another street and entering a narrow alley.

As they neared the end of the alley, she looked at her forearm.  A hovering projection displayed a clear, 3D digital image of the surrounding topography.  Red lights emitted near their position.  She turned to Josh.  “If something happens to me, keep heading in that direction.”  She pointed towards another alley across the street.  “You’ll find the extraction point.”

“How will I know?”

“You won’t miss it.”

She checked her weapon that was attached on her arm and pressed a button.  They both watched as the red dots converged on their position from both sides of the street.  Jayce took a deep breath and knelt in the tight corridor of the alley, leaning out from behind cover.  She fired on her target and a concussion of light and debris sprayed through the street.  A three shot burst slammed into the wall near her head and sent Jayce onto her back as fire caught on the walls and along the left side of her body, a slick, crawling, and liquid mass that stuck to everything it touched.

The viscous fire ate away at her armor.  She pulled hard on a release pin near her collarbone until it clicked, and the armor opened up and fell from her body in a rapidly dissolving pile.  Underneath her armor, she wore olive drab clothes matted in sweat.  A humanoid machine ran into the alley and fired on Josh.  Jayce grabbed its neck and arm, slammed it into a wall, and caused the shot to go errant.

“Run, now!”  She yelled as the machine emitted a concussive blast that knocked Jayce backwards and Josh flat on the cement.  Jayce leapt to her feet as the machine swung its arm at her to fire again.  She used a straight palm to its wrist to deflect his aim and a honeycomb of needles blasted into the wall next to her.  It turned a shoulder down and rammed her against the wall as a cough of air expelled from her mouth.  “Run!”

Josh did, running behind the machine and into the street.  Pain streaked up his leg and through length of his body.  He hobbled as he went, but the adrenaline overtook any physical limitations.  He didn’t look around.  He didn’t check for safety before continuing.  He just ran.  Leah would be there waiting for him.  She had to be.

As Josh entered an open plaza, he stopped.  A grey, sleek helicopter hovered twenty feet off the ground.  It was devoid of any rotors and used small, gyroscopic engines to hover and turn.  Its engine hummed not unlike that of the machines they’ve fought against, but at a higher pitch.  Two soldiers kneeling behind cover noticed Josh and scoped him from afar through their rifles.  One signaled the other and he ran to Josh’s position while the other covered his advance.

Josh hobbled to meet him and as they met, the soldier knocked Josh to the ground.  A projectile hissed by and an explosion knocked the air from their lungs as chunks of a nearby building blew out into the plaza.  The helicopter rose in the air and pitched right as a concealed door gunner sprayed the enemy’s position with a steady hail of streaking light that cut a building in half and sent parts of the pursuing machine whirling in every direction.

“Get up!”  The soldier ordered as he lifted Josh and ran for the copter.  It dropped down above ground level, and as they neared it, a door opened for them to enter.  The soldier shoved Josh inside while he called his friend over, and they both climbed inside the cramped space.  There were other bodies inside.  Two wounded soldiers bleeding from wounds suffered in combat lay prostrate on their backs.

Leah.  She sat in the corner with her legs up to her chest and face buried under her arms.  She didn’t realize Josh was sitting across from her.

“Leah!”  Josh called, reaching over and shaking her.  The hum of the engine and the whirl of the door gun as it laid waste to encroaching machines overwhelmed his voice.  He shook her harder until she raised her head.  “It’s me.  Leah, it’s Josh!”  She couldn’t hear his words but her face sunk in relief when she recognized him.  She leapt forward and wrapped her arms around his neck.  He kissed her on the forehead and squeezed her tight.

The helicopter took to the air and banked around the combat zone as the door gunner seemed to exhaust a limitless supply of ammo on the enemy.  Empty cylindrical canisters rolled around inside the cabin, and when the gunner needed to recharge, another canister popped out of the gun chamber and he grabbed a new one next to him to reload.  Josh noticed a small porthole on the gunner’s side and peered out into the burning city below.  Black, curling smoke rose in slanting columns from pockets in a two square mile radius below.  Lines of cyanic light streaked chaotically in the air as targets below fired on the helicopter.  Josh spotted seven machines pursuing two survivors through the streets, one wounded and carried by the other.

