Blog

This is where I write—most often about writing, photography, martial arts, or fiction.


Dictionaut, no. 4

Another in a series of unknown length, on an irregular schedule, of indeterminate usefulness. Melismiasma A phenomenon during which a singer—often performing a cover of a beloved classic—gets lost in warbling ululations and pointless technical displays …



"Race Condition"

A short piece from a prompt: “The war started with a typo.” It started on the eastern border. A hole in the middle of the road. Someone said it was a sinkhole. Someone said it was an unexploded shell, from years ago. It didn’t matter. They came to …



Four good things

These aren’t the only good things, but these are four good things. Bad Blood: The Final Chapter John Carreyrou’s followup to his investigation on Theranos, the (…allegedly) fraudulent blood-testing startup. As of the date I publish this, there’s eleven …



Kirby, Apache, and PHP on Windows

I have finally cobbled together a native Windows development environment. This time—due to restrictions on access placed on the work computer, as well as donkiness from the Microsoft Store—I’ve circumvented the Windows Subsystem for Linux route I used to use. …




Four good podcasts

These aren’t the only podcasts I listen to, but these are some podcasts I listen to. Gangster Capitalism The first season was about the college admissions scandal; the second, the NRA’s self-dealing and corruption. Andrew Jenks’ investigative series has …



Kirby and Git

I use Kirby for this website, because it’s fast, efficient, and the community is super helpful. (Also I used to use ExpressionEngine, and no thank you, that’s too much.) I’ve split up the site into two Git repos, one for the actual infrastructure and one for …



M1 MacBook Air

I called my wife a few weeks ago to tell her good news/bad news. The good news, all my stuff is backed up. (I got burned once in 2009 and vowed never to let that happen again.) The bad news, my MacBook didn’t like filtering a cup of coffee through its …



Decency

Last year, in July, I was at a big-box store with my daughter. We were traveling and it turns out Home Depot’s a good place to stop in the middle of a trip. You have to walk to the back of the store to get to the restroom, so you stretch your legs; and the …



Cow tools

I bought Antony Johnston’s The Organised Writer and have read it twice, so far. Inspired by his system, I’ve taken to organizing most things around the house. Also, pandemic and all, it has to get done sometime. A compilation of tools. Handwriting Papermate …



The year in THE WIRE ROAD

2020 has been a rough one. Hell, there’s seven days left for it to really wreck us, so keep your guard up. The routine that got thoroughly disrupted was my writing routine. Starting in 2019, I got up every morning at 5:30 (weekends included), showered, …




No blood on the door

This morning I wondered about far-right demographics’ reaction to COVID and health risk management. It led me to think of shibboleths and disease-as-punishment. Perhaps the most basic of all stories is the in-group and the out-group. We belong. They do not. …



Dictionaut, no. 3

Another in a series of unknown length, on an irregular schedule, of indeterminate usefulness. GAASlighting Advertising your Game-as-a-Service and intentionally minimizing the as-a-Service component. Example: “This city-building game is really cool. …




Book for the current dread

The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus begins with something like an allergic reaction: The language of the young—mostly those younger than sixteen—is suddenly, viscerally toxic to anyone older than that. This isn’t a metaphor. The narrator describes a band of …




Dictionaut, no. 2

Another in a series of unknown length, on an irregular schedule, of indeterminate usefulness. Memnoir Remembering an event as more dramatic, more dangerous, and more interesting than it really was. Also known as “Walter Mitty Syndrome.” The typical afflicted …



AAAAAH

I am very proud to announce that my short story, “Ritual,” won first place in Madville Publishing’s Runaways anthology competition! The anthology comes out in Spring 2020—Madville’s aiming for March—and I could not be more excited. “Ritual” is one of my …



Dictionaut, no. 1

One of a series of unknown length, on an irregular schedule, of indeterminate usefulness. I texted my wife and the word that came out was “altonym,” which isn’t really a word. (This is not the first time my iPhone has done this. Lionel has …



