C.Bear’s World – PUBLISHED!

Alex has written a bunch of stories about us, mostly without askin’ us. After years and years on the web, they’re published on the Apple iBooks Store. He promises he will finish “C.Bear’s New Story” and upload Edition 2 as a free update to your book (epub) soon!

You can click this link to my book on Apple’s iBooks Store, where you can download a free (abridged) Sample of my book, or buy the whole thing for a whopping $1.99!

You can still find all my stories listed and linked on the web on our Writing Page sidebar. But we find they are easier to read in bed, all in one place and one book, on our tablet!

C.Bear’s World

443 total views, no views today

Old Typewriters

Well, these days, any typewriter is “old.” I grew up with typewriters that were already old by the time I was allowed to get my hands on them. By the time I bought my first new typewriter (around 1966), typewriters were about ten years shy of becoming completely obsolete.

Around Junior High School (1956-’58) I started pestering my parents to let me use their typewriter for school papers. My mother and dad had pushed me to learn how to type in the first place (hunt-and-peck, same method they used). But letting the kids access the prized Underwood had high catastrophic potential, so they bought us a much older Remington. I’m pretty sure I remember the model as being “Remington Standard.” The archive photo below looks true to what I remember.

Remington Standard Typewriter

Remington Standard Typewriter

Continue reading

1,812 total views, no views today

On Religion (excerpt)

Below is a brief excerpt from my BIO autobiography project.

This is the End Note I promised, agnostically speaking, though I wasn’t entirely sure I should write it. I was just never religious in any conventional sense. I wasn’t raised in a faith. I studied faith because I wanted to understand its draw for humanity, but I was never tempted to embrace any religion. If I was forced at gunpoint to adopt a faith and stick to it, I suppose I would adopt Zen, and I imagine I would end up teaching its spirituality to others, but they can keep their bells, pagodas, gongs, incense and cymbals.

In some slightly different lifetime, I can imagine myself set up with a little shrine on a busy street corner in the Financial District, dancing along in tatty garment discards behind irritated passers-by, shouting “But please! You don’t understand! Perl is a wonderful programming language!”

530 total views, no views today

On Family

‘On Family’ was originally written for my forthcoming e-book autobiography. It is preserved here for space reasons.


“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
Through the Looking-Glass, Lewis Carroll



Despite the loss of Dad and Nickie we functioned (or tried to function) more or less as a core family group until around 1969, which happens to be the year I graduated from college – not itself a significant family event. The year 1969 feels about right as a crossover for our present purposes. It’s not that there was some event special to 1969; it’s about then that we effectively stopped trying to function as a family. Dana did not yet seem to be completely transmogrified by his bad LSD trips down into Dante’s Inferno, but he had problems getting along with people on even very basic social levels, and I was already warning him about his rants. Mum was still formidable, but changes in us both, which would soon give rise to our “Golden Years” together, were beginning to shine like a distant new star out of the blackness of night. You could see it, but it didn’t yet illuminate anything.

So, in our family, the most prized and truly heart-warming “good times” didn’t start to roll until about 1969. Most of my own truly game-changing events in my life would still be years or decades away.

And this certainly seemed ironic to a kid who, young once, worshipped the family of Wally and Beaver Cleaver as an ideal. I suppose this shattered another icon of youth, but, looking at the record, I’d rather have it the way it was, than the way it wasn’t. For others, perhaps, the time to make a difference in the family is while they are all still here, and we can smile and tell them it’s OK, we can make all this work and everything is going to be all right. For me, short of some scary Dr. Who scenario where I would go back in time using today’s hindsight to resolve yesterday’s failures, it is best just to cherish the good that was in each of us … and appreciate those times we did enjoy together.

729 total views, no views today

Age Meets Youth

‘Age Meets Youth’ is an excerpt from my forthcoming e-book autobiography.

