annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)

The holidays are always a pretty low-key and kind of drawn-out affair at the Murkworks. As happens every year, Housemate Paul went to Virginia to see his family; thus, we held off the house gift exchange until he returned. Mostly, the holidays for Dara and me meant a relaxing vacation that nonetheless also involved working on music (on Dara’s behalf) and working on Bone Walker (on mine).

That said, Paul’s back now and we DID have our house gift exchange! Also on hand for the festivities were longstanding house pal Mimi as well as visiting guest Cygnet. There was tasty handmade chocolate given by Cygnet from a chocolatier she likes! And Meems gave me the third season of Due South, which I still need to get caught up on! (Seriously, you guys, I’m behind on so many things I should be watching.)

BUT! The two biggest coolest things were from Paul and Dara. For Paul’s gift, I present a bit of backstory! Back in 2007, some of y’all may recall, we went to Japan for Worldcon and had ourselves an Awesome Vacation of Awesomeness. One of the things we noticed while we were over there, though, was that Kit Kats in Japan come in approximately eight hundred and thirty-seven flavors. Way, WAY more than you ever see in the States. It got to the point where I kept ducking into corner convenience stores just to see what flavors of Kit Kat they were carrying. Which is, in fact, a Thing there–different stores having different flavors!

So for this year’s gift exchange, Paul gave me a big ol’ gift box from Japan full of different Kit Kat flavors! It’s laid out like an Advent calendar (only, y’know, totally wrong religion and all), with little windows you can punch open to find out what flavor of Kit Kat is inside. The one I tried last night was Citrus Golden Blend and I swear it tasted like an orange creamsicle. SO TASTY. It is probably for the best that these are not available in the States. Because I would be buying ALL OF THEM.

Behold the pics of tasty goodness!

And if that wasn’t awesome enough? Dara TOTALLY warmed my heart with what she had made for me. She got a Faerie Blood cover, printed on really good paper, matted and framed for me. Sniff. <3 And now this lovely, lovely thing is hanging right by the couch where I usually do all my writing! When we do the Bone Walker cover, that’ll be joining it as well! Check it out!

Kendis for Posterity

Kendis for Posterity

What an awesome way to start off 2013!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)

The holidays are always a pretty low-key and kind of drawn-out affair at the Murkworks. As happens every year, Housemate Paul went to Virginia to see his family; thus, we held off the house gift exchange until he returned. Mostly, the holidays for Dara and me meant a relaxing vacation that nonetheless also involved working on music (on Dara’s behalf) and working on Bone Walker (on mine).

That said, Paul’s back now and we DID have our house gift exchange! Also on hand for the festivities were longstanding house pal Mimi as well as visiting guest Cygnet. There was tasty handmade chocolate given by Cygnet from a chocolatier she likes! And Meems gave me the third season of Due South, which I still need to get caught up on! (Seriously, you guys, I’m behind on so many things I should be watching.)

BUT! The two biggest coolest things were from Paul and Dara. For Paul’s gift, I present a bit of backstory! Back in 2007, some of y’all may recall, we went to Japan for Worldcon and had ourselves an Awesome Vacation of Awesomeness. One of the things we noticed while we were over there, though, was that Kit Kats in Japan come in approximately eight hundred and thirty-seven flavors. Way, WAY more than you ever see in the States. It got to the point where I kept ducking into corner convenience stores just to see what flavors of Kit Kat they were carrying. Which is, in fact, a Thing there–different stores having different flavors!

So for this year’s gift exchange, Paul gave me a big ol’ gift box from Japan full of different Kit Kat flavors! It’s laid out like an Advent calendar (only, y’know, totally wrong religion and all), with little windows you can punch open to find out what flavor of Kit Kat is inside. The one I tried last night was Citrus Golden Blend and I swear it tasted like an orange creamsicle. SO TASTY. It is probably for the best that these are not available in the States. Because I would be buying ALL OF THEM.

Behold the pics of tasty goodness!

And if that wasn’t awesome enough? Dara TOTALLY warmed my heart with what she had made for me. She got a Faerie Blood cover, printed on really good paper, matted and framed for me. Sniff. <3 And now this lovely, lovely thing is hanging right by the couch where I usually do all my writing! When we do the Bone Walker cover, that’ll be joining it as well! Check it out!

Kendis for Posterity

Kendis for Posterity

What an awesome way to start off 2013!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)

I’ve got to say, two weeks of just hanging out at home has been one of the nicest vacations I’ve had for a while. It hasn’t been fancy or exciting or expensive, but it sure has been relaxing. The last few times I’ve had this much time at home have been surgery recovery–and by comparison, this has been more like the Longest Weekend Ever. All things considered, an excellent way to round out 2010.

In brief, here’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks:

