Hi.

My name is Brian McNett. Once upon a time, I was the top hit for "Brian McNett" on Google. All the other "Brian McNetts" wondered who this mycologist guy was that he was more "internet famous" than them. But this was merely because I was an early-adopter. Nowadays, I'm six hits down from the top after actually-more-famous "Brian McNetts." So, for the record, these are the Brian McNetts who are not me:

Brian McNett: Comedian and Screenwriter (NOT ME)

The Comic and Screenwriter Brian McNett

Brian McNett: Game Designer (Also NOT ME)

The Game Designer Brian McNett

There are in fact many others. Although the name "Brian McNett is not as common as say, "John Smith," there are just enough of us who are just famous enough that you MAY become confused.

So, let me tell you about myself...

I'm 55 as of the end of 2018, born in Allaquippa, Pennsylvania, where my family lived until I was three. My dad was in the Navy, and in 1967 we moved to San Diego, CA. In 1969 we moved to Bremerton, WA, where we settled after my dad retired from the Navy. High school, college, yadda yadda. Boring boring you don't really want to know, etc.

I worked in a national park for three summers, did a six-year stint at a local newspaper, started my own mushroom blog in the early days of the web... I've been around a bit.

As to the mycology, my paternal grandfather was an old Michigan morel hunter. We'd go visit him on family vacations, and he'd take us mushroom hunting. It was just a thing we did. I didn't think much of it. We always had mushroom field guides around, so I learned to identify mushrooms. You can go a long way in mycology as an amateur, and I suppose I did.

In most things, I'm self-taught. None of my school teachers could ever keep up. I'm a prodigeous reader, and always have been. I do have my weaknesses. My math isn't that strong (until you get to the really abstract stuff (Honestly, the more advanced the math, the better I am at it, but addition, subtraction, multiplication, division... Bleh. This is why I'll never be a mathematician).

In the 1990s I taught myself how to do forensics on spam, and built a minor reputation before getting hired on at an early internet startup. This led to a successful career, (Yay) and a chronic sleep disorder (Boo). But, as I've discovered, I can write. Boy-howdy, that journalism experience comes in handy! And the bonus is that no one cares if you're on the verge of passing out all day long and fall asleep every fourth paragraph as long as you meet the publication deadline.

So after decades away from writing I sold my first story for the grand sum of $2.40US. Here it is:

Never. Never Go with Robot Bees.

Not too long after this, or around the same time, I encountered Jennifer Lee Rossman on Twitter and we decided to team up on an anthology. It's been a fun ride. I sold another story, meanwhile, which is due out in July 2019. I have stories in the pipeline now and am writing like a madman. I still have time for mycology.

Did I mention I'm also a musician. Now I did. Good.

When last I discussed the local squirrels, it was 2015. That's a lot of proverbial water under the rhetorical bridge. It's two moves, a job loss, and the death of my father ago. It's also six months in a hotel while I played dutiful son to my widowed mother and found a house for the two of us. So you'll forgive me if there's a bit of a disconnect between the squirrels in part one of this account and the different squirrels in part two.

The world is in chaos as the dead rise from the grave.

Hordes of shambling undead, many with bits of rotting flesh falling off them invade every city. Here now is a typical encounter with a vegan zombie:

The scene shifts to a small, very trendy organic, gluten-free restaurant where there is a throng of the unliving pressing against the entrance. Employees and patrons alike are in abject terror as the zombies utter inarticulate moans and pound against the locked doors. It's only a matter of time before the zombies break through and finally, one does.
Patrons cower behind upturned tables as the lone breakthrough zombie shuffles across the room mysteriously ignoring them and proceeding straight to the counter where a lone teenager is operating the till. He's clearly frightened out of his wits, but he doesn't dare try to escape. There's nowhere to run to.

Teenager: May I take your order, sir.

Zombie: (in a low guttural voice) Yeeeeeeeeeeessss.

Teenager: What would you like?

Zombie: GRAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIINSSS!

Teenager: Uh... We're a gluten-free restaurant...

Zombie: NOOOOOOOOOO!!!

The chaos of the vegan zombie apocalypse was thankfully brief, although several gluten free bakeries paid the ultimate price. The world learned quickly that liberally placated with meals of saitan and regular snacks of french bread, the vegan zombies were actually little threat.

Placated by copious supplies of certified organic vegetables, and GMO-free grains, the zombies of the Vegan Zombie Apocalypse eventually abandoned their assaults upon the cities of the world, settled down, and started farms. Little changed in the post-apocalyptic world, except that it was fiendishly difficult to find a gluten-free anything, and small towns across the planet experienced a renaissance of trendy, hip, vegan restaurants catering to the bizarre new local clientele.

Copyright © 2015 

Creative Commons License
A Scene From the Vegan Zombie Apocalypse by Brian McNett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You could be forgiven if you didn't know the history, for thinking that this place was somehow stuck in a previous century. A whole lot of weirdness washed under the bridge, leaving the surface appearances intact. This old town has about the same population it once had, and although there's no longer such a thing as the "United States Navy," the former shipyard, which for an age was used to break up the remains of the previous age's "nuclear deterrent" is now home to a fab. Okay, sure, the fab doesn't employ anyone. Products are made and sold and shipped with not a human involved. Metal de-orbits into the Pacific water-landing zone (best not to ask where in the asteroid belt it's coming from), and is brought in across the Juan de Fuca seawall. The seawall — It's the main reason the entire region isn't under 70 feet of ocean.

Jobs? Work is where you make it. Basic income and fair housing and free medical and as much school as you can stomach — These days folks are free to find the work which makes them happiest. It was that way even before the changes — Even before things went weird on us. Some people say it’s a paradise. Others not so much. Can’t make everyone happy.

Yep, you'd be forgiven for thinking that all that weirdness missed this place completely. The entire region looks like some throwback to the old normal.

I'd planned to post to the blog about my crowd funding campaign. That post is now unnecessary. In two days, with minimal promotion, I blew through my modest goal, and now have to consider additional "stretch" goals to deal with the fact that I've raised nearly 150% of what I intended.

I knew this is how a successful crowd funding campaign works. Nonetheless, dealing with what I understood conceptually, and the reality thereof are two vastly different things.

The plan was to ease the move-in by taking care of some very modest bits of home repair, and making sure there are curtains in each room, and a rug for the floor. Finally, because it will make my life ever so slightly more pleasant, a portion of the funds were to go to create a raised bed garden. Yes, all those things will now happen, plus I'm staring at an additional $300 or so, which means I can choose one additional project.

There's time to plan this fourth project. The ink on the signatures is barely dry and we're waiting on confirmation from the bank and a closing date. I don't even have a date for the move just yet. But I have the results of the home inspection in hand. There's some minor soil subsidence along the foundation on the east side of the house which could stand a slight berm so that water flows away from the building. The garage needs to be weatherproofed and electrified. There's really no end to small projects around even a well-maintained house.

So the extra money will find use, and I will document all of it.

I'm a little flabbergasted at how quickly this took place, however.