A man is not dead while his name is still spoken. GNU Terry Pratchett.

terry-pratchett-advice-590x452On March 12th 2015, I was happily making cakes for the shop as normal.  LW came up to me and asked if I had heard that Terry Pratchett had just died.

Initially, I thought it was a mistake and then, after I checked that it had happened, I cried.  I was completely taken aback at my own reaction, but I am not too proud to admit that I cried for 5 minutes or so.

Quite honestly, Terry Pratchett is the only celebrity whose death has ever brought me to tears.  This alone brought home the importance of his work to me, an importance that I hadn’t fully realised.

I have read every single piece of work that Sir TP ever wrote.  Short stories, childrens books, Graphic Novelisations of stories I have already read.  I have watched the TV shows and even the (quite bad) animated versions.  If I run out of books to read, I will inevitably re-read one of his.

Where it all started?  The very first Discworld book, The Colour of Magic, in 1983.  I don’t recall how I came to have a copy….possibly a friend loaned it to me or recommended it or something…that’s not important.  What is important is that, to a 10 year old Laughing Wolf, it spawned my desire to read in a way that had previously been left to the realms of Football Annuals and The Beano*.  I am a voracious reader and couldn’t even begin to count the number of books I have read since that day in 1983.  Too many.  I have a very large collection of books at home, I have thousands of ebooks that I get to carry around with me on my phone.  Whenever I have a spare couple of minutes, I read.  However, never has any book meant as much to me as The Colour of Magic.  Weirdly, it’s not my favourite Terry Pratchett book**, it’s not even my favourite Discworld book***…but it is the book that means the most to me.

I also remember that it hooked me in about the first 20 pages, which no other book had ever managed to do.  Since then, I have read every book (many, many times over).  A new Terry Pratchett book has been such a big deal for me over the years that I have either received multiple copies, or family members have argued over who is going to buy me the next one for Christmas, Birthdays etc.  Apparently I am difficult to buy for, but a Terry Pratchett book is guaranteed to make me smile.

His Discworld books have a world that is as intricate and as complex as any World-Building Author that you could name and he manages to weave parodies of our own world into it with such ease that you can be forgiven for not noticing until later.  Even the non-Discworld “Worlds” feel complete.  The dialogue is amazing, characters are fleshed out and belong where they are.  Nothing is forced and the books are easy to read (that doesn’t mean that they are simple, just that you don’t hit a section of the book that you struggle to get through until it gets good again).  There is no condescension in his writing (a personal bugbear of mine) unless the story/joke calls for it.  On top of that his jokes, and in particular his footnote explanations****, are hysterical.  Finally, the stories themselves are great…yes he is a fantasy writer, but his stories cross all sorts of genres.  A lot of authors that I read would be happy to get a couple of these things right, hitting all of them should be unattainable, but Pratchett managed it.

That isn’t to say his books are perfect…he had a few that were clearly not as good as the others, or were slower, but they were still good enough to sustain the series.  Each story adds something else to the world and always adds something of value.

I have a bookshelf that is dedicated to Terry Pratchett, I have even started painting the Discworld miniatures from Micro Art Studio…although that is taking me much longer than anything else I have ever painted, as I am determined to have them be the best I can possibly make them.  I like to do everything to the best of my ability, but with the TP miniatures, it means more to me and therefore I am taking far more time than I should.  Maybe I will post some pics on here when I have a few done.

Why has it taken me over a year to write this post?  Because I still get upset to think that he is gone and there will never be another book from him.  That saddens me, probably more than it should, but it does.  I realise that, in spite of his daughters protestations to the contrary, at some point there will be a collaborative effort to finish off more of his work, but there will never be another book from him that wasn’t touched by someone else.

That saddens me, so I will be re-reading Jingo to cheer myself up :)

* Damn right The Beano…Screw The Dandy and that Desperate Dan loser!  Dennis the Menace RULES!!!, amiright?
** Good Omens with Neil Gaiman
*** Jingo
**** Yup, these things, well a much better version of these things :p

Weight Loss Update

1446250367129So, it is exactly 2 calendar months since I started on this journey of weight loss.  In that time I have skipped exactly 14 days of exercise.  That sounds quite a lot, but I was actually away visiting people for 5 of those.  The others, I will freely admit, I was too tired or too busy to work the exercise into my schedule.  But, that means I have missed 14 out of 60 days of training.  Which, admittedly, is quite a lot now that I come to look at it.

I have cheated on my diet for exactly 8 meals (which includes my time away visiting, which accounts for 6 of those).  I don’t include the fact that I still go out for a drink once a week or once a fortnight.

All in all, I seem to have struck a successful balance.

As I write this I have now lost exactly 18 kilos in 60 days.  If that seems a lot, it is.  That said, I have done it the right way and I plan to keep doing it.  I said that I needed to lose 35 kilos to get down to a bizarrely low weight that I can’t imagine getting to.  I have set myself a target of 22 kilos to lose.  #1 that seems a little more realistic and #2 gets me down to the same weight I remember being at my fittest (around age 18).  If I am not happy with how I look, then I will keep going for a bit longer.  Who knows, maybe I will end up losing the full 35 kilos….I doubt it, but who knows.

I had a job interview today and put my suit on (as you do).  Without the belt, my trousers literally fell off.  With the belt, I had to bunch them up a ridiculous amount.  It’s a great feeling.  Except when I caught a glimpse of myself in a window and noticed that I looked like a kid wearing his Dads suit..I ended up apologising for looking ridiculous to the people interviewing me.  I think it went well though :D

I have dropped 2 jeans sizes and have officially run out of clothes that “used to fit me” and am now moving into the territory of having to replace everything.  My, formerly, perfect fit T-Shirts (most of which I absolutely love btw) now look like tents and that means I have found the downside to this experience.

Damn, I love those T-Shirts.

Tonight, I will have a small drinkypoo to celebrate getting under 110 kilos (109.3 to be precise) and possibly treat myself to something very bad for me…to be honest, I may have to introduce that as a standard thing…between yesterday and today, I dropped over a kilo…and that’s not healthy, despite how happy it makes me.  At this rate I should reach my target in a week or so.

Fingers crossed.