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.

annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)

I owe Elizabeth Harmon a big ol’ public apology–because I had her booked on Boosting the Signal LAST WEEK, not THIS WEEK, and I completely flipped her date with Ruth Casie. So I missed the window to tell you all about the giveaway Elizabeth was running for her latest novella release! AUGH! Sorry Elizabeth! Also apologies to Ruth, since I posted her too early as well.

BUT ANYWAY. Elizabeth has been here before, with Turning It On and Getting It Back. Her latest release is in this same series: the novella Heating It Up.

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Heating It Up

Heating It Up

From Elizabeth:

It’s great to be back on Boosting The Signal, to talk about Heating It Up: A Red Hot Russians Novella, the newest release in my Red Hot Russians series.

Heating It Up began with its setting, Amity Bay, a soon to be shuttered research station in Antarctica. I’ve always found the icy continent fascinating, but I’d never read a romance set there. I wanted to contrast the harsh, isolated surroundings, with the cozy warmth of a small town romance, and also add an off-beat vibe, similar to one of my favorite 1990s TV series, Northern Exposure.

Heating It Up’s Red Hot Russian hero is rugged Alexei Zaikov, Amity Bay’s station manager. Heroine Nora Bradford is a sophisticated American fish out of water who wants to spend the long dark Antarctic winter alone and grieve the devastating losses of her fiance, and career.

But Nora has a secret, one that could devastate Alexei and doom their romance. Read on, as Nora tells her story.

Everyone has that little thing that makes them crazy. For my mother, it was swearing. All I had to do to set her off was drop the f-word into a conversation. Not that went looking for ways to antagonize her. I’ve always been a peaceful person. Miss Go Along to Get Along, who rarely make waves.

Except for that once time when I did. But more about that later.

My name is Nora Bradford and I’m 26. Most people would consider that young, but not me. The last two years have felt like ten. That’s what happens when you have a perfect, beautiful life all planned out, and then one day, everything changes.

That one day was a Friday, and I was at work, at the San Francisco offices of Quinn & Associates, one of the worlds’ top firms specializing in sustainable architecture. After finishing my master’s in architecture at Stanford, I was an associate working on a plum project. I was engaged to Blake, the love of my life, who’d gone down to Belize with friends for a weekend diving trip. Life was perfect until that phone call, telling me Blake had drowned.

Just like that, my perfect, beautiful life was gone.

All that was left was my work, designing a sustainable luxury guesthouse to replace an obsolete Antarctic research station. Blake had been especially excited about this project and pouring everything I had into Glacier Ridge Lodge was a way to hold onto him. My boss Herbert Quinn, raved about my work, and told me that when the project was finished, he’d promote me to partner.

Near the end of construction, our firm traveled down to Antarctica. The beautiful building was everything I’d imagined. Antarctica, utterly breathtaking. There was even a hunky, rugged station manager, who asked me out. And though I still couldn’t picture myself with anyone besides Blake, there was something about Alexei Zaikov that drew me.

But I kept my distance. After all, I was the lead designer on the building that was going to put him, and everyone else living at the broken-down Amity Bay station, out of work. Not a good foundation for a relationship.

And within my firm, I had a growing sense something wasn’t right. My colleague Mark Jenkins, whose contributions to the project had been minimal, suddenly became the go-to guy, while I was relegated to making coffee. I’d also become too emotionally attached to the lodge, which had become my memorial for Blake and the beautiful life we would have shared. But no matter how much you want to hang onto the past, it’s gone.

Which brings me back to that thing which sets me off everytime, and any woman working in a male-dominated field knows exactly what I mean: mansplaining.

Three nights before we were to leave Antarctica, Herbert announced that Quinn & Associates’ newest partner was Mark Jenkins, not me. When I confronted Herbert, he told me that because I was young and lacked “professional authority,” it was somehow okay to take what he’d promised me, and give it to someone else who’d done less, but deserved it more, thanks to his all-important “professional authority.”

