tiggymalvern: (marijuana girl)
Yesterday morning I had my remaining 3 wisdom teeth removed, including the impacted one on the bottom left. So far that is probably useful, as only the bottom left hole aches at all. I suspect if none had been impacted, all 3 would have hurt equally, but right now the one is distracting from the others.

I was given very much the same anaesthetic drugs we give to the cats, which leaves me with a new insight into the way they act when they wake up. I am eating a lot of overcooked pasta. I am learning to chew remarkably efficiently with my incisors, which were entirely not designed for chewing, and in my case don't even line up well.

I am very disappointed by Vicodin. It removes aching very efficiently, but does nothing more inspiring. One of the things we were taught in college is that opiates don't get you high if you're actually in pain, and sadly that does appear to be true. I had a slightly sleepy feeling the first time I took them. Not enough to inspire me to recreational use...

Speaking of sleepy, the instructions from the dentist told me to expect to sleep most of yesterday. Not bloody likely! Now admittedly I wasn't exactly active, spending it sitting at my computer, but this was my time off work, and why would I spend it asleep? So I enjoyed the entire day playing Lord of the Rings Online, and went on three sequential 12-man turtle-killing raids run by one of my kinmates with my three top level characters before the raid locks rest on Wednesday night. Fun! And then of course I did two more today :-)

My mouth feels strangely large. There is a big gap between where my teeth end and where my mouth does. Weird.

And now normally I'd be back at work tomorrow, and instead I have three more days off. Go teeth!
tiggymalvern: (huh?)
As of the night before last, when I was happily playing a computer game as normal, all sound has disappeared from my computer. Except when I play my computer game.

No sound from Media Player or VLCplayer. No sound from websites like YouTube or iMeem. But when I play LOTRO, I have full, glorious sound working perfectly.

Somehow my sound system had convinced itself I had 7:1 surround sound. I put it back to 3 speakers where it should be. That didn't help.

Now I'm just puzzled. And silent.


Yay! Problem solved! My computer's motherboard has 2 sound card slots, and for some reason the computer got confused and most programs opted to select the slot that doesn't have a sound card in it. But LOTRO is obviously a high quality piece of programming that decided to stick with what had been working very well for the last 2 years, thank you. Clearly an example to follow!
tiggymalvern: (my SO)
It was snowing again this evening. The SO called to say he was leaving work around 6.50pm. An hour later he hadn't shown up.

I called his boss, who said yes, he left ages ago, isn't he back yet? We decided to give him another 15 minutes for lousy traffic.

Two minutes before his boss and I were about to go out driving his route home looking for him, he walked in the door, rather damp with snow.

Me: Ah, you're home. Where's the car?

SO: It got stuck in the snow, about 100 yards below the gas station. Want to come and help me get it out?

Me: .....

Me: So you walked past the gas station and didn't go in and call me to come and get you?

SO: .....

SO: I guess I could have, I didn't think of that.
tiggymalvern: (ready to roll)
Bureaucracy being what it is, I was obliged to drive 300 miles across the state yesterday to spend three hours being shown pictures of infectious diseases in cattle, so that I will be allowed to sign health certificates for cats. The main plus side to this was that I ended up in the same town as [livejournal.com profile] angstymcgoth for the evening, which really doesn't happen often enough.

Some people might think that a five hour drive would be very dull. And it's true that there is very little to recommend the first 45 minutes when it involves rain on the freeway, with lorries and spray. But then when you're over the crest of the mountains, heading down alongside Lake Kachess and you round a curve, and the whole horizon ahead is a glowing cauldron of cloud lit from behind, the rain is all swept away, in every sense.

And then you head east and east through desert scrub split by escarpments and river gorges, and slide up onto agricultural plateau and rolling fields of wheat stubble, all of it rich with the low angled sun and long shadows, and it's huge and monotonous and everywhere, but it's still something to see.

And then you add the music. With the five hour drive each way looming, I changed the CDs in the car, which I don't do anything like often enough. One of the CDs I grabbed was early 90s dance trash, back from when The Prodigy meant Charly, not Firestarter. I use the word trash deliberately, because musically I can recognise that this genre is lacking some of the subtleties and complexities and layers of, say, Mozart. But the best of it is a mood-enhancing drug superior to most pharmaceuticals, with a rhythm and a melody that grabs you body and soul and drags you along with its rush, and that makes it goddamn perfect. And I looped that CD and I sang it over and over, with the bass shivering the speakers, and I was surprised I could still speak when I met Angsty XD And I drove with this big, crazy grin on my face, howling like a loon for hours.

