Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 33)

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 8.56.08 PM.pngI found myself walking past the voice of the unidentified female, and out the door.  “Oh you found the door, Good Caleb.”  Julie was back in my head somehow.  I had not felt her presence in some time, since we were electrocuted in fact. It made me intensely happy that she was back.

It wasn’t me smiling. It was the residual bio-nanites still in my system. Did they still have power? Once outside, I stood on the pavement, staring at the cold metal door. It did not open. No one followed me out. I had outlived my usefulness and they would be coming for me soon. Maybe.

Questions filled my mind, replacing the impotent rage that had propelled me outside.  Doctor Red said that our DNA, hers and mine, had been used to create the clones in their facility. She said killing them would be akin to killing our children. In the normal scheme of things, a child born naturally of two parents would be raised to adulthood over the course of 18 years, learning all both parents had to teach. How long did the clones have? Days? Weeks?

For the first time since Lila died, I felt free. The bio-nanites the Senator’s people wanted had been taken from me already, and I survived. Not-quite-Mercedes had taken me to this other underground lair where the clones were created, and I walked out, after learning a host of things that no rational human should know. I survived. Would they let me leave now? It was about time to find out.

There was a dark sedan just off to the side behind the facility. I walked over to the fenced in parking area and scaled the ten foot fence. Everything else I have been through this week has made scaling a fence facile in comparison. I jumped down once I got my left leg over the twisted links at the top, and bent my knees as I landed.

Giddy now, I chuckled, and looked up. The moon was full. Stifling an insane urge to howl, I reached over and grabbed the handle of the car on the driver’s side. It was unlocked. Of course it was, but that didn’t mean the keys would be there.

They weren’t. I used the lever on the driver’s side by the floor boards to open the trunk.  There were some tools in the trunk. A few hammers. Some screws. A blowtorch. Huh?  Before this weekend, the sight of the blowtorch would raise my eyebrows. Now, I didn’t think anything would shock me again. I was wrong.

“You thought you could just walk away from all this? Actually, yeah. I did walk away. I was still facing the trunk when I heard the voice, as well as the crunching of gravel on the ground.

People tend to make more noise when they’re trying to be quiet. There was an aerosol can of air in the trunk, next to the partially inflated spare in the center of the trunk.  That was going to do. Whipping around, I faced two of the same person.  The voice did not belong to either of them.

PART 34

Coincidental Circumstances (Part 2)

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The purple haired girl with the nose-ring furrowed her brow. “Um … what?” I could see in her face that guys like me normally didn’t ask her for gum. Their loss. Time was of the essence because writing can be a fickle thing. One moment the story is with you, and the next moment, the eureka moment disappears.

“Please, I’m a writer, and gum helps me think.”

“You’re a writer?” she asked. “What have you written?”

“Nothing you’ve read.” I was unpublished at the time, so of course she hadn’t read anything yet. Silly girl. This was the whole point of sitting in Starbucks. I had to sit amongst the people and seek inspiration.

“How many books have you sold?” She took a sip from her coffee and awaited my answer as if she was actually interested.

“Technically, I’m unpublished.”

“So … zero?”

I chewed my gum, now out of the delicious flavor I so enjoyed and just slowly nodded embarrassingly. I looked at her purple hair and noticed a bright red streak on her right bang and watched her eyes to see if she was kidding but I could see the disdain in her pupils. “How does the gum help you?” She obviously didn’t know a damn thing about writing.

“It just does.”

“Stellar reason.”

“Listen, it was just a question.”

“Do I look like a gum factory to you?”

“You looked like a girl who enjoys gum.”

“What does that mean?”

“Please … don’t act like that. Who doesn’t like gum?”

“I like a lot of things way more than gum,” she said. “For a writer, you have some really lame pick-up lines.”

I couldn’t believe this. Really? A guy can’t ask a girl for gum anymore? I rubbed my temples and stood up. “Let me check the counter.” My investigation lasted thirty-four seconds. I guess coffee and gum doesn’t mix. Maybe it was like Disneyland in not wanting gum to be placed under the tables and on the floor. I grabbed another coffee and returned to my writer’s corner and saw the purple haired girl with the nose-ring was gone, but on the keyboard of my macbook was a single piece of gum.

It was the last one in the pack.

CONTINUED

Movie Review: In the Heart of the Sea

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In the Heart of the Sea directed by Ron Howard

I want to lead off by saying I respect Ron Howard for making this film. It had to be tough getting $100 million in financing for what equates to a 19th century picture that isn’t an action adventure or based on a sequel or reboot or remake. It probably helped that he got Thor Chris Hemsworth to star, but still, period pieces are hard to sell.

