Metapost: All About Me

Content Note: Surgery Stuff

I've not updated recently on my medical stuff, so here is a random metapost.

Dad: Dad is doing much better. He's been out of chemo and radiation for two weeks now and he thinks he might be able to do a full day's work at work today instead of from home. He's really excited about that, actually, and I'm happy that he's happy. We still don't know if they "got it all", but we're hoping really hard.

Cat: Primary Cat has stopped hopping about on three legs, but still continues to favor his front left leg. We'll catch him sitting up, but with that front paw gently raised off the ground, like he doesn't want to put weight on in. The medication the vet gave him on spec didn't seem to do the trick, so we're back to agonizing over whether to take him in or not. (A complex decision involving emotional trauma, vomit, and sedation.) We're going to try to give it another month or two and then take him in for an exam. 

Meds: Yesterday was my last day on the meds that we think were responsible for the depression. Now we have to wait and see if they really were responsible for the depression and if it's gone away. I'm very excited to hopefully be on the road out of depression, however it's frustrating to note that my back pain has increased dramatically with the stoppage of these pills. I'm also still frustrated about the two new rods (which create a sensation I don't like) and also my doctor is increasingly being an asshole now that my surgery is over (there is an upcoming post on that).

Work: I will be returning to work the first week of September. I'm surprisingly happy about this; I never imagined I'd miss my work as much as I have. My bosses have very kindly agreed to move me to part-time (20 hours a week) because after long discussions with my family and medical professionals, I simply do not think I can go back to work 40 hours a week. This decision is probably permanent. I feel good about the decision in an "yay, healthy" kind of way, but a touch despondent because a year ago this would have meant more blogging/writing/reading time. Now it seems that my body is eating up the "extra" hours by being disabled and demanding. But it is what it is. (And, of course, we're worried about the corresponding cut in my salary. I'm still not at Amanda-Hocking levels of famous, ha. But we'll manage somehow.)

Blogging: I am so monstrously behind on blogging that I don't know where to start. Since I've backed off the meds, I've developed a sharp stabbing pain under my right shoulder blade that *seems* to be exacerbated by typing. Oh, frabulous day. I hope to get a Twilight post written today, but we'll see. My goal has always been to post something near-daily and to not get too far behind, but I'm really struggling. Worst comes to worse, we may have a few open threads.

Writing: The flip side is that while I haven't been able to type much, I have paradoxically been able to make a lot of headway on my next novel series "Pact". (This is because we're in the Planning/Outlining phase, not the Typing phase.) I've finished complete biographies for all four main characters, which includes everything that will happen to them over the course of the four books. From there, I've been able to work out detailed chapter outlines for the first two books (40 chapters total). Once the remaining 40 chapters are similarly outlined, I'll be ready to continue writing. (Chapters 1-7 are already written, at which point I had to step back for the outlining process.)

Self-Promotion: The audio book for Pulchritude is complete and has been uploaded to ACX for inclusion in the Audible library. The book should go up for sale some time in the next 2-3 weeks; I'll let everyone know when it does. If you've not listened to it, it's a real treat -- the narrator captured the novel perfectly and her voice is like honey and melted butter. For those who can't shell out money for the Audible / Amazon / iTunes version or can't be a part of those ecosystems for whatever reasons or etc. etc., I'm still offering a free Creative Commons share-it-with-your-friends-and-on-torrents-and-things version of the audio book to anyone who emails me for it.

Plans: Too many to list. I want to write more Disney and Hunger Games posts, but life keeps getting under my feet. (There is a post on Brave coming up in the near future, so.) I'd like to record my own self narrating the Pulchritude deconstruction to toss up as a podcast on Podiobooks for advertising purposes. I would like to bind together some deconstruction collections ("blog-to-book" type things) that I can actually list on Amazon, et. al. for people to download into their ecosystem for on-the-go reading. (I haven't done that with the Narnia collections because I'm not comfortable with listing work that contains so much quoted copyrighted content with a retailer. I try hard to keep the Narnia posts as sparse on the quotes as I can, but there's still a lot in there.) I need to keep heads-down on Pact or I'll never get done. We're about 5 stories away from a viable ghost anthology on Acacia Moon Publishing, but I'm not sure where else to market for authors. Etc. etc.

I think that's pretty much all that's on my mind these days.


JenL said...

Blogging: I am so monstrously behind on blogging that I don't know where to start. Since I've backed off the meds, I've developed a sharp stabbing pain under my right shoulder blade that *seems* to be exacerbated by typing.

Given the amount of time you probably spend typing, have you ever thought about (or tried) using a voice/dictation system? As far as I can tell, it doesn't work for everybody (or at least, I gave up before making it work for me - but that was .... hrm, must have been a decade ago...). But I've heard a few people say that if you can slog through the first (longer than you'd think) span of correcting it, it wound up being massively helpful for them.

