SHARKBLOG: An Early Introduction To The Hideous Hybrid Menagerie

Finding myself alone for ten days while my wife & our baby spend some time out of state visiting relatives, I figure this would be the ideal time to catch up on my shark monster movies. Alas, my spare mailbox key does not work, so the Netflix queue I so carefully put together will have to wait until Devon gets home with our real key so I can get the DVDs. And then I have to wait until she leaves again, because for some reason, she doesn’t want to watch “Dinoshark.”

Whatever. No biggie, I can still start building the next important part of Sharkblog: the Hideous Hybrid Menagerie. It’ll be a place where I can run the following scientific experiment:

HYPOTHESIS: An online reference library of monstrous hybrids of fiction both realized and not-yet-realized will be a source of greater organic search traffic. Based on the experience of the past, and the continually revised algorithms powering search results, I expect to see an increase in visitors to this well-organized and keyword-rich hub of hybrid monster information.

EXECUTION AND MEASUREMENT: I shall build one page with a list of the names of each beast, and, where possible, reference links to more detailed websites for each. For each as-yet-unrealized beast that I invent (e.g. Barry Manilodon) I will create a more detailed page, hosted on this website, with links back to the main list and any blog posts that reference the beast in question. I shall measure the increase from all dates prior to the publication of the very first page, and segment the growth between publications of each new page. This experiment will be ongoing, but expect a report on findings sometime in Q2 of this year.

ANALYSIS: I will utilize Google Analytics & their new visitor flow chart to determine if organic search results lead more directly to Sharkblog-related pages and posts. I will keep track of time spent on the site, amount of visitors each day, bounce rate/drop-off rate, and number of pages viewed per visit.

The idea for the Hideous Hybrid Menagerie stems from the fact that a post from last March is still the #1 page viewed by organic search traffic. (Eagle Vs. Shark Vs. EagleShark, if you’re curious.) I realize there’s lots of information about hybrid monsters out there, and people need a central location where they can easily find resources to research these creatures. It’s library science…sort of.

This experiment is part of a new content marketing strategy I’m devising. It’s “marketing” in the sense that I want to attract an audience and see if they are able to guide themselves around the website, which will indicate interest, which in the real world would mean a sales lead. I have nothing to sell, but if were a brick-and-mortar store, I’d want people browsing the Sharkblog aisle. If I can demonstrate an ability to guide users to a certain section of a website and stay interested, well…bingo, that makes me a marketer. And I’d rather be a marketer than an account manager.

Account management bores me.


Just in time for the Detroit Auto Show, I am ready to unveil the all-new 2012 – now with more Sharkblog!

Sharkblog is not only here permanently, but is now a much bigger priority, largely thanks to my friendly wife who occasionally reminds me that I lack focus and really shouldn’t bounce from project to project when I haven’t fully exhausted the potential of the first one I started.

Hence: rather than start a new project involving all the things I left out of Sharkblog last year, I’ll instead keep on Sharkblogging and go ahead & implement the things. All the things. And I’ll track it all using both Google Analytics and the new site stats that come with installing Jetpack for WordPress. (Tracking things is very important.)

The very nature of Sharkblog displays my natural tendency to split focus. It’s a two-fold project: blog about shark monsters, mainly shark hybrid beasts, and also blog about the SEO results of the blog about shark hybrids and monsters. It’s like having a two-person play where the other person is the actor’s reflection in a mirror.

So my New Year’s resolution this year is not a list of benchmarks to check off. It is one word: focus.

And I’ve decided that Sharkblog is worth my time and energy, so is now more devoted to high-quality shark monster hybrid content than ever before. The site has been redesigned to be more Sharkblog-centric.

On a related note, I’m also more devoted to getting a better day career than “account manager,” so I’m going to really boost the efforts to bring in more high-quality traffic with Sharkblog. I’m going to do one thing at a time, and do it well, and make sure I can show measurable improvements. I’m going to establish a definable Sharkblog universe. I’m going to track the progress and analyze every single little move. I’m going to focus the hell out of this portion of the website.

And I’ll still post about other random shit from time to time. Don’t you worry about that, no sir.

And luckily for everyone out there, I’ve made the switch from creating a new blog post from every tweet to simply having a Twitter sidebar widget (to your left), so you can subscribe by email & your inbox won’t get blasted with constant nonsense. You’ll just get the solid and the polished.