  • Saw and enjoyed both Tron: Legacy and Tangled. Both were quite pretty, and while T: L had less plot than one might have liked, it actually had more plot and emotional weight to it than the first one did. And I say this as a fan of the first one, which I rewatched during this downtime, too! As for Tangled, I liked it more than I expected it would, given my prior fear that it’d screw up my favorite fairy tale. It was Disney by the numbers, but then, Disney does do awfully catchy numbers.
  • Did Longest Night with userinfosolarbird, in which we did what seems to be becoming my yearly tradition of rewatching The Lord of the Rings. We are sure you’ve noticed by now that the sun did, in fact, come back up.
  • Speaking of Solstice, and Christmas by extension, I didn’t really want much loot this year thanks to having gotten the Awesome Guitar of Awesomeness. But a few lovely bits of loot were had nonetheless! Most notably, Dara gave me a really clever little capo that lets you capo individual strings and therefore simulate different tunings. I also got Peter Jackson’s King Kong on Blu-Ray from userinfomamishka, Matt Smith’s just-concluded series of Doctor Who from userinfospazzkat, a B&N ebook card from userinfojennygriffee, a lovely hardbound copy of a Norwegian graphic novel from userinforavyngyngvar, and the obligatory pile of stocking stuffer candy.
  • The Thursday before Christmas, Dara and I went downtown and spent a lovely afternoon at Ummelina, the spa on 4th. We did their two-person Pacific Rim package, and mmmm relaxing. This was redeeming the gift card I got Dara back in April for her birthday, since we’d decided that “while I am on vacation” was an excellent time to do so. After the spa, I did a lightning-quick raid on the marketboys, catching them JUST as they were closing up shop and surprising them by my arrival. They looked pleased to see me! Or at least pleased to sell me literally last-minute raspberries. ;)
  • Christmas Day itself was fairly quiet. Dara and I went back downtown for the aforementioned viewing of Tangled, and afterwards had Chinese at a place downtown we hadn’t tried before. We didn’t care for the place much, but they were awfully overworked that night so we couldn’t quite hold it against them. And the food, while mediocre, was revived by Dara later for two more meals’ worth of nomming. So it was a win in the end.
  • Have been doing a lot of trying to fill out all the achievements on Plants Vs. Zombies, as well as trying to play through the new levels in Angry Birds. Raise your hand if you’re surprised.
  • The high point of Christmas Day was definitely the Doctor Who Christmas Special, and big kudos to BBC America for having actually broadcast it in a timely fashion and uncut, as I previously posted!
  • Also as previously posted, Dara and I had an almost impromptu totally blottoed viewing of “Spock’s Brain”!
  • Also watched a lot of MST3K as I was seriously in the mood. Bought one of the DVD box sets we hadn’t owned before and watched all of those, as well as The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (PERFECT followup to “Spock’s Brain”) and Hercules Against the Moon Men via YouTube, streamed over the Blu-Ray player. (Which worked amazingly well, I might add, and way better than playing those same videos over any of the computers in the house would have done. Even given that it’s on the exact same network!)
  • Some light reading was done, and way less writing or editing than should have been (read: none to speak of).
  • Caught a cold, which was NOT so fun. But really, it didn’t change much of what I was doing anyway, except while I was shaking it off, I was doing the same things with added blankets, Nyquil, and sneezing. George was very, very happy to occupy my lap the whole time regardless.
  • And last night, we finished off the year with a lovely visit from Jenny as well as userinfollachglin, userinfokathrynt, and their children, for consumption of homemade pizza, some more boozahol and snacks, and playing of Rock Band 3. Jenny stayed overnight with us so she wouldn’t have to drive all the way back to Issaquah with a bunch of drunk New Year’s Eve partiers out on icy roads, and we got up to have tasty breakfast cooked by Paul. A great way to finish off the old year, and start a new one, indeed.

So yeah. Feeling ready and rested if not tanned, and rather looking forward to getting back into the swing of normal things on Monday. Bring it on, 2011!

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)

I’ve got to say, two weeks of just hanging out at home has been one of the nicest vacations I’ve had for a while. It hasn’t been fancy or exciting or expensive, but it sure has been relaxing. The last few times I’ve had this much time at home have been surgery recovery–and by comparison, this has been more like the Longest Weekend Ever. All things considered, an excellent way to round out 2010.

In brief, here’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks:

  • Saw and enjoyed both Tron: Legacy and Tangled. Both were quite pretty, and while T: L had less plot than one might have liked, it actually had more plot and emotional weight to it than the first one did. And I say this as a fan of the first one, which I rewatched during this downtime, too! As for Tangled, I liked it more than I expected it would, given my prior fear that it’d screw up my favorite fairy tale. It was Disney by the numbers, but then, Disney does do awfully catchy numbers.
  • Did Longest Night with userinfosolarbird, in which we did what seems to be becoming my yearly tradition of rewatching The Lord of the Rings. We are sure you’ve noticed by now that the sun did, in fact, come back up.
  • Speaking of Solstice, and Christmas by extension, I didn’t really want much loot this year thanks to having gotten the Awesome Guitar of Awesomeness. But a few lovely bits of loot were had nonetheless! Most notably, Dara gave me a really clever little capo that lets you capo individual strings and therefore simulate different tunings. I also got Peter Jackson’s King Kong on Blu-Ray from userinfomamishka, Matt Smith’s just-concluded series of Doctor Who from userinfospazzkat, a B&N ebook card from userinfojennygriffee, a lovely hardbound copy of a Norwegian graphic novel from userinforavyngyngvar, and the obligatory pile of stocking stuffer candy.
  • The Thursday before Christmas, Dara and I went downtown and spent a lovely afternoon at Ummelina, the spa on 4th. We did their two-person Pacific Rim package, and mmmm relaxing. This was redeeming the gift card I got Dara back in April for her birthday, since we’d decided that “while I am on vacation” was an excellent time to do so. After the spa, I did a lightning-quick raid on the marketboys, catching them JUST as they were closing up shop and surprising them by my arrival. They looked pleased to see me! Or at least pleased to sell me literally last-minute raspberries. ;)
  • Christmas Day itself was fairly quiet. Dara and I went back downtown for the aforementioned viewing of Tangled, and afterwards had Chinese at a place downtown we hadn’t tried before. We didn’t care for the place much, but they were awfully overworked that night so we couldn’t quite hold it against them. And the food, while mediocre, was revived by Dara later for two more meals’ worth of nomming. So it was a win in the end.
  • Have been doing a lot of trying to fill out all the achievements on Plants Vs. Zombies, as well as trying to play through the new levels in Angry Birds. Raise your hand if you’re surprised.
  • The high point of Christmas Day was definitely the Doctor Who Christmas Special, and big kudos to BBC America for having actually broadcast it in a timely fashion and uncut, as I previously posted!
  • Also as previously posted, Dara and I had an almost impromptu totally blottoed viewing of “Spock’s Brain”!
  • Also watched a lot of MST3K as I was seriously in the mood. Bought one of the DVD box sets we hadn’t owned before and watched all of those, as well as The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (PERFECT followup to “Spock’s Brain”) and Hercules Against the Moon Men via YouTube, streamed over the Blu-Ray player. (Which worked amazingly well, I might add, and way better than playing those same videos over any of the computers in the house would have done. Even given that it’s on the exact same network!)
  • Some light reading was done, and way less writing or editing than should have been (read: none to speak of).
  • Caught a cold, which was NOT so fun. But really, it didn’t change much of what I was doing anyway, except while I was shaking it off, I was doing the same things with added blankets, Nyquil, and sneezing. George was very, very happy to occupy my lap the whole time regardless.
  • And last night, we finished off the year with a lovely visit from Jenny as well as userinfollachglin, userinfokathrynt, and their children, for consumption of homemade pizza, some more boozahol and snacks, and playing of Rock Band 3. Jenny stayed overnight with us so she wouldn’t have to drive all the way back to Issaquah with a bunch of drunk New Year’s Eve partiers out on icy roads, and we got up to have tasty breakfast cooked by Paul. A great way to finish off the old year, and start a new one, indeed.

