annathepiper: (Good Book)

Noting this as I actually bought a couple of print books from Third Place the other day–things that fall into the general category of Authors Who Are Absolutely Vital For Me to Have In Print. The people for whom a lack of access to their books would make me sad, whether due to power outage or loss of reading devices or what have you.

The first of these purchases was In the Labyrinth of Drakes, Book Four in Marie Brennan’s excellent Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I’ve actually already read this and I did indeed love it immensely, but I definitely wanted the Lady Trents in print. And this one finally was available in trade now that the hardcover of Book Five is out.

Beren and Luthien

Beren and Luthi

Much more importantly, I acquired a hardback copy of the new Tolkien release, Beren and Luthien!

Y’all know my love of Tolkien, and you’ll probably also remember that I’m particularly fond of the tale of Beren and Luthien, which is hands down my favorite thing in the whole of The Silmarillion.

Relatedly, when Christopher Tolkien released the excellent Children of Hurin version of the other big tale from The Silmarillion–the tale of Turin Turambar–I nabbed that in hardback. I’ve said before how I had to have that in hardback just for the gorgeous illustrations, and out of general appreciation of the beauty of the work that went into putting that book together as an object.

So given all of these things together, you better believe I had to jump on the Beren and Luthien release.

Fair warning though to fellow Tolkien fans who may be covetously eying this release too: it is not cheap. (I got the hardback for $30.00, and while I could have gotten it for substantially cheaper at Barnes and Noble, I made a point of buying it from Third Place instead because local-to-my-house indie bookstores are love.) If you want that hardback and you’re more budget-pinched than I am, be aware you’ll get it for much cheaper on Amazon or with B&N, both of whom are showing prices for it around $18.

Likewise, the ebook is stupidly expensive right now. It’s clocking in at $16.99, and that price is the main reason I haven’t already nabbed this release as well in digital form. Do not mistake me: I will also be buying this book in digital form, because a) Tolkien pretty much would top the list of authors I require in both formats, and b) under no circumstances am I taking the hardback out of the house. But that price annoys me, as it’s yet another indicator of the return of agency pricing, and I have an ongoing gripe with the publishing industry seeming bound and determined to piss off digital readers by making ebooks as expensive as possible.

I’m genuinely torn, though, as to whether Tolkien is worth it to me to shell out for the ebook at that price anyway; if any author merits doing that out of all my favorites, it’s Tolkien.

Either way, the ebook edition will eventually be joining my collection too. And that’ll likely be the way I read it, just because I do most of my reading on commutes.

For now, that’s two additional book purchases to add to the tally this year, which has been quite small. (I’m actually trying to make an effort to put a dent in the backlog of books I actually own, doncha know.) 17 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Great Amurkian Novel 2)

As I’ve been lamenting a bit on social media lately, this year has, creatively speaking, blown so many donkeys that I’m pretty sure there isn’t a single unsatisfied donkey between here and Spokane.

But Dara having been working so hard on her Overwatch fic as of late (a fic which, by the way, you should read, because it’s totally awesome and you can find it here) has been a prod to my own ability to write, I think. So I’ve been lately instituting my strategy of “ridiculously stupidly low daily word counts”, just for the sake of being able to say I’ve written something.

I’ve also returned to dealing with my still-due novellas for the Warder universe, in no small part because I’ve realized that I really need to write Caitlin Hallett and Gabien Desroches’ meeting before I can really have them appear properly in Warder Soul.

So I’m back in dealing with their story. And hey, here’s an excerpt! Caitlin’s coming out of a very spiky conversation with her father Thomas, a conversation which has not gone well. Caitlin’s looking to console herself by busking on George Street.

Except she’s got a surprise waiting for her. Muahaha.

Excerpt behind the fold!

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

Kinda awesome how, if I put out a reminder call for Boosting the Signal posts, I can get some! Today I have a post to share with you from a fellow NIWA member who hasn’t been here before: James D. Macon. James released Purveyors and Acqurirers, Book 1 of his Phosphire Journeys fantasy YA series, in November of last year. His piece today gives a glimpse of the mysterious organization known as The Trade. What are their goals? And do their stated goals align with how they truly function? That’s the ticket, as the Interested Party investigating them discovers in this scene.

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Purveyors and Acquirers

Purveyors and Acquirers

Interested Party, (IP), paced in the well-appointed room waiting for his guest to arrive. A dampened fire burned in the hearth and provided an unneeded warmth. The open window allowed a view of the rising moon. The door to the chamber opened and he saw a gentleman stylishly dressed in sky blue from head to toe, and wearing a wide brimmed hat sporting a blue feather from a bird IP did not recognize, walk in. The fellow smiled broadly and closed the door behind him.

“Hello, my name is Qwen. I am a Practitioner of the Arts and member of the Trade. I assume that you are Interested Party?” Qwen gestured with the fingers of his left hand and spoke softly, Aspscon Diatail Soni Visu.

IP stepped back. “Yes, I am. Welcome Master Qwen. I appreciate your agreeing to this interview. I am curious, did you conjure just now?”

