High Strangeness: February 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My New UFO Life

Man, I knew it was going to be hard to keep up with the blog after the Antarctica trip, but I didn't know how hard! I am literally forcing myself to sit down and write this today, because if I don't do it now, I'm not sure when I ever will.

The two biggest factors in my suddenly busy life are: 1) writing my book; and 2) teaching my screenwriting class at DePaul University.

Not that I'm complaining, because I love both jobs. But my publisher has given me an August 1st deadline for the Hynek book, which means that I have to crank out a chapter every two weeks for the next five months. And, they're insisting that it has to be good. That's a load of work, right there. And the class, even though it only meets once a week, takes up a lot of time and energy. Molding impressionable young minds is a big deal, as it turns out; who knew?

Man was not meant to venture to the stars... Look what happens.
Book-wise, the past couple weeks have been especially fun, as I've been writing about:
  • Hynek's connections to Sputnik, Johannes Kepler, and Dr. Carl Jung;
  • Classic 1950's science fiction films, including "Forbidden Planet" and "The Quatermass Xperiment";
  • The 1957 Levelland, Texas, Close Encounters of the Second Kind;
  • The 1959 Father Gill Close Encounter of the Third Kind;
  • Loads of other amazing stuff!
I've also had the rare opportunities to correspond recently with Jerome Clark, Claude Poher and Bill Chalker about their Hynek memories. And once I figure out the whole time zone/International Date Line thing, I plan to interview Mr. Chalker on Skype. That will be fun, and kind of a BFD.

In other related news, I have officially taken a leave of absence from MUFON, at least until summer. I have just not had the time and energy to keep up with my duties as Chief Investigator and Assistant State Director--well, actually, I've never been too clear on what those duties actually are, but I'm pretty sure I haven't been able to keep up with them. Unlike the teaching and the book writing, my MUFON work has not been feeling very worthwhile lately. The big problem, as I see it, is that there is no filtering of reports; I get assigned all these crap "lights in the sky" cases that never amount to anything, and instead of being able to investigate the really interesting cases, I have to interview people about, well, lights in the sky. Meanwhile, the fascinating cases, like The Case of The House That Wasn't There, The Case of the Humanoids and the Human Fence, and The Case of the Phantom Restaurant That Also Wasn't There just sit there not getting investigated, because who has the time when the one or two evenings a week they have to investigate cases get sucked up by lunatics and lame-brains?

I have also had to pass on an invitation to spend a weekend in May in Kalamazoo, Michigan, hob-nobbing with Michael Swords and the UFO council of elders. As much as I enjoy Michael's gatherings, this one falls over my birthday weekend, and I just can't make it. Also, Don Schmitt will be there, and I think it's best to maintain the wall of separation between us from now until next October (see below).

On the other hand, I do have some fun events coming up:

I'll be speaking at a Conference to salute the 50th Anniversary of the famous Dexter-Hillsdale "Swamp Gas" cases. The Conference is coming up on March 19th in Ann Arbor, MI, and you can sign up here.

Also, I'll be doing the big "Roswell Debate" with the aforementioned Mr. Schmitt next October 16th at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference. That promises to be the most entertaining public debate spectacle since the GOP Presidential debate in which Senator Marco Rubio was revealed to be a malfunctioning Stepford Wife.

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me! I'll try to be better about keeping the lawn mowed.