Category Archives: Photography

Images from my Flickr photostream.

Propitious Birds (Toronto Day 532)

imageA thing about living right downtown here is I mostly see sparrows and pigeons. Starlings, sometimes. Grackles and gulls, for sure. I’ve had cardinals and finches in the tree outside my window, there’s a young raptor who taunts me on Queen Street when I’m out without the big zoom camera, and I can go to the lakeshore for ducks and cormorants. It’s not as though the birds aren’t here.

But, day to day, it’s mostly sparrowkind.

In Vancouver last week I caught glimpses of all my faves: crows (commuting crows, by the hundreds!), starlings, great blue herons, three species of duck, bushtits, cormorants, and a glimpse of northern flicker. I thought I’d have to content myself with the scolding of a Stellar’s jay in the bushes, but it turns out my sister-in-law feeds them. I almost collided with one Monday on my way out the door; it was headed to a clutch of peanuts on the kitchen windowsill.

It was satisfying and soul-nourishing, and a nice concrete example of a difference, neither good nor bad, between Then and Now. But not truly between Here and There, because if I’d got a house outside of the downtown core, I’d be hip-deep in feathery company.

Thankful for a whirlwind tour of #NYCC!

imageNew York Comic Con was an enormous, delightful, fan-filled spectacle of an experience, and I was thrilled to be able to go there, to meet some readers and get to know all of Team Tor a little better. I got to talk magic systems with Sam Sykes, Ilona and Gordon Andrews, Kim Harrison, George Hagen and Jeff Somers at a standing-room only panel. I signed books, gave out Child of a Hidden Sea buttons, and met a lot of people who had, previously, been e-mail contacts.

In and around the event, Kelly and I visited The Frick Collection, the Met, Chelsea Market and the High Line. We saw Cabaret, with Alan Cummings, at the former Studio 54. I tried on some dresses at the Desigual store, but failed to commit to any of them, and walked through Central Park a couple times. In the process, I got a much much better sense of where things are in Midtown.

What else? We ate many pastries, and actually saw Times Square both by day and by night. (Our decision to skip it on the previous trip was more or less borne out, but I admit I wasn’t entirely immune to the glitter and flash of it all.) We drank much coffee at Gregory’s, and much better coffee at Blue Bottle, and discovered that the Food Network has a fantastically beautiful loading dock of all things:

On Sunday we went to the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn with Ellen Datlow, Rick Bowes and Terence Taylor, and then we looked around the neighborhood (which includes a superhero supply store!) for a little before going back to our new digs in the West Village.

Then on Monday we flew home to two well-cared for but pleasingly happy to see us kittens. By then we were in such kitteh withdrawal that, despite having been favored with a bit of love from the cats at our Air B&B, we were watching the Greatest Hits of the Kitten Channel on Kelly’s phone during take-off.

What Are You Working On This Autumn?

photo by Kelly Robson
photo by Kelly Robson

Today I am shaving 260 words from one of the squid stories*, so I can send it to a market with a firm 7.5K word limit. I can tell I’ve been through the story before. There’s not much to trim. It’s tempting to simply change the word count at the top of the page and assume they don’t really care about that extra half page or so.

But that would be errant smart-assery, not to mention unprofessional. Even if I weren’t generally rule-abiding, I know it makes me nuts when my students blithely ignore my guidelines. So–a sentence here, an adjective there. Nip, tuck, smooth.

Next weekend I am one of a bunch of Tor authors heading off to the New York Comicon, so I’ll continue working on these little bits and bobs for awhile yet. I’ll shoot a few stories off to market, push paper on a grant application, comb through the files looking for reprint opportunities, that kind of thing.

But this Saturday is my (so far) favorite Toronto event, Nuit Blanche Last year we made our way through the throngs to Nathan Phillips Square, and back, and saw many awesome things. Then we were home, in bed and exhausted, just as the party was properly starting.

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2013

This year we are practically at City Hall the minute we step out our front door. So I hope to see even more incredible sights and performances before thronging home to collapse at some ludicrous hour like ten.

