Dog Ear
Books as Pals (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 April 2018 18:31

’ve been getting a lot of work shit recently. Other than one or two people, a lot of folks have turned their backs on me. That pisses me off since last year I hemorrhaged purple and avoided a major auditing scandal that would have lost the company tens of millions of dollars. And now they’re like this? I feel like the main character from Falling Down – “When did I become the bad guy?”

So fuck you.

Got home and decided to sit out back at the Indian table under the breeze sky with a glass of wine and some cheese. I’m halfway through Luftwaffe Fighter Aces but I didn’t feel like any of that. So I dug through the sack near my bed and found A boy and his Tank, an old scifi. Looked cool. Looked like just what I needed. So I sat out there and caught up with Mickolai Derdowski, who has just been sealed up inside an automated fighting cybertank in the far future. Lots of fun. And interesting setting, an interesting character (and not like those bland drones and pasteboard walls and bland pasteboard friendships of work).

And that’s why books (like cats) make the best of friends. They are always there. They great you with great imagination and their presence calms you. You might be alone in the world but inside the head of a main character, suddenly his problems become your problems (and your problems cease to exist).

So don’t binge watch when you feel bad. No, go to the bookstore and buy a bunch of books you’d love to read in some future date. Stack them somewhere in your house. And when you are down, troubled, and need a helping hand, you can just dig your arm up to the elbow in pulp and yank out a new tale to enjoy. It’s right there.

Trust me on this. You might get backstabbed at work, but all a book will give you is a papercut. And a smile.


Fast and Slow (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 13 April 2018 07:23

have a lot going on this week, one of the things this Corporate 5K. I’m in for setup, the walk (was “the run” in years past but a knee injury fixed that), and takedown. Rode over on the tandem with the missus. And so, my impressions…

There. Sitting for all the late corporate people of my group to show. Unfolding chairs. Arrival. Rearranging chairs. Guiding people in on phone. Set up. Set up. More set up. Group photo. Final piss. The milling wait to walk. Niece (with her own bad knee) finds me. Chatting.


Walking along Central. Talking about this and that. Family secrets. Shared observations of such. Wonderful night. Cool bands. Crowds, but at least I’m not dodging in a full run. People people people.


Last in. Grab some food. Fetch a car for a sprained ankle. Confusion. Dark. Carry stuff to far cars. Carry stuff to near cars. Throw everything else away. Look around. JB and I are the last. Nobody here.

And so.

The ride home was so quiet. We coasted along Livingstone on Stretch the Tandem, just enjoying the peace. The cosmic joke was that the only three cars that passed us had to at Mills where the bike lane ends and the road gets tight. But otherwise, it was a soundless glide along in the dark, with only our flashing lights pulsaring our way along. Turned onto Ferncreek, another bike lane, so thank the city gods for that. Crossed Colonial like the team we are, with JB keeping watch over the stern. But it’s so quiet out, so perfectly silent, with naught save the hum of our tires and the shush of cars one block over and the occasional old-couple half-sentences, the air so cool, the pace mine again, my life mine again.

I’ll leave it to you young writers to figure out that point of this structure. And remember, as a writer, don’t volunteer for take-down. Rip off.


Clerks (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 05 April 2018 18:54

nteresting use of historical reading today.

Found myself on the Sunrail plaform, reading the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Historical Group’s magazine, specifically an article about a couple who clerked in the early fifties. They were involved with working the orders by customers coming in, securing them seats on trains a month (and possibly, in larger groups) a year out.

Image that – doing all that work across a railroad with something like a hundred passenger trains each day, getting people into seats and to their destinations. And no Excel, or internet, or anything beyond a typewriter. They were even limited in their phone use and tickets to customers in the LA area were carried over by messengers riding the trolleys. There was even a photo of this huge circular filing cabinet, reaching up to the ceiling, that the clerks on the table around it would spin, inserting their cards into the slots for the specific trains/cars.

At first, of course, I was taken by the inefficiency of the thing. But my mind mulled over it. See, I work for a modern American corporation, one with internet at each desk, and with emails and skypes flying about.

But as I read it, I realized that these clerks were working their jobs. Possibly 90% of their time went into getting things done, passengers booked. And me? With all these tools, I’ve got a million distractions. There are long-winded meetings, crazy drop-everything requests, people coming by, people wanting information, people just looking to host a meeting to inflate their withered egos. And that takes up my time. A lot of it. I suspect that my effectiveness (i.e. how much profit-pushing work I do) is probably 20%.

And so I had my Jerry Maguire moment. I wrote the director, included the picture of the working clerks and the massive lazy-Susan hopper, and told him that what pisses everyone off in the department is not the work that we do, no, but the work we don’t do. That with all the status-sucking meetings, people go home and wonder what it was they actually did this day. I know I do.

Haven’t heard back from him on this. I don’t think he’ll just can me because I was presumptuous. We’re friends and I just flew a tough audit for him clean and mean. And even if he does walk in and (like in Jerry Maguire) fire me over pointing out that the emperor has no clothing, fine, I can deal with that too.

But it’s what happens when you read, and reflect, and react. It’s critical thinking and solid appraisal. It’s what true reading grants us.

I’ll report the results in a later piece.


Last Updated on Thursday, 05 April 2018 18:57
Flatline (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 29 March 2018 17:36

o I’m a corporate schmoe.

I do process. I run scrums. I do planning. I do data-raids. I go to a lot, lot, lot of meetings. And I get a lot of interruptions.

The interruptions are the worst. Millennials don’t mind them as much (since their brains have grafted around their phones). To me, I’m thinking long-term. I’m organizing my thoughts and considering a problem from several angles and thinking of the best way to something and there’s the critical email, the phone call, the IM. And I can feel the blue smoke off my mental brake shoes, the howl, the shuddering stop. Dammit.

The good thing about my brain is that, while it is inflexible, it is also expansive. I’ve spent a long time in it. I’ve trained it to jump and do tricks. It’s fast and creative and imaginative. I don’t listen to the radio much in my car – I listen to my thoughts and plans and game-designs and writing-efforts and even, damn, farm reports. There is always something going on in my brain.

So yes, even when I’m sludging around through my day, burned out from four hours of meetings and it’s only just gone two, when I’m sitting here wondering what I can write about for DOG EAR in my much-delayed lunch break, there is always my brain. In this case, I stopped by my admins office to tell her that I might not be able to make a meeting with the big cheese because I had a birthday/going-away party with a good friend who is sadly leaving the team. I don’t want to rush back – I’m old fashion and want the lunch to live its natural life. So I was telling her I might not be back in time (suppressing my yawn) and she made a joke that I’d probably be drunk. And that kickstarted me – like the ancient computer in a movie that shudders into existence with a whirl of coolers and a crackle of Jacob’s ladders. Suddenly I was weaving a story about laying face-forward in a grimy alley, my face kissing the concrete and my butt in the air, my breath smelling like mad dog and my wallet gone. Yeah, we had a laugh and I walked back to my desk, my brain running with its usual spin and sparkle.

I guess kids do that with phones, right?



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