“This was truly a bizarre read. It’s part Science Fiction, part Fantasy and part Satire.
“Reminisce to Alice of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the main character Shark finds herself entangled in a battle of supernatural beings where all sides want to use her for their own ends.
This was not an easy read. The settings were so odd at times that they were impossible for me to imagine.
“The characters complex, maybe a bit too complex as I was not able to relate to many of them.
“The plot was ever unwinding, ever expanding and often confusing. Yet when I reached the end and could reflect back on it, I had a few of “aha” moments.
“So do I recommend this book? Yes, but selectively so. There are adult themes such as rape, and sadistic torture inside the story so it is not suitable for young readers. Other then that, I would think that readers who enjoy the rich and complex world, and logic defying nature of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland might also enjoy this story.”
If Gator & Shark resembles Alice in Wonderland, then it’s this sort of Alice:
Here’s the Facebook post, modified to suit the blogging arena . . .
So many reasons to buy my book:
1. I don’t publish crap. Ever. If you don’t believe me, Amazon has posted the first three chapters for you to sample.
2. I’m a first-time author. Somewhere in the Bible, “supporting first-time authors” is a major mitzvah. (Shouting this out on your blog? That’s a mitzvah, too, as is leaving glowing reviews at Amazon. The ancient Israelites were all about leaving glowing reviews at Amazon. The Ten Commandments God gave to Moses? 4.7 stars — a few Philistines voted.) And if you’re an atheist, well, atheists are into good deeds, too, right?
3. Guaranteed to make wingnut heads explode!
4. Low, low price of $3.99. Face it, you spend more than that whenever you go to Starbucks, and my book won’t turn into pee two hours after you buy it.
5. Best of all, the story and characters are ripping good.
If the price is a problem, I will be hosting a few free days. To be announced.
My wife and sister have complained so much about this procedure that I have made a command decision: I’m going to enjoy this thing.
Either his head is that small, or my rectum is that huge
The instructions said to take three Dulcolax (”dookies,” as we called them in residency) at 8:00 PM, two days prior to the procedure. They have a delightful candy coating, no doubt to encourage abuse. Yum!
So far so good. I’m telling you, y’all are wimps.
Nearly two hours into this, and I’m quite sure that I am still FOS. Color me underwhelmed. Meanwhile, I’ve been helping Jake with his housing application for UCLA. He didn’t want to bother with this, so I put him into the hall for brony vegans.
The dookies worked their magic at about 1:30 this morning. Kept me up for an hour, then I slept like a babe. Jake got his own ride to school this morning, so I didn’t have to face the specter of an unusually urgent commute. As for today, I’m on a clear liquid diet, and sadly I did not buy enough stuff to get me through the day. One can only drink so much chicken stock. Oddly enough, I’m not that hungry.
The real fun starts at 4:00, when I begin drinking the Miralax-Gatorade cocktail.
Oooh! Ancient popsicles! I’m in luck.
I have created the finest green. So that’s what my bile looks like!
All of the Miralade is in and I’m feeling fine. More than anything else, I worry that the prep won’t be efficient enough and I’ll have to do this all over again. As much as I’m enjoying this, I would rather not do it again any time soon.
And, done. The post-procedure crampiness (from gas) was the most unpleasant part of the whole thing. Otherwise, no big deal, and now my colon has a blue ribbon seal of approval. Or something like that.
So (in last night’s little adventure), this man comes to see me because he’s unhappy with the rhinoplasty my partner did for him. This is preposterous on the face of it, because my partner has twenty-five years of cosmetic surgery experience, and I’ve done, what, maybe twelve rhinoplasties in my entire career, ten of those during training? But whatever. The guy wants an opinion.
And, indeed, it’s a botched rhinoplasty, which is again preposterous because my partner does great work, but hey, this is a dream. This fellow has no tip support and the nasal dorsum has been over-reduced. It’s amazing that his nose hasn’t sunk two inches into his face. I’m shocked that all he wants is his money back (preposterousness #3 — this is the Kize — so you want your co-pay back? Sure!), but then he pulls out a ten-inch hunting knife, very shiny, and says he wants to see my partner.
Don't worry. I'm sure that must be fake blood.
I locate my partner in one of the other exam rooms and innocently (evilly?) tell him, “One of your patients has a question for you.” But he’s in a snit over something going down in his own room, and leaves in a huff. So, great. I have an angry patient in my room looking for sweet, bloody revenge, and my partner’s gone from the building.
When I get back, some young Vietnamese kid is delivering my patient an automatic rifle, but there seems to be some disagreement, everyone’s getting louder, and right then, close enough for me to get splashed with blood, my patient stabs the guy in the hand, screams, “Just give me the goddamn gun!” and grabs the rifle.
Clutching his bloody hand, the kid races over to the other side of the room, pulls out his cell phone (no doubt with a third hand), and starts screaming into it in Vietnamese. My patient, meanwhile, is loading a clip into his rifle. Thinking fast, the kid jumps onto a table, grabs a handful of window curtain, and when the rifle-fire shatters the picture window behind him, he swings out and down using the curtains as a tether.
