Tag Archive for 52 Weeks

In Your Face

Magnified

Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

Do people really subject themselves to this stuff?

The Allerton Hotel in Chicago has these mirrors in the bathroom that blow your face up to something like twice normal size. Even in the picture I took of my magnified mug, I can see the line of my contact lens against the white of my right eye.

I didn’t think much of the mirror when I first spotted it, but then my hair caught my eye. Turns out it was my stubble. I thought “holy crap I need a shave,” only to look at the regular mirror to see little more than a shadow. Then I saw a red mark. An ingrown hair? The start of a pimple?

Either way, it didn’t look good.

In seconds I was sweating all manner of small stuff, not a one of which I could even remotely see in the regular mirror. Things even a high-def camera couldn’t pick up. If anyone got close enough to see what I was seeing in that makeup mirror, they were either the Wife or they were looking for a beating.

If there really are people out there maintaining their face right down to the millimeter in one of these things, they have some serious issues.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Demon Alcohol

Death on the Rocks

Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

Decades of alcohol abuse killed someone in my family, and that was more or less where the inspiration for this photo came from. I made it a self portrait for the 52 Weeks group on Flickr because it’s not hard to spot the pattern of addiction in my family. Based on some of my own behaviors I wouldn’t be surprised if the genetic predisposition runs strong in my DNA.

I didn’t intend this to be preachy or heavy-handed, I just thought it would be a cool pic to try. I made a black-and-white version of it, too, which can be seen here. I’ve got a few nits with it, but in general I’m pretty happy with it.

I’m still going back and forth on whether or not I want to attempt another run of 52 Weeks photos. I’m hoping to pick up a DSLR camera by Spring, and it occurs to me that may be a reason to try again. Not just because I’ll be excited about the new camera (which will make me want to use it more often) but because I can find out if a DSLR really can make a difference in the quality of my photography (the theory here is the broader capabilities enhance creativity). It would be a fun experiment to compare my first 52 Weeks with my second.

I’ve got seven more pics for my first round, so I’ve got plenty of time to make a decision. In the meantime, I’m hoping Canon really does announce a successor to the Digital Rebel XTi later this month. Buying a current model might be cheaper, but if predictions are accurate, LiveView would be easier for the Wife to use and a movie feature might be handy at times.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

A Year in Pictures

What a difference a year makes.

Despite falling behind on my 52 Weeks Flickr group contributions, I now have an entire year’s worth of self portraits in my 52 Weeks set. Sure, I’ve got 8 more to post, but time-wise there’s a year in there and it’s neat looking back and seeing if things have changed at all.

For example, there was my beardless phase, which I recently abandoned:

The Yin and the Yang

Not to mention the time I busted my head in Pennsylvania:

Home Lobotomy

Yeah, good times.

I can also play the then-and-now game. The following picture was taken in March, shortly after I joined the Academy of Okinawan Karate:

Academy of Okinawan Karate

Compare it to the picture I took just last night:

American Karateka

Higher rank, better gi, looking a little leaner… not too shabby.

A year goes by quick, but as we’re experiencing it, we don’t always see the big changes. I’m glad I participated. It’s kind of a pain to remember to take the pics and keep on top of dumping the pics to the computer and then uploading them to Flickr, but I’m tempted to do it again this year.

I really don’t know how the 365 Days folks do it, though. I’d almost have to cop out and use cell phone pics to post directly to Flickr. I’m sure my cellular provider would love me for that…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Writing on the Road

Road Warrior

Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.


Circumstances aside, I often welcome the chance to write on the road.

At home, I’m surrounded by distractions. If I feel like procrastinating, there are home projects to be done: seal off the attic fan, bag & board the last several months’ worth of comics, or clean out the utility room. If I’m feeling lazy, there’s the tube and a stack of DVD’s I haven’t watched yet. Then of course there’s the rugrats and the pets.

On the road, there’s little else to do with my downtime. I take care of the travel business and then I’m either in a car or in a hotel room. On this particular trip there were no real sites to see, and even if there were I was far too tired to get out and see them. So I fire up the laptop, log on to the free wireless, and go to town.

Tap-tap-tapity-tap until I’m too tired to move my fingers. Edit and post in the morning, and back to trip business.

The car’s a nice place to write, too. We had an hour to the kid drop-off site, and then three hours to our destination. I conned the wife into driving that second leg, propped the laptop on its namesake anatomy, and went to town.

Trips go so much faster when you lose yourself in your writing. You don’t even notice the radio, which can be helpful when the wife’s in the mood for country music. If I could have left my internal editor home and just let the fingers fly unrestrained, I’d probably have gotten even more done.

Hmm. Maybe I need another vacation.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

2007: Year in Review

If someone were to ask me how this year went, my first reaction would be to call it a write-off. Then I got to thinking about it, and it actually hasn’t been so bad after all. Let’s look back, shall we?

I started the year by selling the German rights to Deadliest of the Species to publisher Otherworld Verlag. The book was pitched to retailers this month, and it will see publication early next year under the title Das Tödliche Geschlecht. I followed that up over the summer with another book sale which I’m still asked to keep under my hat.