So yeah. Feeling ready and rested if not tanned, and rather looking forward to getting back into the swing of normal things on Monday. Bring it on, 2011!

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Emperor Fabulous)
On this, the longest night of the year, I would now like to take the opportunity to expound upon a topic that's very near and dear to my heart: to wit, the ABSOLUTE AWESOMENESS of my spouse and lifemate, [personal profile] solarbird!

Exactly how awesome is [personal profile] solarbird? Let us count the ways!


  1. She has her very own battlesuit! And she's got a heat ray too. Even if I'm not supposed to tell you about that.
  2. She is an artist!
  3. She's also a sculptor!
  4. She takes excellent photographs!
  5. She is dangerously good at Fake Internet Scrabble, a.k.a. the Lexulous app on Facebook. Playing Lexulous with her is like having to dodge lightning bolts. Made out of PURE HIGH-SCORING AWESOME.
  6. Even birdies love to dance in honor of her Awesomeness!
  7. Her Norwescon newsletters are celebrated in song and story! And I'm not kidding about the song part. Mr. Cranky actually did have a song written about him!
  8. She is an instrument-learning MONSTER. She can play flute. She can play bodhran. She can play mandolin, and in fact, she plays it better than I do, since I gave her the mandolin that used to be mine! And bouzouki? Seriously, people, can I just say how loudly Kohaku roars in her grasp?
  9. Given the slightest opportunity, she would absolutely join me in snogging Kara Thrace of Battlestar Galactica senseless. Because we do love our crazy TV girlfriend Starbuck.
  10. And for that matter, she'd totally share Alan Doyle with me too! Because ogling The Doyle is a multi-woman job, and we are JUST THE WOMEN TO DO IT.
  11. Did I mention the part where she is a self-taught musician? Because I MEAN WHOA AND DAMN, PEOPLE, SHE MADE HER VERY OWN ALBUM!


Join me, Internets, in expounding on her awesomeness!

Because like ogling The Doyle, it takes an entire Internet to sing her praises. Sing with me, people, SING!

Happy Solstice, my love! <3 <3 <3
annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)

As is our custom at the Murkworks, we had our annual Homeless Waifs Thanksgiving Day Turkeyfest, and this time around we had a very respectable turnout of 16 people, including children. Much obliged to userinfomamishka, userinfotechnoshaman, userinfomaellenkleth, userinfodpawtows, userinfoepawtows, userinfoypawtows, userinfocflute, userinfosksouth, userinfofredpdx, and Mimi’s friend Chad who all showed up to make a wonderful evening. Callie brought her stepchildren with her as well and they were charming little tykes and very happy to play with the various toys we had around the living room.

userinfoflashfire has been spending the week with us as well, and we’ve been doing various low-key amusements since he’s had to be on call for work, which means he doesn’t have too much time free. We have, however, had quite a bit of fun attending both the Battlestar Galactica and Harry Potter exhibits downtown; last night, too, we saw the new Harry Potter movie.

Friday afternoon was exhibits day. We wandered downtown and had lunch at the Dick’s not far from Big Fish, as it turned out. It was really kind of weird actually getting that food in a sit-down restaurant. userinfosolarbird was amused by overhearing a nearby child asking another child, “Y’gonna drink that ketchup?”

From there we wandered over to the Seattle center to hit the exhibits. We tried Potter first, only to be told that we wouldn’t get in any earlier than 6:30. So we bought tickets for that time slot and hit the Battlestar exhibit instead.

The BSG exhibit was super-tiny, but what it had rocked. There were several excellent costumes from both the old and new series, an assortment of props, and interesting little snippets of videos spaced around the area. We were happy to see some of Starbuck’s stuff in particular, since Dara and I do miss our crazy TV girlfriend Kara, even now. ;) The big draw for this exhibit though was hands down the two Vipers and the Cylon raider, full size! userinfosolarbird took oodles of pictures. They’ll be going up for viewing soon enough, as soon as she figures out where to put them, I expect (her Flickr account is full).

