Ideas for a lazy Saturday-Julio’s book recommendation

As some of you already know, I have long since confessed to being a book worm. It seems to surprise a lot of people, so evidently I don’t look like someone who reads. Years of fighting for survival in the desert and battling Purifiers will give you a hardened, tough guy image, I suppose. . Anyway, I came across an interesting new sci-fi novel that I think you nerds will enjoy.

Time’s Relative by Debbie DeLouise

It’s the fall of 1998, and librarian Samantha Stewart is looking for a new job. After seeing an ad for a high-paying position at a company called Virtual Software that entails research and travel, Sam investigates the company and learns that its president has gone missing, and that it’s currently being run by the vice-president Greg Parsons.

Before Sam makes it to the interview, she’s visited by a strange woman who introduces herself as Jane Oldsfield: a time traveler whose mission Greg Parsons is trying to prevent.

Sam ignores the woman and goes on the job interview anyway. Soon, she finds herself involved not only with Greg Parsons, but also Philip Montmart, a chain-smoking detective with a vendetta for his wife’s killer, and the time-traveling Oldsfield and her feline accomplice.

Witnessing world events that have yet to happen in her lifetime, including 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, Y2K hysteria and the COVID pandemic, can Samantha figure out Oldsfield’s plans?

“So, why are you blogging about this book, Julio?” One might ask. Well, other than the fact that the cover is gorgeous, DeLouise has a ridiculously inventive imagination. She’s got a knack for taking a new concept and stretching it to an entirely different realm of possibilities. Her writing is fresh, scary and unpredictable and her characters are relatable. Sam is a divorcee looking for a fresh start and a better life like so many Americans and it makes you want to root for her. I also enjoyed her novel “Memory Makers.” It was suspenseful as hell and very original.

So, if you’re still nervous around crowds because of Covid, curl up with a good read. Never underestimate the raw power of books. When I first discovered the joy of reading, I was a homeless teenager living in a tent, hunting small animals and dumpster diving. My friend and “roommate” went back to the city life and the comfort of a warm bed, but she left me her books. It was one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me. I was often cold, wet and hungry out in the middle of nowhere but I had never felt so free in my life. I’ll leave you with a quote I heard from a wise old man: “Before you speak, think and before you think, read!”

Julio Garza

http://www.aridbook.com

Texas water crisis hits close to home

As most of you are aware, Texas is facing a tremendous hardship and I’m not talking about Covid. The state’s unusually cold weather has not only caused electrical outages but an extreme shortage of water. Although electricity has been mostly been restored, nearly half of the state’s population do not have access to clean running water. Bottled water has become nearly impossible to come by and many residents have resorted to boiling snow.

It’s difficult to fathom something like this happening when our natural resources seem infinite. When you turn on your sink or shower and water is always there, you take it for granted, but Texans are getting a crude reminder of how fragile and unpredictable this can be. Unless you have a fallout shelter in the ground stocked with nonperishables, it’s hard to prepare for this type of situation. It’s terrible enough that much of the state was without power for days and 60 people lost their lives because of it. Now they’re struggling to obtain one of our most precious, life sustaining resources.

While some politicians have stepped up and helped raised relief money, Texas’ own Senator responded by taking a vacation to Mexico, further proving that we can’t always count on our political leaders in times of need. I wish I could do more to help Texas. I’d like to deliver massive quantities of water to them, not that anyone would want me driving a tractor trailer cross country because my night vision is terrible. In reality I am one person with limited resources, but in times like these, we should care about the suffering of others. The world has gotten away from that. We tend to only be cognizant of others if they belong to our circle of family and friends.

A natural resource crisis could happen to anyone anywhere and if you’re on the receiving end, you’d want someone lending you a hand so I’m including a link to organizations that are collecting donations for the water crisis victims. Please help if you can.

Julio’s book review

Hola, amigos. Instead of my usual rants about our corrupt political system and socioeconomic inequality, I thought I’d provide a distraction this time. I’m completely fed up with every bit of news I’ve been hearing, so I’d like to talk about books. I know it takes most people by surprise that I’m a bookworm, but I got a better education from books than I did in a classroom. When I first discovered the joy of reading during the summer I lived in a tent, I’d never felt so free in my life. So, today I’m going to talk about a riveting, post apocalyptic/dystopian book I read.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

When Dinétah, a former Navajo reservation devastated by climate apocalypse, needs help finding a missing girl, they enlist the help of Maggie, a supernaturally gifted monster hunter. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she discovers she’s in far greater danger than she could’ve anticipated.

I give Rebecca Roanhorse major points for originality. You don’t come across books about Native American clan powers very often. The Navajo are a very culturally rich group of people so it was interesting to learn about some of their customs and beliefs. The world building is solid and the characters are strong. Maggie is a total badass and it makes you want to root for her. The battle scenes are also pretty exciting.

The plot is a little muddled at times, and leaves certain elements unresolved. I’m still not sure what the hell is going on with Maggie’s love interest(s). However, Trail of Lightning is the first book in a 2 part series, so I’m sure there’s more clarification in her sequel, Storm of Locusts. So, if you’re looking for a dystopian, out-of-the box tale with an ending you won’t see coming, read this book! It’s available in just about any format you could desire, e-book, audiobook, hard cover, paperback and Mp3 CD.