“Hey!”  He called, pointing outside.  “There’s survivors down there!”  The soldier next to him couldn’t hear and stared as he pointed.  Josh slammed the back of his fist against the soldier’s chest and pointed for him to look.  He looked down on the battlefield and then covered his mouth as he radioed the pilot.

The helicopter banked harder to the right and swooped low over buildings to give the gunner an angle on his targets.  A spark blew through the left cabin door and exited the top of the helicopter as dripping hot metal fell inside.  Some landed on one of the wounded soldiers and he screamed as it burned through his leg and the smell of singed flesh and sulfuric metal filled the cabin.

Leah tried to help the man by using the butt of a rifle and scrape the hot mass off his leg.  The attempt was futile as it ate through flesh and muscle, and the man gave one last moan before passing out.  The helicopter rattled and a moment later, Josh realized they landed back in the plaza.  The cabin door opened and the two healthy soldiers jumped back out and ran into the dark plaza, the sun all but a red ember on the grey horizon.  A spotlight burst on from the top of helicopter and aided the soldiers as they ran to help their comrades.  Two bodies appeared at the far end of the plaza.

It was Jayce.

A spider drone jumped from a rooftop and skittered along the ground towards the two soldiers.  The door gunner fired errant shots but he gave up once the machine came within ten feet of the men.  The drone jumped with a burst of speed and hit one of the soldiers, knocking him flat on the ground.  The machine pierced his eye with one of its legs, the metal apparatus going through the back of his skull.  The other soldier shot rounds through the machine, breaking its dome and disabling it as choking black gas shot out in a bursting cloud.  The soldier tossed a grenade at it.  A strange burst of light, like that of static electricity, crackled through the air and the black cloud disappeared as if it never existed.

The soldier met Jayce and her wounded comrade and they made for the helicopter.  The door gunner laid down a ferocious covering fire as it tore through and collapsed entire buildings before the oncoming machines.  A cloud of dust and smoke expanded violently throughout the plaza.  Still, the enemy fire streaked over and past the helicopter in any attempt to keep it from taking off.  Jayce and the other soldier dragged her bloodied friend along as fast as they could until they made it to the cabin door.  As they lifted the wounded soldier, the cabin exploded with warm, red liquid as he took a direct hit through the chest.  It left a gaping, smoking hole that was so hot his wounds cauterized.  He slumped to the ground as the other soldier grabbed Jayce, who was stunned and unmoving, and pushed her inside before following her in.

The copter rose in breathless ascent as pieces of metal and molten iron burst forth from inside the cabin as enemy rounds tore through the hull.  The copter shuddered and the engine gave out a final, worried moan before turning silent.  They suspended in the air for a moment, weightless, as the craft nosed forward and took a fatal plunge towards the earth.  The pilot fought the controls and the copter rumbled with such force that the bodies of the dead soldiers animated and slid about in macabre display.  Jayce fell forward into the laps of Josh and Leah before fumbling with their safety harness in an attempt to get them secured.

Warning bells banged in their eardrums as the earth approached.  Smoke roiled out from the copters wounds and left a trail in the sky.  The pilot angled down a main road like a runway, but as he approached, the nose drifted left and he lost control of the yaw.  They spun in rapid circles that pressed them motionless against the walls.  The copter hit the ground with such force that the hull bent outwards and collapsed the roof down just above their heads.  Smoke and dust went up in a blinding cloud that thickened the air and covered everything in a fine gray soot.   The concussion from the sudden crash gave way to an unnerving silence.

Leah sat unconscious and Josh struggled in a daze with his harness.  Blood ran from Jayce’s leg.  A metal rod from the threshold of the door broke free and drove through her thigh.  Her head knocked against the back wall on impact and blood trickled from her right ear.  She tried to move but in her slow confusion, she didn’t realize she was pinned by the rod.  Josh freed himself and unlatched Leah from her harness.  He stuck his arms under hers and dragged Leah out into the street before lying down next to her in a drifting haze.

