In the ink well

Dog Ear

October 31, 2019

Hello, Darkness, my old friend (Dog Ear)

’ve got a trip to make this weekend, a flight across the country to San Diego to run prototype operations at the La Mesa club, a sprawling layout with dozens of guys that work twelve hour shifts to completely model the workings of an actual railroad (here, between Mojave and Bakersfield in the 1950s) all the way down to the terminology and carbon paper. It’s a fun time travel game where you’ll stand around doing nothing (the railroad way) and grab food on the run. And why am I noting this on my writing blog? Did I select the wrong […]
October 24, 2019

To Sum Up (DOG EAR)

etirement. I know what I expected, but it wasn’t this. I think I realized what retirement was when I was on the wrong end of town with two hours to kill before a lunch date. Rather than run back home (for what – ninety minutes?) or run some compressed errands, I hung out in a coffee shop with a book (Infinite Jest, but hey, I had to get that mother read). The thing is, I’m learning this new phase in my life. When I thought about it last year, I thought I’d be writing every structured day. Not so, it […]
October 17, 2019

Filosophy of Phantasy (DOG EAR)

ou don’t have the right-of-way!” shouted an FUV driver who’d skipped a stop sign, come around a corner and nearly took me and my bike out while in the crosswalk. This is Orlando, a town made for cars, ruled by cars (in the grips of their chromed fists) and centered on cars. Motorists see the out-of-doors as a place only used for driving – it’s that void between their garage and their work parking lot and the mall. Pedestrians and cyclists are the ants that get in the way and must be horn-blared clear. A nuisance. Statistics back me on […]
October 3, 2019

The Speed of Read (DOG EAR)

o I’m doing that speed as best I can. Kinda. I’m still in the midst of Infinite Jest, a tale of tennis and substance abuse recovery. It’s a fine book, clever and insightful, but goddamn slow. When you are in the midst of ten pages of description of the most minute moves of a tennis game between two teenagers, and all the reactions of the people in the stands, and then you get pulled into a ten-page footnote, well, it makes for every distracting reading. Truthfully, this damn thing sometimes puts me to sleep. But I’m going to push through […]
September 19, 2019

The Big Book of Effort (DOG EAR)

‘ve mentioned that I’m reading a true monster of a book. The story itself is 981 pages. This is dense, small type. The notes in the back are another 100 pages (even more dense and small). But that’s not the long of it. The writer in this case (I don’t want to spoil it a few weeks from now when I review it) loves to describe everything. Every thought that every character has, every description that can be made, he writes it. Sometimes the writing doesn’t even seem to serve a purpose – like when two brothers chat on the […]
September 12, 2019

Book Burning (DOG EAR)

estroying books – it makes us think of jackbooted fascists pouring gasoline over priceless tomes (or school boards caving to the pressures of the few). It goes against everything I treasure. But as mentioned, my retirement made me question what we were keeping (and paying to keep). I have boxes and boxes of old books, things I read and enjoyed (or tossed aside with a meh). All of these went into boxes with the idea that someday I’d have a library where I could put all my books and say lookit me! Well, when I pulled the first box down, […]
September 5, 2019

Retyrement – finally! (DOG EAR)

retired nearly three weeks ago. It’s been very busy, all sorts of doctors’ appointments and linking up with a riding group. And then there was the first project (going through boxes of books and picking the ones I liked (more on that next week)). And then there was the hurricane which was going to sweep us off to Hell before it turned into a Sunday afternoon shower. But for that, all our loose lawn items had to come into the (newly cleaned) garage. So busy busy busy. Today was the first Thursday that wasn’t howling-busy, and for today, I wanted […]
August 29, 2019

The Saddest Little Bookstore (DOG EAR)

f course, you’d think I’d love finding a bookstore that offered old favorites I loved to read, just hundreds of them, at the low low price of nothing. Sure. Except that in this case, I’m cleaning out the dozens of boxes of old paperbacks and comics I’ve accumulated over the years. Mission One of retirement is to clean out the garage and make room for Mission Two, cleaning out the storage unit. And that means pulling down all those boxes I’ve dragged from place to place with the expectation that someday I’d have a full spare room with dozens of […]
August 22, 2019

Time for Crime (DOG EAR)

s mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I’ve retired (or “ReTyred“, shameless plug). And as others have warned me, I am now busier than I’ve ever been. I’ve got a garage to clean, a storage room to sort and shut down. I’ve got a newsletter to edit (more on that in a later blog). Three times a week bike rides. Meeting with the accountant. Gardening. Astronomy. Model railroading. And, of course, writing. But here’s the rub. Back when I was a workaday-Joe, I had a good couple of hours a week to write – this was called “lunchtime”. I’d just find […]
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 […]