Profound grief and too much New Zealand Shiraz can really mess with your judgement. Herbert’s mansplain triggered an ugly tirade that would have horrified my poor mother. He survived it, but my career didn’t. Unemployed and alone, there was only one place I wanted to be. It took some devious finagling, but I found a way to stay behind at the now-deserted Glacier Ridge Lodge, the only place where life still makes sense.

Spending the winter alone in Antarctica…what could possibly go wrong?

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Buy the Book: Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Goodreads

Follow the Author On: Official Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | BookLikes | Amazon Author Page

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Castle and Beckett and Book)

It’s been a while since I had a Boosting the Signal post to share with y’all! But my Here Be Magic compatriot Ruth A. Casie approached me about sending me a piece, and my door’s always open for my HBM crowd. Ruth’s been here before, y’all may recall, with The Guardian’s Witch. Now she’s back with another historical romance in the same series, and another character interview! And I’ll say about this one what I did about the previous: I do rather like that cover! Also, I do really rather like the NPR-ish flavor of this piece. Check it out.

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The Highlander's English Woman

The Highlander’s English Woman

The Inside Scoop
Interview with Lord Bryce Mitchell

Welcome to The Inside Scoop, Radio Transcripts of Guest Interviews. My name is Justin Case, host and executive producer of The Inside Scoop, where we interview the characters in the stories created by author Ruth A. Casie.

This was the fourth interview of characters in The Stelton Legacy series and took place in front of a live audience. I ask everyone to sit back and imagine sitting in a comfortable chair and talking with my guests. I hope my interview is informative and thought provoking and that you enjoy reading them as much as I had conducting them.

If these interviews spur questions of your own, contact me via Ms. Casie at Ruth@RuthACasie.com. She and I will work together to get you answers.

Previously Recorded

Justin Case: Thank you for joining me today at The Inside Scoop. I’m your host and moderator, Justin Case. We’re about to interview Lord Bryce Mitchell of Ravencroft, the neighboring estate to the Reynolds family of Glen Kirk Castle. To clarify, both domains are on the English side of the Scottish border. Through Lord Bryce’s service to the king, he is also a close friend of Lord Alex Stelton, the guardian of Glen Kirk Castle.

Lord Bryce makes appearances in The Guardian’s Witch, The Maxwell Ghost and The Highlander’s English Woman. You can see he’s an integral part of the Stelton Legacy story. Ah, I see him approaching now.

You can’t miss the man, always dressed in black, holding his signature black leather gloves. He has a shot of black hair and a well-trimmed beard. He walks with a commanding air that I suspect has served him well in court. He certainly looks the part of the black knight. Intimidation has served him well. He’s been battled trained through his youth alongside his neighbor and close friend, Richard Reynolds and cheered on by Richard’s sister, Laura.

(Sound of footsteps approaching)

Justin Case: Good afternoon, my Lord. I’m so glad you could join us today.

Lord Bryce: Case. (A slight nod of acceptance as he sits) Many thanks for the invitation. (He looks at the tankard by his chair)

Justin Case: I secured it from Glen Kirk Castle. (He motions toward the tankard) I understand it’s your favorite brew.

Lord Bryce: (A smile breaks his set expression) Glen Kirk is renowned for its fine ale. It’s even prized by the king.

Justin Case: I understand the Mitchell and Reynolds families have been neighbors for quite some time.

Lord Bryce: My family has held Ravencroft and the Reynolds have held Glen Kirk Castle for centuries.

Justin Case: (Flipping through notes) My sources tell me you have been fond of Lady Laura Reynolds for some time.

Lord Bryce: (His steely eyes take on a dangerous glint. Justin Case mops his brow.) It was a political strategy, I assure you. It’s the thirteenth century. Combining our houses would have ensured the safety and longevity of the castle, besides I’m sure it would please the king to have an Englishman hold the castle and not a Scottish sympathizer.

Justin Case: I understand Laura was called away to Scotland before her parents discussed your proposal with her.

Lord Bryce: Laura went with the Scottish bastard Jamie Maxwell Collins to Caerlaverock Castle to visit with her distant relations. Lord Maxwell saw an opportunity to secure Glen Kirk Castle for his family. If his nephew Jamie married Laura it would further tighten the Maxwell stronghold on both sides of the border.