“Only a small warding to keep our visit private.” Qwen answered pleasantly. His eyes darted about the chamber before settling on IP. Qwen said to no one in particular, “Please keep a look out for me.”

IP momentarily wondered who Qwen was talking to. IP gestured toward two chairs and eased into the one nearest him. “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but tell me what you know about the Trade?”

“Well, if I go into too much detail, then I would have to kill you. Don’t worry, it would only be business.” Qwen’s smile broadened as he sat.

Startled, IP stammered, “Ah, ah, I’m sorry. I was under the impression that this would be a candid discussion.”

Qwen assumed a listening posture with his head tilted to toward his shoulder. “Oh, that’s right, he’s supposedly safe from retribution. What was the Trade Master thinking arranging this interview?”

“Perhaps we should start with you telling me more about yourself.” IP decided a subject change was in order. He could push for more information on the Trade once his subject was no longer distracted.

Qwen leaned back and crossed his legs. “Earlier I stated that I was a Practitioner. What I didn’t say is that I am also a Tzefire, a person with an affinity to the element of air.” He glanced upward. “Yes, I was about to tell him about you.” He turned back to IP. “I have been privileged to be able to associate with beings from the Terrene of Air.”

IP was starting think Qwen was a bit eccentric, or worse. “No offence, but you seem to be conversing with the space above your shoulder. It is rather distracting.”

“Lean forward please.” Qwen conjured, Praesen Adspectis. He touched IP on the forehead.

IP looked with wonder at the four creatures he saw undulating in the air above Qwen. Serpentine in shape, their supple bodies were without appendages. Heads had large oval eyes and a maw that appeared and disappeared from view. IP thought it was nice to know that Qwen wasn’t touched in the head after all. “What marvelous entities.”

“They are known in our sphere as Zephyrs, although that is not what they call themselves.” Qwen informed IP.

This is fantastic, IP thought. What a story this may turn out to be. “What is most important to you, Master Qwen?”

Qwen sat thinking for a long moment before saying, “There are a lot of wrongs being done. Some by people with good intentions. If one could right just one of them, then change for the better can happen.”

“I see.” Now was the moment to get back to the purpose of this visit, IP thought to himself. “A source told me that the Trade has begun to have dealings with children. Is this true, Master Qwen?”

“It is not what you think. There is no nefarious plot for you to dig up. The children are orphans who have been offered apprenticeships. We are only doing our part to help the underserved of Arlanda.”

“Placed in that light, you make it seem as if there is nothing needing investigation.” IP intended to look into Qwen’s claim.

Qwen leaned forward. “How would you like to interview one or more of the children? I could broach the topic with the Trade Master if you wish. Better still I suggest you discuss your concern with Matriarch Izlan at the Temple of the Ladies of Life where the children live. You could even make a donation toward the children’s education. Any amount would be appreciated.”

“I’ll get back to you on that.” IP hadn’t planned on parting with his coin and didn’t want to admit to Qwen that he wasn’t comfortable around children.

A fifth Zephyr entered the room through the open window. It flew around Qwen’s head. Qwen stood. “My apologies Master Party, but my associate has brought an important matter to my attention. We will have to reschedule. By the way, nothing we discussed leaves this chamber.” Qwen didn’t conjure. He assumed the form of a Zephyr and sped out the window accompanied by his companions.

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Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Katara Healing)

I’m now seven weeks after the septorhinoplasty I had done to my nose, so here’s a bit of a checkin as to how I’m doing now!

I had my first fiddle lesson since the procedure yesterday (more on this in another post), and my teacher told me that my voice sounded different to her. This was not a thing I’d been easily able to discern myself, since of course I’m still hearing my voice from inside my head. But Lisa said my voice sounded less adenoidal to her, and given that she is of course a professional touring and teaching musician, she’s totally got the ear to clue in on that.

And if you’re wondering what ‘adenoidal’ means, don’t worry, I had to look up what the heck the adenoids are myself. Answer: they’re the uppermost of your tonsils, and they live behind your nose. Apparently enlarged adenoids can also cause breathing problems! Looking up ‘adenoidal’ as well, I saw that dictionary.com says that an ‘adenoidal’ voice is nasal and high-pitched. So by definition, this means my voice is sounding a little lower and perhaps not quite so constrained. And even if I’m not in a position to personally vouch for Lisa’s observation, it pleases me nonetheless.

Here are things I can vouch for, though.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

The DispatcherThe Dispatcher by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Took me a while to finally get to this, since it’s been sitting around on my computer ever since it was originally released last year. I finally realized I had to sync it down to my phone so I could actually listen to it–which I have finally now done. And I am pleased to report it was quite satisfying.

I’ve generally always liked what I’ve read of Scalzi, although sometimes I like him better as a blogger than I do as a storyteller. In this case, though, I’d heard him do a reading of a chapter out of this at a recent convention, and I liked the premise well enough that I leapt on the offered free audiobook when it was released. Bonus that it was narrated by Zachary Quinto.

