In the ink well

Dog Ear

August 15, 2019

Two heroes (DOG EAR)

f you know me (or have read this column for any length of time) you know I love good storytelling. And I’m always looking for good tales. I watch Japanese sitcoms, good miniseries, Indian song-and-dance epics, just about everything. I’m always open to suggestions. So, recently, my niece’s boyfriend told me (since we both share a love of anime) that I should watch HunterXHunter. And a friend from two decades back told me that Longmire was one to watch. So I started them both. HunterXHunter is the story of Gon, a plucky little kid who wants to take “the Hunter Exam” and become […]
August 8, 2019

Pixar’s Screenwriting rules

came across this on the web, a (supposed but not verified) list of rules Pixar has forwarded to it’s screenwriters. Possibly you might find use for them in your own writing. Or maybe not. If you are trying to write a book on your own and throwing yourself open to your creative muses, don’t put too much into this. But if it’s long green you are after, consider them. #1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes. #2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as […]
August 1, 2019

Millennium (DOG EAR)

love the English language. I love its flexibility, the way you can make up words that work in the context of story. And I love that, with all the reading I’ve done, I have access to words and phrases dating back to the Napoleonic Era, even older. It’s a blast, when a character slips out of town without a forwarding address, to say they slipped their cable. But as I work with millennials, I’m beginning to find out just how short their awareness-horizon is. Recently I used the word “powder keg.” Emptiness. And “goldbricking”. “Featherbedding”. Blank looks at “Snipe hunt”. […]
July 26, 2019

The Brick Joke (DOG EAR)

as watching an Indian movie (not a Bollywood movie – there is a difference, I found out) the other day with the wife. In it, some young guys break a father’s wide-screen TV. They manage to replace it (with circumstances too weird to convey here). Once the TV is in, they take the old TV up several flights of stairs and out onto a lower roof, where (one, two, three and away) they throw it up to a roof another flight up. Evidence is hidden. They are safe. Some time later in this movie, another plotline, a darker and more […]
July 18, 2019

Change of scene (DOG EAR)

ll good things come to an end. And while I’ve (mostly) enjoyed my time in this corporation, it’s time to end it. I mentioned I was thinking about retirement in the review of The Decision Book. And how my boss know it was coming since she was Among our Subscribers. I’ve told the team and it spread like wildfire. So suddenly I’m getting back forty hours each week (fifty if you count the commuting) for my own uses. And that’s troubling. See, over the last twenty years here, I’ve learned to write hard and fast. Did several novels out on […]
July 12, 2019

Among our subscribers (DOG EAR)

n Doctor Horrible’s Singalong Blog, a supervillain who maintains a video blog boasts on his podcast how he is going to attack the city. He gloats about his plans, his goals, and his likely success. Then he clicks off. The next image is him (quite disheveled) blogging a few hours later. Shakily, he notes that he should count the LAPD and Captain Hammer among his viewers. “They were waiting for me. Captain Hammer threw a car at my head…” Longtime readers of this blog will remember a couple of weeks back, where I reviewed The Decision Book. My wife had […]
July 4, 2019

Forced (DOG EAR)

o one of our senior executives (who I trust does not bother with this little blog) told everyone at work they had to read three specific books on software principles and practices. And thus Caesar sent forth his decree. Really, how many people (other than the guppy-swallowing career-jumpers) are going to bother? We work in an environment of churn, where we see management say one thing and do another, where our development jobs have shipped overseas (the shortcomings of this lost on those Olympians who never do code reviews on these guys), and where every sprint has some emergency that […]
June 27, 2019

Tired (DOG EAR)

riters are supposed to sit up all night in French cafés. And sleep until noon. And then, after pushing the prostitute out of their garret, they write totally magnificent prose. Some writers, anyway. Well, probbaly none. Right now I’m tired. Got the kittens fixed yesterday so between hunger, soreness, coming off their cat drugs and complete confusion, they were both up and down all night. And I didn’t get to bed until 1am anyway. No French cafés. Working on StoreyMinus, comforting whiny cats, and talking a lot on the phone. So there went the evening. Now I’m here at work […]
June 20, 2019

Wake up call (DOG EAR)

he alarm is set for 6:50 – car day, so no early-morning cycling. But it’s 5:50 and the wild things awake. From cute warm fir-bagels laying against my legs, suddenly on cue they become little sabretooths, rolling and biting and squeaking. Yes, Chinki and Ritz, our two little kittens, are activated. There isn’t much for it. Once they’re up, they’re up.  So I do the old trick – I roll out of bed, fake a few wake-up yawns, walk to the doorway. Two furry flashes tear by, bound for the kitchen and points east. Then I close the door and […]
June 14, 2019

Sulking in his tent (DOG EAR)

nd there will be pasta! From a top-end Italian restaurant!” I’m still stinging from my corporation’s hi-jinks. On top of everything else theyve done wrong or badly over the last few years, they offered a buyout. Of course, it was phrased to sound like it was fair and equitable and dispassionate. But it turned out that they were just golden-parachuting a lot of their overpaid, underperforming execs, tossing handouts to forty-year deadwoods and picking off one or two incompetents. So yes, I didn’t get it. What I was to get was an “appreciation” lunch, a little thing put on by […]