Since we had time to kill, and since we hadn’t actually explored the Experience Music Project part of the building, we wandered around through the rest of the place as well. That was kind of neat, especially the display about indie music history in Seattle. The huge exhibit on Jimi Hendrix didn’t mean as much to me just because I have no background with his music; plus, I think I was a bit nonplussed by the huge sculpture of instruments in the lobby. I couldn’t help thinking gosh look at all those instruments that aren’t getting played, although they did look cool, I must admit. And apparently, the sculpture is set to play at certain times, though we didn’t catch that part.

userinfosolarbird, userinfospazzkat, and userinfoflashfire also wandered through the Science Fiction Museum. I’d been in there before so opted not to look at that part; I wanted to check the swag shops and get me a Battlestar shirt, and also just see what else they had for sale. All in all a good way to kill time.

The Potter exhibit was doing mad crazy business, as you might expect on a holiday weekend, the first weekend following the opening of a Potter movie as well. It too was smallish, although bigger than the BSG exhibit. And unlike with the BSG exhibit, pictures were not allowed.

There were a whole lot of lovely costumes from the various movies: school uniforms and casual clothes for Harry, Hermione, and Ron; various teachers’ robes; Quidditch uniforms; and a lot of the Yule finery from Goblet of Fire. Those were neat, but I liked the set pieces better, such as the furniture from the Gryffindor dorms, Hagrid’s hut, and the big wardrobe and giant jack in the box from Prisoner of Azkaban. And there were props galore, including a Gryffindor notice board, a whole heck of a lot of Quidditch-themed props, and more. Big, big props though for the full-size figures of Buckbeak the hippogryph and a couple of the centaurs.

This of course leads nicely into talking about the movie. We did see Deathly Hallows last night, and since I never did get around to reading Book 7, now we’re getting into stretches of the story that are actually new to me (modulo the big best-known spoilers, which I am aware of at this point, yes). It was quite a bit different dealing with Harry, Hermione, and Ron outside the context of Hogwarts, and I rather liked that, even if the pacing of the movie could have used a bit of tweaking. Three words: too. Much. Camping.

(Paul in fact turned to us after the credits started rolling and said, “OH NO JOEL! CAMPING!”)

Dara noted and I agree with her that this is the first time that Voldemort and his followers really seem like a serious threat. The action scenes were certainly awesome, and I quite liked what we saw of the Malfoys and Bellatrix LeStrange. I must admit though that every time I see Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort I keep thinking “SAD MUPPET HAS NO NOSE!”

One more day of vacation tomorrow. We’re going to wander around Pike Place (and I am likely to do a fruit run with my marketboys), and then amble in the direction of I Heart for serious sushi goodness to send James home again on a tasty note.

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)

As is our custom at the Murkworks, we had our annual Homeless Waifs Thanksgiving Day Turkeyfest, and this time around we had a very respectable turnout of 16 people, including children. Much obliged to userinfomamishka, userinfotechnoshaman, userinfomaellenkleth, userinfodpawtows, userinfoepawtows, userinfoypawtows, userinfocflute, userinfosksouth, userinfofredpdx, and Mimi’s friend Chad who all showed up to make a wonderful evening. Callie brought her stepchildren with her as well and they were charming little tykes and very happy to play with the various toys we had around the living room.

userinfoflashfire has been spending the week with us as well, and we’ve been doing various low-key amusements since he’s had to be on call for work, which means he doesn’t have too much time free. We have, however, had quite a bit of fun attending both the Battlestar Galactica and Harry Potter exhibits downtown; last night, too, we saw the new Harry Potter movie.

Friday afternoon was exhibits day. We wandered downtown and had lunch at the Dick’s not far from Big Fish, as it turned out. It was really kind of weird actually getting that food in a sit-down restaurant. userinfosolarbird was amused by overhearing a nearby child asking another child, “Y’gonna drink that ketchup?”

From there we wandered over to the Seattle center to hit the exhibits. We tried Potter first, only to be told that we wouldn’t get in any earlier than 6:30. So we bought tickets for that time slot and hit the Battlestar exhibit instead.

The BSG exhibit was super-tiny, but what it had rocked. There were several excellent costumes from both the old and new series, an assortment of props, and interesting little snippets of videos spaced around the area. We were happy to see some of Starbuck’s stuff in particular, since Dara and I do miss our crazy TV girlfriend Kara, even now. ;) The big draw for this exhibit though was hands down the two Vipers and the Cylon raider, full size! userinfosolarbird took oodles of pictures. They’ll be going up for viewing soon enough, as soon as she figures out where to put them, I expect (her Flickr account is full).

Since we had time to kill, and since we hadn’t actually explored the Experience Music Project part of the building, we wandered around through the rest of the place as well. That was kind of neat, especially the display about indie music history in Seattle. The huge exhibit on Jimi Hendrix didn’t mean as much to me just because I have no background with his music; plus, I think I was a bit nonplussed by the huge sculpture of instruments in the lobby. I couldn’t help thinking gosh look at all those instruments that aren’t getting played, although they did look cool, I must admit. And apparently, the sculpture is set to play at certain times, though we didn’t catch that part.

userinfosolarbird, userinfospazzkat, and userinfoflashfire also wandered through the Science Fiction Museum. I’d been in there before so opted not to look at that part; I wanted to check the swag shops and get me a Battlestar shirt, and also just see what else they had for sale. All in all a good way to kill time.