It had been much too long since I just sat back and enjoyed the drive, instead of being a hurry to get somewhere.

Finally!

Oct. 29th, 2008 11:10 am
tiggymalvern: (My image)
I finished a fic - wow! For the first time in over 18 months, I have something basically done, and I'm almost too surprised to be suitably excited by it. It had been making me feel like I would never finish stitching it together, hanging over me like the big black vulture of doom. But it's more than finishing a fic, because this is finishing a world, wrapping up the plot that's been ever-evolving in my head for the last three years, and while I'm more than glad to have got it finished, it's also slightly sad in a way.

Of course, I still have to edit the crap out of this thing, especially the later parts, because the earlier stuff was edited muchly as I went along, but that painful process can wait until another day!

Aida

Aug. 24th, 2008 08:01 am
tiggymalvern: (ready to roll)
The start of a new opera season, and last night was my turn to experience the Verdi again :-) Seattle Opera had a great production, with stunning sets and smooth changes, fabulous costume design and impressive staging. Though you would have thought somebody would have mentioned to the choreographer that his Egyptian dancers looked like they were doing the YMCA. ([livejournal.com profile] imre_nico tells me the version we saw last night was toned down from what she saw at dress rehearsal, and the audience admirably restrained themselves to muffled giggles instead of outright laughter.)

The good - Stephanie Blythe's Amneris. An awesome voice, with range and control and the power to be clearly heard while singing facing the back of the stage. Unfortunately, she's also one of those operatic battleships who lumbers around wearing half a circus tent. If she would only lose 100lb or more, she'd have a chance of being able to act, and she might be truly outstanding on stage.

Lisa Daltirus as Aida - she was also last season's Tosca, and I continue to like her more than [livejournal.com profile] imre_nico does. She has a very pretty sound, and can sing a pianissimo that still carries to the back of the auditorium, something a lot of singers can't claim. No, she doesn't have the power to carry well over the orchestra and chorus in full sweep, but that applies to well over 50% of the soloists I've seen. Maybe she should stick to singing lighter roles, but I still like what she has.

The one big downside was Antonello Palombi's Radames. This is the same extremely short, fat tenor with no stage presence Seattle Opera used for much of last season, and the director deserves a slap. Besides his physical, er, short-comings, he just can't sing very well. He murdered Celeste Aida, snatching phrases short to gasp for breath. The worst I've ever heard it sung. (This guy jumped to fame when he went on stage at La Scala in jeans to sing Radames after Roberto Alagna threw a hissy fit and walked out. But Mr Director, there's a reason La Scala had him as the understudy - they never really expected him to be heard.)

But Aida's always fun, and all in all a very delightful evening out :-) And I was stopped by four random people who told me they loved my dress, apparently a good impulse buy! It's electric blue, off one shoulder and almost sweeps the floor (which makes me wonder why the shop had a rack full of dresses that 99% of people would take straight to alterations to have the hem taken up, but I'm not complaining). If it was white, it would be very Servalan XD
tiggymalvern: (summer lovin')
I may bitch about it sometimes. I may have a brain that scatters everywhere and too many distractions. But basically life is so fucking good.

I know I'll never have the time to do everything I want to do. I know I could win the lottery next week and never work again, and I'd still never have the time to do everything I want to do, see everything I want to see. And that frustrates me sometimes, but that's part of why life's so good, right? Because the world is so endlessly amazing, I will never ever be bored by it. Because my time is full, whichever way I choose to spend it - whether it's in my own head and all the worlds in there, whether it's the virtual worlds that surround me online, whether it's the real world itself and hiking every trail on every mountain I can.

And if sometimes I'm not here for a while, if sometimes I don't write or answer LJ posts in detail, if sometimes I don't post photos of all the amazing places I've been and the things that wow me until months after the fact - well, that's all part of the not having time to do everything I'd like to. That's part of the world being so fantastic I just have to get out there and see it.

I was driving to the animal shelter this morning, and I sank down into the Snohomish valley, still filled with mist, and the low morning sun shone right through it, and every inch of air around me was glowing golden. The farms and the trees were silhouettes against the light, the whole world surreal like a painting, and there really is nothing like those moments.