How about all of you–what’s on the boards for October?

*Squid Stories
______________

Five Good Things about Meghan Sheedy,” in Strange Horizons, and “The Town on Blighted Sea.” (The latter is also in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection)
The Sweet Spot,” in Lightspeed and Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing.
“Time of the Snake,” in Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge.

Sunshine, cheese, and a bit of whine on Sunday

It is a warm, rainy and potentially thundery Monday morning as I write this, rain-drenched and delicious. We spent Saturday bumbling around Prince Edward County, exploring wine country with our friend Linda. Relaxation was had, a good thing because a big chunk of Sunday went to itemizing receipts from our 2013 move from Vancouver. The government would like to verify that lunging across the nation required a bit of expense.

Exploring wine country was a delight and, naturally, I took many pictures. It’s really exciting to realize that you can go either east or west and be in a vineyard in around 90 minutes, traffic permitting. I didn’t taste much, but I did have a few sips at the County Cider Company in Picton. Mostly it was nice to have a short road trip and a chance to explore.

Here’s a little structure that made me think: DIY Ancient Ruin…

Exploring Wine Country

Cat Parenthood, day 45

photoAssuming their approximate birthdate at the beginning of April is correct, the babies are about twelve and a half weeks old now.

They’re getting noticeably into adolescence. Lorenzo is still bigger than Chinchilla, but she put on a recent growth spurt. Overnight, it seems, she grew the face and long legs of a teenager cat.

We are keeping them out of the bedroom at night. I’d like to get to a point where they might join us, but a good night’s rest is more precious than rubies. And right now they’re hitting the stroppy and disobedient phase of kittenhood, so there’s no way we want them cycloning around the bed in the wee hours.

I expect to be shouting “You’re not my supervisor!” on their behalf a lot in the next few months, by way of channeling their obvious response to our trying to introduce them to the laughable concepts of No, Bad Cat! and/or Geddown! I found Lorenzo sleeping on the dish-drying towel last night, having shoved all the glasses and other things aside to make room for his lanky body. CinCin dove through the hanging metal measuring cups this afternoon–clang, clang, dangle dangle!–and knocked the coffeemaker over on her way back to the floor. She’d probably been checking out what’s behind the microwave after a wander around the stove.

Even in naughtiness, they are adorable.

 

I had been keeping an eye on the various kabillions of photos I take of them, looking for something that might make the cut for Cats of Instagram, and when CinCin yawned in the face of the iPhone not long ago I got one that I knew was a great prospect. CoI put it up on Monday, and within 24 hours something like 60,000 people had liked it. Holy crap, eh? My baby’s a star!

Just now, to blow their little kitty minds, I put some ice cubes in their water fountain. They are staring at it in wonder and terror–you’d think it had grown tadpoles.

Magical Words #3, plus a kitten picture…

Today at Magical Words I’m talking about my particular variation on the writing lifestyle. And next week the plan is to be there with an essay about plot, so stay tuned.

 
Here be kittens. CinCin:

And LoZo, in a bit of a glamor shot:

Kelly and I have been discussing the crucial issue of their portmanteau. CinZo? Or LorenCin? (pronounced ChinZo / Laurentian.) They have a follow-up vet appointment this weekend, and will probably get scheduled for neutering very soon.

Reflections, of a literal kind

The ever-invaluable BlogTo said that the green roof at City Hall was one of the most serene places in Toronto, so Kelly and I went to check it out on the weekend. It was quite nifty, and I got this peculiar and rather impressionistic shot of the two of us in the mesh of one of the upper windows of the part I think of as the saucer. (City Hall is a nineteen sixties mash-up of concrete brutalism and Star Trek ship design.)

It was a nice walk, and I’ll play more with these windows as the summer unfolds.

This is a test of the Instagram BroadCast System

If everything is behaving as it ought, you should all see an adorable boy here:

And an adorable girl, here:

Either way, thanks for your patience.