Story-wise, I found this to rank pretty high on the list of what Scalzi stories I’ve read (or in this case listened to) so far. The deliberate lack of description on a lot of his characters sometimes leaves me discontent, but in this case it worked well, and contributed to the lean, tight delivery of the story. Plus, given the overall schtick of the worldbuilding–i.e., if you’re murdered, chances are very high you will come back to life at home in your bed–was intriguing and added a dash of interesting philosophical discussion in some of the character dialogue.

Audiobook-wise, I found Quinto’s narration engaging as well. As one would certainly hope with a high-caliber actor, he brought some skill to his reading. Doing audiobook narration is not quite the same thing as a performance in a full-cast storyline, but Quinto did a great job differentiating the characters as he read for them. I was particularly impressed by the changes in his delivery for the female characters, particularly Detective Langdon. None of his changes in vocal delivery were blatant, but they were distinctive, and it was always clear to me who was speaking even when dialogue tags were not provided by the actual prose.

All in all a great little story. I liked it well enough that I’ll be buying the ebook edition, given that I originally got the audiobook while it was available for free. Four stars.

View all my reviews

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)
Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Ever since I heard that there was finally going to be a standalone Wonder Woman movie, I’ve been living in anticipation of seeing it. Last night, my household went to do so. Picoreview: goddamn, you guys, that was satisfying. 😀 I had a few quibbles with it, but they were minor quibbles at best. I teared up twice during the movie. Chris Pine is now certainly my favorite of the small sample set of versions of Steve Trevor I’ve seen. And most importantly, Gal Gadot was a complete delight to watch, from start to finish.

I shall also note for the record that even at our showing at the local iPic theater, we had two different women in full on cosplay, one as Wonder Woman and another as Supergirl. And I spotted a third woman wearing a Wondy tiara. Because we are a nerd town. It’s TRUE.

Spoilers lie beyond the veil that hides Themiscyra from the world of men! And I DO MEAN SPOILERS.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Little Help?)

Any of you who have followed me on a regular basis know that my household are longstanding fans of Folklife, the big four-day music festival that happens every year at the Seattle Center over Memorial Day weekend. This year’s is imminent, and as always, Dara, Paul, and I are looking forward to spending time there.

But I noted with dismay this morning that the Seattle Times has an article up saying that unless they get more donations at the gate this year, next year’s festival is in danger of being canceled. 🙁

According to that article, Folklife usually only gets donations from about 17 percent of attendees at the gate, and they take in around $190,000. They really need to bump that number up to $350,000 in order to afford next year.

So if you’re in the area, you love Folklife and what it brings to our local culture, and you’re planning to go this weekend, please please please donate anything you can spare at the gate. They need your help. Also, if you’re not going to be able to hit the festival but you still want to help out, you can donate to them directly on their website.

Please spread the word to other area locals! And if you’re going to be at the festival, hey, look for Dara and Paul and me, and say hi if you see us!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

It’s been a while since I did a proper book roundup, particularly given that I’ve been out of commission with the recent surgery. But in the name of cleaning out my inbox, let’s get caught up, shall we?

Acquired from Barnes and Noble as I was spending backlogged ebook credit:

  • Winter Tide, by Ruthanna Emrys. Grabbed this because I’d liked the author’s short Lovecraftian story that was posted up on Tor.com, and because she and a colleague have been running a Lovecraft re-read on that same site. This novel is Emrys’ first novel, #1 of her Innsmouth Legacy series, expanding on her shorter piece “The Litany of Earth”.
  • Brimstone, by Cherie Priest. Historical fantasy. Purchased this on general “because Cherie Priest” grounds.
  • The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom, by Max Gladstone. This is a shorter story set in the world of his Craft Sequence novels, one which was posted up on Tor.com. I read enough of it to note that I liked what I saw, and that I wanted to have it around to read in depth.
  • Come See the Living Dryad, by Theodora Goss. This is another Tor.com piece, one which I read in full up on the site. I quite liked it and decided it was worth my 99 cents to have a local copy.
  • An Extraordinary Union, by Alyssa Cole. Historical romance. Nabbed this on the general strength of its review up on Smart Bitches, and also on grounds of diverse protagonists! I rather love this cover.
  • Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty. SF. Or rather, SF with a heaping helping of locked room murder mystery! The general conceit of this, six clones of a crew of a generation ship waking up to discover one of them is a murderer, sounds like fun.
  • Lightborn and Shadowborn, by Alison Sinclair. High fantasy. Books 2 and 3 of her Darkborn series, which I snapped up as soon as I finished reading book 1, Darkborn. As the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia series, this was my particularly savory cuppa tea.
  • The Collapsing Empire and Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, by John Scalzi. SF. Scalzi’s current release as well as one of his older ones which I was behind on acquiring!

15 for the year. (And, checking my older posts, I see it’s been over two months since my first ebook roundup post of the year! Which just goes to show how my rate of buying ebooks has dropped off dramatically since its heyday. But this is what happens when the price of ebooks goes up.)

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Katara Healing)

So that appointment on Monday that I posted about did happen, and went well, and I am pleased to report that I’m closer to my normal functional self.