4 stars ****

Julio Garza

http://www.aridbook.com

Did I predict the future?

I rarely write from my own perspective but I think this calls for an exception. Several years ago I wrote a book about a fictional world where moguls and corrupt political figures dominated and controlled the water supply until only the very wealthy could afford it. The less fortunate, who could no longer pay their water bills were exiled and forced to live in squalor and misery. “Why the hell is she talking about her book?” You might ask. Well, because life often imitates art and those days may soon be upon us.

Wall Street has recently begun trading a new commodity along with oil and gold. You guessed it. WATER! The country’s first water market launched on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange last week with $1.1 billion in contracts. Proponents are arguing that this new water market will make water prices more stable and certain for farmers, but when you place the fate of a basic human resource into the hands of investment giants, it gives them a dangerous amount of power.

As climate changes and inevitable droughts occur, water prices will undoubtedly rise and fall like any product, thus making water affordability more unpredictable. It could create ample opportunities for corporations to profit from the suffering of others. We could potentially end up seeing real life billionaire water barons like the ones in “Arid.” When a human necessity is labeled as a marketable product, greed and corruption are a given.

I’m not saying that everything I’ve written is prophetic. I don’t know that we will be cast into exile, living in shacks, hunting animals and burying cans in the ground for water. I’m a writer so I take things to the extreme. There may not be looters, cannibals and wars but I wouldn’t completely rule out those possibilities. What I am sure of is that water is going to become less and less affordable for everyone. I foresee it exponentially rising like the cost of living has for years. Will it create a postapocalyptic Shackville like that in Arid? Will the new water barons have their own army to take people away who can’t afford their H2O taxes? Only time will tell.

Anne Joyce

http://www.aridbook.com

Josh’s message on Election Day: Don’t be an asshole!

I know that today is a tense and stressful day for many. It will inevitably end with half of the country elated that their candidate won the election and the other half fuming mad that their candidate lost. I won’t tell you who to vote for, but I will tell you this: Don’t be an asshole!

I’m appalled by how some of you are acting lately. You have the right to vote and you should, but you do not have the right to threaten, harass or intimidate someone because they’re not voting the way you want them to. You do not have the right to assault someone or vandalize the signs on their property because their beliefs aren’t the same as yours. Please keep in mind that the person who’s invoking this white-hot rage within you is just as entitled to their opinions as you are to yours.

There is no perfect world in which we’re all happy with the outcome of an election, but at the end of the day we still have to live and work together. There’s no politician that can solve all of the country’s problems and I think we can all agree that there are serious problems. Sometimes it takes more than a vote to initiate change and it’s much harder to do when we’re divided. When we come together, it’s easier to stand against atrocities. Certain groups wouldn’t be able to vote today if that hadn’t happened. It happened because enough people came together.

Positive change isn’t fueled by hatred. Degradation of a society is fueled by hatred and separation. Remember that when you’re at the polls. We can’t agree on everything, but the world would be an infinitely better place if we could agree to be decent to one another.

Josh Wyman

http://www.aridbook.com

Can we calling stop rioters “protestors”?

Let me start by saying that this country has MANY things it needs to change. The unlawful killing of George Floyd last May sparked a white hot rage within me but what ignited an equal amount of fury was the looting, violence and homicides that followed and continue to occur across the country.

I know some of you think you’re making a grand statement by torching businesses and assaulting each other but you’re not. You’re angry that there are crooked members of law enforcement, such as Derek Chauvin unjustly killing and harming members of minority groups, as you should be, but ask yourself this: If I’m harming or killing innocent people in return, how am I any better?

You’re destroying businesses that are largely owned by African Americans and other minority groups so you’re actually harming the people you claim to be standing up for. In Chicago 18 homicides were committed the weekend after Mr. Floyd was killed, marking May 31st as Chicago’s most violent day in 60 years. So we’re “protesting” an unjust murder by committing more murders? Yeah, that makes sense. And to whoever threw a rock at a police horse in Dallas and broke its nose, you’re not a protestor. You’re a piece of shit.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for protesting and advocating for change., but when you add violence and unchanneled hatred into the mix, your message becomes distorted and you only add to the problem. This world has entirely too much violence and hatred already. If you want to be heard and taken seriously, channel your anger into something constructive. Use your voice and get people to listen.

Skylar Henderson

The crisis in Hammanskraal seems all too familiar

 

The town of Hammanskraal in Gauteng, South Africa is facing a dire situation. You guessed it! They’re amidst a water crisis. With droughts plaguing the area, their main source of water is delivered by tankers only once a week. Some residents have gone without water for weeks at a time, so they’re forced to buy it from people who own boreholes. Paying for water may not sound like a big deal, but for the elderly and unemployed, it often forces them to choose between water or their next meal.

