In the ink well

Dog Ear

June 18, 2020

RPG (DOG EAR)

t’s probably a bad idea. I’m going to start role playing again (after 30 years or so). Role playing (if you live in a cave and don’t know) is where one person acts as an impartial (or so they say) referee, setting up everything from the nature of the world to the price of a beer. Players describe what they want to do, and the ref determines (using tables and rules as guides) the outcome. Back in the day, I hosted a very successful StarWars campaign (which ran pretty much weekly for fifteen years). I can figure that a lot […]
June 11, 2020

Insomnia (DOG EAR)

don’t know if this is the classic definition of insomnia. I just know it’s before 6am and I’m up. I’d planned to post something else out of my prep-stash but looking out the windows into the dark morning, I thought I’d cover this topic instead. Are you a writer? Do you find yourself up way too early in the morning, tired yet active? I think I know where my case came from. For the last twenty years of working, I’d have to get up and pretty much hit the ground running. Commuting in by bike, I didn’t have time to […]
May 28, 2020

Dead Slow (DOG EAR)

ell, this is ironic. You’d think that during the greatest pandemic we’ve seen in a century, in a house loaded with all the books I could ever want (and all my old favorites) I’d be burning through titles. But experience has proven otherwise. My primary issue is that I’ve been very busy. I’m experimenting with Squiffy Gamebook programming. And dental surgery has gotten in the way of everything. Then there are all those bike rides I’ve been making (I’d gotten pretty fast, now that my lack of junk food has shed some pounds). And with live streaming, I’ve gotten through […]
May 21, 2020

DNF (DOG EAR)

ave writing advice this week in, of all places, the Squiffy forum (Squiffy is an easy-to-use text adventure game maker). Since I’ve been messing for squiffy for years, I’ve gotten to be a SME on site and I usually provide answers. But the other day, I happened to glance at the general forum where you can post damn near anything. Someone had written a story about his uncle and was asking for critiques. The story was slow. It didn’t get anywhere quickly. It didn’t hold my interest. I couldn’t get more than a few paragraphs. And so I wrote the […]
May 14, 2020

Print Ready (DOG EAR)

t’s that time of the quarter again. Tonight is deadline for The Journal Box, a model railroading publication that I assemble four times a year. And it’s a real labor of love. This is the all-important election edition so I’ve been getting biographies of candidates (as well as the division reports). And these communications come in all sorts of formats – I get emails, text files, Word docs, and even PDFs (which I need to strip the text out of). All of these I gather into one Word document so I can sort them and then shift them to Publisher. […]
May 7, 2020

Fire and Bronze Revisited (DOG EAR)

nteresting call from mom the other day. As mentioned in the last DOG EAR, I was hunkering down and dealing with the depression of plague politics. But she called and I was in mid-something, so I put it down and talked. She told me that she’d been sitting around in her own doldrums and saw my novel, Fire and Bronze, under her coffee table. I’ve always seen it there and it’s always given me a little pride. You see, my dad and I had little in common as I grew up. He had been an only child and had done […]
April 30, 2020

Knowing oneself (DOG EAR)

‘ve always been honest enough with myself to not try to anticipate how I would respond in an emergency. What would I do if someone held a gun on me? What would I do if I was faced with a chance at total corruption for total gain? Could I sell my soul? Easy to “pre-brag” about yourself but me, I’m not so sure. How would I deal with a mid-air emergency if I had a plane? Always wondered. Two hours post-solo in my little red ultralight, I found out. I was climbing steep and hard off Lake Apoka (it was […]
April 23, 2020

Bumper Stickers (DOG EAR)

’ll admit that Facebook really brings out the worst in me. Mostly because of you twits. With all that’s going on in the world, all the blame, counter-blame, the alternative history; it’s like I’m Don Quixote and every idiot out there is a windmill. I’m easily baited by faulty logic, simplistic equivalencies and straw man projection. I feel the need to answer. And then I feel the need to check for the reply, so I can answer, reply, answer, and the monkey’s got his fist in the anthill hole again. I had to drive an hour out of town to […]
April 16, 2020

Plague Doldrums (DOG EAR)

’m really getting the concept of life in a plague and political turmoil. In many of the historical novels I read, plagues happen. Generally the town becomes quiet save for the rumble of the carts carrying away the dead. At the edge of town, spades eat at the soil, expanding the plague pits. Occasionally doors are marked with an X or whatever to mark a contagious house. And I haven’t lived under a rise of fascism, through I read all about it in Winds of War. Now we have crazed political responses (we just cut funding to the World Health […]
April 9, 2020

Fyre Thoughts (DOG EAR)

unkering down for the third week of quarantine and making scans of Hulu for just about anything watchable. Found something called Fyre Fraud which looked curious. It’s a documentary about a total failed (and pretty fraudulent) concert that dumped thousands of Millennials on some desert island in the Bahamas. Good flick. Yes, I’m old enough that I didn’t know anything about this – totally off my radar. But what was really interesting was how the Fyre organizers (and their legion of support staff, social organizers, investment opportunists and social gadflies) did this. I’ve had my brush with fame and self-promotion. […]