To sum up: a brand new direction for, and a bigger and brighter future for Sharkblog. More focus. More sharks. More better.


SHARKBLOG: Orsonsharktopus In Love

Dunkleosteus was the largest fish the world had ever known. And she was beautiful.

I read about this giant thing from the early days of the world courtesy of the Discovery Channel and suddenly it dawned on me how to make the original tale of Orsonsharktopus make sense. I hadn’t nailed down the first of four films, I had only described it as “general mayhem.” But now all the exposition fits right into place.

Dunkleosteus was the love interest for Orsonsharktopus once upon a time, see, but Dunkleosteus was a beast of the planet Earth, whereas Orsonsharktopus is immortal.

They were lovers in the Devonian Period, and when Dunkleosteus went extinct along with the rest of her species, Orsonsharktopus lost the greatest love he would ever know. His heart was broken beyond repair. Over the eons, he grew bitter and cynical, but maintained a low profile so he could stew in his misery for all time without being bothered.

Skip ahead to present day. The Santa Bertha Aquarium (yes, our fictional town is called Santa Bertha, and it is located on the southern-central coast of California) has received some fossils to display as a new attraction: Dunkleosteus…

I can totally see this working. The first portion of the first Orsonsharktopus film can be like the first part of “Up,” where we feel all sad for Orsonsharktopus after Dunkleosteus goes extinct, and we sort of sympathize as he roams the oceans for eons, getting progressively lonelier and meaner.

And then he sees the advertisements for the Dunkleosteus fossils at the Santa Bertha Aquarium, and goes to find her. And when he finds out the love of his life has NOT returned to him, but in fact is being used as some cheap tourism gimmick, he is even more pissed off than ever.

I’m sure you can guess what comes next. General mayhem. Only now it’s personal, and much more passionate. It all turns into a monster action flick, with screaming crowds and mindlessly large quantities of human deaths. And in the end, our scientist heroes save the town and freeze him in carbonite.

And there, frozen in carbonite, and placed alongside his eternal love inside the aquarium, is our final image of Orsonsharktopus.

…Until the sequel.



SHARKBLOG: Stephen King Nearly Eaten

‘I went cartwheeling through the air’: surfer’s lucky escape as shark takes chunk out of board.

Please note: this article is not about horror fiction writer Stephen King, who lives in Maine, USA, but rather some surfer from Australia who is (coincidentally) also named Stephen King.

Nevertheless, a compelling story – some great white shark took a Hollywood-style bite out of his surfboard, and King dramatically made it back to shore to warn the others.

Now, the event itself and the real-life news story is not entirely unique; on the contrary, anyone who watches Shark Week knows that this sort of thing happens with some regularity.

But given that the surfer’s name in this case is the same as our most popular horror writer, the question now arises: why hasn’t Stephen King, the horror writer, ever written any stories involving sharks? They are fearsome brutes with zillions of super-sharp teeth in their heads. Scary, right?

Just because there aren’t a lot of surfers in the northeastern state of Maine doesn’t mean you can’t create a shark tale up there. I for one would read a book about a massive shark that attacked lobster boats.lobstershark

OR, better yet, I would read a book about a monster that was part shark, part lobster. Like, a huge great white shark with massive lobster claws instead of pectoral fins.

You can have that one, Stephen King, I will ask only for a measly 2% in royalties for coming up with the idea. You’re welcome.

SHARKBLOG: 100 Facts About Sharks (A Book!)

100 Facts About Sharks | 100 Facts About Sharks.

Finally. A useful book on sharks.

Check this site often. Apparently, there is a promotional video in the works!

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated since October.

It’s a strange thing to contemplate – how do you continually produce fresh and relevant content for a printed book of facts, without giving away the product? And if you can’t do that, how do you market it in non-traditional ways?

And when you think about the product you’re selling…do you even need non-traditional marketing? Is a blog-style website design not even useful?

Hmm… Blog Blog.

Are you excited?  I am excited.  The Blog is here.

This excites me because I’ve been waiting for this site to really get going.  Even as I type, their library of infographics is becoming larger and stronger.  The addition of the blog will surely pull in more creative types who will use (and/or contribute to) the library.

I encourage folks to use this site as much as possible.  More than anything, I want this site to succeed because I want their “labs” to come online for me.  I expect a powerful graphic-creation tool.  I want it now.  I drool for this tool.  I dream about it.  I CAN. NOT. WAIT.