Obviously, that wouldn't fix the actual underlying problem. ;-(

chris the cynic said...

I hope you start feeling better.


First off, don't hurt yourself trying to please us. If you can't write posts and have to leave us with open threads, that's ok.

Second, what I'm about to say might be stupid or counterproductive:

If you want to get things on computer, and typing hurts, are there other possible ways to get stuff on computer? The only thing I can think of that might work is voice to text and I know absolutely nothing about the current state of that. It just seems like there should be a way for you to avoid the pain of typing without losing your voice. Maybe there isn't. I don't know.


We're about 5 stories away from a viable ghost anthology on Acacia Moon Publishing, but I'm not sure where else to market for authors. Etc. etc.

If you can wait for me to get in a better head-space, I might be able to provide as many as three (?) of those. Then again, I have no idea how long that would take. I'm at a kind of a low right now, hopefully I can be out of it in a few days and get some writing done, but it's really unpredictable. (I've been trying to do some writing on stuff for the non-ghost story anthologies for weeks, no luck.)

I can certainly put the ghost story ideas at the top of my list of things to do.

Ana Mardoll said...

Amusing thing about voice dictation: Review of Dragon

Mind you, that was taped dictation and not directly spoken, which is a little better accuracy-wise. But I *did* learn that dictating a novel / blog post is VERY different from typing it. I'm thinking about trying it again, though. :)

Ana Mardoll said...

And thank you: re, not pushing myself to provide content. Alack-and-alas, I *like* providing content, and my best days are days when I have lovely Twilight comments. (Edward isn't better than chocolate! That still has me laughing.) So we soldier on.

Ditto back at you, though: I'd love to have a ghost story with your name on it, but by far the most important thing is that you take care of yourself. :)

Will Wildman said...

I am sad that it refused to work with you, but some of its creative reinterpretations are fantastic. Rabbit hole went straight on the photographer eh? Saucer of milk and teatime dynamite. I'm pretty sure that's the name of my next rock band.

Mime_Paradox said...

So I take it you've actually watched Brave, Ana? I was wondering--I knew you were excited about it (or at least several aspects of it) but given that its run coincided with all your Important Life Stuff, I wasn't sure if watching it was something you'd managed to do, and if so, what you'd thought about it.

Ana Mardoll said...

There's a "stuff I liked about it" post tomorrow in lieu of a Twilight post (*sadface*, but necessary for catch-up purposes) and a "here's a good article about bad things in Brave" for the Sunday recommends.

Ana Mardoll said...

"Saucer of milk and teatime dynamite" IS pretty rockstar sounding.

redcrow said...

My best wishes to you, your father and your cat.

Fenixmagic said...

I'd love to try and finish off my ghost story for inclusion. I take my last final tonight, so...maybe? I will do my best! *grabs pen of doom and holds it like a sword!*
I hope you and Chris the Cynic feel much better soon, and that kitty and Dad recover!

chris the cynic said...

Have you considered just putting up the open threads now, and building up a sort of barrier so you're not feeling like, "I have to write right now otherwise there's nothing to put up?"

That probably wouldn't work for me (big scary deadlines are one of the few things that get me motivated, so removing the stress of them wouldn't actually help me) but maybe it might be less pressure on you?

Though in that case you are deprived of "Edward isn't better than chocolate" for the week while you're building the cushion.

Mime_Paradox said...

Yay! I'm glad. I hope you enjoyed it, or at least managed to get something positive out of the experience.

Smilodon said...

Maybe more twilight (or other deconstruction)-themed open threads? I remember enjoying the discussion in the comments on the twilight-themed one being interesting.

Ana Mardoll said...

The one where we talked about whether Twilight could be improved as a Redemption Story instead of an Edward Starts Out Perfect story? You're right, that was good.

Fortunately, Twilight post got written today. Crisis averted. :)

chris the cynic said...

Once upon a time I had an assignment to translate a certain amount of the Iliad (first hundred lines maybe?) into English, and I wanted to do a facing translation where the Greek was on one side and the English on the other, so I went online to get the Greek on computer.

When I got there Google Chrome said, "This page is in Greek, would you like me to translate it for you?" and I sort of laughed and said, "I'd like to see you try."

I printed out the results and showed them to everyone in the class, teacher included.


It was actually really hard to get it to do it again (it was translating everything but the actual text), but here are the first ten lines of my attempt to recreate Google Chrome's Translation of the Illiad:

wrath aeide goddess Piliiadeo Achilios
oulomenin, or a myriad Achaiois ethike algae,
d ifthimous many souls eternal proiapsen
heroes, and this eloria issues kynessin
oionoisi all things tech, Zeus d eteleieto parliament,
whence the first confiscation diastitin erisante
TE Atreides king of men, and Zeus Achilles.
the T competent sfoe Eris xyneike machesthai gods?
Leto and Zeus, son: For he Vassilias cholotheis
nouson per army kakin Orsay, olekonto But folks,

and it just goes on like that forever.

