Thursday, July 30, 2015

Discworld - As Good as Any Man

Monstrous Regiment is another book that has our favorite characters in it only peripherally.  Even Death appears as only an apparition or hallucination.  But it is another fun read.  It even only has fantasy elements as things that have been established.  Sure there's a vampire and a troll in the regiment, but they're just treated as people.

The end is left a little open ended as to just what is going to happen, and leaves you wondering.

------

Recurring themes and characters that appear in this book:

Angua, Sergeant
Black Ribbon – the Uberwald League of Temperance
Borogravia
Buggy Swires, Corporal
Burleigh and Stronginthearm
Cabbage
Death
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician
Jolly Sailor Tobacco
Leonard of Quirm
Lord Ronald Rust
Low King of the Dwarves, Rhys Ryhsson
Offler, the Crocodile-Headed God
Om
Otto Chriek
Reg Shoe, Corporal
Sam Vimes, Knight, Duke, Commander
Tacticus, General
The Ankh-Morpork Times
The Clacks System
The Unorthodox Potato Church

William de Worde

Monday, July 27, 2015

Discworld: Crivens!

With Wee Free Men, Pratchett introduces Tiffany Aching, a nine-year-old girl who will become a witch and will be the main character in his final book which will be coming out soon.  This is another books written for Juveniles, and was originally described as not being part of the Discworld.  However, slowly we hear familiar country names and places. 

There is also the return of the Nac Mac Feegle, the little pictsies from Carpe Jugulum.  These are a different tribe, but they will be the ones we learn so much about.

And other than short stories, I think this is the first Discworld book that doesn't have Death in it.

------

Recurring characters and themes that appear in this book:


Big Yan
Daft Wullie
Granny
Granny Aching
Hamish
Jolly Sailor Tobacco
Lancre
Miss Perspicacia Tick
Nanny
Not-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock Jock
Pictsies / Wee Free Men
Quirm College for Young Ladies
Rob Anybody
Roland, son of the Baron
Special Sheep Liniment
The Baron of the chalk
The Kelda
The Nac Mac Feegle
The Queen of the Fairies
Tiffany Aching
Wentworth Aching
Yellow sick toad

Discworld - Watching the Past

Night Watch is an immediate parallel sequel to Thief of Time.  The sudden storm that stops the glass clock appears at the beginning of the book, and the fracturing of time is what drops Sam Vimes into the past.  The other part I really like about the book is the cover created by Paul Kidby.

This is one of the first covers that Kidby did for the Discworld.  And he shows that he is as amazing as Alex Ross in his abilities to make a collage of made up people into something that almost looks real.  Kidby took the original Rembrandt painting that has come to be called "The Night Watch" and repopulated the painting with the characters from the book.

Here is the Rembrandt's original painting:


Most people know that it only came to be called "The Night Watch" because of the protective varnishes that were regularly added to it aged and darkened hiding the image.

Now here is Kidby's cover artwork:


And, this being the internet there is a comparison graphic:


All because Pratchett inspired a great modern artist.

------

Recurring themes and characters appearing in this book:

“Leggy” Gaskin, corporal
“Mayonnaise” Quirke, Corporal
Angua, Sergeant
Borogravia
Burleigh and Stronginthearm
Cable Street Particulars
Carrot Ironfoundersson, Captain
Cheri Littlebottom, corporal
Clacks
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler
Dark Empire
Death
Detrtitus, Sergeant
Downey, Assassin’s Guild
Dr. “Mossy” Lawn
Drumknott, secretary
Elm Street
Events of Guards Guards
Events of The Fifth Elephant
Events of Thief of Time
Fred Colon, Sergeant (Corporal)
Harry King
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician, Assassins’ Guild
High Energy Magic Building
Igor, Constable
Lord Ronald Rust
Lord Selachii
Lord Snapcase, Patrician
Lord Venturi
Lord Winder, Patrician
Lu Tze, History Monk
Madam Meserole (Aunt to Vetinari)
Marco Soto, History Monk
Mr. Slant, Lawyers’ Guild
Mrs. Content, midwife
Mrs. Rosey Palm
Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor UU
Nobby Nobbs. Corporal
Old Tom, UU bell
Ping, Corporal
Ponder Stibbons
Qu, History Monk
quantum
Reg Shoe
Sam Vimes, Duke, Knight, Commander
Stronginthearm, Sergeant
Swires, Constable
Sybil Ramkins-Vime, duchess
The Agony Aunts
The Ankh-Morpork Times
The Assassins’ Guild
The Broken Drum
The Bursar
The Librarian
The Monks of History
Uberwald
Uberwald League of Temperance
Unseen University
Visit, Constable
Wallace Sonky
Wilikins, butler

Monday, July 20, 2015

Discworld - Oh Rats!