The Potter exhibit was doing mad crazy business, as you might expect on a holiday weekend, the first weekend following the opening of a Potter movie as well. It too was smallish, although bigger than the BSG exhibit. And unlike with the BSG exhibit, pictures were not allowed.

There were a whole lot of lovely costumes from the various movies: school uniforms and casual clothes for Harry, Hermione, and Ron; various teachers’ robes; Quidditch uniforms; and a lot of the Yule finery from Goblet of Fire. Those were neat, but I liked the set pieces better, such as the furniture from the Gryffindor dorms, Hagrid’s hut, and the big wardrobe and giant jack in the box from Prisoner of Azkaban. And there were props galore, including a Gryffindor notice board, a whole heck of a lot of Quidditch-themed props, and more. Big, big props though for the full-size figures of Buckbeak the hippogryph and a couple of the centaurs.

This of course leads nicely into talking about the movie. We did see Deathly Hallows last night, and since I never did get around to reading Book 7, now we’re getting into stretches of the story that are actually new to me (modulo the big best-known spoilers, which I am aware of at this point, yes). It was quite a bit different dealing with Harry, Hermione, and Ron outside the context of Hogwarts, and I rather liked that, even if the pacing of the movie could have used a bit of tweaking. Three words: too. Much. Camping.

(Paul in fact turned to us after the credits started rolling and said, “OH NO JOEL! CAMPING!”)

Dara noted and I agree with her that this is the first time that Voldemort and his followers really seem like a serious threat. The action scenes were certainly awesome, and I quite liked what we saw of the Malfoys and Bellatrix LeStrange. I must admit though that every time I see Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort I keep thinking “SAD MUPPET HAS NO NOSE!”

One more day of vacation tomorrow. We’re going to wander around Pike Place (and I am likely to do a fruit run with my marketboys), and then amble in the direction of I Heart for serious sushi goodness to send James home again on a tasty note.

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)

I’m coming off a nice long vacation, thanks to my workplace having given the entire lot of us the week of Christmas off. This was as the cool kids say AWESOME, given that it meant that userinfosolarbird and I were able to have Longest Night without me having to take an extra day off for that. And that was a nice way indeed to fire off a relaxing break.

The weekend of the Solstice was pretty much given over to, aside from a special Solstice Murkjam (more on this in another post), a mighty rewatching of the entire extended edition Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are few movies I can happily watch over and over again, but these? Absolutely. Especially when Dara starts asking me questions about Middle-Earth lore and we get to Tolkiengeek. <3 Plus, this time around I started finally watching a lot of the copious extras in all three sets of discs, which I had never done despite owning these things for years now. I'm sure you all know by now, but yeah, lots of lovely stuff there and I've only barely scratched the surface of it all.

Did a lot of catchup of medical appointments during the week, and the highlight of that was getting to touch bases with both my endocs and say "by the way, I'm working on seriously trying to lose weight, just so you all know". In particular, wanted to check with the thyroid endoc to make sure I coordinate with him about how to reduce my T4 and T3 dosage as I drop pounds. I've already had to start tweaking my intake since I've dropped six pounds or so.

I dropped in on userinfokathrynt to say hi in between some of those aforementioned medical appointments, and was treated to tea and a cookie and her delightful offspring informing us, when asked where her dump truck was, “it could be ANYWHERE!” Lillian continues to impress me with her smarts. This kid is going to be scary when she gets older. Hell, she’s kind of scary now!

Christmas itself was pleasantly low-key and featured first going out with userinfomamishka to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Picoreview: big silly fun if you can buy that this was totally a fluffy, alternate-universe version of Holmes and Watson that didn’t bear too much resemblance to the canon versions. I did like many get a kick out of the chemistry between Holmes and Watson, and felt that poor Mary was sadly underused as a character, and that the actress playing Irene wasn’t quite up to the task of her own character’s awesomeness. But really, the thing I liked the most about the movie? The music. Especially the jigs during the action scenes and the take of “Rocky Road to Dublin”. I may have to buy the soundtrack on the strength of that alone.

Christmas evening, userinfomamishka, userinfodarthhellokitty, and userinfoking_chiron all had dinner with us at the Murk and then we all watched the new Doctor Who, “The End of Time, Part 1″. Most definitely more on this in another post. There are rumblings of another group watch of Part 2 to come.

I closed out this past weekend with going, finally, with Dara to see 2012 before it finally vanishes out of the local theaters. We wound up having to catch it at the Alderwood Mall cinema, which was really kinda crazytalk since the place was swarming with after-Christmas shoppers and getting from our parking spot to the theater was a nerve-wracking exercise in dodging oncoming traffic. But we did manage to get there on time, and once we were actually settled in, despite being too close to the screen for comfort, we had a delightful time. I’m sure many of you already know this by now too, but yeah, this movie was awesomely bad. We’re talking epic levels of MSTable disaster pr0n, which is pretty much exactly what we were there for. Mutating neutrinos, baby!

Didn’t get a damn bit of writing or reading done, but on the whole, I didn’t really mind. I’ve been catching up on fixing broken stuff on this web site instead, and that sits well with me, since the long-undone tasks there were annoying me, and I found fixing those relaxing. I assure you all though that more writing and reading will be coming with the New Year.