I still have traces of yellowed bruising under my eyes, but the swelling is almost gone. My nose took some contact dermatitis from having bandages on it for a week–this, I think, was the result of my established sensitivity to adhesives on bandages/bandaids, a thing that started up during my breast cancer saga. Put a bandage/bandaid on me and leave it there long enough, my skin will blister. This is what happened to my nose, and I’m sure it contributed to the DEAR GODS THE ITCHING CANNOT CLAW OFF OWN FACE mood I was in before Monday’s appointment.

At the appointment, the nurse who took out my splints was very no-nonsense and “let’s get this done”. She got in there and went YOINK for the first one, and only paused when I made distressed noises. Because yeah boy howdy that hurt. But she did give me a few minutes to get my equilibrium back before she yoinked out the other one, and I gotta admit, once they were gone, I felt eight million times better.

Dara made impressed noises about the size of the splints themselves once they were out, particularly when one fell down and bounced off me to the floor. I made a point of not looking. Normally for medical things I am of the camp of “give me all the data, I’ll feel a lot better about it all if I know everything there is to know”. In this case, though, scientific curiosity was overridden by “yeaaaaah I don’t think I need to know exactly how big those things stuffed up my nose were, kthx”.

Still, though, that totally made both Dara and me think of one of our favorite moments from Invader Zim:

Exactly What the Splints Felt Like

Exactly What the Splints Felt Like

Part of getting those splints out involved cutting the sutures that had held them in, too. These were at the very base of my nose, and as I write this, there’s still a bit of a red line there were the sutures had been.

After the nurse did that she spent some time suctioning out my nose. And I do mean suctioning. I was still in “keep my eyes closed” mode so I didn’t see her bring in the machine she used for this, but I heard it whirring behind me. Once she started in on me with that thing, I told Dara she was going to shop-vac my nose.

The surgeon who worked on me came in next to check me out, and he also suctioned me, as well as trimming a bit of tissue in there on one of my turbinates that he felt needed trimming. He brought a resident doctor in with him as well, so Dara and I chatted with that guy a bit.

I made a point of asking for a second round of pain meds, as I’d used the last of the Percocet. And experience with my previous medical incidents has taught Dara and me both that I have a bad habit of sitting on pain until it gets too bad to deal with, at which point I promptly have a melt down. So I asked for a round of Vicodin, on the grounds that Percocet rather kicks my ass, and since the plan was for me to work from home for a week I needed to have my brain back. Vicodin does its job without making me loopy.

Dr. Bhrani discussed with me that it was going to take me some time to get used to regularly breathing through my nose, just because I haven’t done it properly for most of my life. I will have to train myself into it. This is apparently common for cases similar to mine.

Then the surgeon and the nurse both doublechecked that I already had a followup appointment scheduled with them in August, and finally declared me clear to go. On the way out I kept tearing up and noted ruefully to Dara that I felt like I was having a melt down, only this one was good, because it was just the sheer relief of having those splints and sutures out.

As the week’s progressed I’ve been able to return to normal sleeping arrangements, and have indeed been working from home. (Thankfully, it’s been a light work week as I’m coming in on the tail end of a sprint and haven’t really had any tasks assigned to me, so I’m finding work to do.) I still have a lot of maintenance I need to do for my nose, both inside and out. The saline rinses are continuing, to clean out the inside of it. And I’m putting Aquaphor and hydrocortisone on the outside, to ease the irritation of the skin.

I was expecting it to be distinctly strange, breathing properly through my nose. During the appointment I tried it a few times and made Dara laugh out loud with my expression–because I don’t often actually physically embody the O.O emoji! And on the way home from that appointment, I found it distinctly weird as well that I was able to feel how chilly the air was on the inside of my nose. “Am I SUPPOSED to be able to sense the temperature of the air with my nose?” I asked Dara. She assured me that yes, I was. I never knew.

Something else I didn’t entirely anticipate was that my sense of balance has periodically been wonky off and on this week, because my inner ear is apparently adjusting to the changes in my breathing patterns. I know what “unsteady because I’m tired” and “unsteady because I’m on painkillers” feel like. Or “unsteady because I got up too fast and my blood rushed to my head”. This has been different. This has been “unsteady for no immediately obvious reason”. It’s eased down as the week has proceeded, but it hasn’t entirely gone away. Dara thinks it’ll take me a few weeks to really properly adjust.

It is distinctly weird to gently wiggle the end of my nose and feel it not clicking under my fingertip. It’s a lot more stable now. And now that I know that my septum was apparently in three different pieces (yikes?), this makes rather more sense now.

So far I have not needed to use my previous levels of antihistamines, which I was hoping for. I have been taking Allegra this week, just to encourage the skin irritation to go away. But I haven’t had any Claritin at all, and only one night where I had any Benadryl. I have not tried the Azelastine spray again, partly because I’m almost out of it, and partly because of an ongoing suspicion I’ve had that that stuff may have been contributing to a worsening of my ability to focus on text on my phone or tablets. After being off that stuff for a week, cold turkey, my ability to visually focus on the devices has improved. So I’ll only be resuming that spray if absolutely necessary.