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents was billed as Pratchett's first juvenille book.  Juvenille as in for juniors or marked with a "J" in a library.

IT's a fast read, btu it isn't necessarily just for kids.  Much like Garth Nix and his Abhorsen books, aq good author can put some deep themes into a juvenille book.  Pratchett has sometimes had naive adults use phrases like "Wouldn't it be nice if everyone was nice."  Adn while that's a nice dream, all but the most naive know that'll never happen.

One of Pratchett's recurring themes is racism, but wrapped and disguised as speciesism usually Humans against Dwarves or Trolls.  This time it Humans against Rats.  And while it's a twist on "The Pied Piper of Hamlin", this one is also about getting outside your head and realizing that while life may be a story, it's not always going to follow the narrative.

------

Recurring themes and characters appearing in this book:

Death
Death of Rats
Maurice
Rat Kings
Purple Wobbly Bit
Uberwald
Sto Lat
Sgt. Doppelpunkt (Colon)
Cpl. Knopf (Nobby)
Unseen University

Discworld - A Time for Dying

So this is it, Thief of Time is my favorite Discworld book.

It's a book in the Death sereis, and it's has Susan in it.  But it also has the History Monks, and the introduction of "slicing time".  And then just everything about the Auditors learnign about living.  They had a bit of that at the end of Hogfather, but the poroblem is that those that die don't have a chance to warn the remainign Auditors what it's like to be alive.

But the greatest thing about this book is how it showcases Pratchett's skill of the slow, but constant, build as well as the interweaving of story threads.  There are the threads of Susan, Death, Lobsang and Lu Tze, Jeremy, the Auditors, Ronnie, and the story of Wen.  All of these come together neatly, and, literally, the storm hits just over halfway through the book.

And then, the events directly lead to Night Watch, which may be my number two favorite.

------

Recurring themes and characters in this book:

“The Hedgehog Song”
Almanack de Gothic
Ankh-Morpork
Binky
Bonsai Mountains
Borogravia
Brutha
Cabbage
Death
Death of Rats
Dhlang (The Things from the Dungeon Dimensions)
Events in Small Gods
Greebo
Igor
Igorina
Koom Valley
Lancre
Leonard of Quirm
Lu Tze
Marco Soto
Mrs. Marietta Cosmopolite
Muntab
Nanny Ogg
Old Man Trouble
Qu
Quoth the Raven
Rule One
Susan Sto Helit
The Apocryphal Apocalypse
The Auditors
The Brothers of Cool
The Bunch of Grapes
The Clacks System
The Dysk
The Four (Five) Horsemen
The History Monks
The Listening Monks
The Opera House
The Quirm School for Young Ladies
The Ramtops
The Royal Art Museum
The Thieves’ Guild
Tooth Fairy
Twurp’s Peerage
Uberwald
Weaver family of Lancre

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Discworld - Ankh-Morpork Times

In The Truth, much of the underlying theme is seeing characters whose minds we've been inside of in previous books from the perspective of outsiders.  We know Vimes, Angua, and the Patrician, but now it's about how the common person interacts with them.

The Truth also adds additional acceleration to the technology of Ankh-Morpork and the Discworld.  We've had engraving and the printing press, but movable type is a big step.

Of course, we'll be learning why technology is so skewed after the end of Thief of Time.

------

Recurring characters and themes in this book:

"Millennium hand and shrimp."
“Sixpence is sixpence.” (RM)
Altogether Andrews
Angua, Sergeant
Ankh-Morpork
Arnold Sideways
Blind Io
Cabbage
Carrot Ironfoundersson, Captain
Carter of Lancre
Cheery LIttlebottom, Corporal
Chrysoprase
Coffin Henry
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler
Death
Death of Rats
Detritus, Sergeant
Dis-organizer
Djelibeybi
Duck man
Events in Jingo
Events in Moving Pictures
Events in Soul Music
Fiddyment, Constable
Foul Ole Ron
Fred Colon, Sergeant
Gaspode
Harga / Harga's House of Ribs
Harry King
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician
Hobson's Livery Stable
Hughnon Ridcully, High Priest of Blind Io
Lady Margolotta of Uberwald
Lady Selachii
Lancre
Mr. Crisplock, Engraver’s Guild (Maskerade)
Mr. Hong and his fish shop
Mr. Slant
Mrs. Palm, Seamstressess’ Guild
Muntab / The Muntab Question
Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor UU
Nobby Nobbs, Corporal
Offler the Crocodile-Headed God
Omnia
Otto Chriek
Queen Molly, Beggars’ Guild
Rufus Drumknott
Sacharisa Crisplock
Sam Vimes, Duke, Commander, Knight
Sto Helit
The Ramtops
Thatcher of Lancre
The Agatean Empire (IT)
The Alchemists’ Guild
The Ankh-Morpork Times
The Assassins’ Guild
The Beggars’ Guild
The Breccia
The Bucket
The Bursar, Dimwiddy
The Clacks
The Dowager Duchess of Quirm (GG)
The Dungeon Dimensions
The Engravers’ Guild
The Mended Drum
The Seamstresses’ Guild
The Thieves’ Guild
The Uberwald Temperance Movement
The Unorthodox Potato Church (named in Monstrous Regiment)
The Unreal Estate
Twurp’s Peerage
Uberwald
Unseen University
Verence II, King of Lancre
Weaver of Lancre
William deWorde
Wuffles