Aspermoth said...

I'm glad you managed to get your post written :) Don't hurt yourself for our sake, though – if you need time, you need time! Incidentally, this post reminded me that I'd been planning to get "Pulchritude" as soon as I got my iPad and I've had it for over two months and not bought it yet, so I just got it :) I'm looking forward to reading!

depizan said...

I've always been curious about dictation software, but since I have to swear at my cell phone company's automated system* in order to accomplish anything when I call them, I suspect I have a particularly unintelligible voice. I suppose I could try to improve my diction, but then we're back at my inability to decipher things like pronunciations. (Also, real people don't seem to have any difficulty, just machines.)

*My cell phone company has their automated system set up to switch people right to a representative if it detects swearing. I can never call them in public. I'd horrify people by standing there shouting "FUCK! Damn you, FUCK!" into my phone.

depizan said...

Clearly we all need to form a band!

depizan said...

I hope you, your dad, and your cat all feel better soon.

As a vague thought regarding the shoulder pain and typing... I know there are apps that convert handwriting into typing. If that isn't a problem for your shoulder as well (and if whatever would be necessary to do that on a computer isn't prohibitively expensive), I wonder if that would be a solution.

Ana Mardoll said...

*My cell phone company has their automated system set up to switch people right to a representative if it detects swearing. I can never call them in public. I'd horrify people by standing there shouting "FUCK! Damn you, FUCK!" into my phone.

LOL! I hate those systems. I always try really hard to navigate the menu and *invariably* end up screaming I WANT TO TALK TO A FUCKING PERSON DAMMIT into the phone.

Husband has learned to quietly leave the room when I make service calls. *sigh*

[Content Note: Ana's voice and hands, in case you prefer imagining me as a baritone.]

I've yet to find a really good handwriting-to-type solution. I have one of these Z-pens but it's not as accurate as I'd like and handwriting is a little bit more painful for me than typing, simply because I'm out of practice.

unbeliever536 said...

Getting something with a (large) touch screen wouldn't be a lot less expensive than getting a whole new computer, but I remember a friend of mine managed to get ahold of this usb drawing pad thingy (it was like a mousepad with a usb cable and a stylus).

Aha! These things are intended for drawing stuff, but you could definitely use it to handwrite posts (though I think you might need additional software to convert that to regular text). It's way cheaper than an ipad or tablet would be, but it's still $80, so it would definitely be An Investment.

Ana Mardoll said...

That's still cheaper than they used to be -- I remember lusting after those when they were a LOT pricier. I wish they had one that let you carry it around and store your writing, rather than having to be tethered to a computer at all times, but then again, I do have a slim laptop now..... Hmm.

Aidan Bird said...

I'll go mention that you are five stories away from a finished anthology on my writing forum. I'm sure if I badger people there, they'll get all excited and come and try for the anthology. There's a lot of new writers there who are dying to have something published someday.

It's worth a try at least. Legendfire is the name of the place. I just got them to include a diversity statement by the way! So that was rad.

If you want, I can probably kick out one more story as well. I had one in mind and wrote random notes on it, but due to depression, have been just poking the keys instead of writing. Giving myself a goal and forcing myself to crunch the keyboard with fingers should actually help me out a lot.

chris the cynic said...

Whenever I hear someone's voice or meet them or whatever having previously known them only via text, I always have the same experience:

"That totally failed to match my expectations."
"Wait, what were my expectations?"
"Did I have expectations?"
"If my expectations were so vague, and they were, why is it surprising that they didn't meet them? There's no way anyone could be vague enough in their physical attributes to meet those expectations."

Or something like that.

Hearing your voice was like seeing and hearing Fred Clark, my expectations have been totally shattered, in spite of barely existing in the first place, and that really changes nothing about how I view you except for having an actual point of reference now.

Ana Mardoll said...

I had basically the same reaction when I heard my first Mark Reads video today. It was kind of like:

Mark sounds like that??
Why shouldn't he? There's nothing wrong with how he sounds.
No, no, nothing wrong, I'm just surprised.
I..... don't know.
*navel gazing*

So I'm glad it's not just me. Although frankly, I just listened to my review right now and I don't think I sound much like THAT either. If that review sounds significantly like THIS review, I'll eat my hat*:

* 'Significantly' in the sense that you could hear both across different days and without context and still place them as the same voice. And I don't have any hats.

Silver Adept said...

We all hope here for a swift recovery for everyone, blogger, father, and Primary Cat alike. And on your time table and ability to type.

I keep thinking I have a story somewhere in my head, but I'll be fragged if I can make time for it...

Timothy (TRiG) said...

If you want to make torrents legally available for redistribution, one of the better places is ClearBits ( They host music, images, and a few eBooks already, and various other stuff.