In the meantime, I will continue to quietly gather data on sharks and shark hybrid monstrosities as they relate to my own web traffic.  It’s all in the interest of learning, I swear.  It’s only partly about the fame.  Don’t want to get stuck in my current job forever, you know, gotta learn my own ropes before I manage someone else’s.

Created by Shark Lovers at

In other news, I heard StumbleUpon got a nifty new redesign.  I haven’t looked at it. I’m not a Stumbler myself, but I’ve heard good things, so I decided to help myself and StumbleUpon at the same time.  Now you have an icon down below.  Share away.

I also added Tumblr, because it rhymes with stumbler.

SHARKBLOG: Sharkdroid Is Nigh

How Sharks Go Fast – ScienceNOW.

Do yourself a favor and read this article.  It’s completely bad-ass.  Some biomechanical researcher has been studying sharks’ tails and how they operate.

What’s so bad-ass about some nature scientist’s findings, you say?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Firstly: rainbow water swirls. Secondly: when you study the biomechanics of biological sharks, this leads directly to mechanical sharks.  In otherwords, sharkdroids.  It’s a shark.  It’s a droid.  It’s a robotic goddamn shark.

And I was searching for the perfect epic foe to battle Orsonsharktopus for one final sequel in Japan.  It’s so obvious to me now.  A GIANT ROBOTIC SHARK WITH THE HEAD AND MIND OF BRENT SPINER.  Orsonsharktopus vs. Sharkdroid.  It’s perfect.

Sharkblog: Analytics Check-In, Keyword Analysis, October 18, 2011

Keywords are a pretty major part of my SEO “strategy,” so I figured I’d take a look at keyword performance. I’d never actually looked at that little section of Google Analytics before. I don’t know why. I think my thinking was that I’d just ramble for several months about anything and everything as opportunity saw fit, and then I’d do some retrospective analysis. By a strange coincidence, that is exactly what I’ve done.

To start, I assumed that only the most recent month was relevant. This assumption is not based on anything factual at all, I just didn’t want to go back any further. Call it laziness, call it what you will, but I’ll put all the effort I need to into backing this assumption as valid, so let’s just move on.

I’ve classified the various keywords I found into seven different categories: Shark hybrid-related searches, Shark non-hybrid-related searches, searches for me or some variant of my name, searches for up-and-coming artists I know in Chicago, searches for actual celebrities, car-related searches, and other miscellaneous random crap.

Since my site is not about celebrities per se, that category doesn’t count. Those make up about 12% of the total searches that led surfers to my site. So that’s 12% of my organic traffic that doesn’t count.

My site is, in part, dedicated half-assedly to miscellaneous crap, but since the keyword results that fall under that category all have a 100% bounce rate, that category also doesn’t count. I can justify this because keyword searches in this category are all pretty specific and somewhat long-tail, so I can safely assume these folks were looking for something specific that they didn’t find on my site. Searches included “content strategist title crap,” “narcissism experiment,” “anthropomorphization focus group,” and “god has a me-complex.” Obviously they were looking for something else. Anyway, that’s another 34.5% of my organic traffic that doesn’t count.

Up-and-coming Chicago artists aren’t the focus of my website, but since I know a few, I’m more than happy to drop their names left and right. They comprise a friendly 7% or so of the organic traffic. “Mishelle Apalategui” has brought in more traffic than “Bil Gaines” has, and my name is on every single page of this website. This means she’s already more famous than I am. The takeaway: I should talk about these people more.

Mishelle Apalategui Randall Colburn Jeremy Menekseoglu Chelsea Marcantel Nathan Robbel Ronan Marra Erin Orr Lance Hall Trevor Watkin Cupcakes. There, that should help.

What interests me most is that while is not wholly about Sharkblog, shark-related searches make up the majority of my organic searches. The non-hybrid-related searches are over 8.5% and the hybrid-related searches are nearly 26%. Together, that’s about 34.5%. The miscellaneous searches match that, and they don’t count. Everything else is thin slices. Also, the shark searches tend to get the highest average time on the site and the lowest bounceback rate. Takeaway: Sharkblog is the strongest driver of organic search to this site. This is pretty awesome, since I initially declared that Sharkblog is an experiment in SEO.

Bil: one; Universe: zero.