Justin Case: You grew up and trained with Jamie. He was fostered to the Lord at Glen Kirk. He was—

Lord Bryce: (Bending menacingly forward toward Justin Case) I wouldn’t go there if I were you. Jamie was a filthy Scot who didn’t deserve the air he breathed.

Justin Case: I understand m’lord. That doesn’t change the fact that he married Lady Laura and that their marriage was sanctioned by the King of England himself. Not an easy thing for a Scot in the thirteenth century.

Lord Bryce: Not marrying into the family was a relief. You know the women are all witches—every last one of them. (Bryce glares at Justin Case) And you know what they do to witches.

Justin Case: Lord Bryce, surely you don’t mean—

Lord Bryce: I certainly do. As well as everyone who harbors and supports them no matter who they are or what position they hold. Do you support the arcane arts? (Bryce rhythmically slaps his gloves against his thigh)

Justin Case: I mean no disrespect, m’lord. But the healing arts which the Reynolds’ women are known for is not witchcraft.

Lord Bryce: (Stands up) You think that’s all they do? You have a lot to learn. Read the stories. It is all there, and then you tell me they’re not witches.

Justin Case: (Stands up) I will read the stories, sir. And we will meet again to discuss them. Thank you for your time.

(Retreating footsteps are heard as Lord Bryce leaves the studio)

Justin Case: (Turning toward the audience) Thank you for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed learning about Lord Bryce Mitchell and the part he plays in The Stelton Legacy.

Before you leave, I’d like to acknowledge our station and staff at WRAC for their commitment and fortitude to see this project to fruition. Many technologies had to be developed to make this happen and credit must be given where credit is deserved.

General Manager — Norma Leigh Lucid
Studio Manager — Helen Back
Maintenance Supervisors — Earl E. Bird and Ella Vada
Musical Supervisor — Kerry Oki
Electrical Engineers — Flint Sparks and Les Volt
Sound Crew — Mike Rafone and Constance Hum
Traffic Manager — Joy Rider
Legal Advisor — Sara Bellum
Researchers — Paige Turner and Rita Booke
Commissary Director — Jasmine Rice
Security Directors — Barry Cade and Anna Conda
Funded by donors Hy Price and his wonderful wife Lois Price

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Buy the Book: Amazon Kindle | Amazon Print | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Follow the Author On: Official Site | Blog | Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Pinterest | Goodreads | YouTube | Newsletter

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Do the Job)

This past Monday I had my annual mammogram.

This afternoon, Dara alerted me that Evergreen had left me a message on our home answering machine asking me to call them. This is not normal procedure when a mammogram goes well. I got through to them after a couple of tries, and was informed by their staffer that their radiologists want me to come in for an ultrasound of my left side.

Doublechecking my January 2013 posts, I am reminded that this is not the first time I’ve had a questionable mammogram. In 2013, they told me they saw teeny calcifications on the left side, and after they did a biopsy, they told me it was fine.

I am nervous now, four years later, to be informed that they want an ultrasound of that same side. So now I am scheduled to go back in for an ultrasound, on Wednesday of next week, and I get to be nervous about this until then.

I will now be doggedly focusing on trying to be the least amount of nervous I can manage, because goddammit, cancer, I do not have time for your shit. I have writing to do. I have tunes to learn. And I have a fiddle to learn how to play better.

Especially because goddammit I am going to Quebec this summer, for Camp Violon Trad, as I’ve been wanting to do for ages now. Dara and I are beginning a plan for her to meet up with me after the camp is done, for Memoire et Racines, which I’ve been wanting to go back to ever since the brief and awesome time we had there in 2012. We’re discussing the possibility of meeting up with Vicka there, even.

And I have a lot riding on this, you guys. Because not only is Violon Trad run by two of my favorite Quebec musicians–André Brunet and Éric Beaudry, along with their colleague Stéphanie Lépine–this is going to be the 10th anniversary of the camp, which is sure to make it extra epic this year.

Pretty much guaranteeing that it will be epic: ALL FOUR MEMBERS OF LE VENT DU NORD WILL BE GUEST TEACHERS.

