A Year in Pictures – Bird on a Porch

Bird on a Porch
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I made an undignifed spectacle of myself the evening of my mother’s birthday dinner, borrowing my father’s camera and crawling around on the porch with my butt in the air to get this photo of a bird hanging out underneath the railing. Fortunately, both my parents do enough photography that they understood. :-)

It’s been ten years! Let’s celebrate.

It’s been ten years since my first short story was published. If Amazon is to be believed, Summoned to Destiny, the anthology containing “White Shadow”, came out on September 1st, 2004. Which, as it so happens, is my birthday.

They say it takes ten years to get good at something, don’t they? That’s one of the random metrics, anyway. Ten years from my first published story to a World Fantasy nomination; not bad. :-P Of course, I was writing long before “White Shadow” came out. I got what I consider to be my first mature novel ideas when I was seventeen — ideas that ultimately became Lies and Prophecy and Doppelganger — and ten years later I was writing Midnight Never Come, which I view as one of the benchmarks of me leveling up as an author. I have no idea what I’ll be writing in 2017, since I’ll draft the last of the Memoirs next year, and (probably) The Changing Sea the year after that. But I bet it’ll be fun. :-)

Anyway! Long-time readers of this blog may recall I have a tradition — not observed every year, but going on more years than not for the last decade and more — of a “birthday egotism” post. Back in 2003, I was having kind of a blah time of it on my birthday, and decided to counteract that with a post wherein I listed awesome things about myself, with no disclaimers, caveats, or moderating language allowed. The idea is that, like many people, I am good at downplaying my own achievements, and it’s valuable to have one day where I get to just bask in the happy — especially because I can go back and look at it later, when I need a pick-me-up. So behind the cut you will find a listing of what I’ve done that I’m proud of since 2012 (that being the last time I made a birthday egotism post). It begins with the traditional phrasing:

I’m thirty-four today. What have I got to show for it?

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A Year in Pictures – London Wall

London Wall
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For my birthday, I give you: one of my two favorite spots in London. (The other is the front steps of St. Paul’s, right by my hostel; I ate many a dinner sitting there and watching the sun set down Ludgate Hill.) The garden you see here belongs to the Salters’ Company, but on the far side there’s a little fragment of park beneath this, one of the largest remaining fragments of the Roman and medieval London Wall. You can see its patchwork nature and the toll taken by the passing centuries, but it’s a nice little relic of the City’s past.

I haven’t done a meme in a while

You can tell a lot about a person from their music. Hit shuffle on your iPod, MP3 Player, etc. and put the first 10 songs! One rule, no skipping!

(I’m leaving out the part where I’m supposed to tag ten more people to do this.)

I guess I’ll go with the playlist I’ve been slowly assembling for Chains and Memory. This isn’t the soundtrack; it’s just the music I’ll be going through when I pick stuff for the soundtrack. As such, it skews toward techno, rock, and more modern-sounding scores (whereas the playlists for the Memoirs, to choose a contrasting example, avoid those exact things).

1. “The Magic Wedding,” Cirque du Soleil, CRISS ANGEL Believe
2. “The X-Jet,” Michael Kamen, X-Men
3. “Mater Gloria,” Lesiem, Mystic Spirit Voices
4. “. . . He’s been arrested for espionage,” Harry Gregson-Williams, Spy Game
5. “Written in the Stars,” Ramin Djawadi, Clash of the Titans
6. “CWN Annwn,” Glenn Danzig, Black Aria
7. “Amnesia,” Dead Can Dance, Anastasis
8. “No More Sorrow,” Linkin Park, Minutes to Midnight
9. “Creeping Death,” Apocalyptica, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos
10. “There’s Only Me (Instrumental)”, Rob Dougan, Furious Angels

A Year in Pictures – Ceiling Vortex

Ceiling Vortex
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I have a Thing for ceilings.

You haven’t seen too many images of them in this series because a lot of them don’t come out very well, or when you get down to it the ceiling in question is simply not that interesting to anybody who doesn’t have a fixation. But this ceiling? HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. It is possibly the most awesome ceiling I have ever seen. It belongs to a small pavilion in Fukushu-en, a Chinese-styled garden in Okinawa, and it is just . . . phenomenal.

A Year in Pictures – Island and Tree

Island and Tree
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I believe this was the last photo I took on our recent trip to Hawaii, a split second before my camera’s battery died. Memory tells me there’s some local folklore about that tiny island (which lies off the coast of Oahu); it does not oblige me by recalling what the folklore was. I did like the framing of this shot, though.

A Year in Pictures – Pediment in Pieces

Pediment in Pieces
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The Roman museum in Bath had a really cool way of presenting the fragments of this pediment: not only did they hang them up on the wall in their original configuration, but they had a light fading in and out to show you what the rest of it looked like. I stood there FOREVER to get a shot that was steady, timed right, and devoid of other people’s heads wandering through . . . .

A Year in Pictures – Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque
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The Blue Mosque — or more properly, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque — in Istanbul is a remarkable sight. I really wish I’d had more time to actually appreciate the sight of it; sadly, we were with a tour group that pretty much had to rush through everything (in part because of a woman who seemed to have overlooked the fact that the tour involved, y’know, walking, and complained and dragged her feet the whole way through).

Oh there was joy in Wapping when the news flew through the land

As of a few hours ago, I am officially Free of the Boot.

The boot is dead; long live th — wait, no, it can die in a fire.

I’ve graduated to a mere brace: a complex arrangement of laces and straps and velcro designed to make sure I don’t re-injure myself while I get my strength and mobility back. I suspect, though I can’t be sure, that I’m already off to a better start than I was last time, owing to all the PT I did beforehand. Stepping on my unbooted left foot is still mildly scary (and my heel hurts like crazy, it’s so tight), but it doesn’t feel as pathetically weak as I think the right one did post-boot.

Either way, I’m not going to waste any time. My first PT appointment is tomorrow morning! At this point I could probably do the relevant exercises in my sleep, but it’s good to have someone helping me pace myself, plus they have nice things like the electical stimulation machine that will speed my recovery along.

In the meanwhile, I’ll be over here curling my toes and rubbing my heel and generally rejoicing in the fact that I am free, free, FREE.

A Year in Pictures – Monumental Altar

Monumental Altar
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There’s a very distinct style of decoration to be found in major Polish churches, and that style is HUGE. Also GOLD. The various chapel altars, etc. we saw there pretty much all looked like this: massive gilt structures that look like they’ll stand until the Second Coming. They certainly make for an impressive sight.