I love my life.
tiggymalvern: (summer lovin')
I don't care what officialdom says, I decree that today was the first day of summer :-)

The 85-90F forecasts for today had been consistent for a week, and for a week I had decided that it was going to be a day for me and the convertible to explore the sagebrush desert and tramp around and look for birds. I bounced out of bed at 4am and hurtled through the pre-dawn with its patchy mist tendrils so I could be at the Columbia River Gorge at 6.30 and catch the chukar before they vanished into the scree for the day (I did see a chukar, so it was worth it!). I returned at 6.45pm covered in layers of sun tan oil, sweat and dust, with very knotted hair, and with the start of a nice golden tan through the factor 25.

And now that I've washed off everything but the tan (and my toes may just be clean enough to wear little strappy sandals when I go to the opera tomorrow night) and I am about to eat, I declare that it was a Very Good Day.

So summer is here, my skin will stop being dry and red and itchy and my allergy will go away, and I can just look and feel good :-)
tiggymalvern: (what world?)
Most of the time, I'm deeply glad not to be one of those people who thinks watching soaps all day long is constructive use of their time. But now and then, I just can't help thinking it would be easier.

Why couldn't my brain cells have waited till I finished the current WIP, and with it the plot arc that's crept through the last three and a half years of my life, before they started bouncing with visuals for a vid? It'll never get made, I know it, it'll just drive me nuts.
tiggymalvern: (what world?)
Before lunch, I finished the section of my WIP that's been dragging its leaden boots through mud in my skull for weeks.

While I ate lunch, a Townsend's warbler came to my bird feeders. I've never seen a Townsend's in my garden before, and it was bright yellow and pretty in the very grey rain.

This evening, I got my hunter character to level 50 in LOTR online (and for all you players of WoW and such out there, who are used to 60 and 70, 50 is the LOTR limit).

Tomorrow, I get to go to the dentist, and take the car for a service, and other such tedious things. But not every day can be such a good day. And right now I'm going to bed, which always makes a Very Good Day indeed :-)
tiggymalvern: (wolfwood smoking)
In 2007, I saw 315 different species of birds, of which 284 were in Washington State (the only ones that really count), another 9 in the rest of North America, plus an extra 22 I fell over on my brief trip to England.

For myself, and the one person on my f-list who will actually be interested enough to read it )

The last bird of the year was the Harris's Sparrow on December 14th in West Edison. December 14th is ridiculously early for a last bird of the year, since when I've looked for swamp sparrow (three times), chukar, grey partridge (see? It's those gamebirds again) and rosy-crowned finches, and they haven't obliged. The last Washington birds of the year were the eight short-eared owls floating about the Samish flats at the West 90 at 3.30pm on December 31st, replacing my sightings just over the border in BC. I'd looked for them in that same spot before, and there hadn't been any.

The West 90 is Birding Central for birds of prey, and it was an absolutely glorious afternoon, cloudless with the low sun over the golden, flooded fields, ringed by snow-covered mountains. I was standing in a single spot, watching a bald eagle having an altercation with three owls, the same eagle later disagreeing with a rough-legged hawk, and the ubiquitous red-tailed hawks and northern harriers cruising by. The low sun highlighted all the birds' colours and painted them with a few extras - even the bush full of streaky brown female red-winged blackbirds looked to be full of exotic yellow orioles, the effect was so dramatic. Not a bad way to finish the daylight hours of the year.

Where the Owls Are )

On other fronts, I managed to get only one fic out in 2007, all 8,750 words of it. To make that look a little less patheitc, I'm 48,800 words into my current WIP out of a likely 60-65k total, of which 37,300 are actually consecutive from the start. (I've also got 2,000 words of the fic after that - did I mention I never write in order?) The writing lost a lot of time to the birds this year, but my intention is to really push that fic now, and hopefully get it finished and beta-ready within a couple of months. Damn, I want to to see it done so badly, because that will finally tie up my novel-length Mexico arc. And I sure as hell never thought I'd write a novel....
tiggymalvern: (marijuana girl)
My niece got a laptop for Christmas, which of course means she's already using it. And which of course meant she needed a wireless router for the house, and a new modem to go with it since the model they had was suckage itself. The modem/router we mail-ordered for them arrived today, which means I spent a considerable amount of time this morning (and while I was trying to eat lunch) talking my utterly hopeless sister and my slightly-less-hopeless-but-still-learning teenaged niece through installing it and setting everything up via trans-Atlantic phonecall. With breaks for the periods during which my sister tried to remember where she might have made a note of her ISP password, and other such minor things.