Friday, July 10, 2015

Discworld - Watch the Old World

So we return to international intrigue with The Fifth Elephant.  The excitement level on this one ramps up quickly.  We've heard of Igor before (as the bartender at Biers and helping the Magpyrs), but here we learn of the Igor network and their creed of "What goes around comes around."

There is also the introduction of the Clacks system (semaphore towers) which will play such a big part in the future books.

I think that I'm becoming soft and sentimental in my years.  I know that there are several books to go in the series, but just thinking about the end coming brings tears to my eyes, and the touching bits in the stories seem that much more poignant.  The part in this one that almost brought out a sob was when Angua is asking Carrot to be the one to put her down.

------

Recurring characters and themes appearing in this book:

"Hi Ho Song"
"Personal isn't the same as important."
Albrecht Albrechtson
Almanack de Gothic
Angua von Uberwald, Sergeant
Ankh-Morpork
Baron von Uberwald
Baroness Seraphine von Uberwald
B'hrian Bloodaxe
Bluejohn, Corporal
Borogravia
Cabbage
Carrot Ironfounderson, Captain
Cheery “Cheri” LIttlebottom, corporal
Clacks system
Death
Deep Dwarves
Detritus, Sergeant
Done-It Duncan
Dorfl, Constable
Downspout, Constable
Drumknott, secretary
Dwarf Bread Museum
Events of Men at Arms
Flint. Corporal (sergeant temporarily)
Fred Colon, Sergeant (captain temporarily)
Gaspode
Genua
Gimlet / Gimlet's Delicatessan
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician
Igor
Lady Margolotta
Lancre
Leonard of Quirm
Lord Rust
Lord Selachii
Mrs. Content, midwife
Muntab
Nobby Nobbs, corporal
Reg Shoe, constable
Rhys Rhyson, Low King
Sam Vimes, Commander Duke Sir
Stoneface Vimes
Swires, lance-constable
Sybil Ramkin-Vimes, Duchess
The Assassins' Guild
The Bunch of Grapes
The Campaign for Equal Heights
The Dark Clerks
The Fools' Guild
The Opera House
The Prophet Ossory
The Ramtops
The Seamstresses' Guild
Twurp's Peerage
Uberwald
Visit-the-Non-Believer-With-Explantory-Pamplets “Washpot”, constable
Wilikins, butler

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Sick and Twisted with Kevin Kline

So, when I started out with the intent of writing this blog it was going to be about the chain of events that led to Jennifer and me watching "Soapdish" this weekend.  But then I had some additional interesting thoughts.

As it started, we were looking for a movie to watch and came across one with Maggie Smith and Kevin Klein in it called "My Old Lady".  It's about a man who inherits an apartment from his father and learns there is under un viager.  Towards the end there is a possibility the woman he sleeps with is his half-sister, and so when the movie was done and we wanted to watch something else, I said, "Well, since we had the chance of incest in this one, we should watch his other one that almost had incest 'Soapdish'."

And then, I thought he was really great in "A Fish Called Wanda" but... wait.  Wasn't there an incest twist to that one?  Sure, Otto and Wanda weren't really brother and sister, but everyone else thought they were, and there was Wanda's great line about how her intentions wouldn't be different if he really was her brother.

Maybe, I should look through some of his other movies and see if there are any others that have an incest theme in them.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Discworld - Vampires, Pictsies, and Phoenixes

This is last book that Pratchett writes from the perspective of Granny Weatherwax.  We'll see her again a few times, but after this only as Tiffany Aching sees her.

I liked the bit of mystery in this one, as well as following Agnes Nitt.  It's also only the second time we've met an Igor, but the Igor that works at Biers in Ankh-Morpork doesn't have the stereotypical speech impediment of those fresh from Uberwald.  Also the concept of "what comes around goes around" is introduced which I think is pretty amazing way of making Igors a kind of karmic force.

