A book that will move you- Anne’s recommendation

I normally don’t read autobiographies because I’m obsessed with thriller and science fiction novels (hard to believe, I’m sure), but I recently “met” this author on Facebook and felt compelled to read his book, as he seemed like a kind-hearted and interesting person. It’s rare that I find someone I meet over social media intriguing and view as a potential friend. That’s likely because most of the messages I receive from strangers are spam or some bozo wanting to know if I’m single, but I digress. Andrew Mann’s life story, “Such Unfortunates” is not only gripping but heart-wrenching and inspiring.

Andrew’s life began in an upper-class town of Moorestown, New Jersey. His family had a million-dollar beach house, he attended college and even had the rare opportunity of driving a Ferrari around South Florida.

His life seemed normal on the outside, but the internal turmoil he was experiencing was a horrific ordeal.

Behind what seemed like an idyllic life was a nightmare of abuse, mental illness, and torment that no child should ever face. This led Andrew to suffer from pain, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.

Searching for relief, he found solace in drugs and became quickly addicted to anything that would change the way he felt. His addiction to drugs took him to such extremes as working for the DEA while being high on drugs, multiple rehabs, jails, becoming homeless, and even to the point of being considered dead.

When all hope was lost, people he considers “angels” entered his life.

One person, in particular, refused to give up on him even when everyone told her this was the best option. Through her determination, he was able to find the strength to look inside and find the real reasons for his addiction.

Once he understood these reasons, he was finally able to figure out how to stay clean and successfully turned his life around.

I’d like to point out that being an artist is a very vulnerable pursuit. Even as a fiction writer, you are bearing a part of your soul to the world and opening yourself up to scrutiny. It’s as if to say “Here are my guts. Please rip them apart if you desire.” I think that quantifying your life story into written word and sharing it with everyone is one of the most vulnerable things an artist can do, and it takes courage. It also takes courage to speak about the atrocities you endured as a child and to heal and overcome them.

Andrew’s book will cause you to keep the pages turning as you wonder how anyone could have survived some of the things he did. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with addiction or who knows someone that is. Read it. You won’t regret it. Live long and continue to prosper, Andrew.

Anne Joyce

www.aridbook.com

The military’s new robot is scary as hell! Blaine’s POV

I question a lot of decisions made by the military and I think it’s normal to do so, especially when you’ve spent years living in exile thanks to a corrupt government and its makeshift army of drones known as Purifiers. The United States Military’s latest invention, however; has got me having flashbacks from old horror movies. I’m talking about the kind of films your parents forbid you from watching but you snuck out of bed and watched anyway, so of course you had nightmares. The United States has created a robot that is fueled by consuming living organisms!

Their reasoning for the existence of this machine, known as the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR), is that it can create usable green power from renewable, plentiful plant matter. It can also provide intense material support to units requiring intensive labor or even help by carrying the unit’s packs. When you look at that way, it sounds like the eco-friendly EATR could be extremely beneficial, as there are a wide range of commercial and agricultural uses for it.

I’m not saying that the EATR won’t be used for practical purposes, but I feel I should mention that it was also designed for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition or casualty extraction. Technically it could track a living organism and then eat it and that’s the part that gives me the willies. There’s just something unsettling about a government robot putting a living target under surveillance when its capable of devouring that target. And by “casualty extraction,” that clearly means that it can eat carcasses too.

I’m well aware that the desecration and/or abuse of a corpse is strictly forbidden, but there are a lot acts that are “forbidden” by our government or society that blatantly occur all the time. My point is that the EATR has a few disturbing functions that the military is swearing it won’t be used for. So, I guess that means we’re supposed to trust them and take their word at face value. Well, I’m not feeling uneasy about that at all! *Wipes sweat from brow.* Below is a link to the article about the EATR. Feel free to skim it over and tell me what you think. Am I being paranoid or should we be watching our fleshy backs a little more?

Blaine Henderson

http://www.aridbook.com

https://www.wearethemighty.com/mighty-tactical/robots-that-eat-people/?fbclid=IwAR0_hPHdSMnFzfSIIwd22ZWqCwakJZnbN0T3XMOm_iaphxv32wR52-2inlY

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