In the ink well

Dog Ear

March 15, 2018

Mind Blowing (DOG EAR)

’ve mentioned around the blogtorium that the book that really set my young mind off the rails and made me into the person I am today was HG Well’s War of the Worlds, reviewed and praised HERE. In a nutshell, it showed me that true literature can always tell new stories, that happy endings should not be assumed and conventions are meant to be dashed. So this woman I work with, her ten year old son just won an “Odyssey of the Mind” contest at his school and will be advancing to state. And he was so committed to doing […]
March 15, 2018

Pitching (DOG EAR)

’m not why I’m writing this – I should be telling you how to do things, rather than expressing my own shortcomings. But making a pitch is an art totally beyond me. You might have remembered my review for Dark Matter. It was a cool book about possibility, life and its spawning timelines. I really enjoyed it and ranted about it in my review. Three of you reported to have pursued it and are all currently reading it. In that, I made a successful pitch. But then there was Railsea, a book I read a while ago and am rereading. […]
March 7, 2018

Million Yen Women (DOG EAR)

o the setup in his Netflix Series from Japan is that a young, rather unsuccessful writer finds out that some unknown person has “invited” five women to live with him. They are told that they must pay the writer a million yen a month (roughly $10,000) and cannot tell anything about the invitation or answer any personal questions. And, seemingly, all of the women can afford this. Outside of his strange houseguests, there are other esoteric touches to this stage. A fax machine that spews out scrawling death threats. A flat-eared kitten that prefers to be called “cat”. The writer’s […]
February 28, 2018

Perv (DOG EAR)

ot to go into details, but someone loosely tied to my team is getting rotated out. In the area I manage, it’s getting more and more obvious that this person can’t produce. So they are going into some sort of remedial track and rotating off to a slower-paced team. And that got me to thinking. On the train ride in, I began to empathize with that person. I know that in our remote location (half a world away) our culture and their culture sometimes clash. Things that are understood here aren’t there. Expectations, as foreign as they are, must be […]
February 22, 2018

Fatalism (DOG EAR)

thought I’d pissed off the Russian mob and had suffered a contract hit. You’ll remember how I mentioned I shut off my blog comments because of all the entries being placed on it (sites get a lot more traffic the more places they are featured, which is a faulty algorithm that drives disreputable behaviors). I’d decided that the last time my site got hacked it was through this mechanism and, if anything, my feedback mechanism was getting stone-aged. Once I started getting volumes of Russian traffic, I decided to mitigate the risk and shut it down. And three days later, […]
February 15, 2018

No feedback (DOG EAR)

es, it’s been a while. My computer cratered and it’s been the work of a half month (one week for the shop to scrub and rewindow my box, then one for me to reinstall and reconnect everything). I’ve got a ton of book reviews in the hopper (I’d lose myself in reading to escape my Tron woes). But it got me thinking about other things. Like the feedback I’ve gotten off the bottom of my entries (yes, if you scroll down, you’ll notice it’s no longer there). The reason for this is many-fold. First, it’s not because I don’t like […]
January 25, 2018

Book Burning (DOG EAR)

here comes a time in every book’s life when you flip to the final page and read to the bottom. And then you think, “Wonderful.” Or possibly, “Thank Christ that’s done.” But either way, we get to the end of all books (even if we blow the canopy early and bail). The question then becomes – what to do with those leftovers? Yes. For the books that made me smile or spoke to me in my loneliness, that connected to my soul in some way, I keep. There is a straining set of shelves in the Florida room I place […]
January 17, 2018

Advocate (DOG EAR)

never started out to be a bicycle advocate. It just sort of happened. I didn’t even think about bikes in my twenties. One day in my early thirties, my brother peddled over to my house and while we were chatting offered his bike over for a spin. “Well, I don’t know. It’s not really my thing blabbady blah”. So I rode. And I rather liked it. A few days later I started talking bikes with the two ride-to-workers, getting some ideas. For the next four years I was riding four miles in every day. After I got canned from that […]
January 10, 2018

Time Management (DOG EAR)

’d mentioned this elsewhere but recently I had surgery for carpel tunnel in my left hand. My doctor downplayed the recovery – he didn’t see a full splint as anything to be concerned about. For me, I lost the SHIFT, CTRL, Z, X, C, V, A, S, D, F, W, E and R keys. I went from high-speed typing to find-n-peck. And this went on for weeks. Besides typing, I couldn’t drive. One handed? I’ve got a six-speed cooper. So that was out. The first two days I had JB the wife drive me in. That meant she got to […]
January 3, 2018

Reviewing awful books (DOG EAR)

our out of you’re mind.” That was about the worst sentence I ever read in a book purchased off a shelf, a little vanity press number I got from a local bookstore by a local author (perhaps “Author” is too strong a word here. “Typist” might be better). I’ve read bad books before. Sometimes they come at you at times in your life (see, at least I know how to use “your”) when you are not in the mood for its mystery, its adventure, its craziness. But sometimes they are bad. And occasionally they are awful. Yeah, I’ve read a […]