Heavens. I can’t believe I let this sit for 10 months. A quick run-down of the things that have happened since my last update:

  • I won the 2012 Laine Cunningham Novel Award from The Blotter with my novel Perishables. It’s three connected stories about various experiences of a zombie apocalypse. In one of them, a vampire is at a meeting of his homeowners’ association when the dead rise. It’s a little silly and a little funny and a little serious and it has terrible recipes in it.
  • I published Perishables via Smashwords and Kindle and then decided to edit and publish the sequel, called Tooth & Nail. It’s built on a heavily edited NaNoWriMo I did some years ago about the same vampire.
  • I worked the partisan primary runoff election and my staff never mentioned the O’Keefe video. I’m sure they had seen it, but no one brought it up. I was intensely grateful.
  • I worked the general election in November. Jesus H. Christ on a platinum surfboard, what a day. I’ve never been so busy. It was busier than the partisan primary but the county gave me lots of staff and we all survived. There were partisan observers from both major parties in my precinct but they were very kind to me and to one another. Again, I’m sure lots of those people had seen the video but no one said anything. I was at least ten times as grateful because I had plenty more to think about that day. I also passed the election without any major run-ins with campaigners though I did have a couple of really amusing conversations with them.
  • I spent much of last autumn thinking about Tooth & Nail while I did a few promotional activities for Perishables: interviews on blogs and podcasts, for instance, and a few Google Hangouts with a group devoted to zombie fiction fandom. It was nice, after all the stupid bullshit of a year ago, to have a fictional world in which I could curl up and forget reality.
  • I ran my first 5K fun-run last October and my friend who is 6’7″ and ex-Army Airborne had trouble keeping up with me.
  • I spent November, December and January editing Tooth & Nail and dealing with my next-to-last class in the graduate certificate program I’ve been pursuing. I was kind of a stress ball.
  • I’ve spent the spring semester dealing with my last class and I still am kind of a stress ball.
  • I tried to play in two games of Call of Cthulhu at Dragon*Con last year, both of which were disastrous busts. I ended up running a one-shot for the Scourge of Nibelheim (aka “the Vampire group”) a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it but it ran too long and I didn’t get to include like half the stuff I came up with for it because I am just terrible at managing a game and remembering, you know, the poignant bits.
  • I had Shadowrun pretty much ruined for me, and for all my friends, by one really terrible game of it at Dragon*Con. Way to stay classy, totally-separate-and-self-isolating-and-aggressively-dickishly-insular Shadowrun Dragon*Con gaming track.
  • I ran my first timed 5K a few weeks ago and on a cloudy, rainy morning of running uphill at ~40F I clocked in at 25:13.6, 7th out of 46. I am extremely happy with that!
  • I’ve learned to love Twitter. Seriously, I used to say it was the diametric opposite of what I wanted the Internet to grow up to be but it is pretty great.
  • I gave a five-minute lightning talk at the #cc10 get-together celebrating 10 years of Creative Commons:

  • I’m approximately two years behind on reading comics. I plan to catch up as soon as I finish this graduate certificate program next month.
  • I’ve been asked to contribute a short story to an anthology built around the theme of “invasion” and am currently mulling some ideas. I am super-excited!
  • I attended my twenty year high school reunion and survived it and even reconnected majorly with some really wonderful people I knew back in the day. Facebook and life in general have gotten a lot more entertaining as a result.
  • I’ve joined a queer softball league.
  • I’m going to be a guest at ConCarolinas in Charlotte the weekend of 5/31 through 6/2!
  • I want the word “marriage” and I want to win the Supreme Court cases, absolutely, but I am also a little bit afraid that the queer communities will be divided into “normals” and “freaks” if we win and that the Right will use our victory as an opportunity to draw a line between those of us who are already primed for idle conformity: relatively moneyed, adhering more closely to rigid gender roles and identities, white, middle-class, “safe”. It will be vital, if we win this, to remember that it still must be okay to be different. Difference is what has given us the culture we create and celebrate together and difference has given us the advantages we are afforded by outsider status in the larger culture around us. We must continue to value people who have different families, different identities, different relationships (or none at all), different goals, different priorities and different beliefs. We do not all have to settle down into quiet, monogamous, dom/sub, top/bottom dichotomies defined by doggy day care and dinner parties. We have to stay freaks somehow.
  • My house is ruled by my cats and sometimes I find that really frustrating but mostly I am thrilled beyond measure at their benevolent dictatorship.
  • I’ve been watching Star Trek: Deep Space 9 while at the gym and it is really fucking good.
  • Last year I skipped NaNoWriMo – what would have been my tenth – to focus on editing Tooth & Nail. This summer I’m doing My Own Private NaNo to work on the first draft of a science fiction novel, the setting for which was developed in a two-session game of Microscope played by Scourge of Nibelheim.
  • We tried Fiasco this year and it is so. Freaking. Fun.
  • I bought a new camera – an Olympus – and I loooooove it.

Is that everything? I think that’s everything. A year of blogging in a single post. Heavens, indeed.