Of course, there’s room for improvement. Lots of room. Quantity matters (as I’ve recently discovered) and I have been slacking pretty hard in the Sharkblog department since Aliena was born.

Not to worry: Halloween is coming up soon enough, and yes, I bought that baby shark costume from Amazon. I can’t believe what an easy target I am sometimes.

Next up: Cyclops Albino Shark!

The Orsonsharktopus Tetralogy, Complete With A Fight Against Barry Manilodon

OHMYGOD you guys I’ve done it.  I’ve created the general plotlines for four, count ‘em, four sci-fi monster movies.  I learned a new word, tetralogy, which is like trilogy, except there are four parts.  Intentionally.  Not like a trilogy plus one, like four parts that make the entire arc.  AND NOW I MUST CREATE ONE.  I will use the vehicle of Orsonsharktopus for this endeavor.

I’ve already described the first sequel, Orsonsharktopus vs. Hydraheston, but the original will be just Orsonsharktopus.  It’ll be your general mayhem-type movie where scientists try to get the local government NOT to use nuclear weapons to fight a massive monster that’s terrorizing the town, which makes them unpopular with the townsfolk, but they devise a way to trap the monster in carbonite (like Han Solo at the end of The Empire Strikes Back).  It’ll be very pro-scientist, pro-environment, and pro-underdog.  And we will introduce Orsonsharktopus to the world.

The first sequel, Orsonsharktopus vs. Hydraheston, gets into issues of freedom of speech and press, and again carries a pro-environment slant.  The end scene, the big fight between the two monsters, takes place partly on a giant mass of floating garbage with some seriously explosive toxic waste.  What I didn’t mention before is that the giant explosion that kills Hydraheston also deafens our plucky reporter.

The third installment, Orsonsharktopus vs. Barry Manilodon, again features the now-deaf reporter.    He sings entire neighborhoods to sleep, and then eats them, whole buildings at a time.  It is not long after he shows up that the entire town falls asleep and becomes little more than snacks for Barry Manilodon waiting to be eaten.

The reporter, because she is now deaf, is still wide awake.  But she cannot wake anybody up, the giant shark’s spell is too powerful.  She spends a few scenes alone, trying to survive in a nearly-surreal environment in the middle of the night.

Eventually she meets up with the scientists, one of which is sleepwalking and the other is awake because he is an unfeeling android and therefore cannot be lulled to sleep by adult contemporary music.  They figure out how to communicate with the sleepwalking scientist and together get the answers they need.  They hatch a plan to set a massive underwater “broadcast” of Barry Manilodon’s song, and then use themselves as human bait to get him to sing out again.  With his music being sent to all corners of the ocean, it takes very little time for Orsonsharktopus to arrive.  Orsonsharktopus hates Barry Manilodon, and immediately they have a giant fight.  Despite Barry Manilodon’s superior size, Orsonsharktopus prevails by pulling off his feathered mullet, thus allowing his brains to leak out and eventually die.  As Orsonsharktopus prepares to take over the town again, the scientists send off a small rocket playing adult contemporary music into the Pacific Ocean, and Orsonsharktopus gives chase, never to return.  The town and its people are safe.

This movie gets less into socio-political issues, but maintains a strong theme of deaf feminine heroism, which totally gets the pro-underdog vote.

The fourth and final film will take place mostly in Japan, when Orsonsharktopus shows up in Tokyo and has to fight…I dunno.  Another monster.  It’ll work like this: Japanese scientists note a disturbance in ocean activity, but Japanese government officials pay no heed (typical).  They reach out to the scientists from Santa Bertha, who travel to Japan to help investigate.  While there, Orosonsharktopus attacks Tokyo and causes a breach in their hydrogen-energy plant, immediately polluting ocean with sci-fi goodness.  This causes Orsonsharktopus to grow in size, strength, and meanness, and also awakens something else…they fight, and as they fight, the Japanese & American scientists work with the Japanese Coast Guard to destroy both by using, ironically, a nuclear missile.

I think I’ll ask around on Facebook for suggestions here on what kind of monster to create.  I’m thinking something blowfish-esque, but am wide open to all ideas…

Sharkblog: Shark Week Afterglow

Another Discovery Channel Shark Week has come and gone, same as every year: highly anticipated and never lasting long enough, but satisfying nonetheless.

And just like every year, there were some repeats (the best of the best) and some new adventures.

