Several awesome things make a post

I’ve been total Scattershot Girl when it comes to blogging for some time–like many, I’ve found most of my day to day online communication shunted over to Twitter and Facebook. But that said, I’ve had several recent lovely things happen that are worth sharing with you all in longer, blog-based form. So! In no particular order:

  • Finally saw The King’s Speech, since userinfospazzkat got it via Netflix. That was a very satisfying film, and I’m not at all surprised that it’s spawned so much fanfic across my various Friends lists and such. Everyone in that film did an amazing job, and I have much increased respect for Mr. Colin Firth now. Also, mad love for the scene where the speech therapist’s wife comes home and discovers the King and Queen in her dining room. :D

  • Also, as of today, finally saw Source Code with userinfosolarbird. Mad, mad props to userinfomamishka for recommending that! It’s a nice, tight little SF flick, and if you like alternate-reality type plots, try to catch this before it vanishes entirely. If you’re local to Seattle, it’s still playing at the Meridian 16 downtown, and it’s running at the Crest as well.

  • I have finally found a way I might actually read more comic books: the Dark Horse comics app for the iPad. I installed this on the grounds that a couple weekends back, Dark Horse had a sale of all its digital versions of Serenity and Firefly comics. Since I didn’t have Shepherd’s Tale yet, I thought what the hey, I’d buy ’em all. The iPad is definitely more suited to digital comics reading than the iPhone, that’s for sure, although the iPhone does actually talk to this app as well.

    Also on the iPad, I have a shiny new app called TunePal, recommended to me by Marilyn, one of the fiddle players who attends the weekly session userinfosolarbird and I have been going to. Those of you who know the Shazam app will find the way this works familiar; it basically identifies songs. But in this case, it identifies traditional Irish tunes! You can play them at the app on an actual instrument, or, it’ll identify ’em if you’re playing them in iTunes as well. Then it goes out and hits up a big ol’ database and yoinks back several guesses as to what it thinks you just played it. It’ll show you sheet music for its guesses, and it’ll play the sheet music for you as well. And, you can add tunes out of the database manually by searching for them as well. You can’t import your own tunes, which is my only complaint about the app, but it’s otherwise very, very cool. Any of my fellow music geeks out there who are interested in trad tunes, you should be checking this out.

  • Speaking of the iPhone, my coworker Joe pointed me at my new favorite iPhone game: Tiny Wings. You play a birdie with, of course, tiny tiny wings, and the object of the game is to get the birdie to fly as far as possible by tapping. It’s super-cute and only 99 cents, so check it out.

  • FOLKLIFE! Well, that deserves a whole separate post, but I’m noting it here anyway.

  • And while I am still technically on book buying hiatus, I’ve picked up a few freebies. And I will unrepentantly, UNREPENTANTLY I TELL YOU, break hiatus wide open to buy userinfoseanan_mcguire/Mira Grant’s Deadline this week. Because GIMME. Seriously.

  • My friend userinforavyngyngvar is sending me a Blu-Ray of a-ha’s last concert in Oslo! Thank you, Yngvar!

  • I am sorely behind on Doctor Who posts, and will shortly be doing a catchup post. It’s an indicator of how much I’ve not been paying attention to the net lately that I totally missed that BBC America did NOT air the second half of the two-parter on Saturday, to wit, bah. I did not however give enough of a damn about this to actually try to find and download the episode; it’ll air next week as far as I know, and I can wait that long. Especially given that we’re about to have the mid-season hiatus anyway. Just nobody spoil me, mmkay, those of you who’ve already caved and downloaded the ep anyway?

  • And because it’s always worth saying, mmmmm blackberries of my marketboys mmmmmm.

Hobbit news!

Word is going around the net that The Hobbit starts filming in July! Tolkien fans, please to be joining me in squee that Sir Ian McKellen will be reprising his role as Gandalf.

However, that leaves plenty more important roles to be filled. I’m of course crossing fingers for Hugo Weaving to come back as Elrond and Andy Serkis to be Gollum, because I cannot frankly imagine anyone else in either role. Cate Blanchett for Galadriel would also be sweet.