And the cool part is that we get to immediately return to Uberwald in the next book The Fifth Elephant.

------

Recurring characters and themes in this book:

Agnes "Perdita" Nitt
Ankh-Morpork
Bad Ass
Beastiality Carter
Bergholdt Stuttley “Bloody Stupid" Johnson
Big Jim Beef, Troll
Binky
Black Aliss / Alison Weatherwax
Blind Io
Borogravia
Brutha
Casanunda
Cena, The Prophet
Events of Small Gods
Granny Esmerelda Weatherwax
Greebo
Hodgesaargh, Falconer
Igor
Jason Ogg
Lancre
Lily Weatherwax
Magrat Garlick, Queen
Millie Chillum
Mrs. Scorbic, Cook
Muntab / The Muntab Question
Offler, the Crocodile-Headed God
Om/Omnia
Ossory, The Prophet
Queen Griminir
Quite Reverend Mightily-Praiseworthy-are-Ye-Who-Exalteth-Om Oats
Shawn Ogg
Simonites (Simony, Sgt.)
Skund
Slake
Spriggins, Butler
Tacticus, general
The Baron of Uberwald
The Death of Rats
The Nac Mac Feegle
The Ramtops
Uberwald
Unseen University
Vaelock Vetinari, The Patrician
Verence II, King

Discworld - Lancre Witch Trials

"The Sea and Little Fishes" first appeared in Legends, a large anthology of stories that authors were asked to contribute to in order to expand their worlds.  It had many great shorts in it, but this one was the primary reason that I bought the book.

In hardback.

That it was a short story set in Lancre as a witches book, I couldn't pass it up.  When I read the tease that Pratchett had taken the idea of witch trials and turned it into something the witches had come up with, then I was more than ready for the book.

And the story doesn't disappoint.  It's a tight short story, almost a novella by Discworld standards, and you learn even more, just how dangerous Granny can be,

------

Recurring characters and themes in this book:

Agnes Nitt
Death
Events in Lords and Ladies
Gammer Beavis

Granny Esmerelda Weatherwax
King Verence II
Lancre
Letice Earwig

Nanny Gytha Ogg
Old Mother Dismass
Pewsey Ogg
Poorchick and his cow
Witch Trials
Zakzak Stronginthearm


Discworld - A Wizzard in the Outback

So, I seem to have fallen behind on my posting.  I keep these posts as drafts while I'm reading, and update the recurring portion, but I got more caught up in reading (and the weekend) than posting.

The Last Continent is another book that is okay in my estimation, but not great.  It has lots of fun stuff in it, and the ending once Rincewind gets down to work is good, but otherwise it's a book that's just a compilation of things about Australia.

Otherwise, it's a fun light story.  And again, Rincewind finds a distant relative.

------

Recurring characters and themes appearing in this book:

Albert
Archchancellor Galder  Weatherwax
Binky
Bonsai Mountains
Cohen the Barbarian
Death
Doughnut Jimmy
Dried Frog Fills
Dwarf Bread
Events from Eric
Fair-Go Dibbler
Genua
Hex
Lancre (blue cheese)
Mr. Hong’s Fish Restaurant
Mrs. Whitlow
Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor UU
Old Tom
Ponder Stibbons
Prophet Ossory
Purple Wobbly Bit
Rincewind
The Bursar
The Chair of Indefinite Studies
The Death of Rats
The Lecturer in Recent Runes
The Librarian
The Lost Wizard Colony
The Luggage
The Senior Wrangler
The Tezumen
Unseen University

XXXX / Ecks Ecks Ecks Ecks

Monday, June 29, 2015

Discworld - Watching the War

As I mentioned previously, I received Jingo as a thank you gift for VCR-sitting.  Now, there'd been things going on around Iran and Iraq for a while, and Pratchett had had things as a background to Desert Storm in Only You Can Save Mankind, he had also alluded to the situation in Klatch when Death joined the Klatchian Foreign Legion in Soul Music.  The subtle part was when Albert notes the actual dotted line that marked the territorial boundary that existed in reality passing through the desert.  But in Jingo, Pratchett gets down to what has really been going on.  It's also his twist on Lawrence of Arabia".

I think this book is a prime example of Pratchett's skill in writing.  As usual, he doesn't use paragraphs, breaking scenes using only white space, but the book just flows along smoothly from each stage of the story.

I'll admit that the first time I read it, I was a bit confused on what had actually happened in a few spots.  The second time I read it, everything fell into place with a big, "Ohhhh, now I get it."  I think I wasn't expecting the depth that he put into it.