This is what I think happened. Life of Pi was a huge hit both commercially and critically, so much so, that the financiers probably saw similarities in the plot and figured Ron Howard could pull it off.

I watched it last night. I turned the lights down real low and the volume up.

And almost fell asleep.

I get it. The movie is based on the tale that inspired the greatest American Novel of all time, Moby Dick, a novel that the public of the time rejected and was critically panned and not taken seriously for 60 years. It wasn’t until 30 years after Melville died that his story was held in literary acclaim. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but I don’t think critics will come back and revisit this tale in 70 years and say it was a masterpiece of American film.

The movie is directed well. It was just incredibly slow. The whale itself was a bit unbelievable and frankly didn’t look too great on TV. It was very CGI. Could they have made a giant ass whale robot to jump out of the water and crash into the ship? I think so. Would it have been expensive as shit and threaten stuntmen from Hollywood to Long Beach? Yes, but this is why there is workman’s comp.

Would I have wanted to watched a giant robot whale perform that stunt? Hell yes. My eyes would have believed the danger. I could have seen the scale. The damage on the ship would have been real. How much would it have cost? Ten million bucks? Who cares. Slam that shit and then blow it up! In the movie, the great set piece doesn’t even look convincing. It seems pretty fake.

What else was fake? Chris Hemsworth “starving.” Yes, I know, Thor can’t lose too much weight because Thor needs to wield a hammer every year. Well you know what? It looked pretty lame that everyone else seemed to lose a bunch of weight and Hemsworth looked like he was eating lobster every night. Putting some makeup on his face didn’t do shit.

There are plenty of “whale” money shots that the marketing department hoped to sell tickets. I have no clue who they were trying to market to. Maybe the same people who take Alaskan cruises. They pay to watch whales swim. Fourteen year olds want to see shit blow up and each year, it is harder to fool them.

I don’t know about you, I pay to see real effects happen when I see disaster movies. What else they spent their money on, I have no idea, because the rest of it looked like it could be shot for $10M for TBS. I remember in The Dark Knight when they flipped the semi-truck with the trailer. That shit looked real because it was. Christopher Nolan would have built a whale the size of a semi and had it crash the ship. If he was smart, he would have opened with it. Just 90 minutes of a whale attack. Boom. Entertainment.

GUEST REVIEW: “ALBERT FROM ASGARD”

I’m going to kick this guy’s ass. What the hell is he talking about? Hemsworth evoked raw masculinity in every frame of the film. Did he not see him hammer in shingles at the very beginning? It was so epic. When he walked down from the ladder, it almost was like a God coming down to earth. He was meant to lead. Then, something Matt didn’t touch on, was the very first scene on the ship when Hemsworth took matters in his own hands and climbed the sails to cut the rope and show the Captain how real sailing was done. He was a majestic hero. Fourteen year old teenagers surely would have been impressed if they only knew about the great stunts he did. Instead, yes, we got a bunch of CGI whales swimming in CGI water, and this wasn’t even Finding Nemo.

OVERALL MOVIE REVIEW: 4/10 Albino Whales

CLICK HERE FOR A REVIEW OF A “PERFECT” MOVIE

Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 32)

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“We don’t know.” Doctor Red replied, “The bio-nanites have never been inside a host subject for so long.”

I gaped at her. Host subject? And how could they not know? With all the experimentation and cloning going on surely they were more equipped than this.

“Host Subject?” I said aloud to her, “Is that all I am to you? First you use my DNA without my permission to create these clones, then everyone wants to get these damn bio-nanites out of me instead of curing me as they’re intended to do because someone else out there is so god damned more important than I am. Even though it’s my DNA you all need to keep your operations running smoothly. Did I miss anything? And let’s not forget I’ve lost my girlfriend, met her twin in the form of a clone and have seen more people killed in the last 48 hours than I ever thought to see in my lifetime.”

The look on Doctor Red’s face said she wasn’t used to being talked to in such a manner, but I was tired of the game. Tired of being used, being left in the dark, and of being in a constant state of what-the-hell-is-happening-now sort of feeling. I just wanted to be done with all this shit I was being handed.

“It’s not like that. Everything is much more complicated than you realize Caleb.”

“Whatever.” I said, “Just get these bio-nanites out of me and I’ll see my way out of this mess.”

“Well that’s a lot harder said than done.” She said.

“What do you mean?” I questioned.