You’re probably asking yourself “Why is Julio rambling about a small town problem in a far away country? Nothing like that will happen where I live.” If you’re thinking along those lines, you’re dwelling in a damn fool’s paradise. Let’s not forget that Flint, Michigan has had a contaminated water issue since 2014.  And maybe you’re not aware that Slovenia is only one of a few countries that declared water a natural right and not a public good.

Don’t get me wrong. I used to be like you. I took my nightly hot showers for granted. You think it’s always going to be there until one day you’re burying cans in the ground and collecting rain water in cups. It seemed like it happened overnight. I lived a somewhat stable life. I was able to get by until the water barons took our H2O and privatized it. They purchased the rights to all bodies of water and made it unobtainable to anyone who wasn’t filthy rich.

When your government is more concerned with collecting money to build walls than making sure citizens have safe drinking water, you’ve got a big problem. If there’s a water shortage in your city and no one’s coming up with a plan of action, you need to be worried because it’s a sure sign that your natural resources are being seen as exploitable goods and your rights as a human being no longer matter. Remember, I’m the future and you’re in grave danger of ending up like me.

 

Julio Garza

 

Josh’s warning-“Beware of Nestle!”

Nestle wants to siphon public water and sell it back to you!

I know this may seem a little hard to believe from your perspective and I get that. Really, I do. You’re living in 2019 and natural resources haven’t been completely privatized yet. You get to shower regularly and drink from the faucet, things you take for granted until they’re gone. You can still go fishing in lakes and rivers because they’re not surrounded by barbed wire, but it isn’t going to last!

I’m from the future, the 2040’s to be more precise and one thing you need to realize is that a deadly snow storm starts with a single flake. Nestle has recently laid plans to plunder 1.1 million gallons of water a day from Ginnie Springs in Florida. The purpose? To take this publicly owned water and sell it back to the public.

Not only is this a double punch to the wallet because the restoration of Ginnie Springs was funded with taxpayer money after it was damaged from dumping, but it could also harm the ecosystem. There are several species of turtles that nest along the riverbanks. So, this billion dollar corporation apparently believes that citizens should purchase the water they already own when they’ve already paid to restore this source of  water.

Believe me when I say this won’t stop here. Some of these giant corporations act like they own the world and everything in it. I was once a normal guy like you. I had a 9 to 5 job, a beautiful wife, and a nice home. I blinked one day and I was living in a shack in the middle of the desert, burying cans in the ground for water and hunting snakes. Take my advice and prepare yourself and stand up for yourself. Let your voice be heard!

 

Joshua Wyman

aridbook.com

Big Brother is watching you and he’s got a new radar device to do it with!—Trent’s thoughts

Many of you may not be aware of this since it was done in such a quiet and shady manner, but at least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see if anyone is inside.  The device is placed on the wall of the home like a stud finder and once a signal is sent to the device it allows the viewer to see movement and shapes within that home.

I don’t mean to sound paranoid but this is what I’m talking about, people!  More and more of our personal freedoms are violated and no one says anything about it.  Big Brother will NOT stop there.  First NSA, now this!  It’s like snowflake after snowflake falling on us.  People don’t get concerned about it until they are buried in an avalanche.  Forcing us to have microchips implanted in our bodies is not only the future I’m living in, but it’s a future you can all expect at this point.

I don’t understand how this can be legal without a warrant, and I know I don’t need to tell you what will happen if this device falls into the hands of criminals!  We need to stand up for our rights.  It’s like my dad used to say, “Stand for something or fall for anything.”  I haven’t even seen him since the microchip bill was passed.  (Remember, I’m in the year 2020) I don’t even know what happened to my family or if they’re ok and neither does Brooklyn.  All of our rights were stripped from us because no one stood up to Big Brother.  It’s up to you to change things.

Sincerely,

Trenton Barnes

Zane’s rant on the “Hot Mug Shot Guy”

For those of you who haven’t heard of the “Hot Mug Shot Guy,” his name is Jeremy Meeks and he’s in prison for committing a number of crimes, including a weapons charge and gang related crimes. His mug shot was put on the Stockton police web page and he’s now become a viral sensation because he is “hot.”  Women are swooning over his pictures like 12 year old girls at a Justin Bieber concert.  This is not the part that annoys me.  Ladies, if you want to swoon over this guy and his “bad boy” image, far be it from me to come between you and your swooning.

What infuriates me is the fact that his mother is collecting donations online to raise money for his 1 million dollar bail and people are DONATING!!!  Are you freaking kidding me??!! Let’s not give that money to starving children in some third world country, help the disabled in our own country, or give to the animal rescue organizations.  Why would we do that when we can get this guy out of prison (where he put himself!) so he can pursue a modeling career.  He’s landed an agent from prison for those of you who didn’t know.  His agent is a former porn star (classy)!

My friends and I have spent years living in tents, abandoned houses, and bomb shelters with no money because we are fighting for what we believe.  People need to get their priorities straight.  This is what’s important?  This guy is good looking, so let’s spend an enormous amount of money to bail him out. If he wanted to be a model so badly, he should’ve pursued that years ago instead of leading the life he did. It’s time to live with the decisions you made, Mr. Hot Mug Shot!

Thanks for listening to my bitching.

Regards,

Zane Marsh