Writing

Various things that have been published in various things. These stories are also on Medium.

UHF

It was the summer of ‘86 and Eddie couldn’t hit a dog’s ass with a fistful of TV Guides. He spent long stifling nights on his porch, coaxing clear signal from his portable black and white Japanese television set. Had particular trouble getting channel 32 from out Waterville way. Horizontal lines, verticals not holding, frequencies fighting frequencies on the inside of the little Shibaura’s picture tube. Continue reading

Cartooning vs. Technology

Cartooning is, to me, an art form of simplification. The artist uses a minimal amount of lines to communicate characters and place to a reader. Mouths are often oddly-shaped black holes. Cartoon evolution often does away with lips, body hair, elbows. Eyebrows are reduced to lines. Eyes become dots. A background might be a line indicating where the floor and wall meet. Maybe a squiggle of distant trees, or a cloud. Maybe just a flat field of color. Continue reading

Not Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun

It was a quiet exchange, and the customers didn’t even realize anything had happened until the guy with the gun had run out the door, crossed the parking lot, jumped a guardrail, and disappeared into the woods. Then the cashier started bawling her eyes out, and we all caught on. I’d been sitting in a Dunkin Donuts booth with my friend Mark in Haverhill, Massachusetts, my hometown. It was the mid-1990s, sometime around midnight, and the place had just been robbed. Continue reading

Forgetting

I have a bad memory. My longtime friends will tell me stories about myself from our high school days, and I enjoy them as if they are about someone else. When I go to a restaurant I’ve been to many times before, I will forget what I like or dislike on the menu. Sometimes when I’m watching TV, I’ll start flipping around the channels during a commercial break, and I’ll forget what show I was watching (Admittedly, this might not be my memory’s fault—I watch some pretty forgettable crap). Ever get in the shower and wash your hair twice? Ever forget what street you parked your car on? Ever forget when your father died? I had to Google it. It was 2002. Continue reading

TI-99/4A

In the dark and foreboding days before quality personal computers, there was the TI-99/4A. By the time my mother bought me one in 1984, it was already an obsolete piece of equipment that Texas Instruments had stopped producing. But I had seen WarGames, and I suspected old computers could still be cool. And I had no friends to tell me that my TI wasn’t cool, so I was free to become a bigger dork than I already was. Continue reading