Friday Photo Blogging: pine and pole

What better warm-up for a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK than some random photo from a guy who knows nothing about photography, eh? Here’s some kind of pine tree down on Southsea Common:

Pines and poles against the sky

I can’t help but feel it would have been a more interesting shot had I been able to zoom in closer, but I’m still a bit cagey about taking more than one lens with me at a time – swapping them over in the great outdoors seems like an open invitation to getting dust and crap on the sensor, and getting that sorted isn’t cheap. Still, if I want to improve my photographic chops, I’ll have to bite the bullet. Selah.


Another week flies past in a blur of day-job, review-writing and a judicious amount of RP malarkey in Second Life – well, a guy’s gotta have some sort of leisure outlet, after all, even if it usually involves staying up far later than is probably healthy. Speaking of Second Life, the most excellent Fallon Winfield (better known as science fiction writer Jason Stoddard) delivered me my virtual pied a terre over the past weekend, which is just awesome in a “concrete Mexican compound designed for a post-apocalyptic shoot-out show-down” sort of way. I’ll have to remember to get some snapshots over the next few days to share with you. (I also need to blog about his thoughts on personal branding, because they tie in to my genre independence flag-waving. Watch this space.)

I’ve been tweaking away at the Naval Museum website while at my day-job, applying the SEO wisdom I’ve accrued since starting VCTB to help improve the page ranks and so on. It’s a long slow process; I’m basically just going through and changing all the page titles as a first pass, but there’s a lot more to be done. Still, progress is steady, and it’s good to be doing something I know I’m good at.

As far as freelance work is concerned, a whole lot of stuff peaks over this weekend – including doing the copy for a whole website, and three or four press releases for local bands and musicians. Plus a book review to do, six or seven CDs, and the Biffy Clyro show from last Sunday to write up. So it’s not going to be much of a holiday for me this weekend … although, as I work on Her Majesty’s Dockyard property, I get Tuesday off work as well, due to some old and arcane law or another. Bonus!

(Anyone interested in having a chuckle at my music journalism skills may wish to consult the ‘paulgraven’ tag on my account, which I’m now starting to use as a way of keeping track of where stuff I’ve written has ended up on the intarwebs. Because there’s, y’know, so much of it. Yeah.)


Incoming material has yet again been (mercifully) sparse. A few things of note arrived spread across a brace of care packages from Orbit, however:

  • Spindrift by Allen Steele (which I see is getting sterling reviews all over the place, so it’ll have to move into the upper layers of the increasingly baroque book-queueing system)
  • A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore (which looks to be aiming for that Tom Holt / Robert Rankin cod comedy supernatural soap-opera angle; I’ll give it a try, but if it doesn’t bite early I’m not going to expend precious reading hours on it)

The rest was fantasy or vampire boffing. Meh. Not my bag, guv’nor – and I don’t have enough hours in my life for the books which I know I want to read.


One final note: I just want to say how sad it is to hear that Andy Wheeler of the SFBC may be out of a job. I’ve never met Andy, but his was one of the first SF blogs I started following, and he’s someone I’ve looked up to ever since – as a good blogger, a man of solid and well reasoned (if crotchety) opinions on the genre and publishing in general, and an all-round good bloke. As much as I may sometimes proclaim the necessity of radical restructuring in the publishing industry, it’s sad to see the human cost of business rationalisation, here as anywhere. I wish Andy the best of luck, and I’m confident that a man of his obvious dedication and intelligence will find gainful and satisfying work in short order, should he require it. Nil carborundum, sir.


Well, there we go – another week of my thrill-a-second life typed up and encapsulated for your vicarious enjoyment. I have a few things to sort out before heading to The Goa for The Friday Curry Of Exceptional Justice and Righteousness (which isn’t a problem, as they’re not even open yet), so I’ll say my goodbyes and wish all my fellow Brits a happy (and hopefully warm and sunny) long weekend – try not to drink too much, and remember what Baz Luhrmann said about the sunscreen.


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