Things I learned this year:
– Moray eels have two sets of jaws, sort of like James Cameron’s aliens.
– If you lose a thumb (say, to a moray eel, for example), you can replace it with your big toe.
– If you tag a shark, you get to name it.
– If you want to kiss a shark, you better not screw up.

Things I already knew but got a fun reminder of:
– Great white sharks can launch themselves all the way out of the water.
– Great white sharks launching themselves all the way out of the water is one of the coolest things in the world.

The one thing I would have wanted more from Shark Week is some equal-opportunity programming about shark/monster hybrids.  But it’s the Discovery Channel, and they have to wait for things to be discovered first, so I can let it slide.

Only 51 weeks till the next Shark Week.  Mark your calendars.

New Side Gig: Writer

Writing is ultimately how I would like to make my living, and for the first time in my life I’ll be able to call myself a steady professional. I’ve made a few bucks from publishing before, but now I have a title and consistency. I’ve officially published the first of many articles as the Chicago Green Parenting Examiner.  Check me out.

My goal with this gig is to write two or three articles per week on the sensitive subject of environmentally-friendly child-rearing.  It’s a big deal.  I started it all off with something I really do care a lot about: cloth diapering.  My entire angle is to make “green parenting” less of a hippie-dippy drug-trip lifestyle, and more of just a set of responsible and money-saving lifestyle habits.

Obviously, this is not the bright burning glory of a one-off published piece of fiction, and I doubt it will pay more than one small bill per month, but hey – a part-time professional writer is still a professional writer.

Score one for Bil.

Sharkblog: Dinoshark in the Details


In the ongoing quest to create an SEO campaign based on fictional shark-beasts, I have reached what I feel is an important milestone: I spotted my first organic shark-based search click this week.

Somebody typed in “how many teeth dinoshark have” into Google and found their way to my site.  Huzzah!

I just watched a graduation ceremony at the University of Notre Dame this weekend.  Now I know how those kids must feel.

And like the newly-released Notre Dame grads, I too must celebrate for only a short time, and then carry on with the important work I am surely meant to do.

This is indeed a glorious day for Sharkblog, but it is only a beginning.  I have a choice: invest time and energy into Dinoshark-related content, or carry on as I have been and see what other small miracles Google Analytics brings me.

I don’t know the answer yet; I may need to do both.  We’ll have to see.

One thing is certain, though: I do feel compelled to solve the mystery that brought my visitor here in the first place.

The answer to the question of how many teeth Dinoshark does have is, of course, infinity.  Dinoshark, like almost all other sharks, regrows teeth as he loses them.  At any given point of time, he will appear to have a finite amount of teeth in his mouth, ranging somewhere between 32 and 2,140…But if you’re counting those, then you’re not thinking 4th-dimensionally.

Sharkblog: Holy Crap, They’ve Got My Number

Geez, no sooner do I write this post where I just happen to link to a baby shark costume on than do I start seeing targeted ads from on other websites.  They are targeting me because they know I know about them and linked to them.  I have been behaviorally targeted.

Here’s the dumb part: they are trying to sell me the exact thing I already linked to.  Idiots.  How about showing me some other baby costumes?  Or perhaps some shark costumes for different ages?

But their timing was pretty awesome, because I actually saw this ad on the right hand side of a Search Engine Journal article called “5 Often Surprisingly Overlooked SEO Tactics.”  It’s a terrible title (it should be called “5 Surprisingly Often-Overlooked SEO Tactics”), but the content is good.  It’s about – you guessed it – SEO tactics.  What was my interest in this article?  Why, how to get Sharkblog‘s search engine results to improve, of course.  Fitting, then, that I would see a baby shark costume advertised here.

I have no particular content strategy other than to simply write the shit I would write anyway, and then tweak it so that Sharkblog gets organic search results better than any other independent blog on sharks or shark-monster hybrid creatures.  My process is kind of like throwing a net into the sea and hoping that I pull up not only a bunch of shrimp but also some gold doubloons.  It’s not terribly accurate and it’s not terribly predictable but the bonus is that I will eventually happen upon some things that are valuable, and that I hadn’t planned on getting.  Like maybe some silver or a nice pair of boots.

What I’m hoping to learn over time is how to find the water with the shrimp AND the gold doubloons AND all the other crazy cool stuff.

