Tags: book club: discworld

discworld toast with soldiers

Toast with soldiers for everyone



I feel, as the British say, like a tit for posting the above but someone did make the nice icon and I figured, what the hell. I'm sure most of you have no clue what it means, no should you. It's just a discworld reference and only comprehended by those who have delved a little too deep into the pit that's known as fandom.

A lot of the people on a discworld community I watch went one step further and were all agog over a commemorative pin put out just for this occasion with the proceeds to go to Alzheimer's research. Now, I love the discworld novels as much as the next person, but I just can't see spending 50 dollars to buy something that I know I would never wear and even if I did, no one would get. I imagine there must be more Pratchett fans in the UK so if you picked up something like this you could at least exchange knowing smiles with people on the street and the occasional enthusiastic high-5. After all, what's the point of sending out a message that no one will ever receive and understand. It's like throwing a party for 1 in your closet.

Anyway, for those of you who are discworld fans, happy lilac day. For those of you that aren't, you probably weren't missing anything all that interesting anyway. It also just happens to be mock26's birthday. I should try to remind myself to give him a call sometime today.

It's just about time that I should set off to the Bill's for their memorial day party. I'm thinking about stopping at some stores on the way there. There are some pretty unbelievable deals on video games that start today and if I could actually find any in stock, I could easily flip them on ebay for some small amount of filthy lucre.
books the giving tree

Everybody dies

I'm feeling pretty craptastic at the moment. I'm having some pain management issues which means that there's little chance I can get to sleep until the meds kick in and things subside. I have not a happy camper at the moment. Since I'm up and I've got nothing better to do, I figured I would try to catch up on some things here.

This is about a week after the fact and I'm sure that if you care at all you've already gotten the news but it seems that Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's. He posted a public message about it and the only details he provided was that it was some form of early onset version. As far as I can recall, that's never a good thing. The early onset ones are usually genetic in basis and hit harder and faster once disease progression is underway. All of this comes on top of the fact that he had a mini-stroke back in August and didn't even realize it until recently.

When I think about it, it's around the time that authors I follow should start kicking off. Robert Jordan's passing was a bit early and ahead of schedule but I'm reaching an age where a lot of the actors and authors I loved are hitting ages where they'll start dying off. I still remember when John Candy passed away and thinking to myself that that was the beginning.

All in all, I really wish it were someone else other than Pratchett. Over the past few years, I've become more and more of a fan, due in no small part to audiobooks. I tend to listen to them over and over, going through the various story tracks one after another. Even as we speak I've got Thud! playing and I've been through the whole Guards series of books at least a half dozen times. Multiply that by the hours each book takes to play and it's not an insignificant number. I find the constant readings to be sort of comforting, much like how when I lived in chicago my tv was on all the time turned to one of the cable news networks. It's just something you can follow along with half your mind without it actually distracting you. I get out of audiobooks what I imagine a lot of people get out of just playing the radio.

Oh well. There's no reason to get maudlin about it yet. Even with early onset, he'll likely have at least another decade to work with. It's not medical defecits that will stop him as much as just the existance of the mortality looming I imagine. As he's said many times, he's got more money than he knows what to do with so there's no fiancial incentive to keep writing. He may just decide that given the situation, it's a good time to slow down and spend more time with friends and family or in trying out new treatments. I can't begrudge him that, but it's going to be a shame to not see as many books come rolling off the line.
discworld fiery eye

Lessons from Limeyland

It's probably understating things to say that a person learns something new every day, but the one that will stick in my mind for today involves Conkers. I was reading CNN earlier today and out of curiosity clicked on a video linked entitled Bonkers over Conkers. It turns out that it's some sort of whacky Limey game that involves drilling holes in nuts and then bashing them against each other. If you smash someone else's nut apart with your nut, you win and gain a point. In case you're curious, you can find more information at the wikipedia page on the subject.

Now, usually I'd just go on with my day with nary more than a thought that the Limeys are weird but I had a flash of recognition. In one of the discworld books, Pratchett referenced conkers and I had never gotten it before. Vimes is walking along a street of the working poor while investigating a crime and thinking back to the games that the street kids would play. I don't recall the others off the top of my head but one of them was dead rat conkers. I gave it no thought at the time, just writing it off as some children's game I didn't get. Now I'm happily entertained by the idea of people trying to bash rats open with other rats. I guess it only counts if you manage to get one of them to split open and ooze.

It's the little joys that matter.
discworld grim squeaker

A hard habit to give up

I keep feeling this urge to make additional icons. The entire thing is sort of addicting really. It's also cumbersome and a monumental pain in the ass sometimes. I don't have the right programs or tools to make it easy and the process is like trying to paint a picture using finger paints. I end up making a mess half the time and simply wasting time.

Still, it is sorta entertaining when it works out.

Right now, I'm listening to The Fifth Elephant on audiobook again and I found a really great picture of toast cut into soldiers with egg. The entire turn of phrase had baffled me at first but a quick google search cleared it up. Now I'm trying to think of what sort of icon I could make with the picture. I've also got a spiffy imagine of the ankh-morpork city watch seal I'm trying to work in too. Hmmm.....

Updated:

Okay. I finished up something. Let me know what you think:

dance centipedes vagina

Read to me

I've been on quite an audiobook kick over the past few of months. First I downloaded every single book in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and went through them one by one with only a few skips. That added up to around 30 books and God only knows how many countless hours. It's a completely difference experience hearing a book read to you and reading it yourself. Everything seems to slow down and the pacing is completely different.

After finishing Discworld I went on to Goodkind's Sword of Truth and just finished the last book avaliable, Phantom, yesterday. It was even more apparent with these how different an experience it is to listen than to read. Goodkind has this tendancy to have his characters delivery long, extended speeches on things. VERY LONG speeches. Since this had never really occurred to me before, I assume it's because whenever I got bogged down in one while reading I would speed up a little or maybe just pay less attention. Hearing it on the audiobooks was almost a surreal experience. There would be a scene in the middle of combat and then poof, take out around 60 minutes worth of real time so that a character can expound upon the meaning and philosophy of life. It got to be moderately infuriating after a while. More than a few times I wanted to shriek at the character to stop yakking and start hacking.

Currently, I'm working on downloading all of Jordan's Wheel of Time. I used to absolutely love that series. I followed it religiously and was even on a MUD (Multi-user dungeon for you kids out there) based on it. I swam in the minutae of the series and was practically a walking encyclopedia. I abandoned it after the downturn in the series during book 7-8. I figured I would get back to it one day when he finally finished it. Since then, it's grown to 11 books, with two more to follow, and I've found that Jordan's got a (most likely) terminal illness. Since he might never get the chance to wrap things up, I figured I might as well find out what I've missed in those intervening three books. In order to do that, I'll have to start from the beginning as a refresher and audiobooks seem to be the way to go.

In summary, I <3 audiobooks.