Which means, Internets, that I’m going to be at a music camp that will contain André Brunet (from whom I have already had the pleasure of a couple of excellent workshops, now), Éric Beaudry (because BOY HOWDY do I want to spend multiple days learning guitar from this man, YES PLEASE), AND Olivier Demers (who, as y’all may recall, I dubbed the Best Fiddle Player Ever).

I am not remotely ready to tackle playing the fiddle in a full-bore week-long camp like Violon Trad–I’ll be going for the guitar classes, mostly. But I will also be bringing at least some flutes. And now that I actually do own the fiddle I’ve been renting (I bought it because woo! promotion and bonus!), along with a bow that doesn’t suck, I will ALSO be taking that fiddle to try to at least learn SOMETHING.

Because why yes an opportunity to learn tunes from Olivier Demers will make up for how I haven’t seen Le Vent perform in over a year, and I haven’t seen them perform with Olivier for over two years.

I AM DOING THIS AND NO OTHER OUTCOME IS ACCEPTABLE.

Han says NO.

Han says NO.

TAKE THAT, questionable mammogram results. >:|

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Buh?)

The big story in Seattle yesterday was the rollover of a butane tanker, which hit four cars and caused a 7-hour shutdown of I-5. Area natives and long-time residents know: if I-5 gets shut down, traffic around here is completely fucked. And that’s exactly what happened. The Washington State DOT started warning mid-afternoon that drivers should avoid downtown Seattle if at all possible, which of course meant that all the drivers who couldn’t get on the highway were clogging up the side streets.

And a lot of folks were stuck on the highway for multiple hours, too. Long enough that an enterprising taco truck opened for business, which I think is my favorite part of the entire story. ;D

Complicating the matter was that we also got hit with some freakish weather: a brief snowstorm that rolled in just after 3pm. We’re talking thundersnow here, people. There’s even video (see the link) of lightning striking the Space Needle.

Remembering my epic saga of the Worst Commute Ever, which I VERY MUCH DID NOT WANT TO DO AGAIN, I bailed on work around a quarter after 3 and headed home. I hung out at the bus stop at Elliott and Western for about five or ten minutes, thinking that I’d catch a bus to the bus tunnels–and see then whether I should a) try to catch one of my usual busses, a 522 or a 312, or b) get on the light rail to get to the U-district instead.

When I got to the bus stop was about when the thundersnow hit. And while I was waiting, chatting with a couple other folks, we all were VERY startled by thunder and lightning interspersed with the increasingly vigorous mix of snow and ice pellets coming down. Icy slush started building up very quickly on the road.

Thundersnow Slush

Thundersnow Slush

My phone’s OneBusAway app claimed that the next busses were due in a couple of minutes. The app was mistaken. Elliott very quickly turned into a parking long, with a long line of vehicles in the southbound lanes stretching well past Big Fish and the buildings beyond. It became very obvious very quickly that busses were NOT going to reach us in a timely fashion.

So while I wasn’t exactly happy about walking in these conditions, I punted to plan B: hoofing it to the bus tunnels. (I had flirted with the idea of catching a 32 to the U district instead, but given the condition the roads were in, that seemed ill-advised. Also much slower, given that the 32 takes a meandering path through Fremont before it finally reaches the U-district.) Fortunately I had on my Yaktrax, so walking wasn’t really a problem. And I had on my scarf to protect my face, and a heat pack in my pocket. I had my work laptop in the backpack, which meant a heavier than usual load to carry, but eh, could have been worse.

On my way up Denny I passed a #2 bus which was having a very hard time with the slush, and which got stuck for multiple minutes as I watched it. It wasn’t the only bus I saw without snow chains, either. All along 3rd, I saw a long line of busses trying to head north–very slowly. Lots of cars on that street and all the intersecting ones, too. I was frankly stunned that nobody actually ran into anybody else, given how slushy the roads were.

I made it to the bus tunnels just in time to miss an outbound train. (Also, walking through the bus tunnels while wearing Yaktrax? Kinda hard. But I didn’t really want to take them off, given that I wasn’t sure what kind of conditions I’d find on the way home.)