“Valenkov had resources at his disposal when he ‘reacquired’ the bio-nanites from you than we currently have at our fingertips. “

“You don’t know how to remove them do you?” I said. It was more a statement than a question to her.   So I’m stuck with them. I cradled my head in my hands. These people had no fucking idea what the hell they were doing. It appeared I was caught in the middle of some sort of clone war going on underground. Judging from my limited previous experience when all the bio-nanites were inside me, I suspect that my life was about to be permanently changed. As if it hasn’t been already, I thought. I can already feel the remaining nanites changing things. Making me stronger I suppose.

I got up from the slab I’d been laying on for the scans and made a decision. It was a bold one, but maybe it was because I had the nanites. Maybe it was because I just didn’t care anymore.

“I’m leaving.”

“Wait!” Doctor Red said.

I kept walking, ignoring the doctor’s pleas or the sound of her pressing a buzzer. It was probably some sort of alarm. I didn’t care which was kind of weird. Normally I’d be scared out of my skin. Maybe the events since Lila’s death had numbed me or was too much to take in. I really didn’t know. All I knew was that I was out the door, through the facility, past the sleeping clones. Past whatever the hell this entire experiment was. I wanted no part in it. I hadn’t asked for this to begin with.

“Caleb!”

I stopped. Lila? No it couldn’t be. Had to be another clone talking.

PART 33

THE FIVERR SCAM: (Scam Series Part 2)

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How many of you have seen these promotions on twitter? How many of you have actually paid for such services? If you have, I apologize in advance because what you are about to see will make you feel like you got ripped off. If you are not familiar with the various fiverr.com site that spam the various twitter feeds, they are a company that represents itself as an “influencer.”

Their website says they can promote to 250,000 fans.IMG_8629.PNG

As you can see, they charge in increments of $5 to get you to pay for their “influence.” IMG_8630.PNG

They will tweet you 60 times for $10 amongst their accounts (probably using automated scheduling, which cost them $29 a month). I tested if I was totally enthusiastic about this “opportunity” how much I could spend …

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Wow. Some poor sucker can pay $385 to boost their visibility on sister accounts such as the one below (for handcrafts).IMG_3209.png

Of course after my battle with some of the scammers I’ve been exposing recently, I have had some blowback with mass unfollowing of me for telling the truth. You know what, I don’t care. I believe that people don’t want to get scammed. Below is one of the larger affiliated “promotion” accounts. (Wow! 298K followers) Notice the fiverr.com is on each. IMG_6331.png

So what is the truth? It will simply shock you. Only 14% of the 106K account are real and active. 86% are either fake or inactive. this is a total misrepresentation. IMG_3267.jpeg

And look at the next one. Book Lovers has an astounding 43% fake followership followed by 10% as inactive. Out of 298K people, only 47% are “good” accounts. IMG_5579.jpeg

Check the #amwriting #writing #writer #books #amreading #author #books #ebooks and similar feeds and you will see a bunch of their posts sitting high up in the “Top Tweets” section. 

This is what we need to do:

1)Unfollow any account associated with fivrr twitter marketing.

2)Tell your friends these accounts are scamming people. If you see their posts, reply back that the post is a scam. 

3)If you have been scammed by them, demand a refund for a promotion that misrepresents their influence.

4)Share this with everyone you know trying to market something on twitter. 

I will continue to write the truth to what I see and receive the threats certain of the “high influencers” that dominate twitter writing, moving, and gaming feeds. I simply don’t care. 

SEE THE ORIGINAL SHADY AUTHOR SCAM POST

OR SEE HOW I AM LEARNING TO DO MY OWN BOOK COVERS

Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 31)

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.33.06 PM.png“What the actual fuck…” I said

Two people dressed in biohazard suits appeared from a side room. I tensed up as they approached.

They took Caleb Mark II gently by the elbows and led him away. Not-quite-Mercedes waited till they left before continuing down the rows of suspended clones.

“I’m … I’m just a clone?”

Not-quite-Mercedes stopped to look at me, “No,” he replied turning back around.

I took my chance and grabbed his revolver that was tucked into his belt.

Pointing the gun at the row upon row of glass tubes, “Tell me what the fuck is going on, or I pull the trigger. Do you know how many of these tubes will explode before the bullets velocity diminishes? Shall we find out?” I cocked the pistol.

“Caleb. Please don’t,” a voice said to my left.

A woman in a lab coat walked closer, her hands held in front of her, “If you pull that trigger it will be akin to killing your own children. After all, you are the original DNA donor. You are, the real Caleb.”

