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June 16, 2007

The Single Worst Non-Photoshopped Picture I've Ever Taken


No, it's not the one up there. That one is a reference photo, one I took about 20 minutes ago, so you'll know what I actually look like when I'm making no particular effort to look either good or bad. Got it? Okay, good. Now, what follows is a picture of me this morning, fiddling around with the Web cam on my laptop. Prepare yourself.


Yeah, I know. Told you.

There are several things going on here. First, my head is being propped up on a pillow, which shoves it forward, giving me some hellacious double chin action. Second, my shirt has apparently ridden up behind my neck, giving me an especially fleshy appearance. Third, the Web cam's wan color performance has made me look like I'm both anemic and consumptive. Fourth, I'm crossing one of my eyes and sneering for some unfathomable reason. Fifth, I'm looking not-so-fresh because I haven't had a shower yet. Sixth, apparently the camera adds, oh, a hundred pounds or so.

Add it all up, and it's the single worst photo I think I have ever taken in my life. Honestly, it's so bad I find it fascinating, which is of course why I'm sharing it with you. It's like I'm in an episode of the Twilight Zone where I'm a hard-on-my luck musician, and I make some sort of Faustian bargain to switch lives with a successful songwriter, only to find out who I've swapped with is Brian Wilson, in his "you give us a song, we give you a cheeseburger" days.


If nothing else, this picture reminds me I really need to get off my ass and do some exercise. I've spent a good portion of the day sitting in front of the computer, eating Red Vines and drinking Coke Zero; I should probably go for a walk. It also reminds me that I do have an especially fleshy neck, one that in pictures often makes me look chunkier than I actually am (my bio picture is an example of this). At some point in the not too far future I'll probably have to deal with jowls and a wattle-y neck, even if I don't become particularly heavy. I'm not at all in love with the idea.

In the meantime I'll chalk up this picture as a cautionary tale and start hitting the Dance Dance Revolution a little bit harder. It's a bad picture, but it's an anomaly. I should probably put in some effort to make sure it doesn't become the norm.

Posted by john at June 16, 2007 11:09 PM

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Peter Burd | June 16, 2007 11:15 PM

The crossed eye is the perfect touch.

Dan | June 16, 2007 11:48 PM

I always wondered how you'd look once the nice men in the white coats finally caught up with you, doped you up, and put you in an institution where you may or may not belong.

Bobarino | June 17, 2007 12:02 AM

You should have saved this to use as the creation museum "after" picture.

Steve Burnap | June 17, 2007 12:20 AM

That should really be your new "About the author" picture.

Jim Wright | June 17, 2007 12:21 AM

Somewhere, somehow, there's a DMV Office in Ohio missing a camera from the computer used to make driver's licenses.

And what's with the long hair there, Shaggy, time for a trip to the barber. Remember, you're representing all of us at the Creation Museum, do try to look, well, at least presentable.

hugh57 | June 17, 2007 12:38 AM

You bear an uncanny resemblance to Uncle Fester of the Addams Family.

Jeff Hentosz | June 17, 2007 12:54 AM

"Dispatch, this is Squad 2. We're going to need a couple SawzAlls to get the wall off this guy's bedroom, and a crane to lift him down to the truck..."

Nah; definitely an anomaly. You are, in person, a devilishly handsome man. With a taste for Slim Jim and Wonder Bread sandwiches.

(And, to be honest, I oughta leave the sass for after I lose 40 or 50 myself. I remind me of Joe Besser from the late-era Three Stooges.)

Sam Taylor | June 17, 2007 01:07 AM

Just joking.

That's an impressively bad picture. You look almost as bad as me :)

JJS | June 17, 2007 01:28 AM

Ever seen one of the Monk episodes that featured the character of Dale the Whale?

Nate Von J | June 17, 2007 01:29 AM

Ahh the many faces of Scalzi. Your author picture face reminds me of a cross between Frank Miller and Mr. Clean. When I met you on your road tour with your glasses on I got the impression that you were a successful writer/history teacher guidence counselor, and this one, well, we all have those days. Incidently, this picture represents how I feel most days, but this morning for some reason I acctually thought I didn't look too bad. I must have grown enough beard that I can now distinguish between my head and my neck. Hope my self deprication makes you feel better.

Mary Robinette Kowal | June 17, 2007 01:59 AM

Can't stop laughing.