I find myself wanting to say that each book is my favorite, but that's the thing with this series.  Almost every book is your favorite once you read it.  And the next one is only that much better.

------

Recurring characters and themes in this book:

“Personal is not the same as important.”
Al-jibla (Klatchian Dibbler)
Angua, Corporal
Ankh-Morpork
Berghodlt Stuttley “Bloody Stupid” Johnson
Blind Hugh
Bows and Ammo
Buggy Swires, Constable
Burleigh & Stronginthearm
Cabbage
Carrot Ironfounderson, Captain
Cecil W. St. J “Nobby” Nobbs, Corporal
Chalky the Troll
Cheri LIttlebottom, Corporal
Cumbling Michael
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler
Death
Detritus, Sergeant
Djelibeybi
Done-It Duncan
Dorfl, Constable
Downspout, Constable
D'regs
Drumknott, Secretary
Duck Man
Elm Street
Foul Ole Ron
Fred Colon, Sergeant
Genua
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician
Ironcrust's Dwarf Bread
Klatch
Leonard of Quirm
Leshp
Lord and Lady Selachii
Lord Downey, Assassin’s Guild
Lord Ronald “Ronnie” Rust
Lord Venturi
Mad Lord Snapcase, Patrician
Mr Hong, and the Three Jolly Luck Take-Away fish bar on Dagon street, site of old fish-God temple, opening on the night of the full moon
Mr. Boggis, Thieves’ Guild
Mr. Slant, Lawyers’ Guild
Mrs. Cake
Muntab
Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor UU
Old Stoneface Vimes
Pediment, Constable
Reg Shoe, Constable
Samuel Vimes, Commander/Duke/Knight
St. Ungulant ('s Fire)
Sybil Ramkin Vimes, Lady/Duchess
Tacticus, General
The Agony Aunts
The Alchemists’ Guild
The Assassin’s Guild
The Beggars’ Guild
The Bunch of Grapes
The Bursar
The Butchers’ Guild
The Dean
The Dis-Organizer
The Guild of Engravers
The Librarian
The Mended Drum
The Opera House
The Seamstresses' Guild
The Shades
The Thieves’ Guild
The Trousers of Time
Unseen University
Verity Pushpram
Visit-the-Non-Believer-with-Explanatory-Pamphlets “Washpot”, Constable
Wilkins, Butler

Winkle's Old Peculiar

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I'm a Smith-oholic

If you know me, you probably know that I'm a big fan of Kevin Smith.

I can't exactlr remember how I first heard about "Clerks" and "Mallrats", but it was likely through the beginnings of the Internet while I was in grad school.  I do remember that I rented those movies, and then went to see "Chasing Amy" in the theater.  I've seen all of the rest of the Jersey Chronicles in the theater since then.

When "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" came out on video, I had a marathon viewing for my birthday.  It was a small turnout, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  When "Clerks II" came out on my birthday weekend, a group of us went to see it.

And this week, while Jennifer has been traveling, I've watched one movie everyday.  Except for today, when I watched the last two.

Kevin Smith gets maligned a lot for his stuff.  But each movie he's done has been a specific type of movie: black-and-white indie, teen comedy, romance, action, road trip cartoony, and true sequel.  Then he's gone on to make others outside of that world, and in a year or so he'll be returning to it.

I'm not saying he's a cinematic genius, but he world is tight, deftly interwoven, entertaining.  Every one of the movies has at least one moment that still makes me laugh out loud.

I think tomorrow I'll re-watch "Red State".

Friday, June 26, 2015

Discworld - Death of a Holiday

Hogfather and Jingo came to me directly from Englad for VCR sitting for a friend.  This was back before DVRs, and she was recording "Lois and Clark" and "The X-Files", and so I went over a couple times while she was traveling, and switch out the tapes to keep them grouped properly.

Hogfather is a lot of fun to read as it weaves holiday stories in with the origins of the Discworld's version of Father Christmas, the Hogfather.  The continuing fight against the Auditors of reality is fun as you learn more of the "rules" around the conflict.

Hogfather was made into a live action special on the BBC that was done exceptionally well.  After watching animated adaptations of Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters, it was fascinating to see even closer how Pratchett had envisioned his city and world.