And oh yes: with userinfospazzkat coming home from Virginia on Sunday, we had our little house gift exchange. My nifty l00t: one box of Ninth Doctor DVDs (man, I do love Nine and Rose, I must say), one lovely tin of bath bombs from LUSH, one $50 Barnes and Noble gift card which I promptly spent on five new ebooks, and last but not least, this, which is pretty much the Best Possible Christmas Ornament to Give to Anna, Ever:

Indy Ornament

Carefully, Indy

There’s a button on it that plays the Raiders March when you press it. userinfospazzkat knows me very, very well. <3

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Great Amurkian Novel 2)

I’m coming off a nice long vacation, thanks to my workplace having given the entire lot of us the week of Christmas off. This was as the cool kids say AWESOME, given that it meant that userinfosolarbird and I were able to have Longest Night without me having to take an extra day off for that. And that was a nice way indeed to fire off a relaxing break.

The weekend of the Solstice was pretty much given over to, aside from a special Solstice Murkjam (more on this in another post), a mighty rewatching of the entire extended edition Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are few movies I can happily watch over and over again, but these? Absolutely. Especially when Dara starts asking me questions about Middle-Earth lore and we get to Tolkiengeek. <3 Plus, this time around I started finally watching a lot of the copious extras in all three sets of discs, which I had never done despite owning these things for years now. I'm sure you all know by now, but yeah, lots of lovely stuff there and I've only barely scratched the surface of it all.

Did a lot of catchup of medical appointments during the week, and the highlight of that was getting to touch bases with both my endocs and say "by the way, I'm working on seriously trying to lose weight, just so you all know". In particular, wanted to check with the thyroid endoc to make sure I coordinate with him about how to reduce my T4 and T3 dosage as I drop pounds. I've already had to start tweaking my intake since I've dropped six pounds or so.

I dropped in on userinfokathrynt to say hi in between some of those aforementioned medical appointments, and was treated to tea and a cookie and her delightful offspring informing us, when asked where her dump truck was, “it could be ANYWHERE!” Lillian continues to impress me with her smarts. This kid is going to be scary when she gets older. Hell, she’s kind of scary now!

Christmas itself was pleasantly low-key and featured first going out with userinfomamishka to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Picoreview: big silly fun if you can buy that this was totally a fluffy, alternate-universe version of Holmes and Watson that didn’t bear too much resemblance to the canon versions. I did like many get a kick out of the chemistry between Holmes and Watson, and felt that poor Mary was sadly underused as a character, and that the actress playing Irene wasn’t quite up to the task of her own character’s awesomeness. But really, the thing I liked the most about the movie? The music. Especially the jigs during the action scenes and the take of “Rocky Road to Dublin”. I may have to buy the soundtrack on the strength of that alone.

Christmas evening, userinfomamishka, userinfodarthhellokitty, and userinfoking_chiron all had dinner with us at the Murk and then we all watched the new Doctor Who, “The End of Time, Part 1″. Most definitely more on this in another post. There are rumblings of another group watch of Part 2 to come.

I closed out this past weekend with going, finally, with Dara to see 2012 before it finally vanishes out of the local theaters. We wound up having to catch it at the Alderwood Mall cinema, which was really kinda crazytalk since the place was swarming with after-Christmas shoppers and getting from our parking spot to the theater was a nerve-wracking exercise in dodging oncoming traffic. But we did manage to get there on time, and once we were actually settled in, despite being too close to the screen for comfort, we had a delightful time. I’m sure many of you already know this by now too, but yeah, this movie was awesomely bad. We’re talking epic levels of MSTable disaster pr0n, which is pretty much exactly what we were there for. Mutating neutrinos, baby!

Didn’t get a damn bit of writing or reading done, but on the whole, I didn’t really mind. I’ve been catching up on fixing broken stuff on this web site instead, and that sits well with me, since the long-undone tasks there were annoying me, and I found fixing those relaxing. I assure you all though that more writing and reading will be coming with the New Year.

And oh yes: with userinfospazzkat coming home from Virginia on Sunday, we had our little house gift exchange. My nifty l00t: one box of Ninth Doctor DVDs (man, I do love Nine and Rose, I must say), one lovely tin of bath bombs from LUSH, one $50 Barnes and Noble gift card which I promptly spent on five new ebooks, and last but not least, this, which is pretty much the Best Possible Christmas Ornament to Give to Anna, Ever:

Indy Ornament

Carefully, Indy

There’s a button on it that plays the Raiders March when you press it. userinfospazzkat knows me very, very well. <3

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Default)
Longest Night has started here at the Murkworks, and it'll just be me and [livejournal.com profile] solarbird tonight, pretty much. Friends came by this afternoon to say hi and drop off a few small gifts, much appreciated, although they had to go ahead and scamper off for shelter ahead of the muck we've had rolling up from the south.

I expect tonight to be fairly low-key. Unless the wind does actually pick up and we lose power, in which case Dara and I will be hanging out in the living room by the gas fireplace, possibly playing instruments. Until then, though, it'll be a lot of just peering out the window every so often to see how the snow is progressing.

Last night we watched some old Star Trek in honor of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, and in particular, the first season TOS episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" Nurse Chapel did have an unfortunate habit of falling in love with guys with brains like computers, didn't she?

Tonight, I may have to break out 3:10 to Yuma. Mr. Bale and Mr. Crowe can do their part to help keep me awake.

Happy longest night of the year to you all, and here's to the sun coming back tomorrow morning in so much as it can with Snowpocalypse Round 2 upon us!
annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)
So aside from that whole wave of distraction on Saturday involving my favorite Time Lord, highly enjoyable stuff did actually happen over the holiday weekend.

Friday afternoon, [livejournal.com profile] solarbird and I went down to Tacoma for the Tall Ships festival therein, and specifically, the Tricky Pixie show being held. Lots of fun, that; it was very cool, as I mentioned in a previous post, to see actual tall ships sailing along the water and in interesting contrast to supersonic planes in the sky. Cooler still was watching the Tricky Pixie show, which had the liveliest crowd of any of the performers there. Dara joined in on the chorus for the final song, the Lost Girls Pirate Academy alma mater. Very fun.