Other things I’ll be keeping an eye on as I finish recovering and resume normal levels of activity: how my sleeping levels change. Whether this recurrent pulsatile tinnitus in my right ear finally goes away, if I do enough saline rinses to really clear out my sinuses properly. Whether my metabolism alters in response to changes in my sleeping and breathing. How my senses of taste and smell will be impacted.

And, as I’ve written about before, how this will impact my breath control on my flutes and whistles! Dr. Bhrani told me at the appointment that I should stay off wind instruments for a few more weeks, so this means no taking the wind instruments to this month’s session. (Oh darn. I guess I’ll just have to show up with the fiddle instead. ;D )

The only down note so far has been that my snoring has not gone away–because it turns out I’m a mouth snorer, and I am not yet used enough to keeping my mouth closed at night when I sleep. So this’ll be something to work on. Housemate Paul, who has sleep apnea and therefore has some experience with this kind of thing, has recommended I try a chin strap. So I sent a note in to the nurse to ask her for her staff’s recommendation on what kind of chin strap to try.

Aside from the snoring thing, though, this experience has been largely very positive. I’m looking forward to seeing how my daily life continues to change as a result.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Katara Healing)

I’m now one week out from having the septorhinoplasty! I am pleased to report that in general things have been proceeding smoothly and according to expectations.

Bruising and swelling-wise, I looked pretty horrendous as of this past Thursday. I had a very puffy face and some alarming purple lines under each of my eyes; as of this writing most of that has subsided, though there is some puffiness and yellow bruising still. For a while there though there was such puffiness around my eyes that I looked like some sort of hybrid offspring of a Cardassian and a Tellarite. I am glad to have NOT taken any actual pictures of that, but by Saturday I was asked for a pic, and took this one to show folks on Facebook.

Recovery Girl

Recovery Girl

Note also that this pic is after the exterior splint on my nose popped off–which was a little alarming! But it was a bit of molded plastic that was mostly there to serve as a visual indicator to people to be wary of my nose. And given Dara was spending a large amount of time this past week doing cold compresses against my eyes to keep the swelling under control, a lot of moisture got under that splint. Likewise from the vaporizer we set by the recliner in the living room, since I’ve spent the last week sleeping in the recliner so as to keep my head elevated.

So Dara called in about the splint thing, and the nurse assured her that it was nothing to worry about; apparently, for these procedures, the splint just coming off like that is a thing that can sometimes happen.

This has meant though that the bandages are more exposed, which is what you see in the picture above. And even though I was able to stop the cold compresses once we were past the 72-hour window, the bandages still got exposure to some moisture. That aforementioned vaporizer (which excellent idea I attribute to MOO and DW friend eeyorerin, who has gone through similar procedures and who told me about her penguin-shaped vaporizer) was a blessing, but it also meant that I was in that recliner getting vapor on my face for multiple hours in a row overnight. Meanwhile Dara’s also been putting vaseline on the end of my nose to help keep it from drying out, and that too has also been impacting the bandages.

I was warned that the itching would start to drive me bats. I was warned correctly. It has been a very delicate sort of itching, but it’s still AUGH MY NOSE IS ITCHING and I can’t properly scratch it yet. I also can’t properly blow my nose either because the splints are still in there. best I can do is very gently touch my nose, which helps some but does not make the itch go away. Dara’s also been getting me the same icepacks we were using for compression before, since cold does help the problem a bit as well.

I have had to do a lot of saline rinses of my nose, both for moisture and for keeping it clean. After a week of this I have a strong taste of salt in my mouth, to wit, bleah.

But in another hour or so, I will be heading out to the one-week followup. At which, hopefully, they will tell me they can take off both bandages and splints. I will be asking them as well if:

  • I can return to normal sleeping arrangements yet
  • I should continue with the saline rinses and if so for how long
  • I can have one more round of pain meds; I used the last Percocet at lunchtime, and that was because the aforementioned Erin warned me I’d want to have that in effect for the splint removal. But I’ve also started feeling small but noticeable little spikes of pain on the end of my nose, enough to certainly remind me that oh hey I have a nose and it also kinda hurts OW, so I think I’ll need one more round of painkillers, yep

Now at least though I’m to the point of being able to work from home. Which gives me something to do. I mean, I like playing Dungeon Boss and Gummy Drop, but it’s better to have actual work to do. 😀 I’ve actually been working over our VPN today–and given that May Day is set to be particularly lively, it’s a very good day to not have to be in downtown Seattle.

More to come after the appointment, and I’ll let y’all know how my breathing improves!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Wee Little Puppet Man)

Addendum to my nose report! If you remember the cartoon Home Movies, you may recall that some of the characters in its cast had a band. And that one of their songs was rather pertinent to my medical experiences this week. I give you:

Also, if you’re a fan of Heather Dale (and if you’re not, I recommend it, as her voice is amazing and I love her fondness for Arthurian mythos but also her song about Sedna), she has a song that’s medically pertinent this week as well:

Sadly, the Internet has failed me in providing a proper gif of Angel from the episode “Smile Time”, when he gets turned into a Muppet version of himself and demonstrates that his nose comes off.