My hand wavered, “I am? How?”

“Yes. Lila. She gave us a few strands of your hair,” she said stepping closer. Her eyes was an amazing green, her hair was fiery red, pulled back in a high ponytail.

“Why me?” I asked.

“Because you were the perfect subject. American passport, so you could travel freely, but most importantly, you had an illness similar to the Senator’s wife. Stage three Glioma. Yes you are the original, but you were also just a guinea pig.”

“Huh…” was all I got out before her hand snaked out like lightning, hitting my wrist. My fingers went numb and the gun fell out of my hands where she grabbed it mid-air and handed it back to Not-quite-Mercedes behind her without even looking at him.

“Sorry about that, but I can’t have you killing our babies.”

Not-quite-Mercedes moved behind me this time, he wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.

“Our babies?” I ask moving forward as Not-quite-Mercedes gave me shove in the back.

“The clones need male and female DNA, just like real old fashioned procreation to work. I used mine,” she said.

“Well, what now?”

“Now we stick you in a PET scanner and see what those nanintes have been up to,” she said.

With very little choice in the matter I followed Doctor Red. She stopped in front of a pressure sealed door and entered a code into a keypad. The door slid open with a hiss and we entered what pretty much looked like a hospital emergency room.

There were more people in white coats and biohazard suits walking around checking clones in beds doing various eye and reflex tests.

Screens adorned the walls with rapidly flashing images, it looked like they were teaching the clones various rudimental skills.

Languages, geography and hand to hand combat.

Some of the workers stopped and stared as we walked past.

We entered a smaller room where the PET scan machine was held, a smaller glass room was adjacent to it, rows of high definition screens against the wall connected to computers that would analyze the scan.

“Do I need to take my clothes off?” I asked slightly concerned, it was cold in here.

“Don’t flatter yourself. Just lie down on the bed and don’t move,” Doctor Red said.

I obeyed and stretched out on the bed. It was surprisingly comfortable. I heard a buzz and the bed slid into the scanner.

The lights dimmed and music started playing, Enya? Haven’t heard Enya in ages … was she still alive?

The bed and the music relaxed me, I was shattered. The entire night had been one cluster fuck after another. It all seemed like a mad dream lying here. I nearly dozed off when the music stopped and the bed slid out of the scanner.

Doctor Red was waiting at the foot of the bed.

“Well, I have some good news and I have some bad news,” She said.

“Of course you do,” I replied.

“The good news is, your tumor is gone.”

My jaw hit the floor.

“The bad news is, there are still a few nanite stragglers in your body. The must have rebooted when you got electrocuted and didn’t respond to their commands.”

“Great, now what?” I said.

PART 32

 

Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 30)

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 1.55.55 AM.pngI barely understood as we entered the sub-level floor. A flashlight switched on, revealing the corridor of metal in front of him. Not five meters ahead was a chamber filled with dense, milky fluids, in which a young woman was suspended, her throat covered in a sort of foundation, a feeding tube running in through her throat, nutrients absorbed through a sterile tracheostomy. I wondered who she was, and kept walking.

Only a few more steps and we passed into a larger room, a basement but very cold, and we could hear heavy panicked footsteps shuffling around above us, surely wondering how we made it out. Any minute, we thought, continuing to look at each chamber we passed; each filled with what looked like amniotic fluid, making them steam-punk wombs, born doppelgangers and given the machinery to mimic.

How long had this facility been here? How many clones had been born? I then realized, suddenly, how much one could do with the ability to print people. Each person you encounter, you could kill them and leave the body alive, bringing the other one to this — this chamber, injecting them with these machines, and using them to reprogram them, to repurpose them as labor or entertainment, robotics with blood, unfeeling eyes seeing nothing in mirrors in which the only hint of a real human being in the reflection is the uncanny lie of that unnatural alchemy. Only absolute power could have approved an operation such as this.

My panic was interrupted when just up ahead, just out of sight, I heard the sound of breaking glass, and large glass too, not a falling plate or cup, but something that buckled, like an orb, shattering in unnumbered pieces. And then stumbling, a horrified groan, and the glowing arm lit the scene before him on the floor. I rushed to help the person to their feet, looked down, and saw my own face looking back at me. I didn’t think before speaking, asking the naked man, covered in the viscous liquid, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”

The man looked at me just as strangely, “I’m Caleb, are you another one of the clones?”

I was standing in my birthplace, suddenly not quite sure of the memories I had and the life I thought I had lived as I stared at Not-Quite-Caleb.

PART 31