Restore from Backup, my novella collaboration with JF Gonzalez, was released from Bad Moon Books. The hardcovers sold out on preorder, but you can still get copies of the trade paperback.

Moonstone Books published The Phantom Chronicles, a prose anthology of Phantom tales including my short story “The Servants of Set”. Moonstone is also the publisher of my comic book Werewolves: Call of the Wild.

I received word today that In Delirium II is shipping. This anthology includes a reprint of “Crazy for You” by myself and Brian Keene. This story previously appeared in Crime Spree. The book doesn’t appear to be listed on the Horror Mall yet, but I imagine it will be up for order soon.

Finally, I attended two comic cons — one large and one small — and did signings at two comic shops. I sold enough comics to pay for the trip at the small comic con, and I was well satisfied with the results of the large con and the signings. I also had fun, and probably picked up a few new fans to boot.

I’d like to have accomplished more, of course, but I don’t feel I should be complaining.

In personal news, I joined the Academy of Okinawan Karate in March and started studying Shuri-ryu, a style of karate. I climbed the ranks from white belt through yellow and to blue belt, and I’ve learned a lot of cool things. Between classes and home exercise, I’ve managed to lose 30 pounds and I feel better than I have in years. I’d have to say that’s the best accomplishment of the year. My class and workout schedule may have put a dent in my writing productivity, but I feel like my health improvements will keep me writing for years to come.

I joined an active Flickr photo group called 52 Weeks, where users post a picture a week for a year. I did fine for a while, but the last few months I’ve fallen way behind. I would like to have posted an honest week 1 and week 52 pic right now, but it’ll have to be off a little bit. You can, however, see my contributions so far right here.

Finally, I expanded my computing horizons by picking up a MacBook at work. I’m sure I’ll be talking more about it in the future (and I’m writing this post on it now), but this gets me closer to being a triple threat in desktop computing.

There are a few things I wish I’d accomplished or wish I’d done better, but hey, that’s what next year is for. Overall, I’m content to call 2007 a win.

Onward and upward.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Blue Belt Karateka, White Belt Seamstress

Karate Tailor

Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.


I may have learned a lot of cool karate moves, but my sewing skills really need some work.

Between my own impatience and my wife having more important things to do, I decided I best start learning to sew patches on my karate uniforms myself. I did a little bit of sewing back in junior high when I was stuck in home ec (I was told industrial arts/shop didn’t fit in my schedule), but I don’t remember a thing. So I did what any other fine upstanding young tech geek would do and I asked Google.

Google pointed me to this WikiHow article. Nice. Is there anything the Internet can’t tell you how to do?

It can’t teach you how to sew, apparently.

The article is a good guide, but that doesn’t mean your fingers work the right way. Tying a knot in clear thread is a lot harder than it looks, and is even harder when you get frustrated with the posted method and decide to outsmart the thread. I tried using a double knot, but all that did was give my wife a good laugh. When she calmed down, she showed me how to do it right.

The stitching itself wasn’t so bad. At least, not on my 6-ounce cotton student gi. My brand new, 14-ounce cotton Tokaido Arashi was another story. In pushing the needle through an overlapped seam and a patch, I discovered even the eye of the needle will punch through human flesh.

That’s when I decided to make a more concerted effort to puzzle out the use of the thimble.

This was especially useful when I sewed on my last patch (my brand spanking new Assistant Instructor patch) on Sunday. The manufacturers, in their infinite wisdom, put a plastic coating on the back of the patch, presumably to keep it from coming apart. This also makes the patch stiffer, and thus harder to push a needle through.

Stitch stitch stitch OW! Stitch stitch stitch OW! Stitch stitch stitch OW! Stich stitch… You get the idea. I thought a thicker needle might help, but the holes don’t close so easily in the 14-ounce cotton, so the knot popped through. Back to the smaller needle, and I don’t skewer myself on the eye again.

I made it, though. And by some miracle, I didn’t get one bloodstain on the gi. If I get voted into the school’s SWAT Team after attending some Black Belt Club workouts, I’ll get another patch.

I can’t decide if I’m looking forward to it or dreading it.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

In for the Long Haul

Future Black Belt

Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.


Tonight I joined my dojo’s Black Belt Club. This means I’m making a commitment to earn my black belt, and I’ll get to attend some extra workouts to get help toward that goal.

It’s a longer contract, but after thinking about it for a few weeks I’ve decided that just means I’m far less likely to wuss out halfway through this. I have really enjoyed my Shuri-ryu training so far, it’s definitely helped toward getting in shape, and my enthusiasm has only increased with each stripe and rank I earn. I also enjoy being in class, and I’ve made some friends there. I’ve felt I’m in it for the long haul for some time now, and tonight I’ve made that firm.

When I first started talking to my sensei about Black Belt Club, it was hard to picture myself that far down the road. The black belt itself is a long ways off. Longer, even, than the end of this new contract. Now that I’ve signed the paper and I’ve got this patch in my hot little hands, however, it’s a lot easier to visualize that belt.

It’s going to one hell of a ride.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.