In the ink well

Dog Ear

December 27, 2018

Best of 2018 (DOG EAR)

s traditionally on this site (well, as of last year), here are my outstanding books from 2018. I am not ranking these in any order. Simply put, they are the best five from the 50 or so reviews I did this year. If you are looking for something to spend your Barnes & Noble gift card on, these are you best choices. Leviathan Wakes – This has become a powerful series on the Sci-Fi network, a great saga of books that follows four characters on a small stolen ship in a universe defined by our solar system (in a hundred […]
December 20, 2018

Alas, Blogtorium II (DOG EAR)

o, last week I mentioned the week I was down for a crash. That was in November. So where was my site since then? Well, I’d mentioned my vow, how I would run official backups through GoDaddy (and not these self-launched efforts I’d been laboring with). I called them and signed up for the program. No problems. The tech checked my site and said it would be fine (refer to the blog before this on how fine “fine” can be). The next day I logged into GoDaddy and checked my backups. They’d crashed. Back on tech support, it turns out […]
December 12, 2018

Alas, Blogtorium (DOG EAR)

’m not dead. Nor is the Blogtorium. But it’s late, I know, but there were reasons. Some time ago I noticed that the Blogatorium (where you are now reading this) was down. Really down. Nothing but the pen, the word “Manuscript”, the tan screen and nothing else. Now I’ve gone down once before – for GoDaddy issues (it came up two days later). But this time they weren’t suffering any national malware attacks. And I’d just agreed to some service plan where they would nightly scan my site for malware and whatever. Yes, my site has been knocked on before. […]
November 8, 2018

Storytelling (DOG EAR)

hen my wife tells the purse story, she always does it wrong. She starts with, “I left my purse in a Tokyo bathroom but someone brought it back.” I mean, what can you do with a story after this? All the suspense, the tension, the comedy and the trans-pacific dread, shot. When we meet mutual friends who haven’t heard this tale, I jump in an start with the Kyoto exchange leading into the chaos of the Narita Airport, the police, the sweaty brows, all that. I thought about that a lot, the way my wife tells the tale. I thought […]
October 31, 2018

Blogging (DOG EAR)

loved Japan. If you read my trip report, you can see how much I loved it, day by day. Great fun, good food, friendly people. Outside of the “purse incident”, it was the perfect trip. Now I’ve been blogging DOG EARs since 2012 and recording trips since 2011, which is a lot of words under the bridge. And it does take some effort. Usually I’ll take my tinytop with me so I can write as I experience it. This time, we were traveling light – a backpack apiece (and a purse, sometimes, it seemed). But this time it was adding […]
October 4, 2018

A matter of taste (DOG EAR)

will be in Japan in the near future, just a short trip to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary (so you might notice a gap in my posting). We’re looking forward to this – some light touring and some pointless Tokyo wandering. Should be fun in a casual sort of way (I’ll be posting up my trip report in due time). One thing though – one of the reasons I’m going is, in a nutshell, the Anime culture. We couldn’t get into the Ghibli museum (booked solid) but we’ll check out the manga shops and look at all the funny toys. I […]
September 27, 2018

Magic (DOG EAR)

magine you could take any topic around the watercooler and suddenly affect people’s thoughts to flash an image directly in their heads. You know, like a phone with those boring pictures of your dog, but better. They wouldn’t just see the dog. They’d imagine his playful nature, his soft coat, and could emphasize with your love for him. Well, that’s what being a writer is about. Not only do we keep track of words others use but we develop our own words, ones that work. And we have boxes of words in our brain, all from those books we’ve read. […]
September 20, 2018

The churn of creativity (DOG EAR)

think you can train your brain to do a number of things. People who don’t read look at people who do as having some strange arcane powers, that sitting still for 300 pages is extraordinary. So, yes, I’ve trained myself to stick with it, through thick and thin. I’m like a book shredder now. This isn’t much I can’t break down. Creativity is the same sort of thing. Over years of scripting RPGs, writing plots, developing model train time tables and coding games, I’ve trained myself to be able to think solutions. When I write a short story, I think […]
September 13, 2018

Smile (DOG EAR)

ears back, I was reading a Manga comic titled Venus Wars. It was a cool comic and I very much enjoyed it. However, in one scene, the heroes are hiding out in an out-of-the-way sewage reclamation plant. Here, they get critical information from a scientist whom the government banished into the hinterlands. And that’s fine – a time-tested plot device. But, if course, the evil government locates them and suddenly there is an open hatch, an alarm, a video image of guys with machine guns coming down the ladder. The heroes (lovers with guns) dash off with pistols to fend […]
September 6, 2018

The Gift (DOG EAR)

lot of people on the train know I’m a reader (I’ve always got a book in my lap (and my Brompton folding bike under my legs)). And everyone on the bus (between work and train station) know I am as well (because I’m always talking about books and listening to others about their recommendations). It’s just who I am. If life was an old black & white World War Two movie, I’d be the guy called “Professor”. I did loan one nice lady on the bus my copy of A Man Called Ove. To my total surprise, she didn’t care […]