Overheard from the backseat

I had the kids with me last Saturday, and as we drove from dance class to lunch, Little Bird was playing with her superhero toys. This is what I overheard in one quiet stretch of road. “This is a bad idea, Batman.” “No, it’s …



Progress

My wife pointed me to a literary magazine requesting short story submissions. I had a piece she thought would be perfect for the theme. I agreed, and I started looking for it. This led to converting a lot of my old writing to more current formats. Which also …



Novelty

It’s easy to go big when you’re thinking about starting new habits. That’s a mistake. Changing everything all at once means you’ve lost your stability. You need to make small changes first, let them become habits, and then repeat. That’s what I’ve discovered, …



Hello, Eben

I’m your dad. You’re brand new here. There are a lot of things I want to share with you. We’ll get to experience them with your sister, and your mom, and it’ll be a lot of fun. This isn’t the whole list—the list is pretty …



Yut ngee sahm, no.2

Drinking from a firehose. So I went to a seminar taught by Sifu Francis Fong, head of the Francis Fong International Association (of which my school is a member). Sifu Fong teaches Sifu Raja, and he’s been teaching Sigong Al since the eighties. Not only was …



Writing down the road

The cliche is real. I started writing The Wire Road because of a dream. That’s half-true. I started writing it because of a dream, and then also a road sign on the interstate. The dream provided the inspiration for the protagonist and his quest. The dream was …



Yut ngee sahm, no.1

Reflections on Wing Chun, in an occasionally recurring feature. Two years ago, I was recuperating from a pretty bad illness. When Father’s Day rolled around, my wife gave me a great gift: she told me she’d pay for one month of martial arts, and all I needed …



The seduction of maintenance

I like having my own website. There are a lot of systems humming away. And there’s even more involved in keeping up a local development environment. I use Homebrew on my Mac to operate an Apache server with PHP, mariaDB, and Composer. There’s a little frisson …



A postmortem

November was not a great month. We were all set to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in a decade I wasn’t working retail. We had set the itinerary, told the families, and packed the car. Tuesday night my daughter got sick. Wednesday, I got sick. Friday, it was …



NaNoWriMo progress

National Novel Writing Month is upon us. The official challenge is 1,700 words a day for 30 days, leading up to a 50,000 word first draft. I’m playing it a little differently. I want to get back on the horse and make writing a daily habit. My target, at …



Announcing Same Ghost

I’m old enough to have seen the transition from film photography to digital. Before I went to Italy with my high school Latin class, I received a Fuji 35mm camera as a present, to memorialize the trip. For the most part, that was the kind of occasion I took …



The Glorious People's Camera

In 2006, some friends wanted me to photograph their wedding. I had a 35mm film camera and a fixed-lens digital, but I knew I’d need something bigger for portraits and enlargements. So I looked on eBay. A little scene-setting: I lived in Austin, alone, and I’d …



Flash, no. 1

I pry the ring off my finger in the Jet Blue lounge. I leave it on the cocktail napkin next to my empty glass. I raise my hand to the woman at the other end of the bar. Her eyes are chilled hunger. A twenty covers the bill, and covers up the ring. I leave the …



Writing around the story

I don’t like “worldbuilding.” The word is unnecessary. All writing is construction, from the sentence to the scene. And all writing, all of it , requires placement. Making up a portmanteau for something every writer does already is both unnecessary and …



The eschaton

Eschatology is a fixture of civilization. No matter where you look, you find people waiting for the end. It happened in the mid-1800s with the Millerites. It happened in 1992, with the conservative opposition naming Bill Clinton the Antichrist. It happened in …



Fresh starts

The new year makes for the perfect time to consider yourself. Where you’ve been, what you want to accomplish. A lot of us make resolutions around this time. And a lot of us will note that most resolutions don’t last. “New year, new you,” the slogans go. But …



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