In the ink well

Dog Ear

April 8, 2021

Regressing into Space Opera (DOG EAR)

y dirty little secret is that I run a role-playing game once a week (zoom-style). Haven’t reffed in three decades but some of the players asked and it sounded like fun. Back then, my world was StarWars. Everything was about light sabres and TIE fighters and that endlessly evil Empire. Black and white morality (literally) and (if you think about it) silly technology. The data center that the Rebels raided in that recent movie had the information stored in what looked like giant eight-track tapes. And even though flying space fighters around is really cool, it’s pointlessly stupid when you […]
April 1, 2021

Power (DOG EAR)

here are times when it becomes evident that writing is like magical spell-casting (if that were, indeed, a thing). It takes years to hone one’s writing ability. But once one is a writer, people in general concede that the writer has a power. In the paper the other day, I read of a lawmaker who is enacting legislation to suppress voting (by making it illegal to distribute water to those waiting in hot sun-blasted lines for a chance to vote in ever-restricted poling places. I simply noted (in as few sentences and with as few words as possible) that such […]
March 25, 2021

Wording (DOG EAR)

uick one this time since I had an eyeball issue yesterday and three hours of dental work today (getting old sucks, and yes, I know about the alternative, but it still sucks). Anyway, working on a CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure) game – just doing preliminary encounter testing now. There is a bit where you are in a bar. I found myself spooling out this: You order a glass of bourbon and sit down. Then you see someone you know enter. Hey, I’m a writer. I’m better than this wordy script. Since we already know you are in a bar, […]
March 11, 2021

Targeted Saves (DOG EAR)

do a lot of things on my computer. I write short stories. I’m working on two games. I work on some train files. I publish a newsletter. And nothing sucks more than when I’m working on a game and then have to put out the Journal Box newsletter. When I do this then every default save option needs to shift from wherever it was to whatever it is. This might make sense to Micro$oft but not to anyone who uses computers a lot. Think about it. The newsletter is a combination of txt files, word docs, PDFs if submitters are […]
March 4, 2021

Values (DOG EAR)

ince this is a blog about communication and media (and writing), I’ll relate an interesting conversation I heard today. I’d just given my 31st gallon of blood and was treating myself to chicken fingers at Applebee’s. Sat out on the patio a short distance from a young guy and girl who (from the overheard sounds of their conversation) were trying to get to know each other (Working relationship? First date?). They were a bit mismatched – he was a young guy just looking for the next thing he would buy, relating all sorts of stories about other people. And she […]
February 25, 2021

The fall of the house of Mozilla (DOG EAR)

’ve long been a fan of the Mozilla products, particularly FireFox (as a browser) and Thunderbird (for my email). They’ve served me well. Until recently. I’ve been having problems with Thunderbird. Occasionally email accounts (I’ve got three) would drop out for a week or so. Like stray dogs, they would eventually wander home. But recently one of my important accounts has failed and stayed failed for several months. This meant I had to browser into the AT&T site to get mail – not too bad except when you have a newsletter due out and people are submitting to two different […]
February 11, 2021

Lost and Found (mostly lost) (DOG EAR)

was good friends with an executive at a former company. My service for him was sterling as he rose through the ranks. But then I made the mistake of loaning him The Great Race (that wonderful movie with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon). And that was the last I saw of it. It’s always a pain to corner someone, to trap them, to offer them a great movie they never knew about which you wish to share, to have them in your power and place it in their hands, only to have them turn the tables and lose it. Part […]
February 4, 2021

The Real World (DOG EAR)

ecades ago, a friend of mine worked at TRW. At the time they had a pretty pompous ad – something like “TRW – what does it stand for?” My friend laughed at this and said “Three Random Words”. But he also noted that, right out of college, it meant “The Real World”. The Real World. No more drinking every night. No more philosophic debates late into the wee hours. No more D&D. No more showing up for class only if you wanted to. The Real World was a small cubicle. Be-in-by times. Crummy coffee. Deadlines you didn’t agree to. Unfair, […]
January 28, 2021

The Nature of Stories (DOG EAR)

’m a writer. And I’m also a model railroader. Yes, I play with trains. Actually, in my case, model railroading is every bit as story-filled as writing. For example, we are currently finishing up a Dairy Queen restaurant on part of our sectional layout. There was discussion on how to make it stand out, to be more than just a model of a road-side business. So the result was to put a whole bunch of motorcycles out front, parked in a row. And around the corner, before the outside “Men’s” room door, a line of a dozen desperate bikers, all […]
January 21, 2021

So I’m a Dick (DOG EAR)

’m an avid thrice-a-week cyclist and my primary path out of the city is the Cady Way trail. There is one Ichabod spot, a place where the route punches through a stand of woods on a long curve (southwest of Baldwin Park). At night, it’s downright spooky. But this was bright daylight and I was returning home, four miles short of my thirty mile round trip. Looking up, I saw a curious sight – two people in white with conical hats. Given the turn and my blistering 17mph speed and the long curve, I didn’t have a whole lot of […]