------

Recurring concepts and characters in this book:

Adrian Turnipseed
Albert
Ankh-Morpork
Archchancellor (Galder) Weatherwax
Arnold Sideways
Bergholdt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson
Biers
Binky
Blind Io
Bows and Ammo
Burleigh & Stronginthearm
Cabbage
Carrot Ironfounderson, Captain
Chrysoprase
Coffin Henry
Death
Didactylos
Duck Man
Events in Reaper Man
Fate
Foul Ole Ron
Gaspode the Thinking-Brain Dog
General Tacticus
Hex
Hygiene
Lord Downey, Assassins' Guild
Lord Selachii
Mericet
Miss (Eulalie) Butts
Modo the Dwarf Gardener, UU
Mrs. Gammage
Mrs. Whitlow
Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor UU
Nobby Nobbs, Corporal
Offler, the Crocodile-Headed God
Old Man Trouble
Ponder Stibbons
Quoth the Raven
Scrote
Scumble
St. Ungulant
Susan Sto Helit
The Assassins' Guild
The Auditors
The Bursar (Mr. Dinwiddie)
The Campaign for Equal Heights
The Chair
The Dean
The Death of Rats
The High Energy Magic Building
The Lecturer in Recent Runes
The Librarian
The Power of Belief
The Prophet Ossory
The Senior Wrangler (Horace)
The Thieves' Guild
The Unreal Estate
The YMPA
Twurp's Peerage
Unseen University
Violet, a Tooth Fairy
Visit-the-Infidel-with-Explanatory-Pamphlets "Washpot", Constable
Windle Poons

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Discworld - Watching for Poison

It is here in the middle of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, that my continuity became mixed up.  There were books being published in the UK at least 6 months before they were published in the US.  I already told how I had discovered Lord and Ladies and Men at Arms at Tower Books with their UK covers (and price tag).  Later I discovered the precursor to Amazon UK in W.H. Smith's online.  When I could afford it, they were my source of Discworld books when they came out until the US got proximal release dates.

Feet of Clay was one I found by surprise, not expecting a new Discworld book to be out yet.  And of course, I didn't savor it, but burned through it.  Being a Watch book, it again has a mystery component to it, but is also a procedural.  Fortunately, I got lucky enough to get the next two books at once as I was VCR sitting for a friend who was off on a trip to England...

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Recurring character and themes in book:

"Millennium hand and shrimp"
Arnold Sideways
Baron Guye von Uberwald "Silvertail"
Bearhugger’s whiskey
B'hrian Bloodaxe
Biers (formerly The Crown and Axe)
Burleigh & Stronginthearm
C. W. "Nobby" St. John de Nobbs, Corporal
Cabbage
Cable Street Particulars, Watch Division
Carrot Ironfounderson, Captain
Cheery "Cheri" Littlebottom, Corporal
Chrysoprase
Circle of rats with their tails intertwined
Clocks of Ankh-Morpork
Coffin Henry
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler
Delphine Angua von Uberwald, Corporal
Detritus, Sergeant
Dorfl, Constable
Drumknott, Secretary
Duck Man
Dwarf Bread Museum
Elm Street
Flint, Constable
Foul Ole Ron
Fred Colon, Sergeant
Gaspode, the thinking brain dog
General Tacticus
Genua
Gerhardt Sock, Butcher's Guild
Gimlet
Gimlet's Hole Food Delicatessen
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician
Hughnon Ridcully, Chief Priest of Blind Io
Igneous the Troll
Igor
James "Doughnut Jimmy" Folsom
King Lorenzo the Kind
Lady Selachii
Lord Downey, Assassins' Guild
Lord Ronald Rust
Lord Winder, former Patrician
Mad Lord Snapcase, former Patrician
Moraine, Constable
Mr. Boggis, Thieves' Guild
Mr. Slant, Guild of Lawyers
Mrs. Cake
Mrs. Gammage
Mrs. Rosemary Palm, Seamstresses' Guild
Offler, the Crocodile-Headed God
Old Man Trouble
Quantum Weather Butterfly
Queen Molly, Beggars' Guild
Samuel Vimes, Commander Sir
Serafine Sox-Bloonberg "Yellowfang"
Silicon Anti-Defamation League
Slab
Stoneface "Suffer-not-Injustice" Vimes
Sybil Ramkin-Vimes
The Alchemists' Guild
The Assassins' Guild
The Battle of Koom Valley
The Brass Bridge
The Bucket on Gleam Street
The Campaign of Equal Heights for Dwarfs
The Death of Rats
The Dis-organizer
The Guild of Gamblers
The High Energy Magic Building
The Mended Drum
The Opera House
The Ramtops
The Seamstresses' Guild
The Skunk Club
Thieves' Guild
Twurp's Peerage
Uberwald
Unseen University
Venturi family
Violet, a tooth fairy
Visit-the-Infidel-with-Explanatory-Pamphlets "Washpot", Constable
Wallace Sonky
Wee Mad Arthur
Wilikins, the butler
Winkles beer

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Discworld - When the Fat Lady Sings

It's amazing how quickly you can read things when you've turned off the television.  I read Maskerade in two days.