But let’s talk the most important role: Bilbo himself. Who should play him? Ian Holm is too old to play the younger Bilbo required in the story. And who should play the dwarves? It’s highly unlikely that John Rhys-Davies would show up as his own previous character’s father, Gloin, given the issues he had with the dwarf makeup during the LotR trilogy. But surely the role of Thorin Oakenshield would require somebody of equal heartiness and presence.

Who would y’all want to see play Bard and the Elvenking? And how about this deeply critical question: who should be the voice of Smaug?

Hrmm. I really need more LotR-related icons, preferably some involving hobbits. :)

More serious Avatar thoughts

It occurs to me upon reflection that I had better also address the fact that even if I didn’t care about them as a viewer while I was watching the movie, with my writer hat on, I do need to care about the various tropes that the movie deals with, and why it really would have been better if they hadn’t been there. I’m breaking this out into its own post since it covers the not-squeeful, more thoughtful reaction I have to the film.

The biggest one being, of course, what userinfojames_nicoll called the What These People Need is a Honky plotline. ‘Cause yeah, this time around the savages are blue aliens, but they’re still savages, and we’re still dealing with a plotline of White Guy Comes In, Gets It On With the Chief’s Daughter, and Becomes the Big Respected Warrior. Um, yeah. Seen that. And it would be unjust of me as a writer if I didn’t point at that and go “okay, that? That’s something we ought to know better than to use as a plot device at this point.”

Continue reading “More serious Avatar thoughts”

Ten Years Ago

There’s a fun meme going around Twitter today with the hash tag #10yearsago. For the benefit of those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, here are my contributions! It’s fun to write these down, especially given that this year was before I was regularly doing anything like blogging.

Y’all will notice there’s a whole lot of fandom and geekery here. This would be because, well, I was indulging in a lot of fandom and geekery that year! Which has certainly not changed at all in the ten years since.

  • #10yearsago Mylee Ejercito drew me a Shenner picture! http://www.annathepiper.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/shenner3.jpg
  • #10yearsago I was still totally fangirling on Strongbow from Elfquest, enough that I had a web page dedicated to him!
  • #10yearsago X-Files was starting to wear out its welcome at the Murk, but ZOMG Season 3 of Buffy. Big, big fun. Mayor FTW. <3
  • #10yearsago Had big fun seeing The Matrix, Sixth Sense, Toy Story 2, and The Mummy, and OK fine ogled Ewan MacGregor in Phantom Menance. ;)
  • HA I was wrong. My Presario laptop was NOT running XP. It was running Windows 98 and I upgraded to SE that year. #10yearsago
  • #10yearsago Phantom Menace came out! Mimi and I were in line for a late show with a kid with blue hair. We played Egyptian Rat Screw!
  • #10yearsago We didn’t go to Worldcon in Australia but DID go to NASFiC in Anaheim and had a 3-day marathon Disneyland run! Indy ride FTW!
  • #10yearsago I’d quit PernMUSH, BUT! I was still writing in Pern fandom offline in Telgar Weyr, as brownrider Tember and bronzerider J’marr.
  • #10yearsago I was still using a Compaq Presario as my laptop, and it was running XP, and I was FINE with that. Poor deluded 1999 me! ;)
  • #10yearsago Wayfound was born at the Willowholt on Two Moons MUSH, and I destroyed the Willowholt in floods at the end of the year.
  • #10yearsago Tance Vokrim was my surviving character on CrystalMUSH, and he got his beloved Kesya back halfway through that year.
  • #10yearsago I was playing Shenner and Han Solo on Star Wars MUSH and making people’s jaws drop that a girl was playing Solo.
  • #10yearsago in addition to not knowing Great Big Sea yet, my dad was still alive, I worked at Attachmate, and I’d just joined AetherMUSH!
  • In 1999 I was still living at MurkSouth and had not yet discovered either Russell Crowe or Great Big Sea. Had no idea what I was missing!

And now, a holiday review!

