Dog Ear
Legging it (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 12 October 2017 20:32

’ve jogged for years, ever since my first Corporate 5k. And I hated every step of it.

When I cycle, there is motion and wind and fun. If I stop peddling I glide like an eagle (as opposed to jogging, where when I stop I feel black guilt). I’ve never felt that “runner’s high”. I’ve jogged and jogged and never gotten any better, holding a just-over 10 minute/mile rate. And my support squad, the Lunch Runners, has dropped from a dozen years back to… just me.

But still I had a commitment to this; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, even though it took out three hours of what was once enjoyable writing time. So, instead of coming back to the desk after lunch feeling jazzed about an idea, a phrase or story, I’d limp back sweating (even after the shower in the unventilated locker room) and drip into my shorts, taking forever to cool down.

Thus, a week ago I found myself outside in the noon-day heat, shooing away the beggar ducks as I stretched and reminding myself to get into that lookout-fer-the-cars mindset. And off I went. The run itself was unremarkable – since my efforts have been haphazard, I’m still not up to my prime and found myself stopping at just over two miles to walk out stiff calves. Got back to work, took my shower, got some water, at my lunch at my desk, worked for some time, went to stand up.

My right knee flared with hard pain.

And that was strange. Nothing in the run felt wrong but afterwards everything was.

So this is about the forth injury I’ve suffered running. Feet, knees, calves, everything has been damaged at one time. And when I hurt myself jogging, I can’t ride my bike (which sucks even more). So I found myself sitting at my desk, still dripping, my leg icepacked with a coffee-filter baggy filled with drink-machine ice, and thought Enough.

That’s it. I’m done. While I’ll miss the respiratory and cardiovascular benefits of running, I am going to do myself serious harm some day if I keep this up.

And then there is the added benefit – I get to write again. So this first week off the treadmill of suburban jogging, I found myself writing once again. I read over old efforts. I kicked out a short story (just a for-fun experimental piece). Of course, there was that first day where Micro$oft Office started its configuration nonsense. As I mentioned, I just went over to Open Office and that settled that.

Yeah, I might not be as healthy as before (baring all the injuries and agonies) but at least I’ve rediscovered the “Joy of Writing”.

>>>CHECK OUT MY BOOKS WRITTEN BACK BEFORE MY GRIM HEALTH KICK, STORIES OF FUN AND THE FANTASTIC. FOR SALE HERE!<<<

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 October 2017 20:38
 
Open Office (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 05 October 2017 00:00

ll writers face impediments. Nothing kills a writing career like a wife (and, eventually, children). It’s hard to hold the edge when someone’s dumping a load into their diapers. Not that I’m blaming them – there are plenty of other distractions. In older days, there was absinthe in Parisian cafes, whisky in run-down gin joints. And now (sadly) the world is now full of very petty distractions. Computer games, streaming TV, Iphones; you name it, it’s out there. Even I have too many things – cycling, astronomy, model railroading, game design – to write my passions. The world is more demanding and distracting.

And then there are the thermonuclear disruptions.

I’ve lost a lot of writing time (lunch time, specifically) to jogging. There will be more on a followup piece about this but in a nutshell I hurt my leg in that ridiculous pursuit and suddenly got some lunch hours back. I had so much to catch up on, some little commissions to write. Checked my schedule and I had time between a staff meeting that ended at noon and a scrum-of-scrum (yes, as dirty as it sounds) at 1pm. An hour of me-time.

Except that staff ran an extra 15 minutes due to gasbagging and windbragging. Honestly, people should be forced to write their dialog – maybe then they’d realize how wandering and repetitive most of what they say is.

Went down to the break room, found my favorite seat, booted up my tinytop. Haven’t run this thing since for the last two weeks (when I left it running in Word and the battery died). So, double clicked on my document and Word came up. Or tried to. It kinda hung, letting me know that it was reconfiguring office and it would take a few minutes. Grind grind grind. Twenty minutes later, the reinstall failed. I told it to try again and it ground away.

Now, the point is, why did Micro$oft feel the need to change anything? My computer was happy. My product was happy. The only time I go online is to unload stories. It’s a fixed and steady state. Or should have been. But now something was wrong with the tool and I was burning juice and minutes fussing around, trying to get it to run.

In the end I had to ditch the whole writing session, frustrated that I’d wasted one of my only chances to be creative in the day for administrative nonsense. Worse, now I wasn’t sure if I could get this to ever run again. I’d loaded Micro$oft office as part of a long-ago work offer and didn’t have the download anymore.

Came back to the desk, slumped into my chair, and listened to Scrummy nonsense. And while stewing over my lost storytelling, I realized I did have a backup plan. Open Office. I’d installed it ages ago (before letting Micro$oft onto my machine). I’d gone to Office only because Open Office’s Excel clone uses a completely different form of VBA and all my GridSims games wouldn’t work on it. Still, I booted it up with OO and it fired right up. There was my work. There was my story, all clean and ready for writing.