The next train was very crowded, and the driver even told folks trying to get on that he had two more trains queued up behind him. But by then I was already on board and wasn’t about to go anywhere. And really, once I made it onto the train, I was fine. Downtown->U-district by light rail is very fast, only two stops. And once I got off at the U-district station, I found that the thundersnow had not impacted the roads there at all. I walked over to Campus Parkway, and got to the bus stop there pretty much exactly as a 372 was pulling up. SCORE.

I pinged Dara to ask her to pick me up at the bottom of our hill, since our neighborhood roads were also clear, and walking with Yaktrax on and a heavier than usual backpack was tiring and I didn’t want to go up our hill. And the 372 zipped along at a nice steady typical pace, so all in all, it only took me a little longer than usual to get home. I was home well before 6pm.

Other folks–not so much. When I got into work this morning, several coworkers were commiserating on our Slack channels about how long it took them to get home. A couple folks said it took them over four hours. And given that I-5 was closed until around 7pm, Metro and Sound Transit were still absolutely impacted–I saw a tweet that indicated a bunch of busses that normally traveled along I-5 were running over 90 minutes late. So yeah, if I’d had to take the usual 522 or 312, my commute home would have taken a lot longer.

The moral of this story: ALL HAIL LIGHT RAIL.

Any Seattle-area locals want to chime in on how well the commute did or did not treat you?

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Starbuck)

Just a few minutes after Bleeding Cool originally broke the story yesterday, I saw it showing up on my Twitter feed that Richard Hatch had passed away. And for me, it was an immediate punch to the gut.

I’ve posted a lot about my Star Wars fandom, and in particular about my long-abiding love of Han Solo. I have not, however, posted nearly as much about my affection for the original Battlestar Galactica–or how in particular, Apollo as played by Richard Hatch totally was duking it out with Han as to who I was fangirling over harder, back in the early 80’s when I was a tiny young tween.

But it’s true. I like to put into my author bio that I was writing fanfic before I even knew the word. Some of that fanfic was Raiders of the Lost Ark fic–but some of it was Battlestar Galactica. Thinly veiled BSG fic, as I was trying to make up a setting with my own names, but it was totally BSG with the serial numbers scraped off. I no longer retain a copy of that fic, but to this day I have a very clear memory of writing about my own versions of Starbuck and Apollo.

Especially Apollo. Because while Starbuck was the flamboyant one, I always found Apollo more appealing. He was the one who had more of his shit together–or his felgercarb, as the case may be. I was at the exact right age for the romantic angst of his losing his first love interest Serena, and later getting close to Sheba, to send me into flurries of teenaged swooning. Dark-haired soulful brooding romantic pilot hero? Hell yeah, said teenage me, sign me up.

Let us also talk about how my affection for Apollo also led me, in those days, to watch Richard Hatch in the movie Deadman’s Curve, a made-for-TV movie about the history of the singing duo Jan and Dean. It has been ages since I saw that film, but I have a lingering memory of the impact of watching Hatch, as Jan Berry, portraying the man’s struggle to recover from a horrifically debilitating accident.

Later on, though, Hatch came back around to impact my affection for the reboot Battlestar. I’ve written a lot about that in the past, and to be sure, Hatch’s turn as Tom Zarek was amazing. But a great deal can be said as well for how his Apollo influenced Jamie Bamber’s in the reboot–and, in fact, Tor.com has an excellent post up today about that very thing, calling Apollo the moral compass of Battlestar Galactica. Teenage me really only understood that Apollo was dreamy. Grownup me very, very much appreciates Hatch’s pivotal role, so excellently described in that Tor.com post.

The Mary Sue has a lovely tribute post up as well.

I’ve been having the strains of the Battlestar theme echoing in my head off and on ever since the news broke. And really, the entire opening credits.

Not to mention the excellent “Colonial Anthem” version of that theme, from the reboot. I can think of no better tribute music for Captain Apollo’s passing.

Viper squadrons, form up. Present arms. Fire in salute.

RIP, Captain.

So say we all.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

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