Of course the overarching theme of this book is "The Phantom of the Opera", and yes, I continually have the song "Masquerade" going through my head, but there is still so much more to this book.  There's the concept of three witches.  There's a little mystery.  And there's all the other little bits from operas and musicals that get mentioned.

Death appears several times in the book, but his best scene is his last.

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Recurring Characters and Concepts in this book:

Agnes “Perdita X. Dream” Nitt
Ankh-Morpork
Black Aliss
Cable Street Particulars
Corporal Detritus, AM City Watch
Corporal Nobby Nobbs, AM City Watch
Death
Elm Street
Five exclamation points
Granny Esemerelda Weatherwax
Greebo
Lancre
Magrat Garlick, Queen
Millie Hopwood
Mother Dismass
Mr. Crisplock, Engraver
Nanny Gytha Ogg
Scumble
Seamstresses' Guild
Shawn Ogg
Thatcher the Carter
The Dreadful Bend in the Road / Deadman’s Curve
The Hedgehog Song
The Opera House
The Ramtops
The Shades
The Venturi family
Tinker the Tinker
Verence II, King
Violet Frottidge

Discworld - There is No East, but Go That Way

I remember when Interesting Times came out, how excited I was the not only was it a Rincewind book, but also that Twoflower was in it too.  And Cohen's presence was just an added bonus.

This is another fun book that reads quickly.  Just the smattering of Japanese and Chinese cultural history that I know makes this book hilarious.  And again, the bits that Pratchett drops in from our reality are incredible.  What do you do with the terracotta army of China in Discworld?  Well, certainly they must become a real army of golem-like terracotta soldiers.  There's a tribute the Seven Samurai.  And there's even a take on a certain little red book.

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Recurring themes and characters in this book:

Adrian Turnipseed
Ankh-Morpork
Bergholt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson
Betrobi, language of the people of the Brown Islands
Binky
Blind Io
Boy Willie
Caleb the Ripper
Cohen the Barbarian / Genghiz Cohen
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler
Death
Disembowel-Myself-Honorably Dibhala
Dried Frog Pills
Drumknott, Secretary
Events from Sourcery
Events of Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic
Events from Eric
Fate
Five exclamation points (or [urinating dog]s)
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician
HEX
Hrun the Barbarian
Hygiene
Mad Hamish
Mad Lord Snapcase, former Patrician
Modo the Dwarf, Gardener UU
Mr. Boggis, Thieves' Guild
Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor
Nine Turning Mirrors, former Grand Vizier
Offler, the Crocodile-Headed God
Old Vincent
Ponder Stibbons
Quantum Weather Butterfly
Rincewind
Silicon Anti-Defamation League
Skund
The Alchemists' Guild
The Assassins' Guild
The Battle of Koom Valley
The Bursar
The Chair
The Counterweight Continent
The Dean of Indefinite Studies
The Four Horsemen
The Lady
The Lecturer in Recent Runes
The Luggage
The Million-to-One Chance
The Ramtops
The Senior Wrangler
The Thieves' Guild
Truckle the Uncivil
Twoflower
Unseen University
XXXX, the Last Continent



Thirsty

So, today for Father's Day, I went to my parents' house and cooked breakfast for my dad (and mom too).  I also helped dad go through his storage shed, and drove mom to pick up a prescription so that dad could get a little nap.

Now, of course, I got there via biking and BART.  And it's not like I didn't drink anything while I was there.  I think I had two glasses of orange juice, two glasses of milk, two glasses of water, and a beer.  And while I was on BART, or at least on the platform waiting for the train, I had water from my carrier bottle.

And then when i got home, I had some lemonade, and more water, and thought I'd brew some tea.  For dinner I had a Caesar salad with mushroom and sliced leftover steak.  But apparently I was still very thirsty, because when I sat down to eat, and brought my wine over, the table was already a little crowded with drinks.


Yeah, no idea either.  But at least I'm hydrated.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Inside "Inside Out"

So, on Monday, I got a text from Jennifer.  She asked me if I wanted to go see Pixar's new movie "Inside Out" on Tuesday (yesterday).

Now, we had worked out the first half of the week already with meals and such, and so I was surprised she wanted to go see a movie.  She called me and said that she had been looking at possible movies for the weekend, and there had been a Google banner ad about an insider look at "Inside Out".  She clicked on it and followed the path until she got to buy the tickets.

So last night we walked to AMC in Emeryville, less than a mile from where the movie had been made.  We got out tickets and when the ticket taker let us in, he gave us mini-posters and matching lanyard with tags.