Sadly for him, we’re several stories up, and he has to release the curtains to fall into the ocean below. (Yes. In Bakersfield.) He makes a splash, and I see him start to swim away, but then a nearby submarine fires two torpedoes his way.
I turn to my patient. “You want a refund? NO problem. But here, look at this diagram, I’d like to explain to you exactly what the trouble is . . .”
Moral of the story: Not all male rhinoplasty patients are nuts, but you have to wonder about the ones who come to their appointments with ten-inch-long hunting knives.
I just want to see what kills me. Well, would you? This morning, I learned of the existence of 23 and Me, a company that will do full genotyping of your spit sample for a cheap cheap $99. They’ll check your carrier status for 47 inherited conditions, and your genetic risk factors for 247 diseases. Genotyping can also reveal how you will respond (or fail to respond) to certain blood thinners, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering meds, and so forth.
Do you want to know if you have a 60% chance of developing Parkinson’s disease? That you’re at risk of developing Lou Gehrig’s disease, coronary artery disease, cancer of the whatever? They’ve got all the bases covered. And if you think knowledge is power, 23 and Me is offering an awful lot of power for a relatively small sum of money.
I wonder, though, whether this knowledge might affect how I respond to future questionnaires for hospital privileges (Do you have any conditions which could affect your ability to perform your duties as a physician?) or health/life insurance. And if I learn something really scary, how do I keep it from dragging me down?
I think I want to do this. Of the other four docs who I was with today, only one of them was as excited as I was about the prospect of getting genotyped. The other three were of the No effing way persuasion.
About ten days ago, I described how I went about brining my pork shoulder. Here it is, getting ready for its salty bath:
pork shoulder, rinsed and ready for the brine
It’s in a plastic garbage bag. I added the brine, tied it off, and kept it at approximately 36 degrees F for ten days. Every day, I turned it or shook it up a bit.
Yesterday was day 10, to be precise, so I removed the boneless shoulder from the brine, rinsed it off, dried it. Then I dusted it liberally with paprika and ground black pepper, and left it in the fridge for another day to let the outer surface dry. Here it is, ready for the grill.
pork shoulder plus simple dry rub
I banked the coals to one side, and used two to three cups of soaked hickory chips to create the smoke. The pork sat suspended on a grate at the opposite end of the barbecue.
ready to smoke!
Eight hours later, it smelled like the real thing and looked like the real thing, but the internal temperature was only 120 degrees F. I sliced a bit off one end, and it tasted great, but still looked raw. I popped it in the oven at 250 degrees F, and left it in (about two hours) until the internal temperature was 160 degrees F. And here it is:
the finished porkstrami, cooling
There are a number of questions yet to be answered. Will it kill me? Make me wish I were dead? Will the middle be as tasty as the end bit I sampled earlier today? Is it smoky enough? Too salty, not salty enough?
There’s a reason why a lot of books have short, one-word titles, with simple covers. They need to look great as teensy thumbnails. (Check out the thumbnails at the bottom of this semi-randomly chosen page.) With this in mind, my designer has kindly been tweaking his cover to provide something that looks good when scaled down. Here’s 200 x 305 pixels:
Gator & Shark Save the World
And at half that size,
Gator & Shark Save the World
Even in this tiny format, the author by-line and titles are all clear. Can’t make out much of the detail of the figures, unfortunately. Live and learn: I asked for a group tableau, and that’s what I got. I like my cover, though, and I really do think something like this would have been much more dull.
Yes, the graphic is relevant. You’ll have to read the book if you want to know why.
No, I haven’t been blogging much lately. Yes, I’ve been writing — editing, to be precise. I finished the second/third pass-through on Gator & Shark, and I’ve sent it to an editor. Now I’m trying to breathe new life into The Brakan Correspondent. It’s rough; I finished it eight years ago, and have been fiddling with it ever since. I have some great set-pieces in this novel. Just a question of cutting away the crap to find the novel within.
But on to the food. I’m going to give you a play-by-play of my latest grand experiment: porkstrami! I’m allergic to beef, I miss pastrami, and I’ve heard that pork pastrami is at least as good as the real thing. Unfortunately, porkstrami isn’t the sort of thing you can get mail order. You have to make it yourself, and that means corning, smoking, and cooking the pork.
I chose a seven-pound pork shoulder. For the brine, I’ve modified from Alpoe the Mad’s recipe (mostly because I don’t like juniper berries). Here’s mine:
One gallon of water
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of “pink salt” (see below)
Four bay leaves, broken up
8 garlic cloves, crushed
5 whole allspice berries
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 tsp freshly ground coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1 slice of ginger
Boil the ingredients, then cool the brine to room temperature. Add the brine and the pork to a garbage bag and put it in the refrigerator. I’m going to let it brine for at least ten days. Every day, I will shake it up a bit to redistribute the ingredients.
Pink salt: I bought this from our local butcher, who had no idea what it was or how it was used (I think he was a junior butcher — took him ten seconds to bone the pork shoulder, but he was lost on the pink salt). According to Alpoe the Mad’s blog, this is 6.25% sodium nitrite. Kinda necessary, I suspect.
I’ll keep you posted, with pictures too once it gets interesting.