Quotes about “the trouble with youth today” go back so far that bibliophiles and scholars argue over attribution. Socrates and Plato are often cited as first sources. Our Junior High Latin teacher offered us a version from ancient Rome: “The trouble with youth today is that they don’t listen to their elders, and they ride their chariots recklessly through Roman streets.”

Today’s youth are literally wired into social networks on a scale totally inconceivable to even the young princes and princesses of my 1950’s world. Today’s youth read much more on the average than youth of my time, yet the average length of a document today is about four sentences. One uses “aggregators” to keep up, conceptually combing and integrating hundreds of distinct documents every day. A cloud of hundreds of collaborators, none of whom has ever met the others, may produce a single conceptual thread or quality software product, and distribute it for free while the Microsofts scramble to provide the equivalent of staplers. Rolodexes and in-boxes for the modern office. The unparalleled productive potential of the new paradigm hasn’t yet even been fully unleashed, but it is coming. Continue reading

845 total views, no views today

Personal BIO

This is just a short post to say I’m still very much hanging around summitlake.com, and to comment on my remaining so behind the scenes since January 19th.

I finally decided to write my autobiography in early December. I’d prefer the phrase “personal biography” but we’re probably stuck with what the culture expects. 247 pages and 43 revisions later, I’m up to around 1997. I hope to see the work completed by year end.

I’m writing for for-sale publication in print or e-book, which requires more planning and care than we usually see in, say, a weblog. It is possible I may publish it myself in one or more e-book formats. At some point I may post draft preview snippets.

There are some obvious problems with publishing draft content that may change again and again, not least of which is that readers who buy content should not expect to find a lot of previously-published material they can read for free and may even have read before.

For now, my January 3 post Great Whites Breaching, in My Notes, contains the only available “sneak preview”. You may have seen that before, but, with the foregoing context now having been declared, you might want to take a second look. 🙂

649 total views, no views today

Links vs. Footnotes?

Are footnotes too “academic” for documenting web articles? Most web links are usually intended as “for further information” markers, not “read this before proceeding” alerts, but authors rarely explain which is intended, and I’m as guilty as most. We know by context that some links, such as in article references or indexes, are meant to be followed if we want that content at all. If the sentence flow continues uninterrupted after a link, that link is probably “for further information”.

But I did note, in the writing of my “Evolution” article, how links can quickly clutter the article!

A 5-minute read in Wikipedia can quickly turn into an hour if we follow all the links — even though they often do prove to be interesting and informative.

I experimented with footnotes in a couple of my HTML Writing articles. They are harder to support in WordPress, but I think I can automate it with a little one-time custom “css” work. Footnotes may be less obtrusive than links. On the downside, they have an image of being overly academic and pedantic. This may put off some readers. We may simply not follow the footnote, or, like I do when reading books sometimes – we may read them later to mine for only the info we’re interested in!

An advantage to web footnotes is that the reader can decide whether this is worth further investigation, without leaving the page.

What do you think? Links, or footnotes, or both?

804 total views, no views today

Writing Persuasively

Part III of our series on the writer’s craft. Rhetoric, commentary and persuasion: finding a common ground. Includes footnotes, links, source material, and examples we analyze and fix. Formatted for HTML.

455 total views, no views today

Notes on ‘Silence’

These notes are excerpts of correspondence from the winter of 2008. See the referenced fiction piece, “Silence“.  It was a classic example of getting “stuck” in the creative writing process.

I wrote “Silence” in about 1984. It was intended as a preface to larger work, but that died on the vine because I had no idea at all where I was headed with it, or how to go about creating the characterizations necessary to support it. I was not aware at the time of any formal distinction between shamanism and animism – I had never thought of it.

I suppose the moral might have been that shamanism and animism ruled a paleolithic world as a form of social and political control, bestowed upon some individuals for reasons into which it was dangerous to inquire.

The problem with “Silence” was that, as an almost perfectly self-contained preface, it committed me irrevocably to a set course of explanation which was beyond my power to dramatize. The vision was there, but the experience to actualize it was not.

738 total views, no views today