Now, Jennifer has been very accommodating with my... movie going fixations over the years; however,  they tend to pay off.  If I'm not at the theater early, I get, I don't know, antsy, I guess.  I have a little part of me that wants to get the best seat, so I like to be there in time to be as close to first as possible.  Last night we were not the first in, but we got great seats: dead center on the row, and the back row of the front section of seats.

There were bits of trivia for the movie running, and some made sense and some didn't until after seeing it.  And the movie itself was great.

The story is engrossing and touched a big nerve as it's about a little girl who has to leave her friends and everything she knows behind to move to San Francisco.  And then things that happen outside and inside shape and reflect the other.  The two scenes that resonated most with me were the scene where she has to stand up in front of the class and introduce herself, and the resolution at the end.

One of the things that makes the movie visually compelling is that the two worlds are rendered in different fashions.  The "real world" is done in a pretty realistic fashion, but still keeps away from the uncanny valley.  The inside world is cartoon-ish and more symbolic.

The five voices used for the emotions are well chosen, and my favorite is Lewis Black.  When Robin Williams was chosen for "Aladdin", we all wondered how many outtakes of curse words there must have been.  We can now wonder the same thing with Lewis Black, but Pixar took that into account on many occasions.

You don't have to be a parent, or a girl to enjoy this movie, because it's not just about those things.  It's all about the journey.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Discworld - Music to Die For

So back in college, I read Christopher Stasheff's Warlock series.  There was one book called the Warlock Rock and it was full of music puns.  They weren't subtle, and some of it seemed quite forced.

Terry Pratchett's Soul Music, while it has some music puns, is much more entertaining and quite a bit more subtle.  Some of my favorite parts are the Discworld inversions of Earth bands.

Dwarves with Altitude
We're Certainly Dwarves
The Whom
&U

But parallel to the story of the rise of Music with Rocks In, is the introduction of Susan Sto Helit, daughter of Mort and Ysabell, and granddaughter of Death.  It's about how a seveteen-year-old girl deals with learning she has the powers of Death, while at the same time handling her crush on a boy in a band.

There's also the introduction of what actually goes on inside the High Energy Magic building at Unseen University.  In picturing the scattering of experiments and take-away food boxes, I can just picture the beginnings of HEX, the Discworld's version of a computer.  But that's okay, because he/it will be there and in use for the next book Interesting Times.

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Mentioned in this book:

"A Wizard's Staff Has a Knob On the End"
‘The World is Your Mollusk”
Albert / Alberto Malich
Ankh-Morpork
Arnold Sideways
Big Mad Drongo / Adrian Turnipseed
Binky
Blind Io
Bloody Stupid Johnson / UU Organ
Cabbages
Candle Dribbler
Casanunda
Catalog for Magic Shops
Chalky the Troll
Chrysoprase the Troll
Coffin Henry
Corporal C. W. St. J Nobbs
Cumbling Michael
Curry Gardens
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler
Deadman's Curve
Death
Dorfl
D'regs
Duckman
Dwarf Gold Song
Dwarf Hi Ho Song
Eldritch means oblong
Events from Moving Pictures
Events from Reaperman
Foul Ole Ron
Gaspode (Limping Mongrel
Genua
Gimlet's Delicatessen / Hole Food
Glod
Havelock Vetinari, Patrician
Hex
Hygiene
Lancre
Llamedos
Miss Eulalie Butts
Modo the Dwarf Gardener at UU
Mort
Moving Pictures
Mr. Hong and his All Night Take-Away Shop on Dagon Street
Mrs. Cosmopolite
Mrs. Whitlow
Music with Rocks In
Mustrum Ridcully, Archchancellor
Offler, The Crocodile-Headed God
Old Man Trouble
Ossory's Ass - Holy St. Bobby
Ponder Stibbons
Quantum
Queen Keli of Sto Lat
Quoth the Raven
Ramtops
Riktor the Counter
Scrote
Sergeant Fred Colon
Skazz
Susan Sto Helit
Tez the terrible
The Alchemists' Guild
The Assassins' Guild
The Bunch of Grapes
The Bursar
The Chair of Indefinite Studies
The Counterweight Continent
The Dean
The Death of Rats
The Fools' Guild
The High Energy Magic Building
The Hogfather
The Lecturer in Recent Runes
The Librarian
The Listening Monks
The Mended Drum
The Opera House
The Power of Belief
The Quirm College for Young Ladies
The Rite of Ashk-Ente
The Seamstresses' Guild
The Senior Wrangler
The Thieves' Guild
The Tooth Fairy
Things from the Dungeon Dimensions
Unseen University
Ysabell