At any rate: Sharks + Human Babies = winning combination.  And for only $30?  You keep tempting me,, I may actually purchase that costume.  Baby’s first Halloween is only a few months away.

Free Cocaine!

Not really.

But now that I have your attention, I’d like to officially welcome you to, and invite you to bask in the glory of our grand opening on this day, May 5, 2011, my 30th birthday.

The site is not complete yet, but I figure there’s enough here to gather some interest in returning, and that’s what I’m truly interested in.  I’ll be using this website as my personal playground for search engine optimization experiments.  I’m also hoping to provide enough interesting content to create a “readership” or “following” or whatever you want to call my cult of devotees.

I’ll be using the ever-handy Google Analytics to create my own infographics and share the results up here.  I love infographics – like, a lot – and I hope to contribute some back to the universe that provides so many for me.

Here’s a video briefly explaining why I’m such a geek for infographics:

“Pie charts suck, be wary of them.”

Honestly and truly, I want to offer my personal guarantee that every link you see on this website is worth clicking.  Here are some particularly interesting sections:

The SEO component of this journey will rely most heavily on Sharkblog, where I discuss the hybridization of sharks and other beasts.  Also, the splicing and fusing of sharks and movies, sharks and advertising, sharks and music…basically sharks and shark monsters in pop culture.

Gaines the Photographer
I am also offering up my own photography.  Steal away, I won’t come after you over copyright infringement.  Be aware: my wife & I are expecting our first child ever in the middle of June, so there’s going to be an explosion of baby photos coming my way over the next year.  I’ll try to only put up the really interesting ones.

Gaines the Writer
Furthermore, you can read some scripts I’ve written.  You can even produce them if you want, royalty-free.
*Note: The scripts page is not yet finished – I’ve only got a few up right now – but I’ll be adding more over the next few days, so check back often!  (See what I did there?  String ’em along, Bil, string ’em along.  Keep the wolves hungry, they’ll come back for more.)

I’ll also occasionally throw a music video into blog posts, because music videos are one of my favorite forms of entertainment.

Lenka – We Will Not Grow Old

At any rate, this is just a little bit of what you’ll find here.  Hope you like it.

Hope to see you again soon.

Sharkblog: OrsonSharktopus vs. HydraHeston (Synopsis)



Various stolen ideas have paved the way for a screenplay I’m tentatively calling “OrsonSharktopus vs. HydraHeston” and it’s exactly what you think it is.

OrsonSharktopus is a mythical beast, not only because a shark with the tentacles of an octopus and the head of Orson Welles is not (yet) a physical possibility, but also because “OrsonSharktopus vs. HydraHeston” will play out as the sequel to an as-yet-unwritten screenplay.

That’s right: I’m skipping the original (just “OrsonSharktopus”) and going straight for the match-up between a seemingly equal yet wildly different creature.



HydraHeston is basically a seven-headed sea monster, and each head is Charlton Heston.  Advantages to having seven different heads of Charlton Heston include multiple beard/mustache/baby face configurations and fourteen rifle-scope-keen eyeballs.  OrsonSharktopus has only two eyes and one mustache, but it does have eight bitchin’ tentacles.

The dialogue’s going to have to be as hard-boiled as I can make it.  Style will play an important role.  As will wooden acting, if I have anything to say about it.

I cooked up a basic synopsis while doing laundry this weekend.  Here is what I wrote down:

Setting: beach town

  • Idyllic, except when something goes wrong
  • People are completely ill-equipped to deal with adversity


Mayor up for reelection

  • will do anything to get reelected
    — Clings to power like it’s fucking air or something; massive fear of losing power.
    — Cares more about election results than actual townspeople
  • Wants to have election day on the beach, with a barbeque
    — will produce higher turnout
    — will also sort of “bribe” townspeople to vote for him
    — Willing to risk lives to have elections on beach

Journalists in love

  • Work together as a team
  • Have to hide marriage from mayor (and everybody else) in order to continue working as a team
  • Are very close to the mayor
  • Man journalist is very reserved and cautious
  • Lady journalist is totally balls-to-the-wall troublemaker, a la Lois Lane (but less annoying).

