March 11, 2020

Pushy Media (DOG EAR)

o I’m an old guy. I only started carrying a phone because I’m cycling in this crazy city (Orlando). And it’s an old flip phone I’ve had for a decade. People walking on the nature trails around here piss me off when they have their heads in their phones. And drivers with phones (which is illegal), don’t get me started. Not a fan. But something that’s really become an issue – with all the content and bandwidth available, people are watching more stuff, and they are watching it louder and louder. On the train I ride, it’s become an epidemic […]
March 19, 2020

Days of plague and the new media (DOG EAR)

o for last week’s column, I wrote something about people forcing their phone media on you. That afternoon, I met three crazy ex-work ladies at Applebees and hung out with them for about four hours. As we bid each other goodnight, little did I imagine how different everything would be a week later. Now we’ve been staying homeside for about five days. Very quiet. Been working on my games and my writing. Still doing bike rides. Even took the wife out on the tandem to a small park where we ate dinner on a bench, just to get out of […]
January 20, 2022

The world before social media (DOG EAR)

was sitting around the model train club the other day, paging through old issues of Model Railroader. I mean old, old issues, like from the late forties and early fifties. So funny and quaint to look back from a time of computer chips and 3D printing at a world of ozone-emitting electronics and block control. But what really struck me was the letters from readers. Each of them, at the end, included an address. I’m wondering how often someone might say something a person agreed or disagreed with and might have prompted a return letter or two from the readers. […]
April 21, 2022

The Ethics of Media (DOG EAR)

he other night I was enjoying a quiet evening the way I like it – writing game code for my new effort, Pathfinder, the window open, the cool breezes flowing around me, the online radio quietly playing French soft rock. And that’s then the guy, the girl, and the motorcycle entered my world. They came down the street, making more noise than I make in a week. It was one of those suburban Harley’s bought from those urban-dad fake-factory stores, all noise, heavy as a tank. And even though they were rolling slow, the guy was revving his engine (because […]
September 22, 2022

Taciturn (DOG EAR)

here are two ways you can be introduced to a character, the real-world way or the accepted western literary way. So say you are in a western bar. In walks a cowboy. In the real-world way, he will likely sit down next to you and start to chat (since bars are social gathering places and if you wanted to drink alone in your sulk, you’d buy a bottle and sit with your horse in the stable). Anyway, this hypothetical cowboy would chat with you, perhaps telling you where he was born, and what ranches he worked on. Possibly if he’d […]
November 10, 2022

Word of Mouth (DOG EAR)

aybe this is one of the reasons the world is so fucked up. Oral histories. And their demise. It used to be, well before the 1920s, that people would get their opinions and world views from two places; books and word of mouth. If they knew anything about, say, World War One, they’d either read it (such as All Quiet on the Western Front) or directly hear it (possibly from Uncle Frank, who’d served with the American Expeditionary Force). They would get their insights either from an author (backed by his editor and publisher) or an uncle. Stories and accounts […]
January 18, 2024

The game is afoot! (DOG EAR)

ames are media and so they get an occasional spot on my media-blog. And here it is! The thing about games is how diverse the field is now. Using Steam, you can choose from thousands of games of any genre you prefer. It’s all there. My first game (and the reason I signed up on Steam) is Spelunky. Originally a freebee eight-bit game, in Spelunky, you play the role of a spelunker who is trying to get to the bottom of a maze of tunnels. The remake (the first, not “2”) really was my prefect go-to comfort game – there […]
February 8, 2024

Weight of years, and erosion of ages (DOG EAR)

nteresting morning: I had a bunch of little errands and since it was blustery and chilly, I decided to do them by bike. The route was from my house a mile to the donut shop (where I read a book I’ll describe shortly). Then across the street (the street being Corrine Drive, which is a good simulation of the beaches of Normandy) to drop off another book (a creepy serial killer thing). Then two miles over to the drug store (picked up some keep-alive pills). Then two miles over to the chain bookstore to pick up a classic (I’d checked […]
February 16, 2024

Missed signals (DOG EAR)

o today, here’s a brief column about the earliest form of human communication: the gesture. In this case, it’s flipping the bird. Side note: Yes, the finger came about after Agincourt in 1415, but it is a gesture so I’m going with it. Now, I’m a cyclist. And a pedestrian. I walk and bike more than most people, and hence can tell you that most people drive like furious buttheads. Having been on the receiving end, I slow way down and swing way wide of any non-car humans. I’ve been hit by cars once while on foot and six times […]