Sunday afternoon I walked the two miles to Doug’s house for a St. A’s alumni holiday party, aka “Happy Hall-idays.” I was the only attendee, due to the weather, but we had a good time anyway. I took a few pictures while I was out and about in case you’re interested.

Local blogger Lisa B. posted this morning about Chubby’s Tacos’ really not-OK uncredited use of a photo she took in their store:

It’s an OK photo, right? Well I thought so, at least. And apparently so did Chubby’s Tacos, because they decided to put it on their web site. Without asking me. Or giving me attribution.

All of my Flickr photos are licensed under a non-commercial, with attribution, share-alike Creative Commons license. This means if you are NOT using the photos for business purposes (such as selling tacos), you can use my picture without permission as long as you grant me attribution and whatever you use it in is also distributed with the same Creative Commons license. But if you’re trying to sell tacos, or if for some reason you want to use the photo without attribution and whatnot, YOU HAVE TO ASK ME! Dangit! Chubby’s didn’t bother with that bit.

As someone who has taken plenty of personal photos in a variety of public and private settings and then made those photos available online, I am somewhat interested in the question of attribution and ownership but I don’t know anything about it and wouldn’t dare make any assumptions based on my own lack of knowledge. However, since Lisa B. goes so far as to license her photos under the Creative Commons, I already know that she knows more about this than I do.

No, what really interests me is (a) the irony that a relationship so geographically intimate as that between a local business and a local blogger can be spoiled by the communications-enabling Internet and (b) that this serves as yet another example of how the commercial/corporate world has become so accustomed to farming out every aspect of widget manufacture that no one can be blamed for anything. I’m not saying that Chubby’s needs to do their own web design; by all means, let them continue to make excellent food, thanks, and taking advantage of someone specialized in the work one’s own business doesn’t do makes perfect sense. I am saying, however, that it’s probably a situation where the website developer used the image thoughtlessly and never asked Chubby’s first and now Chubby’s is tarred by it but isn’t really at fault nor, probably by way of language in their contract, is the web designer since they probably have a clause that they just make the bits fly and aren’t responsible for the contents as long as they conform to certain loose boundaries; or, someone at Chubby’s has all the FTP credentials and uploaded a photo they liked online and the web designer, who would know all about things like CC licensing, is aghast that they might be viewed as having stolen a photograph.

It’s a microcosm of what drove me out of the corporate world in the first place, at least in part: every step in widget manufacture has been so walled off and outsourced that no one is accountable for anything or to anyone. Same as it ever was, probably, at least in terms of what’s involved in making stuff, but the age of conscious branding has created an expectation that companies who want the marketing advantages of a cohesive, coherent identity will also have some basic awareness of what’s being done in their touted name and yet they quite often don’t – and don’t want to. When at least three distinct corporations may bear some or all of the blame for the BP oil spill and no one’s terribly surprised by that, we’re all doing something wrong.

Some recent gallery additions:

The Renwick: On March 13 & 14, The Boyf and I were in DC for the going-away party for some friends. We happened to stay a block from the Renwick and went twice in two days.

Wake SPCA 3K Dog Walk: Katastrophes, Mr. Pink Eyes, Pants Wilder, Anna, Busty and I participated in the Wake County SPCA 3K dog walk as Team Awesome. We raised hundreds of dollars, because awesome is what we do. We also got to see hella cute dogs, though none could hold a candle to our own leader, Dante.

Last night we got a little snow and a lot of sleet and when I couldn’t sleep I had to go out in it and take pictures. At one point I freaking huge black Mercedes made its way up our street, both unsteadily and quickly, shocking me into realizing that some people really will drive out in weather like this to get their drink on.

Around 3:00am a truck drove through and then back again, presumably dropping someone off. When they saw me they stopped and stared and even talked to one another about me before moving on. I said to The Boyf that I found this perfectly understandable since it’s not likely that someone standing in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, wrapped up like a Russian soldier and taking photos during a snow storm was high on their list of expectations.

Pictures I took at night and pictures I took when we went for a walk this afternoon are both up in my gallery installation.

Pictures taken on 12 May, 2009, from the board room of the old CCB/Suntrust building in downtown Durham. The Boyf bought us tickets to a Durham Arts Council fundraiser held as the last public event in the board room before Greenfire starts to turn it into a boutique hotel downtown. I debated taking my real camera and settled on the iPhone so some are of highly questionable quality.

Today is Commencement at UNC. Yesterday I had to run through Chapel Hill on a couple of errands and stopped at the Hall to take some pictures of the extremely enthusiastic rose bushes that run the length of the wooden fence donated by Bro. Hop Swift in the ’90s. I walk past them every morning on my way to work and they are much more stunning in person.

I’ve put up a gallery of pictures from our trip to DC at the beginning of April for the Cherry Blossom Festival. In summary, Kramerbooks & Afterwords continues to be the go-to place for awesome and Rep. David Price’s office gave us a very fun tour of the US Capitol. We had some great food, great times and a very lovely drive through rural Virginia capped off by a stay at our favorite Richmond bed & breakfast, the Museum District B&B. Pictures from our trip are divided into several galleries:

If all goes well, we or at least I will be back in July sometime for the welcome home party of some friends’ who’ve been living overseas for a couple of years. Woot!