Kate | June 17, 2007 03:20 AM

May I ask why you had your webcam in your bedroom in the first place? Normally you only see that scenery if you're on a really bad pron site.

Don't ask me how I know this either. It was an accident I swear.

Are we going to get www.scalzisohawt.com?

(see how that is the coolest web address evar?)


Anonymous | June 17, 2007 05:34 AM

The problem is you've got a tiny chin, which is a guaranteed recipe for visible neckflab action if you've got an ounce of fat on your body. Me, I'm lucky enough to have a big long square jaw/chin combination going on, which means even my current monstrous girth is only visible from the neck down, so I'm fine as long as I don't come out from behind my cardboard box.

Jenny Rae Rappaport | June 17, 2007 05:38 AM

I'm with Mary here... I'm continually giggling. =)

Shawn Powers | June 17, 2007 05:51 AM

I thought the photo went with the undead theme from a few days back. You know, after the gruesome death, but before the cool eye-glowing and brain eating comes into play...

Patrick M. | June 17, 2007 08:31 AM

Is this when we start the paypal donations campaign to have the second photo replace your bio photo?

Omaha Lisa | June 17, 2007 08:41 AM

"Whaddya mean I wuz supposed to keep the office clean after you kung fu cleaned it?!?!?"

Jim Hall | June 17, 2007 09:09 AM

I was thinking this was your audition photo for "The New Three Stooges".

Dan | June 17, 2007 11:40 AM

I don't think I want you hanging around with that Esmeralda woman anymore Quasimodo. That woman has literally screwed your brains out.

TexasPatrick | June 17, 2007 12:01 PM

Bacon kitty kitty kitty! Come heerz! Iz hungry!

PixelFish | June 17, 2007 12:20 PM

Yay for Dance Dance Revolution.

Steve Buchheit | June 17, 2007 01:52 PM

AAAAaaa! Mommy, Mommy. Someone is in Daddy's bed and they ate Daddy! AAAAaaa!

hugh57 | June 17, 2007 03:52 PM

I wouldn't go so far as to make it your new "About the Author" pic, but I do think it would make an excellent pic for your Wikipedia page. :-)

Chang, for rizzle. | June 17, 2007 06:04 PM

Oh, man.

The top picture actually looks okay. The DDR weightloss plan seems to be working!

But the bottom one? Man, not even Taylor PRuitt Vince should have to look like an especially addled Taylor Pruitt Vince. I got a few like that. Sadly, they are on the interwebs, too.

fishbane | June 17, 2007 11:14 PM

"Where's my Maddog, and what is that cat doing to my bacon?"

Thena | June 18, 2007 08:14 AM

I dunno, something about the top picture is intriguing - the vision line of the eyes, maybe, combined with the almost-neutral not-quite-a-smirk? It tempts me to photoshop you into Our Hero, wearing some kind of futuristic space-opera quasi-military uniform, standing on the bridge of a Whatever, with lots of exploding things in the background.

It's probably a good thing for you I don't have photoshop, and I need to get to work anyway.

Stan | June 18, 2007 08:52 AM

I like the facial expression. You look like you're crashing in a hotel after a long day and accidentally found the Hentai channel.

Greg | June 18, 2007 09:02 AM

Mr. Scalzi! You appear to have melted!

John Scalzi | June 18, 2007 09:11 AM

Stan, I don't think anyone ever finds the hentai channel accidentally.

BigHank53 | June 18, 2007 01:38 PM

Accidental Hentai--now I can finally start that band.

Sally S | June 18, 2007 02:34 PM

You really are the funniest! And I don't mean looking, although that picture really does help.

I can't stop laughing.

Joe Chasse | June 19, 2007 03:11 PM

Hey John how about a better disclaimer? I never new that "prepare yourself" while reading a blog included removing any and all small objects from your mouth.

Maybe something like "WARNING! Do not chew baby carrots while looking at the following photo! EXTREME danger of choking!"

I just pulled a Bushie, thought my afternoon snack was going to do me in there for a few seconds. Saw the white light and everything. Luckily I sit in a high drafting chair and the impact with the floor disloged the carrot ruffage stuck in my winpipe.

I think I am going to go home and hug my wife and children now. That was close.

I was looking for an excuse to blow off from work early anyways, I just wasn't expecting a brush with death to be the impetus.

Thanx! And BTW nice photo.

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