Dog Ear
Faceless 2 (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 23 March 2017 00:00

e're into the third week of Lent (or there abouts). I'm sure there are people going cold turkey, sweating that they aren’t getting booze or porn or sex or bacon or whatever. But me, with my Facebook ban, I'm doing fine. Better than fine.

Oh, I still need to pop in. I have to post up my updates (if you are reading this, you've likely come down the linky rabbit's hole to get here). That's fine. That sort of business drives this site and (occasionally) sells books. But while I can go into face to post up notices, I can't click on that notifications tab (with, current count, 78 throbbing, desperate notices). Also, two friends requests (sorry) and an IM. Every so often someone shares a photo or includes me in a comment - I get the email notification. But I can't go there. I'm cut off from the puppy-posting, political-screaming world.

It's very quiet.

Oh, it's not all roses. Every so often, something so politically stupid happens and I want to post up. But I can't. And sometimes, frankly, I'm lonely. My job has placed me in a dark little pod well away from any teams, and somedays FB was the only social interaction I'd get.

There are also those life moments I'd love to share. The wife and I did 26 miles last week on the tandem. We went to Folkston to watch the trains (and here came a brassy UP engine on the front of a military train, looking like something out of a toy train layout (soldiers not included)). Sometimes there are little observations, like riding in last week in just-under-40 weather (my hands froze) and riding again with my wingmate, and how we sliced in and out of traffic today, so much fun and so much elegance. That three-month Go game I won. It's hard to explain those moments - discribing them to office drones doesn’t really work well. I do written words, and that's how I describe things. So Facey is perfect for that - pop in, observe, get a bunch of likes, a squirt of happy juice to the brain.

Still, I'm saving a lot of time. No poke-ins at work. No hours spent in the evening writing a perfect rebuttal. But then again, all that time gets frittered away into Spelunky and Timeless and all those silly anime's I watch.

In a sense, the world is way over there on the other side of the horizon, and my radio is fading to static. I can't hear a thing. My thoughts and senses are only mine once more, not shared, not liked, simply reflected on.

Which is exactly what a vacation is all about.

The silence continues...


Last Updated on Thursday, 23 March 2017 06:21
Overdrive (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 16 March 2017 18:22

ell, it happened again last night.

I have this… idiosyncrasy. Most nights I have no problem falling asleep. I just open the window behind my head, the night airs breathing around me. A kiss to the wife, the lights out, the hop of the cat coming in the settle across my legs (only after the lights are out, mind). And then, the bliss of unawareness, the detachments from work stresses, the latest Go game, traffic, club issues, writing problems, everything. Gone.

But some nights I start to think.

When I was a kid I’d lay in bed at night imagining intricate half-sized cities I could drive go-carts through. Or I’m dream the details of vast machines I could ride through. All sorts of strange and wonderful things. I recall permitting myself to do this on Friday evenings (so I could wake up to cereal and Saturday morning cartoons when I damn well pleased), actually willing myself into this mental overdrive state.

Now I no longer invoke it. The difference between my adult mind and my adult mind on overdrive is not so much different (or perhaps the overdrive is less). But sometimes I’ll go to bed and my mind kicks in. Be it a game I’m coding, a story I’m writing, a model I’m building, a ride I’m planning, anything at all and suddenly it’s 1am… 2am… 3am. And once it starts spinning, it is not easy to stop.

I know when my brain does kick into overdrive, laying there and pretending I can just settle into sleep is impossible. Like children at a sleep-over, everyone settles in and then someone giggles. Another thought pops up. And then my mind is racing off, examining this whole new thought, marveling at its shininess, hefting its wait and practicality. No, there is no obtainable stillness. For me, I have to pull myself out of bed, go out to the living room and plunk onto the couch. From one of the bookshelves, one of the books cracked open to a random page. A small glass of milk or a slice of bread lathered in butter always helps. The cat sits on the armrest, having followed me out, blinking slowly. I read a couple of chapters. I enjoy the bread. The mind resets.

Then, as carefully as a nurse in a nursery full of colicky babies, I shut off the light and drift back to bed, not allowing my brain to even consider whatever it had spun so madly on. Chances are I can lay in my bed, the sheets so cool and the nightsounds so relaxing, and drop right off. I did that trick last night and it worked like a charm.