Scientists with a common guilty past

  • Living with guilt of creating OrsonSharktopus and not destroying the monster
  • Reach out to journalists when Mayor won’t return phone calls
    — Mysterious note to journalists
    — Meeting in dark cafe prior to showing them the lab with OrsonSharktopus
  • Tell journalists about OrsonSharktopus with their promise they won’t publish findings
    — Only way they were able to stop OrsonSharktopus was to freeze it in Carbonite
    — Tell journalists best way to stop HydraHeston is to freeze it in Carbonite
  • These two were some of the main characters in the original “OrsonSharktopus”

Old Pirate General

  • Mayor uses this guy to head all military-type operations
    — Retired, but gets pulled out of retirement from time to time.
    — No one is really sure if he was a pirate or a general, but he certainly knows what he’s doing…
  • He wears an eye patch and has lots of tattoos, including a battleship across his chest and anchors on his forearms.

HydraHeston terrorizes the town. The journalists implore the mayor to close the beach, but he refuses because of the elections. He forbids the journalists to publish any news about HydraHeston, so they instead publish an article about how the mayor won’t close the beach because of the election barebeque; they fill the article with innuendo about how the mayor is willing to risk innocent lives and is also willing to censor the newspapers. The enraged mayor gets the two journalists assigned to an out-of-town assignment, but just as they are about to board a plane, they receive a mysterious note with a meeting request and promise of info re: HydraHeston…they decide to meet the scientists and stay in town to get the full scoop on the creature.

The journalists learn from the scientists of a possible way to stop HydraHeston, a plan that worked before…when they captured and froze OrsonShaktopus in Carbonite.  When the journailists present this plan to the right parties, i.e. the mayor and the pirate general, they give it a try.  Unfortunately, HydraHeston is just a little too bad-ass and the plan to freeze it in Carbonite totally doesn’t work.  The journalists go back to the scientists for more ideas, but all they can come up with is to release OrsonSharktopus into the water to fight HydraHeston.  They debate the consequences of releasing OrsonSharktopus, but the mayor shows up and orders it to be done…far away from the beach.  He charges them to find a way to draw HydraHeston out, away from the beach, where they could release OrsonSharktopus to fight it and kill it.

The plan is in motion: the scientists will take the frozen OrsonSharktopus in a boat out to a floating mass of garbage in the ocean, and the journalists will fly with the old pirate general in a chopper, throwing steaks along the way to lure the beast out.  Once near the floating mass, the chopper will land (on the garbage), the scientists will row to shore (of the garbage), and once together they will detonate explosives on the boat, sinking it, allowing the Carbonite to release the monster OrsonSharktopus.  Once released, the humans will all board the chopper and fly away.  The only snag comes as they are luring HydraHeston; somehow, the beast takes a piece of garbage and manages to throw it at the chopper.  It hits the chopper so hard, one of the journalists falls out onto the garbage.  She survives the fall, but is now lost on the garbage mass.  What’s worse, HydraHeston has figured out how to climb on dry land (garbage); it chases her and she evades to the best of her abilities.  The scientists detonate the explosives, starting the process to release OrsonSharktopus, but there’s no telling what will happen while HydraHeston is on land…as the journalist falls off a cliff of garbage into the water, it looks like all is lost — and as HydraHeston seems about to gobble her up by leaping into the water, OrsonSharktopus catches it.  There is a humongous fight scene between the two mythical beasts as the humans scramble to help the journalist and get everyone back to the chopper.  They nearly get caught up in the fight as the mass of garbage gets torn apart by the titans, but they eventually make it back to the chopper and escape.  Flying away, they can see that OrsonSharktopus has killed HydraHeston, but then swam away…As they get back to dry land, they tell the voting public about OrsonSharktopus and demand that the mayor be held accountable for his actions.


I’m hoping to live near the beach when we move out to California (whenever that will be).  I trust any town on the beach could be considered “idyllic” and will be great for research purposes while writing this screenplay.  Also, great for surfing.  And terrifying, because of the threat of massive sea monster attacks.

Obviously, this is preliminary.  If anybody has any thoughts on story and/or characters, please let me know.  I’ll be happy to take all comments into consideration.  I’m good like that.

Otherwise, it’s all systems go on a full-length screenplay.

…And by “all systems go” I mean I’ll get to it in my spare time.

Google Is People?

While reading up on exactly how we as a culture might possibly take back the warm fuzzies we lost when we stopped trusting people & reclaim our community (SoulPancake), I thought I’d return to Twitter to see if any discussion on this topic was being made.  Lo and behold, I find that instead of tweeting about actual reality, people are tweeting about the new Google “+1” feature, which is essentially the “like” button for Google search results.