Josh coughed as he sucked in dust with each breath.  Jayce moaned in pain and struggled to free herself from the wreckage but she couldn’t figure out why her leg wouldn’t move.  Josh covered his mouth as he rose to his feet and saw movement coming at them from the end of the street, some two hundred yards away.  They’re coming.

He grabbed Jayce’s leg and lifted it until the rod slid out.  She let out a scream and her hands shook as she gripped her wound.  She clenched her teeth until she could bear the pain long enough to talk.  She pointed weakly.  “Get the bag there, and the rifle.”  Josh reached inside the cabin and grabbed both and Jayce wrapped her arm around him as he pulled her out.  They stumbled away, clearing the crash site.

“Check for survivors,” Jayce told him as she sat down and pulled a metal wrap out of the medical bag.  Blood dripped from the hole in her leg.  She covered it with the wrap, touched the side and it shrunk in size as if vacuum-sealed.  Jayce leaned her head back as sweat dripped from her face and fought the pain, but the bleeding stopped.

Josh ran back to the helicopter and checked the cockpit, but the pilot was dead.  The others in the cabin were, too.  Leah stirred and he helped her to stand and get out of the street.  Streaks of light came at them from the machines, blowing pieces of metal off the remains of the helicopter.

Jayce forced herself to stand and pointed down an alley, her face drawn and haggard.  “Let’s go, down here.”  She said, waving them forward.  The grim sound of her voice wasn’t lost on Josh.  There wasn’t anywhere to go.

Leah clung to Josh’s neck as they staggered.  Jayce brought up the rear and told them where to go.  Bloodied and dazed, they staggered their way through back alleys and across streets.  When they reached the end of a street lined with rusted vehicles, Jayce stopped and leaned against a building.  Leah and Josh breathed in sucking bouts and looked to their new friend for direction.  They all knew they couldn’t keep running in their condition.  Jayce looked about.  “There, go up there,” she said, pointing to a multi-story building.

They climbed the steps to the fourth floor, grimacing against the pain with every step.  Jayce pushed open a door to an office that contained decomposing paperwork stacked neatly in bins, and computers left untouched for decades and covered in thick dust.  Pictures of loved ones sat in frames within each cubicle.

“In that office over there,” Jayce pointed to another room.  Josh pushed the door open to a separate office with a window view of the street below.  There was a single desk in the room and bookshelves along both sides.  A clothed skeleton slumped in the chair, its skeletal head resting on the desk.  A gun lay on the ground and brown stains covered his suit.  “Lie down and be still,” she warned.  They did as she said.

Jayce watched the red dots displayed on her forearm converge on their position.

“Do they know we’re here?”  Leah asked with worried eyes.

“They’ll find us.  That’s what they do.”  Jayce said.  She stood to leave, pulling two cylindrical grenades from her belt.  “Wait here.”

She left and they listened as her footsteps disappeared.

Leah grabbed Josh’s hand.  “What’s happening?”

“I don’t know.”  Josh sat up to look out the door but didn’t see anything.  A pin-drop silence filled the room.  He glanced at the dried, rust-colored blood lying on the ground beneath the man’s chair.  “She’s our only chance to survive now,” he said, turning his gaze to Leah who tightened her sweaty grip around his hand.

“I thought you were dead,” she whispered.  “I thought they left you out there.”

“So did I.”  Josh said.  He gripped his head and winced as a pain ebbed up through the back of his skull.  The room spun in a slow, dizzying pace.  Colors faded and washed out.  Pieces of the world fell away and blackness replaced them like missing elements of a puzzle.  He heard Leah’s voice but it was distant and tinny as if she were falling away.  What the hell is happening to me?  Sweat beaded on his forehead.  He raised his hand and looked on as his palm disappeared from his fingers and returned again, and then whole blocks of the room flickered into and out of existence.

