In the ink well

Dog Ear

May 1, 2014

Leaches (DOG EAR)

So the latest on the literature blog front is the siege by unscrupulous mini-marketers, the ones who want to sell cheap purses, knockoff sunglasses, or just get you to go to their site where you can be infected. And what does this have to do with writing? I ask myself that, often. Park of being a writer is exposure, and part of exposure, these days, is maintaining a site. I still slip a few books out through here, now and again (see my wonderful link below, which will take you to reputable sales sites such as amazon). But suddenly I’m […]
April 24, 2014

Interruption (DOG EAR)

It’s a quiet Monday night. I’m home from a casual work session at the train club, working out a blog for the coming week. Unlike most nights, I’m carrying a production pager (the kid who is supposed to have it is visiting his fiancée in Toronto and everyone else has kids this weekend, so against my better judgment, I took it). I’m in that writer’s space now: all the thoughts, words and elements neatly switching around in my head, aligning. I can see where I’m going, the points I’ll make, the specific words that will punch meaning across. The words […]
April 17, 2014

Stinks to Heaven (DOG EAR)

Long-time readers of this series know that I despise publicity-tricks. The closest I’ll come is putting my book link at the bottom of my blog posts. I suck at clever things that people do like begging their friends to inflate their amazon ratings, to giving bookshow clinics to flog their books, to floating their wares in blog postings here. It really pisses me off (and probably explains why I’ll never succeed at this) because I find the entire publishing racket an dirty mudhole of false representation. It explains why so many people read so many lousy books, I suppose. But […]
April 10, 2014

Save early, save often (DOG EAR)

I‘m a coder from way, way back. Back in the days when home computer programs were saved on tape and memory was slotted into the machine and could crash if you hit the table hard enough, you saved early. And often. Even while working Fortran on a mainframe you habitually saved. I even always had a book with me back in my Navy Underwater Research days, given the usual outages we faced. Now, everything seems bulletproof. But I am reminded of the old adage: Never have an unsaved session larger than you’d be able to afford to lose (well, something […]
April 3, 2014

Everything new is old again (DOG EAR)

I‘m a cranky cuss in a big box bookstore. And even though I hate them, there are fewer of them – they’re going out of business, so I hate that too. But when I’m in them, I walk around frowning. There in the new arrivals (in the front section, which the publishers of Fire and Bronze were too bankrupt to put me in), there are a bunch of self help book and glittery vamperilic trash. Walking along, I see “staff picks” that are bullshit, the usual NYT bestseller “finds” (no climbing out on limbs here). And over here, a leatherbound […]
March 27, 2014

Better than sex (DOG EAR)

I remember when I got really comfortable flying my old ultralight airplane. The perfect summer day, no wind, gathering hot, and I’d feel the wings bite into the air and lift me into that summer sky. Yeah, sorta like that. Or my new Mini Cooper. It feels perfect, a combination of sensible and sensual. It’s nimble and quick, good for precisely the sort of driving clod-hopper FUVs are incapable of. Yeah, it’s smooth and sexy, just like that. Spooning a lover. Standing before a crowd and bowing. The perfect off-the-cuff statement. The rainy weekend with nothing to do. All those […]
March 20, 2014

Do androids read the book? (DOG EAR)

More from my reading of the famous Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and one of the favorite topics of the twenty- and twenty-first century. Which is better? Book or movie? Well, in this case, both were good. Like my favorite, The Blue Max, the book and movie took different takes on the same subject, looking at the same coin from different faces. And I like that – perspectives are fun. But here’s where the book was better than the movie. In the book, we understand this world of Philip K. Dick’s to have survived (just barely) a nuclear war. […]
March 13, 2014

Do androids dream of fame (DOG EAR)

I’d mentioned in my last Dog Ear how I’d come to read Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and the mix of the movie and book (from a Japanese anime perspective). And yes, the little cartoon characters were right – both the movie and the book had merits. I’ve always enjoyed Blade Runner (but only the director’s cut – I mean, really, Rachael has no inception date? That ruins the entire story (and its sprawling idea of the preciousness of life)). Overall, I love the idea of androids desperate to live and a burned out bounty hunter […]
March 6, 2014

Do Androids Watch Anime (DOG EAR)

So one of my entertainment passions is Japanese Animation (or “Anime”). Some of it is stunningly good, some of it is insightful, some of it is just reactionary fun, and some is just stupid. Was watching one, a little one-season deal called Psycho-Pass, a story involving a future society where scanners can tell if you are above a certain “potential” crime level. If so, you can be killed just because of your possibility to do crime. So the broad story is unraveling, the somber mastermind is lounging around, interviewing a hacker who he’ll need for his devilry. But then the […]
February 27, 2014

Serendipity (DOG EAR)

A little something happened while I was running a mile-long freight through the Carolina foothills, hogging on the Tennessee Carolina & Coast. I placed a magazine article. See, I was running trains up in the Asheville area (you can see my blog on trains, over on the left, for details of prototypical operations of trains). Guy named Steve was on the dispatcher’s panel, in the other room, directing the traffic by line phones. He’s got a magnetic board in front of him and he’s moving his markers to keep track of the trains (and telling the crews how far they […]