And so, in less than 90 seconds, what was turning out to be an otherwise boring afternoon suddenly became a breeding ground of rocket-speed thought.

With a whirlwind of emotion, I sped to Google to see if anybody I know was recommending anything I’d be searching for.*

I didn’t see any recommendations, and as I became instantly sad, I started to think about what was happening.  Google is turning the very nature of their search results social.

My expert prediction, by the way, is this: Google’s search results’ “+1” feature will be far and away Google’s most successful punch into social media, stemming from the very fact that Google’s search results are its life blood.  If you make your users use a social function because they can’t not use it, you have get successful social media.  Even if they don’t click “+1” themselves, they’ll still see others’ recommendations.  Also, I predict it ultimately won’t matter, either because the project will fail and go away, or the project will attain homeostasis and no one will care.

Somewhere in my fit of emotion, I realized something:

I don’t want my Google search results to be social.  I rather like the fact that they are cold and objective.  I trust search results more if they remain untainted by the curse of human thought and human emotion.  I feel more like a person when I make the decision of which link to click based on nothing but my own intuition.  I feel less manipulated.  I feel less like a target.

If history has taught us nothing else, it is this: mixing robots and emotion will inevitably cause an epic war between us humans and the machines, and many lives will be lost.  We will win in the end, but at what cost?  AT WHAT COST, GOOGLE?!


*Incidentally, what I searched for was Sharkblog, and sure enough I’m still not there.  Like, anywhere.  Must be really far down the list, many pages in…That’s good, though — this site is still in its sort-of-Beta phase, and I haven’t really started showing it to people.  Once I do, you can bet I’ll be all over the SEO aspect of getting Sharkblog onto page one of a Google search.**

**By the way, if any of you out there should find Sharkblog in your Google search results, help a brother out & give it a “like?”***

***By “like” I mean “+1” — you know what I mean.

Eagle Vs. Shark Vs. EagleShark: Research

I’m thinking about writing a screenplay called “EagleShark” about – you guessed it – a monster that is part eagle, part shark, all killer.  It’s a terror in all three arenas: water, sky, and land.

This screenplay will probably garner the attention of the Hollywood elite, so I want to do it right.  So I did what any marine biologist/genetic engineer would do to start research.  I went to the internet.

Searching for “Eagle Shark” on Google Images produced almost exactly what I was looking for: an artist’s rendering of this Shark-Eagle, or, as I have already titled it, EagleShark®.  (It tried to mesh the names even closer, but Sharkgle doesn’t really work.)  Here is a photograph of the elusive beast, as interpreted by someone who thinks he knows:


While I respect the interpretation, this is obviously a fake, and obviously created by an amateur.  I feel this creature would look better if it had the entire body of the great white shark, but with majestic wings instead of pectoral fins.  You could also throw the eagle talons on the bottom, that would be pretty slick.

Here is what EagleShark should really look like:

Even more surprising, though, was this: my initial Google Search produced a stronger assortment not of imagined part-shark-part-eagle monsters, but rather a bunch of movie stills, posters, and trailers for a movie called “Eagle Vs. Shark.”

How did I not know about this movie? It looks so charming and beautiful. I love love stories about awkward people. They remind me of me & my wife. I also love that guy from “Flight of the Concords” – he is magical.

I gotta see this film before I get around to that screenplay for “Eagleshark.”

Focus Group: Sharks

As I’ve stated before, Sharkblog is a hybrid: one part freak shark museum and one part SEO experiment.  Given the latter, it would be ridiculous of me not to mention the Snickers commercial from the Super Bowl last Sunday.


As you can see, this Snickers commercial is full of hybrids.  Mash-ups.  Squash-togethers.  Snickers plus peanut butter?  Sharks plus focus group marketing?  Live action plus animation?  IT’S HYBRID MADNESS!  I love it.

Even the sharks themselves are hybrids between great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) and human beings (homo sapiens).

Actually, a hybridization of man and shark would be Sharkman.  That Snickers commercial is more like anthropomorphization  than hybridization.

So what I have here then is a complete bastardization of the definition of the word “hybrid.”  On the flip side, no dictionary appears to recognize the word anthropomorphization, so I think I just invented a new word.

Anthropomorphization © 2011 Bil Gaines.  $1.50 per use.  See Bil for details.