Browsing Tag

things that are awesome


In category Simultaneously Exciting and Terrifying

So y’all know how I’ve been talking about going to things like Fiddle Tunes, and the Andre Brunet workshop in Qualicum, and how I’m desperately wanting to go to Camp Violon Trad? And in general kind of being sheepish about it because hi, not a fiddle player?

Well, um, yeah. I might be about to change that.

Because here’s the thing: those wonderful instruction experiences I’ve been having, in which I’ve been able to crash the party and slurp up tunes on my flutes while all the fiddle players are getting tips on technique and such, have been percolating around in my brain. My brain which, I might add, has always been partial to the fiddle. There are reasons Kendis is a fiddle player, after all.

Reasons like how several of my favorite musicians at this point are fiddlers (Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea, Alexander James Adams, the aforementioned Andre, Olivier Demers of Le Vent du Nord, the amazing Lisa Ornstein, Jocelyn Pettit, and of COURSE all the excellent fiddlers in our session group).

Like how some of my very favorite recorded songs in the history of ever are ones where the fiddle just takes me right out at the knees (AJA’s “Faerie Queen” and “Tomorrow We Leave for Battle”, Le Vent du Nord’s “Manteau d’hiver”, De Temps Antan’s “La fee des dents”, and that one sweet piercing moment in the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme over the credits where one long lingering violin chord just shoots right down to my bones).

Like how some of my favorite fictional characters have been violin players. Especially this guy!

Captain Aubrey

Captain Aubrey

And Kili and Fili from The Hobbit, at least the book! (I am sad, SAD I SAY, that that detail was left out of the movies, but what music we did get in the movies was awesome enough that I forgive them that problem.)

And really, fiddle players are all over the goddamn place in fantasy novels. Any fantasy series that involves bards, you’re going to find fiddle players. Urban fantasy, too. Huff and Lackey and de Lint all come immediately to mind as having books that feature bards in prominent roles–and if the protagonists of certain stories are not themselves fiddlers, then somebody they know WILL be.

But also Sherlock Holmes. And Data is worth an honorable mention even though he was never one of my major favorite Star Trek characters–I AM a Trekkie, so he gets to count!

And all of this has finally exploded in my brain with a huge urge to see if I can actually learn how to make noises on a fiddle myself. I have in fact been moved to rent an instrument, and I have now engaged the aforementioned Lisa Ornstein for at least a couple of initial beginner-level lessons. The plan here is going to be, see if I can get used to the physical mechanics of playing the instrument, with the help of an experienced teacher. And, depending on how that goes, then decide if I want to seriously pursue taking it up as a second melody instrument.

Because yeah, I really need the help of an experienced teacher here. Flutes and whistles, no problem, I can play those! Self-taught on the guitar? ON THAT. Sprinkling of mandolin and bouzouki, sure why not!

But the fiddle is its very own strange and wonderful beast, one that fills me with simultaneous awe and dread. Dara found me the perfect GIF to express what goes through my brain when I think of trying to play one without help.

This is About Right, Yep

This is About Right, Yep

Now, though? Now I’ve actually gone to Kenmore Violins (which, as it happened, is run by a gentleman who even lives in our neighborhood), and I’ve rented me a student-grade fiddle.

And I’ve arranged to go see Lisa Ornstein this weekend!

You guys. This is going to be FUN.


About Me

Medical news for me in category Kinda Cool, for once

One of the oddest little details about my medical history is a childhood injury I had to my left ankle that never healed right, and which left me, throughout my adolescence and into my adulthood, with this weird-looking lump on my ankle. I no longer have a clear memory of when exactly I injured it, date-wise. But I do still have a memory of a bad fall about six blocks away from my house, on one of those long walks when I was heading either to the little convenience store where I liked to get candy when I was a kid, or to the shopping center that required me to cross Preston Highway. (I did a lot of walking as a kid, yeah. Which contributes a lot to why I’m used to doing it as an adult.)

That fall, as I recall, either badly sprained my ankle or maybe even broke it. I had to limp home. And since my family was poor, we couldn’t really afford to get it properly treated. So it healed up weird and has had this lump on it ever since. I have a band picture of me holding a flute from sixth grade, and the ankle bump was showing in that. And that’s been why I’ve always been a little self-conscious about wearing sandals and pantyhose, because it makes my weird-looking ankle really obvious. This has been the main reason as well that I wear hiking boots, aside from how I do a lot of walking on my daily commutes–high-topped hiking boots give good protection to my ankles.