I have also likewise been unable to find a gif of Rimmer from the “Parallel Universe” episode of Red Dwarf, where he’s telling Lister about his date with Lorraine. “Of course, she had an artificial nose. Tastefully done! Quality metal. No rivets.” ;D

(Both of these are of course referenced in Dara’s song “Sad Muppet”! Which I would point you at except Dara doesn’t have a public recording of “Sad Muppet” available yet. But with the chorus SAD MUPPET HAS NO NOSE, it’s arguably the theme song of this week too.)

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Katara Healing)

So yeah! Yesterday morning I went in for that septorhinoplasty I posted about. I’m now on Day 2 of Recovery Week, and so far, everything is going all right.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Path of Wisdom)

For those of you who haven’t already seen me, Dara, or Paul posting about this on social media, last night we found out that our cat George has an aggressive cancer. It is very likely we’ll have to put him down some time in the next couple of weeks. 🙁

This has pretty much blindsided us. George had been in uncertain health this year anyway due to his liver, and has been on medication for that–but this was practically out of the blue and we had almost no warning, except for George acting a trifle weird and uncharacteristically needy on Wednesday night. Yesterday, he wasn’t eating or taking water, and he threw up–with some pink in it.

So Paul took him to the vet last night for an emergency examination. The verdict came back that he’s got an aggressive cancer. His lymph nodes had swollen, and his white blood count was very high.

Kitty’s on a lot of meds right now, his previous liver meds as well as painkillers and anti-nausea meds so that he can actually eat and take water. So he’s kind of logey and slow, but at least right now he is in fact eating.

There is never a good time for your pet to be ill, but this is particularly crappy timing given that I’m having the surgery this coming Monday. While Dara and I will be busy with that, Paul will need to take George in for further followups. So Monday’s going to be a barrel of fun all around. @.@

And I’ll just be hoping the little fuzzmonster makes it through the next week or so. I’d been kind of looking forward to letting him sleep in my lap while I’m recovering. Looks like we’ll both be doing a lot of resting.

Everybody hug your pets and tell them how good they are, okay?

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Covered in Bees)

Y’all may have noticed that I have not yet deleted my LJ. This is because I’m still reviewing the content port from LJ over to Dreamwidth, and it’s taking longer than anticipated. Because:

One: Holy hell, I posted a lot back in the day. Well, I post a lot now, too, only now it’s on Facebook instead of on a blog.

Two: I’m actually also taking the time to tag old posts for purposes of better finding them later. Which means I’m re-reading a bunch of them just to see what the hell I was posting about.

Three: Once I hit the point around 2008 or so when I shifted my home base of posting to my WordPress site, I’ll also need to be deleting a bunch of duplicate posts. Because for a while my posting trajectory looked like this:

WordPress->Dreamwidth simultaneous with WordPress->Livejournal

And then it became:

WordPress->Dreamwidth->Livejournal

Which means that if I had post ABC that went from WordPress out to both Livejournal and Dreamwidth, it could possibly have gotten comments on both LJ and Dreamwidth.

When further means that now that I’ve done an LJ->Dreamwidth content port, then I have some cases of the LJ version of a post and the Dreamwidth version of the post, both of which are now on Dreamwidth, having different sets of comments. This is confusing and I’m not sure if there’s an easy way to fix this, since there’s no way I can really copypasta comments off one post and put them on another.

Anyway, I’m in the middle of March 2004 and this will take a while, and will possibly be something I’m working on while I’m at Norwescon this weekend in between trying to sell books.

But now at least I dug up the old tool LJ-Sec, and I’m using that to delete multiple posts at a time, which is making things go at least a little faster. Just because LJ’s UI for deleting posts IS annoying if you have to do it one at a time. (Note: LJ-Sec only runs on Windows, but I can confirm that it will run on Windows 10 as long as you have version 3.5 of the .NET framework installed.)

In the meantime, I’m seeing a few more folks who’ve dropped off of LJ finding me on Dreamwidth, so if you’re reading me on DW now, hiya! \0/

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (A Star Shines)
I'm getting a few new readers in off my post over on the [community profile] 2017revival community, so to those of you coming in, greetings and welcome!

Usually I post via crossposting from the Wordpress blog on my official author site, but this post in particular is DW-specific, so it's getting posted here only. When I do crossposted content, though, y'all are welcome to comment either here or on the Wordpress site, it's all good!

Speaking of that site, if you want to know more about my books, wander over to angelahighland.com. I actually write under two different names, but all of the books can be found on that site.

Important side note: we're having a windstorm in the Seattle area tonight, so it's possible we may lose power. Since angelahighland.com is hosted on our own servers, any loss of power we have takes my site out as well. Which is entirely why I also have a backup author site at angelahighland.wordpress.com. It's a very bare-bones version of my site, but has all the important data about my books, what they're about, where you can read samples of them, and where you can buy them.

All of which I mention because right now I'm also doing a 99 cent sale on the ebook editions of two books I self-publish, Faerie Blood and Bone Walker. Details about that sale are actually up on the backup site right now due to the frequency of power outages we have here, and specifically because of the weather conditions tonight. You can see that post here. Any questions about that sale, do please let me know!