The thing of it is, Fellow Writers, that when this does happen, when you are afflicted with overnight ghosts whispering overnight plots, make sure you retain it when you wake. A notebook by the bed helps. Often a plot sticking point, a difficult scene or a wondrous image will still be fresh with you. Write it down (or, at minimum, counciously own it). Make it yours.

After all, you worked very hard to come up with it.


Faceless 1 (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 09 March 2017 00:00

hirty-eight messages wait for me on Facebook. This I know from my recent periscope peek.

And my daughter Mulan has a repeating message that keeps deviling my email inbox, something requiring a response.

Can't see it. Can't look.

It's a week into Lent and I'm still observing my no-Facebook pledge (with caveats - I use facey to put up notices regarding my site, such as the one the likely brought you here. I can post, but no reading, no clickthroughs, and certainly no scrolling).

So, what's it like?

Refreshing in ways. Empty in others.

When President Punchline comes up with something wacky, like wiretaps or MuslemLock 3.0, I don't have an outlet. I can't immediately dive into facey and post. And since I can't do it at any of my clubs (not and retain the political cease-fire we maintain) it becomes mine and mine alone.

And when something happens, like me hitting a chunk of concrete and blowing out the sidewall of my rear bike tire last night (lemons into lemonade - sat outside a pub while the wife drove around lost sipping a Guinness) I can only relate it as a story (and not even my co-rider who continued on without me seems curious about how I fared).

In the evening, before bed, there was always that last clickthrough of the day, the quick facey scan for the last trumpet of insanity before the day closed. And now that's quiet, too.

Yes, things are quieter. And saner. The world is less intrusive. A bit lonelier, yes. It's odd, this feeling of "monkishness" while the world spins on. Nice yet detached.

But I suspect this is only my first week in solitary. What will follow - a cave back into social media? Delusions? Zen detachment? It's a curious experiment.


p.s. if you want to respond to this with support or whatever, you can use my troublesome blog-response tool OR contact me via this site. And my various email accounts are still active. Or we can sit outside a pub and drink Guinness together...

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 March 2017 08:21
Lent Rethought (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 02 March 2017 00:00

 couple of weeks back I noted my thought that for Lent I’d give up storytelling. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to tell storytelling from simple discussion. For example, if you see a crime, are you storytelling when you talk to the police? Or are you fulfilling a duty as a citizen?

It’s a bit… nebulous. And that’s me speaking as both a writer and an amateur astronomer.

Now, I’ve long had a hate-affair with smartphones and the zombie-wander aspects of their users. Worse, if I’m killed on my bike, I know it’s going to be because of a self-centered twit plowing me under while surfing for kitten pictures. Poor me – I died so ironically.

Still, I’ve heard there is a physical issue about smartphones and constant “approval” from click-friends. With every like and every share, a small dose of pleasure squirts into the brain (don’t ask what the details are concerning this – my sister’s the doctor. I just heard it somewhere). So, like a monkey conditioned to pull a lever and win a banana when a light flashes, these people drag out their smartphones in the elevator, on walks, on the commode, everywhere. They are literally addicted to their smartphones.

Which brings me to Facebook.

So while I can sneer about the zombie apocalypse, I will admit that I’m a bit of a Facebook clicker. At work, I’ll glance in every hour. I’ll think about what someone said, or come up with a witty rejoinder, or nod at a comment I agree with. The bell rings. I pull the lever. I get the banana.

So yes, I’m the guy who snorts lines of coke and laughs at the addicts with their needles.

Like kicking soft drinks a few years back, I’ve got to cut back on this. It’s just too much now, a bit out of control. If I had my way I’d go cold turkey. I’m sure I could (says the addict with the confidence of the moment). However, I do need to post notice of my latest blogs. So here’s the rules – I’ll only go into Facebook to post up book reviews, writing considerations, astronomy events and model railroad sessions (and only in their proper areas). I will not read any other entries. And I will not click on the indicators of updates and messages. And since Lent started a day ago (March 1st) it’s already in effect. So I hope you like and share and forward this all to hell and back – I just won’t be here to see it.

See you  at Easter*.

(* = and only once a day. I’m only going into Facebook once per day as a follow-through. Yes, like sodas, I’m limiting my intake)



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