Over the years I’ve had to explain the ankle to various doctors, chiropractors, and massage therapists. It’s been x-rayed repeatedly, and the overall verdict was that I’d developed a bone spur in there. But it’s never interfered with my walking, so I haven’t bothered to get it seriously treated. It’s never really hurt either, though historically, it has bugged me if it takes a direct impact.

Which brings me to why I bring all this up in the first place. At Thanksgiving this year, I happened to slip on the floor heading into the kitchen, since there was a slick spot right in front of the oven. I let out quite the yell when I hit the floor, startling our various guests–particularly when it became apparent that I had a nasty bruise right on the bump on my ankle. And I had to explain to said guests that actually, the lump had already been there. I wasn’t as badly injured as I looked.

The bruise faded away after a few days. And in general it didn’t even hurt much at any point–again because of those hiking boots I wear providing the ankle good support and protection when I’m out about my daily business.

But here’s the thing. I’ve noticed in the last couple of days that the lump has been shrinking. Significantly. It’s not entirely gone, but the shape of my ankle has distinctly changed. I can also feel much smaller bumps in the greater bump, which I don’t recall having had there before.

In other words, an injury I’ve had since childhood has shown some signs of actually maybe finally healing. This is weirding me right out, though in a good way. And it hasn’t been hurting either, though I can feel periodic weird pulses in there–something akin to how I felt nerve pulses when my hand was healing, the summer when I broke my arm.

I’m not expecting the bump to go away, though it’d be really neat if it did. It’d be nice to have symmetrical ankles for once. In the meantime though it’s kind of a neat mystery, trying to figure out exactly what’s happening. I’ve been wondering whether the bone spur in there happened to take enough of a hit that it broke up some. Dara is wondering whether the new medication I started taking in September, Singulair, is contributing to reducing lifelong inflammation in the surrounding tissue.

(I got put on the Singulair to reduce some of the chronic rhinitus problems I’ve been having, and it’s been helping with that considerably. But it’s also been addressing various other dermagraphia-type problems I seem to have, so I apparently have issues with inflammation all over the place? So it wouldn’t be entirely out of left field if the Singulair’s having an effect on the ankle, too.)

Bone Walker

And in today’s HOLY CRAP news…

… as reported by Dara, someone who’s actually a member of the Recording Academy has nominated the Bone Walker soundtrack, and also specifically “Kitsune at War”, for the freggin’ Grammys.

See Dara’s post for the details, including how she’s sent off copies of the album for specific jury review! Which, let me emphasize, is the only thing that’s happened here–this isn’t getting onto the actual shortlist for the awards, this is just “this album and this track are worthy of consideration by the jury, so send us your stuff and we’ll look at it”.

The very, very rough equivalent of this would be, say, the opening nomination round of the Hugos–when members of Worldcon send in their lists of things they’d like to see nominated for Hugos, and the final nominees are pulled from that list. Only in this case, there’s jury review. There isn’t any jury review for the Hugos, just tabulating the top nominees out of the pool of initial ballots submitted.

We’re not under any delusions that this’ll actually go anywhere, mind you; we don’t expect to get out of the jury consideration, much less actually win anything. BUT: that the jury consideration part is a thing that has happened AT ALL, we feel, is still worth a huge OMG all by itself. And I couldn’t be more proud. Particularly because “Kitsune at War” is called out in particular, because holy crap you guys, I love that piece. And I love playing it, as challenging it is for my flute skills.

On a related note, I feel it’s also appropriate to now point out that this soundtrack would qualify in the category of “Best Related Work” for the Hugos next year. Not to mention that Bone Walker the book would qualify for Best Novel (along with Victory of the Hawk)! So if anybody wants to nominate us for next year’s Hugo run, that certainly wouldn’t suck. JUST SAYIN’. ;D

Faerie Blood, Rebels of Adalonia

Holy crap! I’m in LIBRARIES!

Smashwords reported to me an awesome thing today: to wit, I’ve made my first sale of Faerie Blood via Overdrive! This means that some library somewhere has elected to purchase that book to make it available to their patrons. Which means, somebody will be able to check out Kendis & Company via Overdrive really soon. 😀

What I do not know is what library might have made that purchase, though. I’m googling around tonight to see if there’s a way to find this out, and this has led me to, which is apparently a very large database of what’s available at libraries.

Through this, I have now also determined that my Carina books are ALSO available in a small handful of library systems!