An explosion rattled the building and dust unsettled from the room and hung about.  A pen rolled off the desk.  Josh felt something jolting him and noticed Leah speaking, but no sound came from her mouth.  He only heard a calming buzz in his eardrums and then the world turned black.

We were wrong: Saturated fat is GOOD.

A new,extensive study came out the other day that suggested saturated fat isn’t linked to heart disease.  Whaa-?  In light of this, I recently went over some historical data regarding heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and fat/sugar consumption over the past 100 years courtesy of the CDC.  What I found is surprising:

Total Energy Consumption over 30 years.

Total Energy Consumption over 30 years.

  • 1910 was the first year Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) made the #1 top causes of death.  It rose steadily until 1963 when 375 people per 100,000 died of CVD.  In 2011 that number has been reduced by nearly 50% to 191 per 100k.
  • Cancer rates have remained relatively unchanged in the past 30 years, hovering around 181 deaths per 100k.
  • Diabetes has risen a staggering 50% in the past 30 years!
  • Sugar consumption has been on a perpetual rise for 150 years, but particularly since around 1900.  Starting in 1980, sugar consumption skyrocketed over the next 30 years.
  • In 1980, the FDA issued its dietary guidelines warning Americans to stay away from saturated fats.  Over the next 30 years, dietary fat slowly decreased but was replaced with increased carbohydrate consumption.  The overall effect was that people simply started eating more.
  • Americans who are considered “obese” has increased from 15% in 1990 to 36% today.

So why has CVD risk gone down so dramatically?  Is it really due to the decrease in fat consumption?  Not

Total US sugar consumption trend.

Total US sugar consumption trend.

necessarily.  Fat intake hasn’t dropped THAT dramatically to see a 50% decrease in CVD deaths.  Instead, we have seen a massive increase in the use of statins and surgical procedures to prevent or delay CVD.  This doesn’t mean the food we are eating is suddenly healthy, it just means more people are able to “have their cake and eat it too”, quite literally.  While it appears statins are likely having the intended effect on heart disease, the side effects are wide-ranging and we may be swapping one problem for another (such as increased risk of diabetes).

While saturated fat has been demonized for decades, we blindly swapped our fat for carbs and sugar.  After all, food tastes like cardboard if you’re missing both.  You need carbs OR fat, so when the fat was removed, in came the carbs.

Fat makes one feel fuller and more satisfied, and it doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels.  The more fat you remove from your diet, the more you turn to carbs and sugar which will fluctuate your blood sugar levels and, consequently, cause you to eat more.  You’ll feel less full and when you “crash”, you crave more carbs to get balanced again.  This indulgence in carbs goes a long way to explain our exploding obesity and diabetes rates.

In 2012, an extensive study (and I mean, extensive!) on red meat consumption and mortality painted a pretty clear picture:  the more red meat you eat, the higher likelihood of dying early of CVD or cancer.  It didn’t matter if it was nitrate-free or not.  So if we combine the latest study about saturated fats and this study about red meat consumption, something doesn’t add up.  This would mean that there is a particular element specific to red meat that increases our mortality rate, but it’s not the saturated fat content.  What could it be?

Conclusion?

We need to rebalance our diets away from the carb-heavy load we’ve been told to eat, and not feel guilty about adding back in certain types of fat in our diet.  Good fats help keep our cravings in check and they’re healthy for our body.  The real enemy that we can all agree on?  Sugar.

The 50% increase in diabetes and the 36% obesity rate is 100% NOT associated simply from fat consumption.  The facts simply don’t back it up.  Fat doesn’t make you fat.  Period.  And if you want to look at it from a total caloric intake, fat does have more calories, but it makes up for it by curbing your appetite.  By eating carbs and sugar , we’ve been subjected to hunger swings all day which causes us to snack and overeat (How many times you’ve heard someone say “I’m STARVING!”).  You should rarely feel that hungry.