It is also highly worth mentioning that [livejournal.com profile] stealthcello, one third of Tricky Pixie, wrote a lovely new song about the ghost of a dryad clinging to her dead tree which has been used for the mast of a sailing ship. Highly appropriate song for the setting of the show and very wistful and sad as well.

Also, I am still coveting her guitar. Or else [livejournal.com profile] s00j's guitar, I'm not sure which yet, because Sooj's is a loverly shade of green. Though Betsy explained to Dara and me after that she's actually swapped out her previous black guitar for a wine-colored one she's named Sangria, which is the instrument she wrote the aforementioned song on. I'm swooning at the thought.

Dara and I hung out for a bit post-show and yakked with Betsy a bit, and Dara (mostly Dara) and I yakked with Alec (that's Alexander James Adams to the rest of you, another third of Tricky Pixie). My main contribution to that conversation was a sheepish confession that horses intimidate me, which of course led to Dara telling the story of how I fell off a pony at her behest. Hee.

We decided, though, that next year scratch that, next time they're having it again, which will be 2011, we need to come back to the Tall Ships festival. And actually, y'know, get on some of the tall ships, since they do tours and mock battles and things. And that would be super-cool.

On the way back we stopped in Shoreline to get a few things at the store and also Chinese takeout at Black Pearl. This is worth mentioning mostly because Black Pearl has become full of EPIC FAIL because they are no longer serving the delicious green onion pancakes that were a traditional staple of any order we placed with them. Dara and I were quite sad over this, and Dara learned that apparently making them is quite expensive for them, and hardly anybody ever orders them anyway. Hopefully Dara can find a tasty recipe to stand in for this loss.

Friday evening, of course, went to fireworks. As we did last year, we only had to go down the street a little ways, look right, and watch the show firing off over the lake. This year, we stayed out a little longer as well so we could also get a look at the Lake Forest Park show. Off in the distance to the south, we could even see the top of the Lake Union show... and at the very farthest opposite end of the lake, as far south as I could see, I saw teeny tiny flashes firing off over the skyline. I'm not sure which fireworks show that was, but that was amusing to see too.

Saturday, of course, pretty much went to the Doctor. <3

Sunday was supposed to be me going with Dara to busk at the Lake Forest Park Farmer's Market. But on Saturday afternoon, Rags popped a string--annoying. I'd tuned him earlier, and was rather startled to discover that all six of his strings were down by a half step. But he seemed fine after I tuned, so I played for a while (trying to see in particular if I could transpose "Captain Kidd" down to C, where I think I actually sing it more comfortable) and then went and did other things... until the high E string went PANG, while Rags was just sitting there. Grf.

I had an extra string, but as with all the other times I've had to swap strings, this one needs time to stabilize to its proper note. So I had to skip busking this time around. But at least Dara had an excellent outing and came home with $23.

[livejournal.com profile] mamishka came over Sunday afternoon, though, and we had a fun time watching Eureka and New Amsterdam. She also brought me more of season 3 of X-Files, and it's been delightful reminding myself that OH YEAH at least for the first several seasons, that show really did not suck.

New week to get through now--but on Thursday we'll have folks over for video gaming. On Friday, we will go to the Paramount where Mr. Eddie Izzard will very likely deliver us a heaping helping of Funny. And Sunday is JAM!
annathepiper: (Walk in Wisdom's Path)
Those of you in the PNW who were watching the fireworks at the Space Needle, either on KING-5 or in person, witnessed what I'm talking about: the Epic Fail of the fireworks display tonight. Man, somebody is so very, very fired. I hope they're fired with at least a little ease, though. 'Cause I mean, I can't think of too many things more embarrassing than arranging a big fireworks show for a city's New Year's Eve celebration and having computer failure make it spectacularly fail.

I hear rumors that the mall fireworks in Everett went off without a hitch. [livejournal.com profile] seattle has been snarking on Seattle getting shown up by Everett. ;)

I'm not going to post resolutions--just because the whole concept has begun to give me the heebie-jeebies. One goes back and looks at last year's resolutions only to see how many weren't fulfilled, and that's just asking for a downer on top of a final quarter of a year that's been plenty down-inducing enough.

I'm going to think about goals instead. And not even goals necessarily for all of 2008. I'm going to think in terms of oh, say, January. So here's some January goals I want to hit:

  • Get through the rest of the radiation treatment
  • Begin editing Queen of Souls before February 1
  • Get a query letter out for Lament of the Dove
  • Read five books

That'll do for a start. I think I'll take 2008 much better if I take it a month at a time.

And here's to a lack of Epic Fail for us all. Happy New Year, folks.
annathepiper: (Christmas Yahoo Anna)
This afternoon [livejournal.com profile] solarbird, [livejournal.com profile] risu, and I went out to see Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, an uplifting, perky, cheery way to spend Christmas in a movie theater (aheh). Johnny Depp sings surprisingly well, as does Helena Bonham Carter. Alan Rickman is not bad at all as the bad guy, though he had some issues with some of the notes he was hitting. And I am not at all surprised to learn that Timothy Spall has a long and honorable tradition of playing repugnant sidekick characters. He certainly does it here!

After that we wandered around downtown a bit to see if anywhere was open, since we wanted to have Chinese food. We were shot down until we got back to Kenmore and found that the place down the hill from our house was open for business. They gave me a surprise mug along with the check and wished us a Merry Christmas.