The Brooklyn Public Library has all three of the Rebels books, and in fact has two copies of Victory showing up in their search results on me, here. So if you’re a patron of their system, you can read my whole trilogy through them! Awesome. And their Twitter account is here.

The Hennepin County Library in Minnesota apparently has Valor and Victory but NOT Vengeance, according to their search results. If you’re a Minnesota patron, consider them. Also consider asking them to pick up Vengeance to round out the set! They’re on Twitter here.

The Los Angeles Public Library just has Valor, but hey, if they’re going to have only one of my books, that IS the correct one to have to start the trilogy! If you’re in L.A., consider asking them to pick up books 2 and 3, won’t you?

Same notation for the Calgary Public Library and oh wow I’m readable in at least one Canadian library, how awesome is this. <3 They also just have Valor, but that’s a start!

The New York Public Library only has Vengeance, which is an odd purchasing decision on their part, but hey, not my call to make! Do I have any New York readers who might consider asking them to also get Valor and Victory? ‘Cause yeah, if you try to read this trilogy starting with Vengeance, you WILL be confused.

This is PARTICULARLY amazing: there’s a copy of Victory in the Auckland Libraries system in New Zealand! O.O Apologies in advance to any New Zealanders who might check that book out and be really really confused since it’s the tail end of the trilogy. Do please consider asking them to also pick up Valor and Vengeance!

And, much closer to home, the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative has a copy of Victory, and so do the Douglas County Libraries in Colorado, here.

Many thanks to all library purchasers who saw fit to pick up any of my Rebels of Adalonia books! Particularly Auckland and Calgary! But really, all of you!

Because HOLY CRAP I’m in libraries. If I could reach back in time and share this news with High School Anna, who spent her study hall time slurping up every book she could find in the school libraries, High School Anna would cry with joy. Current Day Anna is pretty close to doing so herself, and has just thrown off a flurry of shoutouts on Twitter to these various library systems. :~)

ETA: I am informed by Vancouver-based friend userinfosticckler that the Rebels books are ALSO in the Vancouver Public Library system! And they have the entire trilogy, and people are even checking it out! I shall be adding this to the list of Reasons Why I Love Vancouver!

Anybody else want to share a library system sighting of any of my books with me? 😀

Bone Walker, Quebecois Music

It has come to my attention that LJ actually FIXED something

Namely, Bandcamp embeds! So here, have a couple! (Does this also work on Dreamwidth? LET’S FIND OUT.)

Like “Manteau d’hiver” by Le Vent du Nord!

And “La déroutée” by Yves “Most Badass Accordion Player in Quebec” Lambert and his trio! A song which rattles me around every time I hear it. I LOVE the repeated chorus.

And last but MOST ASSUREDLY not least, Dara’s got some tasty previews up for the WE SWEAR TO ODIN IS ACTUALLY FORTHCOMING Bone Walker Soundtrack!


What should I name this zombie?

My pal Kaye, originally a pal from my days on PernMUSH and now a Facebook friend, sent me a present that was waiting for me when Dara and I got back from Canada on Sunday night! Namely, a box of Plants Vs. Zombies trading cards–and this little guy along with them!

Road Cones Protect My Head

Road Cones Protect My Head

I feel a poll coming on, because clearly, this zombie needs a name! Some suggestions I have received so far include “Mal” (because he’s wearing a brown coat, doncha see), “Beldar” (because Conehead), and “Gerald” (I could see him looking like a Gerald)!

Drop your suggestions into the comments, Internets! This may well be fuel for a second Vengeance of the Hunter giveaway, so suggest wisely!

About Me

In other news: a present for ME!

YOU GUYS. Remember this blog post, in which I described how I had this picture in my head of all of my various fandoms over the years having a kitchen party in my head?

My friend Yngvar in Norway, crafty devil that he is, commissioned no less an august personage than Sonny Strait to sketch it for me, as a combination Christmas/birthday present! Sonny Strait, comma, who’s best known to me with his background in Elfquest! Behold!

The Many Fandoms of Anna the Piper, by Sonny Strait

The Many Fandoms of Anna the Piper, by Sonny Strait

And that’ll be Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer referenced in this sketch for my TV fandoms, as well as Great Big Sea and Elvis being the most obvious musical fandoms–but with the baby!me babbling in French being a callout to my Quebec trad fandom, not to mention my rampageous affection for learning French in general. 😀 I particularly like how baby!me looks a lot like the pic of baby!me I’ve posted before! Somebody was clearly given a reference source!

All hail Yngvar and Sonny Strait for making this happen! Thank you, gentlemen!