Dog Ear
Intruders (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 09 August 2018 00:00

kay, I ran a little experiment a week ago.

You see, when I got Joomla (which this site runs on) I noticed they didn’t have a feedback mechanism. How cool it would be, I though, to have discussions about the various books I’d read, to have people chime in if they liked my recommendations or not. So I added an app to my site that would allow me to get feedback per each article, and allow discussions to ferment around them.

And I did get some discussions – that was great. I also got some authors commenting on my site (mostly thanking me about my feedback, well, except for that one guy). But then, as is common with humanity, the bots and Ukrainian hackers found me. Turns out that app was not as good as I thought it was.

I was okay with cleaning out occasional span shit that would show up, one or two, here and there. But then I got contacted by my host service. My site was now being used to launch denial of service attacks. This meant I had to pull it down and get help in updating it. So that was a lot of money to clean up, and it pretty much pissed me off.

Back online, now the spam postings were coming in pretty consistent, ten a day. I’d dutifully clean them out. But the charm was gone with this idea. Eventually I just shut that service down. Since I post on Facebook, I can get comments there. Yes, it sucks that I can’t have authors chat with me about their works, but it also sucks to be a tool to be used to bring down corporate sites.

Recently I ran an experiment. I used to get lively discussions around my model train postings. Why not just turn it on for that? So I did. I let it run for a week, got one true comment and thirteen shit postings (all in one day). So that’s that, I figure. I shut the feedback option down for good. It’s like those bill-posters who’d stick paper advertisements on Nelson’s column – it’s hard to have great art when there are capitalists about.

If you have anything to say about this, or anything else I post, you can always reach me via my FACEBOOK book page.

Sorry, but if you want Ukrainian pornography, you’ll have to go elsewhere.


Scheduled (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 01 August 2018 20:34

like the site There are thousands of strips and generally I can find a handful that I really enjoy. As long as the art is fairly decent and the story not too formulaic (how many zombie apocalypse toons can there be?), I’ll try it. Windbreaker, Space Boy, and My Giant Nerd Boyfriend are just a few of my favorites.

One thing that bumps items off my watchlist is consistency. For example, Seed is a brilliantly illustrated story about a young troubled girl who is befriended (in an ominous way) by a rogue AI. I really like it. It’s sharp and fresh and new. But the problem (which I didn’t notice at first) was that it was also irregular. This doesn’t show up when you are reading strip-to-strip, bingeing your way through them. But when you run out, there you sit, waiting for something to come in. A week passes. Another. Checking a non-changing front-page can cool interest. I’m hardly checking it these days.

When I started DOG EAR and my review column, I originally posted when I saw fit. But then I took a lesson off Webtoons. People will check back on a specific day for your content, sure enough. But make them come by and don’t have anything for a week or more, and then you’ll lose them. Which is why, no matter how tired and bothered I am, I always make a solid attempt to post something – anything – up. You might remember my stirring review of Green Eggs and Ham the other week. With Reamde taking up all my free time, there wasn’t much I could do. I had to review something that Sunday. And yes, drilling through that book when I was a young non-published, I could recite it from rote. And I could review it handily.

So that’s my suggestion – if you have a blog that talks about your works or progress or even your hobbies (even kittens), do your best to hold to a firm schedule. Your casual readers will thank you for it.


Failed Authors (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 25 July 2018 22:42

am a failed author.

I was commissioned for one book (Don’t Jettison Medicine) which made me a nice bit of money. Fire and Bronze, my masterpiece, fizzled when the publisher died and the company went bankrupt during its release. Early ReTyrement did okay at bookshows but I never got that traction that publicity-pumping, number-jumping authors who are more concerned at ranking inflation than actual writing have. But that’s fine. I still write a lot; these blogs, my interactive games, my various projects, and even a little commissioned erotic on the side. I write because I write.

In a way, it’s like my bike. I’m no speed demon on my bike. I enjoy the commutes, both longer ones on my touring bike and short public-transportation hops using my folding Brompton. Am I going to ever ride in the Tour de France? No (see my comments about publicity-pumping and think about all the doping scandals in the “industry” of bike racing – why bother?). But I love riding. I generally come in to work more satisfied, smiling, at peace after a ride. With a drive, that never happens. And over the years, I’ve gotten a number of people out on their bikes to ride in to work. In that, I am comfortable. I can look back on that and be pleased with myself.

While on the train platform last night, I rolled the Brompton up and got my ticket – the station attendant was there and we always have a nice evening chat. She’s told me about writing poetry – it’s what makes her soul sing. And she told me that she’s actually gotten into  on book. “It didn’t pay,” she confessed, smiling in confidence. “But I got in. I can always point to that.”

Yes, so good for her. She’s enjoying her time on this Earth, scratching her creative itch, getting her poignancies out to share with her world. And she’s happy with that. She’ll never be the Poet Laureate. Likely she won’t even stand up in a coffee house on some open mike night and read from her works. She just writes. And enjoys it.

So write. And enjoy it. And be happy with the success of happiness.

And don’t turn down any publisher offers.


Books as lives (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 18 July 2018 20:34

unny think about work – my team has shifted from being a collection of Indian moms to being a team of millennial boys. And with that comes all sorts of problems. Normally I’d not concern myself with the tribulations of the trophy crowd but I’m a scrummaster – I have to run a team. And I’ve got one little tyke who is particularly troublesome.

You’ll remember from an earlier Dog Ear how I mentioned pulling one of my dad’s old sea stories from his shelf while stuck in a family event with nobody to talk to? Well, I was just getting into the story – the young lieutenant comes aboard a ship and finds morale in the scuppers. Men will only do what is in their direct area of responsibility and they do it sullenly. And this lieutenant thinks that there is always one guy, one little hardcore, who brings morale down. And I’m reading this, nodding, thinking, “True, that.”

And that’s the thing about books. Even in our darkest times, when we are grieving a loss or feeling lonely and depressed, we can find someone sharing our same troubles, who we can identify with and smile when they overcome their adversities. Sure, we usually can’t win against our world, but they can and we can feel good about their success. In my case, I was told that this twirp had gotten “managerial counselling” and would be on “a year-long improvement program”. In my day, it would be called “a warning letter in your file and termination to follow”. And in the 1790s, our lieutenant just told the guy that sure, raising masts might not be in this guy’s “domain” but the heads were, so he could scrub them out until they shined (and it’s hard to make oak shine). So in my real life, I’m listening to “corrective plans” with complete disinterest, but sitting before my open book I’m smiling.

Another book I found a connection to, my recent enjoyment of A Man Called Ove. Yes, I’m cranky, and yes, my life is to be lived lived my way, according to the world I came up in and not the way of coddling and delays and empty promises. And with Ove, I could identify, even when he truly was an asshole.

Thinking back, I always liked Goshawk Squadron, and the in-for-the-kill squadron CO who has to teach his version of millennials (the 1900s variants, I suppose) how to be killers in order to survive. But I can’t put the squadron in the air and dump tin cans for them to weave about and shoot at while avoiding each other. I have to hope for a year-long improvement program.

Oh well. The characters in the novels I read have interesting lives that generally meet with success (unless you are a downer like Ensign Flandry, just holding off the “long night”). But then again, my characters get shot, lose family, undergo hardship, get shipped off to death camps and even see their homeworlds destroyed. So maybe I’ll stick with my comfortable reading chair and let them dodge Zulu spears.



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