And most importantly, new folks, do tell me about yourselves, and if you're a creative of any kind, what you write/play/make/etc.!
annathepiper: (On the Moon)
I have taken steps to correct this problem. So if you dropped a comment on an earlier post of mine here on DW, and I never saw it, apologies for that! I should be keeping better track moving forward. :)
annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

Folks, as per my announcement earlier this week, I will be shutting down my LJ as soon as I am done with a thorough review of a content export from there to Dreamwidth. This is likely to happen some time this weekend.

Until that time, since my posts originate on my WordPress site and are crossposted to Dreamwidth, and DW crossposts in turn to LJ, I have set my Dreamwidth settings to disable comments on crossposted content. Moving forward, over the next few days, I encourage you to leave any comments either on the DW version of a post, or come straight over to angelahighland.com to leave comments there.

Likewise, Dara is also taking steps to deprecate her journal. She has posts up about this here (on crimeandtheforcesofevil.com) and here (on Dreamwidth).

I’m sad about having to do this, but less sad than I would have been if LJ were still my only blogging platform. But I’ve had a foot out the door on LJ for years, and the new problematic TOS is pretty much the last straw. If you’re an LJ friend, I encourage you to come on over to Dreamwidth. If you’re not sure if you want to commit to an account there, you can still use your LJ ID to leave comments on posts there!

If you do want to commit to an account there, note also that you can claim any previous OpenIDs as you, as per Dreamwidth’s Help post here. The reason this is useful is because if your LJ username shows up as an OpenID commenter on someone else’s imported posts, you can claim that ID as you, and that comment will then show as your Dreamwidth account instead. This is useful!

And again, if you’re already on Dreamwidth and I don’t have you in my circles there yet, let me know who you are!

Editing to add: Also changing my DW settings so that the footer for the DW version of a post should show up on LJ now.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Katara Healing)

I’ve been talking about this a lot on social media (mostly Facebook), but for the benefit of those of you who follow me via blog/LJ/Dreamwidth, here’s an update on that deviated septum surgery I’m supposed to be having!

What the hell is a deviated septum?

Aside from “the name of my next band” (because Deviated Septum TOTALLY sounds like it ought to be a band name), the septum is the tissue inside your nose that separates one nostril from the other.

When a septum is deviated, this means it’s not straight like it’s supposed to be, and if it’s badly enough off, it can cause problems.

So why is yours deviated?

Probably due to having been hit in the face when I was a kid, long enough ago that I don’t really remember when it happened anymore; I just know that my nose has been crooked most of my life.

What problems has this been causing you?

A number of things that have been going on for as long as I can remember, and which have been getting slowly but steadily more annoying now that I’m getting older, just because tissue does start wearing out as you age. Including:

  • Chronic congestion problems. I take a stupid number of antihistamines on a daily basis (Allegra and Claritin in the morning, and Benadryl at night, as well as Azestaline nasal spray), as well as semi-regular decongestants. Benadryl and Sudafed should not be food groups. I’M JUST SAYIN’.
  • Sinus infections at least once or twice a year.
  • Difficulty breathing through my nose, even when I’m just sitting working on the computer, or in a meeting at work. This is particularly a problem when I’m, say, at the dentist having my teeth cleaned or other work, and they tell me to breathe through my nose while they’re doing that, and I can’t. I have to consciously think to breathe through my nose, and even when I’m doing that, I don’t get enough air. By extension, this means my lips and throat get dehydrated fast during the winter, and I get chronic chapped lips as a result.
  • Snoring problems, which disturb my poor wife, not to mention waking me up at least once a night. This is most noticeable if I wind up lying on my back, but it also repros (hi I’m a software tester, this is how software testers talk) if I lie on my right side–with the added problem that I can hear clicking noises in my nose if I lie on that side. It’s only minimized if I lie on my left side, which means my left shoulder gets too much strain on it when I’m sleeping. Boo. Also, did you know you can make snoring noises while you’re conscious? This is really freggin’ weird. But I can do it!
  • I have recurring pulsatile tinnitus in my right ear which may or may not be a side effect of the chronic congestion; I’ve noticed it subsiding when I’ve recently had decongestants.

So what are you having done to fix this?

On the 24th I’m going in for a procedure called a septorhinoplasty. This is a combination of two different procedures, one to fix my septum, and the other to do any necessary reshaping of the nose to accommodate this. Since my nose is pretty crooked (I was diagnosed at fifty percent deviation of my septum, which has practically closed off my left nostril, FUN), the surgeon has to rearrange my nose as well as fixing the septum. A cartilage graft off my ear may also be involved if necessary to rebuild the septum.

This is going to be an outpatient procedure, and will take about 3-4 hours.

Thankfully, since this is a functional repair of my nose as opposed to just cosmetic work, my insurance is not balking about covering it. (This is the part where I am also very, very grateful that I do in fact have decent health coverage, and this, children, would be why I am holding on to a day job and am not trying to support myself with my writing full time. I don’t sell nearly enough copies of things to cover the costs of all the health situations Dara and I had to deal with in the last ten years!)

