In the ink well

Dog Ear

August 21, 2014

Used (DOG EAR)

erailed. It’s a book by James Siegel which I picked up out of a bin in front of Sanford’s Maya Used Books. It was a hot day, I was flipping through their sidewalk bin of hardbacks, caught on the name (I’m a train fan), read the flap, noted the price (a buck) and added it to my stack. It sat next to my bed (in the pile of potentials) for over a year. I think, twice, I must have moved it to get up the dust and cat hair. And finally, between other books, I read it. Wow. I won’t […]
August 17, 2014

Giving worse that I got (DOG EAR)

kay, I’ve cautioned about saying things on Facebook and pondered about writing train reports differently depending on how well I knew the person. Now comes a cautionary tale about writing reviews. A while back, I reviewed Jenessa Gayheart’s book Eidolon: The Thousand Year Ghost. I had some good criticisms to make, specifically involving the technicalities of lighter-than-airship travel. But I was a little… um… snarky in my review. I remember thinking that while I wrote it, and thought, yeah, but it adds zest. I’ve also mentioned that I have to monitor my comment stream for spam (that’s why you don’t […]
August 14, 2014

Vacation (Dog Ear)

s a kid, I remember our vacations (such as they were for a poor-as-church-mice Navy family), stopping at my Grandparent’s place at Buckeye Lake, Ohio. It was a nice lake-front cottage, the type with creaky floors, old wagon wheels suspended and fitted out with light bulbs, and just-decommissioned outhouses serving as toolsheds. Croquet was a very adventurous game, a random contest amid the gnarly oak roots. Most mornings I’d come out and see my father sitting all alone on the deck, bamboo pole optimistically deployed, a silhouette against the silent lake. He never caught dinner, just mid-sized catfish he’d throw […]
July 31, 2014

Power to the People (DOG EAR)

t’s a long weekend at the beach. I’m working on my blogs (just finished Lola!) and the wife is reading her kindle. Then she frowns. “I’m running out of power.” A deeper frown. “I didn’t bring my charger.” Welcome to another chapter of my continuing drama – What’s wrong with eReaders. Yeah, it’s marvelous technology. You can highlight things that catch your fancy. You can flip back and forth. You can even search through text (the great “So who the hell is this?” function). And for me, looting Project Gutenberg has been a dream. But there are problems. My reader […]
July 17, 2014

Beach Books (DOG EAR)

t’s the weekend of July 4th and we’re out at the beach. The wife and I are rounding off her three-mile daily walk (and, frankly, sweating our glands out through our pores). And while I’m trying to distract myself from the salty sting in my eyes, I’m noticing all the beach books cracked open. That’s cool. Everyone likes a beach book. It’s one of the icons of Me-ism, just sitting in a chair on the sands, enjoying a low-IQ kettle-boiler. In fact, many reviewers (myself included, I believe) have reviewed a fun books as a great “beach book”. Yeah, all […]
July 14, 2014

Lola! (DOG EAR)

ne my favorite movies is The Great Waldo Pepper. It’s a movie about World War One fliers trying to eke out a living barnstorming and movie flying in the twenties. In one scene near the end, Waldo is talking with Ernst Kessler, a one-time top German ace and now a boozy three-time potbelly loser. But there is still something magical about him. He speaks of flying and the paramount moment of his life, when he fought (and downed) four American fliers. There is a line that sticks with me. “I keep track of talent.” That’s an interesting statement, short and […]
July 10, 2014

Decorum (DOG EAR)

riting about real people (living people (living people who can get pissed at you and give you a sock on the nose)) is always tricky. Unless you are writing a political rag with a fiery agenda, you’ve got to have a care towards those you write about. I reflected on this today while driving home, considering how I’d blog up the TY&E railroad session I’d just run on. You see, besides writing about writing, I write about model train operations. Every session I attend, I blog. Some of the blogs are closely followed by their owners. So, the question is, […]
July 3, 2014

Buckets of Irony (DOG EAR)

rony is where you find it when you are a writer. I’m tapping-off (i.e. using my pass card) off the train and it’s coming down in buckets. Someone on the seat next to me had shown me the rain patterns on his phone – no waiting this long line of storms out so it will be a wet bike ride home. And wet it is – the roads are flooding. Around the low grates, it’s about four inches deep, coming over my pedals and churning around the chains. My glasses are soaked, I’m wet to the skin, and the winds […]
June 26, 2014

Facebook and Writers (DOG EAR)

’m a bit of a political/social hothead. I won’t promote any details here concerning my views any more than I have on the front page of the site. I just feel (like most people) that the world could be improved and that my way makes absolute, perfect sense (and that anyone counter to my opinions is a knucklehead). And that’s fine. Unless you are a writer. Look, it’s okay to have political views (like assholes, everyone has them). But one thing we do need to remember is that we are not only representing ourselves on social media, we’re representing our […]
June 19, 2014

Handful of Eclectic (DOG EAR)

‘m walking out of the building a few days ago, crossing the breezeway to the parking garage. Most of the yuppies are zombie-walking with their phones up in front of their eyes, living their blunt little lives with their foreshortened minds. Me, I’m taking in the sun and air, and I’ve got a handful of goodies the likes of which they couldn’t imagine. I’ll break from the description to note that there are writers out there who read nothing but the area of their speciality. You can tell it in historical novels where the source information lists pages of books. […]