So add that fat back into your meals, and cut out the sugar.  The World Health Organization recently revised their suggested daily sugar consumption to <25g per day.  Go ahead and try that.  I dare you.  You’ll be shocked how difficult that is with all the added sugars in our food.

Stay strong.  Stay healthy!

Stop Counting Calories.

There’s a reason most diets don’t work.  It’s not because you’re a failure or you have poor willpower.  It’s because everything we thought about food is wrong.  If you care to take a drive with me down the rabbit hole, we can sort this thing out.  Let’s go.

Typically, a diet tells you not to eat this and that and to only eat this and that.  Meanwhile, you’re constantly hungry.  You crave.  You want to eat the doughnut, but you don’t because the diet told you so.  The diet is watching you and IT WILL KNOW.  Drop the doughnut and suffer like a good dieter.

“Somebody’s watching youuuuuu.”

This invariably causes failure.  Time and again.  An entire industry is built around YOU failing, and then trying again.  Big money is waiting to cash in on you jumping into and out of diets for the rest of your life.  They roll the advertisements out for the New Year, since everyone knows you’ve committed THIS year to losing weight.  Time to jump on the Weight Watchers bandwagon and lock yourself into a 4 year gym membership which you’ll only use for a month, right?

Dieters “fail” because most diets require a strength of will that only a marathon runner could endure.  Hunger is a daily, sometimes hourly, desire tugging at you like a little addiction.  Eat.  Eat.  Food.  EAT!

When you crash and burn and give up, the sugar-laden food industry welcomes you back with open arms and a knowing grin.  “Welcome back, old friend.  Have some ice cream, it’ll make you feel great.

The battle is always between carbohydrates and fats.  The majority of diets espouse a low fat/low carb mantra.  Basically, you’re supposed to deprive yourself like you’re living in a POW camp.  Enjoy your starvation!

I asked myself the other day,  “What’s the point of eating ANY kind of grains at all?”  The FDA recommends 9-11 servings of grain a day.  The basis of our diet revolves around grain.  Why?  What’s so great about it?  Let me blow your mind:  they aren’t necessary.  In fact, most carbs keep you hungry by spiking and then crashing your blood sugar levels.  Ever get that “shaky” feeling when you’re hungry?  That’s the carb addiction kicking in.  Eat more carbs.  Rinse.  Repeat.

We all know sugar is bad, but we eat a lot of it anyway whether wittingly or unwittingly.  The World Health

How could something that tastes so good, be so bad?

Organization released a report today stating that cancer rates will increase by 70% over the next 20 years, with sugar and obesity being among the top reasons alongside alcohol and tobacco consumption.  Wait.  Sugar and cancer?  Come to find out, cancer loves it some sugar.  And not just the refined white stuff or high fructose corn syrup, but also potatoes and flour.  Doesn’t the FDA recommend we eat 9-11 servings of this every day?  They do differentiate between whole and refined, but only suggest in a footnote that over half of your servings should come from whole.

In fact, the entire FDA “MyPlate” nutritional guide is based around calories.  Spend three minutes there and your eyes gloss over from the load of information they provide.  The very act of counting calories is a part-time job, and something most people will not commit to for very long before giving up.

Here is the problem with counting calories:  not all calories are created equal.  We’re told to eat 2,000-2,500 calories a day with a balanced diet.  Yet, 500 calories of sugar or refined carbs is vastly different from 500 calories of protein.  The physiological effects on your body between these two couldn’t be farther apart.  Sugar spikes your blood sugar, doesn’t fill you up, and has little to no nutritional value.  Proteins don’t spike your blood sugar, DO fill you up, and is an essential building block for your body.

What about fats?  Saturated fats have been enemy #1 for a very long time, and still are.  We’ve been told they clog arteries and raise our bad cholesterol.  Any kind of hydrogenated oil (trans fat) will definitely do those nasty things.  Unfortunately, this is the kind of oil we see in most of our food.  Hydrogenating oils make them stable, which means they can exist in your food for a long time before going rancid.  A fairly recent campaign to end use of trans fats in food was successful, but it’s still widely used, even in small amounts (Something may say 0 Trans Fats but can still have some).