I’m writing more now. Going to write today at lunch. And the good news is OO is there to provide a simple (and non-grinding) solution to the simple task of writing. Eventually I suppose it will be Word that finds its way into the unused folder. For now, I’m productive again. And that’s good enough.

>>>CHECK OUT EARLY RETYREMENT, A STORY LARGLY WORKED DURING THREE YEARS OF LUNCHES. AND NO, YOU CAN’T SMELL THE TUNA ON THE PAGES. FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE GIFT SHOP!<<<

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 October 2017 07:39
 
Evil (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 28 September 2017 00:00

f you are talking fictional motivation, nothing works better, plot- and story-wise, than being evil.

Two sea-faring examples: First, Ahab. A white whale he was attacking to drain it’s blubber and oil scars him and chomps a leg off. And now he’s angry at it in typical blame-the-victim fashion. And that’s well enough – it’s a great story that he is so driven that he sails the Pequod beyond both known waters and profit margins in his pursuit of a fish. Of course, we know how well his little rage works out, with the sole survivor floating on a coffin.

And then Nemo, who is hinted (as I remember) as being a disfranchised Indian prince (and who is pissed that the colonial powers rule over Indian peons and not him instead). So he’s taken his evil genius and built a nuclear powered ram which he’s using to hole every flag-carrying warship he can find. But  he goes down in a maelstrom so perhaps if he could have created a nuclear engine maybe he could have whipped up a good weather radar (or even a working barometer) too. But, yes, before the Nautilus sank with all hands, he did have a  fun run, breaking frigate keels while moodily hammering away on his pipe organ.

Well, like these madmen, I’ve suffered my own backstory recently. Saved a corporation millions and got not so much as a by-your-leave for it. And the gaming of my evaluation. And the run-ins with toxic coworkers. And then there was the scare over a possible degenerative disease. And then my beloved furry friend passed away. And then that goddamn storm of the century, so strong that it stripped shingles off my roof and would have taken out Nemo and his sub, no problems.

And then, finally, I took a vacation.

At which time I grew back my chin beard.

It’s tight and clean and trimmed, all salt and pepper. But now I can look at myself in the mirror and be the evil Robert Raymond. No longer do I have to be good and fair and compassionate. I’ve got a backstory now. And I’m finding it fun to not be helpful, not beyond my job description. And I don’t need to agree to everything. I can do what I want. And that’s nice.

On my bike, I’ll toss my finger. When the work creature tries to backstab me, it goes straight to the director. I’m done with being good and nice and helpful. Now I’m standing on the bridge of my emotions, laughing manically into the storm of life that whips around me, damning the eyes of all those who task me. Lawfully good characters have to live within bounds; I do not. I can do what I want and let loose my cynical nature and snide comments. I’ve been the good guy too long – let’s try out anti-heroics for a change.

None will oppose me. All will fear me.

And yes, someday I’ll shave this off and become myself once again.

But not yet.

Moo ha ha ha!

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 18:45
 
Political (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 21 September 2017 22:50

s a writer, you run a big risk if you are going to make a political statement in your book. Since politics tend to come down to one side or another and they usually break down 50/50 (as the sides grab up all the undeclared that they can (and cantankerous people such as myself naturally gravitate to the underdogs)), you’ll pretty much piss off half your potential market. Of course, you could come off as the darling of your side but you’ll also be cast as a dickhead by everyone else.

I got this the other night – I was hunting around a local bookstore (a chain, not an independent) and saw a book titled “Great Political thoughts of” followed by my contextual belief system.  Curious, I opened it up and found it contained nothing but blank pages. Wah wah waaaaah, as the saxophone says.

I’ve read a couple of books that came out insultingly opposed to my views. And it’s not that they propose alternative ideas or show the errors in my ways. It’s that they set up the other side as straw men (meaning the opposing sorts have simplistic viewpoints that make them easy to hate) which really pisses me off. Saw this in Live Free or Die, in which the hero is a strong fellow standing against an alien invasion and he doesn’t care that part of the country might be obliterated since it contains people from the other political side. Michael Crichton did the same stunt in one of his novels, where the straw man is a sniveling coward who is eventually eaten by the indigenous people he ineptly champions. I mean, at least when Carl Hiaasen does it, his straw men are racist bigot tire-biters and low life city scum. After all, what’s not to hate?

So, yes, there is a danger in alienating readers. In this case, while looking at this blank book and its drool one-pony trick, there was only one thing I could do. I put it back on the shelf where I’d gotten it. Upside down. And backwards. Let’s see any passing people take an interest in the casual glance game that shelf-selling is all about.

So don’t piss me off.

>>>AND EVEN THOUGH I PISS A LOT OF YOU OFF, MY BOOKS ARE ONLY ONLINE, SO NO SHELF-STUNTS. I SUPPOSE YOU COULD GIVE ME A BAD REVIEW. WELL, MY SALES WOULDN’T BE HURT THAT BADLY, I ASSUME. OR YOU COULD BE MY PAL AND JUST BUY ONE. FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE SALES PAGE!<<<

 
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