Hope yours has been a good one, all! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
annathepiper: (Christmas Yahoo Anna)
I didn't get to do this last year, so it was quite satisfying to be able to observe Longest Night this year. [livejournal.com profile] solarbird, [livejournal.com profile] risu, and I got into our stockings and opened a present or two, though we're saving the rest for when [livejournal.com profile] spazzkat gets back from Virginia. For now, though: big shoutout of thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lyonesse for the awesome, awesome Elvis pub glasses she gave me (they have reproductions of Elvis movie posters on the side), and to [livejournal.com profile] mamishka for a DVD set of the last several episodes of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, which I'm anxious to watch all the way through thanks to my days as a Battle of the Planets fangirl when I was a kid. Hee.

After gifts, we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] technoshaman for the duration of the evening, as well as visited briefly by former tenant Danny and a pal of his.

We had planned to spend most of the night installing new RAM in newmoon so that we could install the Livejournal code base on it--all part of the master plan of making our own journaling site. (We're not bailing off LJ yet, but we'd like to have our own site as a backup.) But Dara discovered that the RAM she'd purchased is not the correct stuff for newmoon, which torched that entire idea.

So instead, at least as long as Danny and Ryan were visiting, a bit of Guitar Hero happened and a lot of conversation. We got in an episode of Babylon 5 as well--the season 3 one where the station secedes from Earth Alliance. I had quite forgotten how intense and cool that episode was. I'll have to make an effort to go back and re-watch all the B5 one of these days.

Then Dara played several of her flute pieces for Glenn and nudged me to get out the guitar. I was getting quite sleepy by this time; it was after midnight at that point. So I had to break out the big guns--the Great Big DVD. ;)

Part of this was of course the desire to introduce Glenn to GBS, since he hasn't seen them perform yet. Part of it was however that playing my guitar along with live GBS is an excellent way to stay awake! After the entire Great Big DVD concert and certain selections off Courage & Patience & Grit, I had well and thoroughly hit my second wind. And much to my satisfaction, Glenn expressed his approval of the earth-rumbling chord my B'ys put out at the end of "General Taylor".

After that Dara noodled around on the little mandolin a bit, but both her hands and mine were starting to hurt, so we had to put the instruments aside. We shifted over to watching Eddie Izzard's Dress to Kill, which is always giggleworthy. And we finished up with watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which carried us around to 7:55am and sunrise.

Dara and I did our circuit of the house to visit all the windows with our candles, and after thanking Glenn for joining us, we fell relievedly into bed. And got up, to my general surprise, around 1pm--earlier than I'd expected! We've been fairly limp with sleepiness for the duration of the afternoon, but it's been good to just hang out and do computer work, and watch old episodes of MST3K too.

Happy Solstice, all! And happy holiday weekend, rolling clear on over into Tuesday. To those of you who are traveling to visit friends and loved ones, safe journeys to you all!
annathepiper: (Uhura Squee)
I got up this morning to find a colorful box with a bow on it and a note telling me "OPEN NOW!"

I did, and inside there was a printed card with a picture of a shiny black Mac laptop on it and a hand-drawn pic of a computer screen with a web page on it, and an arrow pointing at the Buy button and instructions telling me to "click Buy now". Also found were contributions from [livejournal.com profile] spazzkat and my beloved [livejournal.com profile] solarbird to the Buy Me a Laptop Fund, enough to finish off the base price that I need to scarf me a box via the Times Employee Purchase page on Apple.com. :D

I will be buying this the instant I get to work. YEEHA! If delivery is suitably speedy, I should have it in time for Longest Night and can stay up playing with a shiny new Macarific computer!

ETA 8:05am: Needless to say, [livejournal.com profile] spazzkat and [livejournal.com profile] solarbird are made entirely of Awesome, and are off the hook for buying me anything else at all for the holidays this year. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. :D
annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)
Apparently I'm not the only one seeing coyotes around here lately. I'm flabbergasted. I mean, I can kind of buy seeing coyotes in Kenmore; we're right near the lake and there's oodles of cover all over this hill (especially down along the Burke Gilman). But coyotes in Seattle proper? That's a little more bogglesome. It shouldn't be after last year's bear hunt in the University District--but still.

Continuing the wildlife theme of the week, I must also note that [livejournal.com profile] spazzkat, [livejournal.com profile] solarbird, and I had a very pleasant picnic lunch down by the lake--where we did in fact see a big ol' eagle, as plain as day, sitting up high on a tree overlooking the lake. Then we went down to Lake Forest Park Town Centre and had ice cream. And tonight we will go down to the corner of our neighborhood street, where we should have an excellent view of the fireworks that Kenmore will be firing off for the first time. And we will of course have barbecue. 'Cause ya gotta. It's a rule.

I must also note that my boss is entirely made of coolness, for letting me take yesterday as a work-from-home due to doctor's appointments, and extra special coolness points must be awarded to [livejournal.com profile] kathrynt and her baby Lillian for keeping me company through just about all of the afternoon. We had a fabulous lunch at the Kozy Corner in Bothell, and then since we were running late, Q ran me over to my second appointment. And waited there with me, with baby, for three hours. She is a queen among women, and the least I could do for her was buy her a tasty snack at Caffe Ladro on the way home.

Bald eagles on a sunny 4th of July: how patriotic can you get? ;) Happy Fourth, all my fellow Murkins, and may your evenings be full of tasty grilled things of your choice, and spectacular things going boom.

Miles since the 22nd: 35.9
Miles out of Hobbiton: 2143.7
Miles out of Isengard: 350.7
Miles to Minas Tirith: 435.3

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Anna the Piper

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