The first widely used hydrogenated oil was a little something called “Crisco”.  Crisco was used for decades in American households for everything, from frying to baking.  Crisco is hydrogenated cottonseed oil.  Cottonseed oil is one of the worst kinds of oils, and then they hydrogenated it.  A generation of Americans clogged their arteries with this stuff and were told it was better for them than butter.

A balanced meal devoid of fat.

These days, saturated fats are being seriously re-evaluated again.  The growing consensus?  Saturated fats do not cause heart disease.  As the linked article above states, we’ve been told to replace “traditional” fats with ones we decided to make, like corn and soybean oil.  That natural butter and whole milk?  Yea, ditch those.  People have been eating them for generations but, look, this corn and soybean oil stuff is MUCH better.  Not to mention, we’ve genetically modified all the corn and soybean crops to resist our regular poison applications.  Bon appetite!

How has this paradigm been working, America?  Eat your grains.  Ditch the fats.  It’s almost a religious mantra at this point.  Yet it’s unbelievable to say that 1/3 of the US population is obese because they want to be, and are simply victims of their own weak willpower.  No, it’s the “carb” diet prescribed to us that keeps us in a state of hunger all day, even though we’re eating all day.  We’re all told to eat fiber and protein so we stay “full” longer, but that’s only part of the story.  We’re still missing a critical element: fat.

We’re not eating enough fat.  Fat has a bad name for itself because, well, it’s CALLED fat, something we’re all trying to avoid becoming.  Yet it’s not fat we should worry about but sugar, as studies are beginning to show that clogged arteries are occurring due to inflammation along the arterial walls.  Due to what?  Sugars, trans fats, and an imbalance of Omega 6 and Omega 3′s.  O6 is inflammatory to your arteries, and is commonly found in oils we all use and eat.  O3′s are an anti-inflammatory, so the ideal ratio of these two in our body is 1:1 or higher in O3.  The majority of the oils you eat have a high O6 level, particularly corn and vegetable oils.  We’re told to consume oils with polyunsaturated fats (because they’re “healthier”), but these are the ones with high O6 levels.  Most junk food and processed food use oils with O6.  There’s not much that we eat that have O3, so we are ALWAYS unbalanced towards O6 unless you’re also eating a lot of fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and eggs that have O3′s.

So, what do we do?  Let’s break it down:

  • Stop eating so many carbs.  Let’s face facts.  Carbs are tasty.  Don’t get rid of them, just minimize them and choose good carbs.  Only eat whole grain and stop eating sugar.  Technically, you don’t need to eat any carbs at all.  When your body needs energy and doesn’t have any carbs, it cuts your fat cells apart like lumber in order to burn them for energy.  This is why low and no carb dieters, typically known from the Atkins diet, can quickly shed an incredible amount of weight.
  • Say no to refined sugar.  Stop eating refined sugar.  That sweet taste, often disguised with cute colors and fun packaging, is wrecking havoc on your body and appetite.  One day, sugar will be equated with smoking tobacco in terms of health warnings.  Get ahead of the game.
  • Eat good fats.  What’s a good fat?  Grass-fed butter and virgin organic coconut oil are two, for example.  Both have a great O6:O3 ratio, won’t raise your blood sugar, and they contain Medium-Chain-Triglycerides (MCT’s) which curbs hunger and provides energy like a carbohydrate.
  • Eat low-glycemic.  You still need fruits, vegetables and fiber, but choosing the right ones helps keep your blood sugar levels balanced (which is key in curbing your swings in hunger).  Eat strawberries instead of pineapple, whole oats instead of instant oats, etc.
  • The MCT Advantage.  This is the secret weapon against overeating and weight gain.  Most oils we eat are Long-Chain-Triglycerides, which are not absorbed easily and will store as body fat.  MCT’s, on the other hand, burn like a fire in your body and are well known to promote weight loss.  They also provide energy like a carbohydrate.  If you followed a no-carb diet, for example, you could instead get your energy needs from eating food with MCT.  Sounds crazy?  Read on.