Ana Mardoll said...

Alas, it looks like you have to be a paid member to upload material?

Will Wildman said...

Me, meeting a friend I had known for seven years online, who always wrote in a purple font: "Your voice sort of surprised me. You don't sound purple."
My friend: "I know, right? I think it's kind of red."

I heard about a game, a little while back, in which two teams take turns with one side naming a colour and the other team singing a song featuring that colour in the lyrics. It sounded easy. Then I started thinking about the lyrics to my favourite songs (all of them wonderlands of colour) and realised that they hardly ever feature actual colours in the words. I was just recalling synesthesia - and mine is mild at that.

TL;DR, everyone's typed words default to blue in my head, and of a shade/pitch not commonly found among people.

chris the cynic said...

I heard about a game, a little while back, in which two teams take turns with one side naming a colour and the other team singing a song featuring that colour in the lyrics.

Green is Kodachome
Brown is brown eyed girl
Blue is the one where Elton John says he can't remember the eye-color
Red is You an't done nothin' if you ain't been called a red.
Purple is purple people eater.
Gold is Partridge in a pair tree.
Black is the color of my love's true hair
Also what I'll paint it
white is the cowboys lament

I was hoping that "my peace" could get me a few more colors, alas it's only ones already covered. I think I'm out.

I didn't even get an orange or a yellow

Yellow submarine.

I didn't even get an orange, and we certainly haven't moved on to the exotic colors yet.

Ana Mardoll said...

Orange Crush?

Only know that one because we're a Rockband household. I have NO IDEA what the song *means*.

Loquat said...

Wacom has this digital pen thing that's designed so you can draw on regular paper with it and it'll record what you drew - should work fine for handwriting, though of course the conversion could get irritating. The product page claims it can store hundreds of drawings at once.

Loquat said...

Whoa. So that's what you sound like. Duuuuuude.

I have a similar thing whenever I see what my gamer friends look like in real life. I'm in voice chat with them regularly, too, so it's not like I have nothing real to go on. But after 3 or 4 real-life picture threads on various guild message boards, I've seen maybe one or two people ever who DIDN'T completely shatter my expectations.

Timothy (TRiG) said...

The person who shattered my expectations was Alistair Cooke, who's rich warm voice on Letter from America lead me to be quite surprised to see how gaunt he was in a photograph. He was ill at the time, but his voice hadn't change.

He was still broadcasting up to very shortly before his death. An institution, that man.


chris the cynic said...

I doubt that I'd know the voices were from the same person.

You make a good narrator.

Ana Mardoll said...

Thank you! I've tried my hand at it, but I don't know how the pros do it. My voice gets dry after awhile and it's SO hard not to make a mistake while reading. I gather from my professional narrator that a lot of the magic is post-production work to splice over/through mistakes, so maybe I just lack technical knowledge, but yeah.

Also the one time I really tried narrating, the Cat kept meowing in the background. *facedesk*

chris the cynic said...

So I recorded my own lines for The Nameless Mod, which took me almost as long as it took people making the thing the to make it. I wrote the lines, so I can't complain about how were they written, but damn did things go wrong constantly. My microphones wouldn't work right, noises would appear everywhere, and I would mess up everything.

And looking back, years later, everything I said about the game Deus Ex is grounded in good solid research, everything I said about the real world shows I was way too credulous of the history channel which, while it had not yet gone full Nostradamus was already very bad in a few areas, which just happened to be the ones where I relied on it.

Ana Mardoll said...

Oh, the History channel! I *want* to trust it, but after I saw their thing on the Salem witch trials, my faith was shattered. That's the ONE TOPIC that I really really know about, and they butchered it. What else have they told me that's been wrong all this time??

chris the cynic said...

Well You know the assassinations of the two Kennedies? Probably should have kept my mouth shut on both of those. And the history of Mary Magdalene? Way to credulous. Might possibly be true, sure, but damn should I have been put in 50 times as many weasel words if I was going to run with that.

Ana Mardoll said...

That sounds about right. Though I'm at the point now where I don't trust ANY "history of Biblical character X" unless it comes with a forklift full of footnotes saying "actually, we don't know if this person even existed, let alone when if they did".

Amaryllis said...

What else has the History Channel been wrong about? I don't know, but I keep hearing from People Who Know X that they totally butchered X, so I've given up on them.

Spouse has developed rather an addiction to the "history made every day" reality shows. The antique-y ones can be kind of entertaining, but I don't believe they're "real" any more than the history shows are trustworthy.

I'm glad to hear your recovery is proceeding. Best wishes to dad, cat and you. And don't beat yourself up about what you can't (yet) do; what you do is amazing and your health comes first.

Well, you know that. I know, it sucks not to be able to do what you want to do. Thanks for the update, and take care of yourself.

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