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

Catching up weekend: books and zombies galore

Most of this weekend I’ve spent catching up: with new movies, with balancing my checkbook, with getting my book review posts written, with getting my tallies of new books purchased tallied, and such.

Friday night, userinfospazzkat, userinfosolarbird, userinfojennygriffee, and I all went to see Zombieland, which was highly entertaining. It’s a different flavor of funny than Shaun of the Dead, but definitely a solid competitor in the realm of zombie comedies. Look for the clever integration of main character Columbus’ Rules for Surviving Zombieland into the action, in particular. Everybody in the cast is excellent, especially Woody Harrelson for my money, and there’s a great cameo in the middle of the movie that I will not identify. ;)

Yesterday went pretty much entirely to balancing the checkbook and discovering that we had six hundred more dollars than I thought we did, because I’d accidentally subtracted a previous deposit when I should have added it. This, my children, is why Mama Anna always balances the checkbook. It’s like finding free money! (Only, well, not, because I need to throw it at the VISA, but hey!)

And after I finished balancing the checkbook, I started writing a bunch of book review posts. I’m almost done getting caught up on those and have three more to go; I’ve scheduled a bunch of them to go live through the rest of this week, one per day, so as not to overwhelm y’all with the wave of reviews. I’m caught up through userinfoseanan_mcguire‘s Rosemary and Rue, and am now pondering exactly what I want to say about the Castle tie-in novel, Heat Wave! (I will be doing the review in-character; if ABC can make this joke, what the hell, I’ll play along.)

Today, it’s all about the books. I’ve done another round of ebook buying off of Fictionwise as well as via the ongoing Drollerie sale, and I’ve picked up three new paperbacks from Third Place and one from Barnes and Noble too. Here’s the tally:

Physical Books

  • Boneshaker, by userinfocmpriest (purchased before seeing the movie on Friday, which seemed apt–buying a book involving zombies before seeing a movie involving them!)
  • Academ’s Fury, by userinfojimbutcher
  • Valor’s Trial, by userinfoandpuff
  • Thirteen Orphans, by Jane Lindskold

Ebooks:

  • Zerah’s Chosen, by Isabelle Santiago
  • Confessions of the Creature, by Gary Inbinder
  • Fire and Shadow, by Imogen Howson
  • Frayed Tapestry, by Imogen Howson
  • The Rose of Shanhasson, by userinfojoelysue
  • Needles and Bones, a Drollerie anthology
  • Stereo Opticon, a Drollerie anthology
  • Bump in the Night, a Drollerie anthology
  • Tempting Danger, by Eileen Wilks
  • Love You to Death, by Shannon K. Butcher
  • And five, count ’em, five super-cheap Harlequin Suspense novels by Jessica Andersen, because I discovered that one of hers I was already reading was #6 in a series, so I was really kinda lost. But I like her writing anyway, so it’s all good!

Which brings me to a grand total of (drum roll)… 19 in this wave of purchasing, and the grand total for the year to 120. I’m currently at 87 books read for the year, with books 88 and 89 in progress. So it’s safe to say that the chances of my finishing the year with having purchased more books than I’ll have read are very, very high! But it’ll be fun to see if I make 120 books read by then.

And speaking of movies

Finally also saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with userinfosolarbird and userinfospazzkat last night, at the Meridian downtown after work. That was fun.

I expect everybody and their grandmother’s already seen this one too, but I’ll keep reasonably spoiler-free anyway and simply that that for my money, this implementation of the plot was a lot tighter than the book. They did a decent job culling the big honking brick that is Book 6 down to movie-length, I think. By necessity this does mean that there’s a certain lack of depth to what’s left on screen, but that’s kind of okay for me still; we’re closing in on the big climactic end to the saga, so it feels okay to get more epic in scope and to have less focus on the day to day details of what’s going on.

Plus, I must say that this was a visually stunning movie as well. We all felt that the Obligatory Quidditch Scene(TM) made quidditch actually look like a sport, which was pretty neat. Also neat to see them playing during a snowstorm. AND… oh okay, so I’ll get at least a little spoilery…

Continue reading “And speaking of movies”