There is a movement out there who rave about the effects of Coconut Oil.  A quick Google search will open that world up to you.  Specifically, Unrefined Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil.  My wife brought home a jar a couple weeks ago and said she “heard it was healthy”.  I looked at the saturated fat and shook my head.  One tablespoon equals 67% of my daily saturated fat content.  Healthy?  Right.

So I did some research and found that CO is very high in MCT through what’s called “Lauric Acid“, which is not typically found in our diets.  Breast milk is very high in lauric acid and is one of the reasons why breast feeding is widely promoted.  I decided I had read enough and would go “all in” with a low-carb/high fat diet that focused on using coconut oil daily.  Call me a suicidal guinea pig, but I’m sold.  It’s interesting to tell people I’m eating butter, saturated fats, and tons of food while still losing weight.  Since everyone equates eating fats with going to an early grave, they must secretly think I have a death wish.  It’s even more interesting when I tell them about the buttery coffee drink I have each day.  Read on for that one!

To say Coconut Oil is amazing is an understatement.  In the short two weeks that I’ve supplemented my diet with CO, I’ve eliminated my intense cravings, balanced my hunger, and lost weight.  Before I started eating CO, by the time I came home from work at 6pm everyday, I was so hungry I wanted to eat a large pizza.  Without fail.  Then I started eating 2-3 tablespoons of CO each day, and it all stopped.  At first, I didn’t change my normal eating habits and just added the CO.  When I got home from work I was barely thinking about food.  My caloric intake went down (not that I was counting), simply because I didn’t feel like eating sugar and snacks and  I no longer ate between meals because I just wasn’t hungry.

During the winter, my hands are normally dry and red and cracking.  Since I’ve been eating CO, my hands are hydrated and normal.  Yet, I’m told not to eat this much saturated fat.  Are my arteries clogging?  Time will tell, but it can’t be any worse than the diet that is causing heart disease to be the #1 disease in this country (with cancer being #2, and also directly related to our diet).

Oh, and if you’re really psyched about starting your day off with a bang, check out BulletProof Coffee.  I love it!  I use my own coffee, and my own butter/CO.  I haven’t bought any products from that website, I just like the recipe.  You don’t need a blender though.  Mix everything in a thermos and shake vigorously, you’ll get that creamy foam and a good mix of all the oils.  Fills you up, gives you energy, and tastes great.

Some foods that I eat:

  • Dairy/Meat:  Eggs, non-processed cheese, low-pastuerized/non-homogenized whole milk, grass fed butter (Kerrygold), grass fed hot dogs (Applegate Farms), lean turkey/chicken breast, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, uncured bacon, 2% Fage Yogurt
  • Fruit/Veggie:  Green beans, strawberries (or any kind of berry), broccoli, Morningstar brand foods (anything with ~20 carb per serving or less), Spicy V8, pears, peas.
  • Grains:  Ezekiel bread, Fiber One whole grain English muffins, whole oatmeal, brown rice
  • Stevia is an excellent sweetener for your fruits and snacks.  A bowl of 2% Fage with cut strawberries and Stevia will fill you up!  I also freely cook with the Kerrygold and/or coconut oil.

When I started, I weighed 174.  I’m a 5’11 male that’s already in OK shape and was just looking to get healthy.  I don’t gain weight very fast, but I was gaining and I knew my eating habits were unguided and unhinged.  I ate all day.

It took less than two weeks to lose 5 pounds, and I’m enjoying all the food I eat while keeping my appetite stable.  I’m no dietitian or scientist, so nothing I say here should be taken as gospel.  Everyone is different and certain diets may actually be very unhealthy for people with specific health conditions.  I’m just a guy who likes to look behind the curtain to see why I’m making food choices based on what others have told me.  Experts are regularly proven wrong, from economics to health, and knowledge is our first weapon in making our own decisions in life, for good or for bad.