What will your recovery time be like?

Comparable to prior recoveries I’ve had to do. I’ll have about a week dedicated to full recovery at home, which will probably about line up with a course of pain meds. A week after, I’ll go in for the first followup appointment, at which point I may or may not be coherent enough to start working from home. I’ll probably be doing that until I’m physically back up to speed and can manage my usual day job commute.

Part of why I’ll have to stay at home will be that I’ll have bandages and splints on my FACE! And I’ll need to minimize any risk of disrupting that, as well as minimizing the risk of infection. I’ll have to spend some time sleeping with my head elevated as well, until the splints can come out of my nose. And there will be lots and lots of saline rinses to help make sure everything in there heals up appropriately.

Given this, my face is probably going to be VERY ALARMING LOOKING for a few weeks. There will be bruises and swelling as well as bandages and splints. I’m going to look like a disaster victim.

Oh WOW. Can we have pictures?

Maybe. I will not be coherent enough for selfies while I’m on a course of Vicodin, but Dara has a phone with a camera, and she knows how to use it. 😉

Since you’re doing another surgery recovery, will you do another Murkworks Movie Suckoff?

Yes. YES I WILL. Current main contenders are likely to be Frankenstein Unbound and Victor Frankenstein, and I have also had The Apple suggested. More recommendations are definitely welcome, although as always, if I’ve already seen it, it is automatically disqualified from a Suckoff. And if it’s been MSTed, chances are very high I’ve already seen it!

On a related note, this will also be conveniently not long after the coming of the new MST3K episodes on Netflix, so oh my yes I will be watching those too. But those won’t be part of the official Suckoff. 😀

And the end result of all this is going to be what?

Hopefully much improved breathing! And hopefully much reduced snoring! I am informed that there’s a chance that this won’t entirely fix everything, but there’s a decent shot at significant improvement, so I’m going for it.

As a side bonus, it might also give me improved breath control on my flutes and whistles. I will be keeping tabs on this once I’m recovered enough that I’m cleared to play wind instruments again (I’ll be asking the surgeon about this, most definitely). Note also that this is a contributing factor to why I’ve taken up the fiddle, just so that I can have a melody instrument in my arsenal that doesn’t involve my nose!

And that’s all pretty much it! Anybody have any other questions, leave ’em in the comments!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Page Turner)

So my Livejournal paid account status expired, and after a few days of mulling about whether I care, I have decided to go ahead and pull the plug on the account. There are a few reasons for this.

One, I don’t get many comments any more on the LJ account. The vast majority of my online interactions are on Facebook and Twitter now.

Two, while I can certainly afford the yearly paid account fee, there are better things I can be putting that money to.

Three, given that I host my own WordPress site on my own server, and I’m already mirroring my posts from there out to Dreamwidth, having an LJ account as well is kind of redundant.

Four, while I know there’s some nervousness out there re: the new LJ user agreement (see the discussion here, for example), this isn’t making me particularly more nervous about LJ being headquartered in Russia than I was before. But that said, I’m still nervous about LJ being headquartered in Russia, in no small part because hi I’m queer, and Russian law is currently heavily anti-queer, so.

For the small number of you who do periodically still answer my posts on LJ, I apologize in advance for the forthcoming inconvenience, and I hope you’ll consider keeping up with me elsewhere. There are a bunch of options for doing so, all of which are on my Contact page, which I will be bringing up to date shortly.

In particular, if you are also on Dreamwidth and/or will be migrating over there yourself in the near future, I am there as annathepiper. Or, you can grab the RSS feed for angelahighland.com and get my posts directly from the source.

I will be deleting my LJ as soon as I finish verifying that my last import of content from LJ to Dreamwidth went as expected.

Questions, comments, please let me know!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Music All Around You)

(This post is a little overdue, as all of this went down a couple of weekends ago, and I didn’t really have the chance to sit down and write this out in full until now! Plus, there was a session to go to as well as questionable mammogram results that, thank all the universe’s powers, turned out to not be a problem after all. So let’s return to this post in progress and get this written up, shall we?)

Y’all may remember that last year in February, I had the distinct pleasure of getting to attend a workshop in Qualicum Beach, at which André Brunet spent a glorious weekend teaching a bunch of us how to play several tunes. Well, we all had such fun doing that last year that our hosts, the Beatons–not to mention André himself–decided we had to do it again.

And when I learned from Joyce Beaton that this was happening, I leapt RIGHT ALL OVER THAT. Because last year’s workshop was a huge influence on my decision to start taking official fiddle lessons! Plus it’s just such great glorious fun to hang out with a house full of musicians for a weekend, learning things and jamming.

Better yet: this year I brought Dara. 😀 Not to mention a whole pile of instruments.

All! The! Instruments!

All! The! Instruments!

(For those keeping score, the instruments in this picture are the General, my guitar; my as of yet unnamed fiddle; Silver, my flute with keys; my carbon fiber and blackwood whistles; and my quartet of carbon fiber flutes, the little D, the G, the A, and the big D.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

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