In and around all this, and for most of the afternoon, I've determinedly ignored the allure of Sands talking to me, and have made google and various internet stores my intimate friends, as a result of which it is now 7pm and I can announce that I am Done With Christmas. Unless, you know, I've forgotten somebody, which isn't entirely unknown. But thinking I'm Done With Christmas is more than good enough for today, and now I feel I deserve some Me Time. But sadly, I need to cook food instead.
tiggymalvern: (need to read)
First storm of the autumn yesterday, so inevitably our power conked out. At least we conked out at 6.30pm not 2.30pm as other people did. They closed the road down the hill, so that meant tree down or power line down or both. A bummer for the poor sods who had to go to work in the rain all night. Less of a bummer for us, giving us an excuse to go to a nice Japanese for the evening, where I had a fabulous Thai rub chicken (yes, I know, I went to a Japanese and ate something labelled Thai, but the chef had it marked as one of his specials, so blame him for the culture clash, not me).

And then we read for a while by firelight and candlelight, and the power came back on this morning soon enough to save the food in the freezer, so all is good.
tiggymalvern: (wolfwood smoking)
Each time I go back to Britain lately, some incompetent nutjobs try to bomb an airport while I'm there and make flying back from Heathrow even more annoying than it needs to be. I'm really glad those people weren't my doctors - doctors are supposed to be intelligent and logical, and I'm fairly sure I could have put together a more effective attempt at a car bomb than Glasgow's. I would also have measured the gap between the door pillars, and bought a Mini instead of a 4x4.

We got an upgrade for the flight out to nice, wide chairs with loads of leg room and big adjustable footrests. So of course there was a fat woman who complained intermittently through the entire flight to her friend sitting next to me (and anyone else within several rows) that it was the most uncomfortable flight she'd ever taken and how she couldn't bear to spend nine hours there, and the staff did everything they could to make her happy, offering her extra cushions and alternative seats, and she was deeply ungrateful. Cattle class on the way back was full of cheerful students in a group from Edinburgh University instead.

The American embassy renewed our visas after the standard four hour period of dullness for two five minute sessions with paperwork, so I'm now free to come and go again for the first time since January. It was great to catch up with [livejournal.com profile] charles_nancy after almost a year, and looking happier than I've seen him in a long time with his new Australian fiancee :-) We had a fun meal out that night with a bunch of his friends and our strangers, one of whom was born four miles from me, and the only one of the nine who was still living in the country they were born and raised in. I love the way the world is so small now. It's the first time I've ever spent four hours in a Pizza Express! Though admittedly it took 45 minutes for everyone to show up, due to the closure of King's X and a big stretch of the Piccadilly line - in London, nothing changes!

It rained every day I was in England except two, and meanwhile my local-to-home f-list entertained me with tales of the 10-day wave of glorious sun and heat that wasn't so pleasing for my plants in my absence. But it was still the perfect time to go, because I got to watch all of Wimbledon :-)

And here I need the LJ-cut because my enthusiasm got away from me and ran a few laps of the field before I caught it again )

In contrast, the British Grand Prix which we recorded and watched later after the fabulous Murray/Jankovic mixed doubles win (whoever scheduled the GP for the Sunday at the end of the first week in July was an idiot, because Wimbledon will steal the ratings) only reminded me of all the reasons I stopped watching the sport. A line of cars driving round in a long procession, with the only 'overtaking' happening because of pit stops. Yawn. Even with a British driver on pole setting a new record every race he's in, it managed to bore the crap out of me. If F1 racing drivers are ever allowed to get back to the racing part, I'll start taking an interest again.

Mostly the trip was about being obligatorially sociable with relatives (and isn't it nice when sociable means sitting and watching the tennis together? XD), so I didn't go to many interesting places, but there will be a few photos later. No birdwatching apart from the ones I fell over along the way, but I still managed to fall over a life bird - I was severely boggled by the sight of three raptors with dramatically forked tails soaring alongside the M40, but a quick check of the RSPB website agreed that the red kites reintroduced to the Chilterns are doing well. Somehow my mind still associates them firmly with Wales, but it was lovely to see the persecuted return to enjoy some of their old homes.

I got to read a few books over the trip, including The Time Traveler's Wife which a friend bought me for Christmas and I'd heard vaguely good things about.

Cut for review )

So as you will have gathered, I'm back home with full computer access restored, and I'll get onto my emails soonish, but still no cats to hang round my ankles. We were going to collect them last night when we got back, but the Scooby's battery died while we were gone, and the carrier won't fit in the Seven! I'll reprieve retrieve the poor things later today.

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