The food we eat is far more complex than we are led to believe.  Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.  But for me, I’m sticking to low-carb/high fat/protein with a generous daily dose of CO.  I’m losing weight, eating all the right food that I want, and rarely hungry or craving junk.  Someone can tell me not to eat all that fun carby sugary stuff, but it’s just a whole lot easier if my body simply doesn’t want it.

Dustland 360x540 Website

Dustland in Paperback!

I just received the first proof of Dustland, and it came out awesome!  There’s a few minor things I’m going to tweak, but overall I’m seriously impressed.  If anyone is interested in a free copy in return for an “honest and unbiased” review to post on Amazon and/or Goodreads (or anywhere else you like) please let me know.  I’ll be more than happy to send you a copy!  As I’ve learned with A Cold Black Wave, honest and numerous reviews definitely make an impact on exposure and sales so I’d be glad to shuttle this out to ya’ll for them.  Thanks for stoppin by!

ProofPic1 ProofPic2. ProofPic3

US soldiers to be replaced by robots.

Skynet is the fictional AI from the Terminator movies that, upon becoming Sentient, decides that humans are a threat to its existence and, having been put in control of the vast military resources of the United States, launches a full scale nuclear attack on Russia knowing that they will retaliate in kind.

The devastating war is only the beginning, however.  Military grade machines stalk the burned cities hunting for survivors.  In the 80′s and 90′s, James Cameron’s vision was terrifying and plausible, but the technology involved in his doomsday scenario was still far-fetched.  The real world simply wasn’t advanced enough.  Someday, yes.  But when?

The countdown has begun.  The DoD is aggressively pursuing advanced technology to replace an inevitably shrinking US ground force.  The modern US military is facing dire budget constraints  and an a ever-changing battlefield that requires smaller, faster, and more nimble forces.  The heavy reliance on drones to fight our wars overseas is just a prelude for what’s to come: reliance on machines to do our fighting.  In the air, ground, and sea.

As I work on the sequel to A Cold Black Wave, I’m exploring a post-apocalyptic world dominated by machines and their inevitable integration with human beings.   The idea of a weaponized machine patrolling an occupied city is now an imminent reality that is actively being pursued by the world’s largest military.  It will bring into light a slew of questions, including that of accountability and morality.  If a machine inaccurately blows up a school bus full of kids, who is held responsible?  The contractor who built it?   The US military as a whole?  With US drones, they are controlled by “Operators” who are rarely, if ever, mentioned when a drone strike kills innocent civilians.  It’s always the drone.  The “drone” accidentally killed people.  The drone only acts by the decision of a human, but we’re already conditioned to not care of the consequences or who was responsible.

Although, DARPA is also looking into using actual soldiers as “surrogates” for bi-pedal machines, akin to the movie Avatar (which their project is named after).  It’s possible that the Geneva Convention will pass rules against autonomous “combat” machines in particular, so that there is still a human responsible for any associated deaths.

Otherwise, I can see the headlines now:  “Glitch in software causes errant missile strike on school bus”.

Klondikemanual97

Klondike Mini-Series on Discovery Channel

I’ve been a big fan of Discovery’s “Gold Rush” series, especially since it’s related to the story of Dustland.  While it’s a modern day tale of gold mining, it still holds the same allure that attracted so many tens of thousands of Argonauts to California and Alaska.  Even with modern day equipment, the search and extraction of gold is a long and difficult process that guarantees nothing.  Yet that pull for riches and the taste that it’s right there, keeps would-be miners desperately seeking the precious metal.

Discovery seems to have a fetish for all things gold these days.  They have other reality TV shows about the quest for gold in “Bering Sea Gold” and the documentary directly related to the time period in Dustland, “Gold Fever”, which revolves around those early days of the gold rush in 1849.

I watched a bit of the first episode of Klondike tonight and was enjoying it, and actually found some early similarities to Dustland.  I’m recording the series and will see how the entire mini-series holds up.

Anyone watching?  What do you think so far?