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  • Not A Granny
    WOSSNAME -- OCTOBER 2008 -- PART 4 OF 6 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ====Part 4 -- ODDITIES, BU, ABP, WEIRD ALICE 31)
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 27, 2008
      WOSSNAME -- OCTOBER 2008 -- PART 4 OF 6 (continued)

      ====Part 4 -- ODDITIES, BU, ABP, WEIRD ALICE




      There's an extraordinary creature in the South Seas... It's
      multipedal. It's highly intelligent. It climbs trees. It likes to
      steal things. It's born in the ocean but lives mostly on land. Sound
      familiar? I wonder if Pterry was at least partly inspired, when he
      created Nation's tree-climbing octopus, by the coconut crab of

      The coconut crab (Birgus latro), also known as the robber crab or
      palm thief, is the world's largest land-dwelling arthropod and can
      be found in habitats from the Indian to the central Pacific Ocean.
      These bizarrely beautiful animals, relatives of the hermit crabs,
      grow to an adult size of about one metre/40 inches and weigh up to
      17kg/37 pounds. They are largely nocturnal, although sometimes
      wandering about on wet days, and are known for stealing shiny items
      from houses and tents; nonetheless they are admired by co-dwelling
      humans in the South Seas (who may use them for guarding coconut
      plantations), and immature coconut crabs are sometimes kept as pets.

      The coconut crab is well able to live up to its name: its large,
      powerful front claws are adapted for opening coconuts, and can lift
      objects weighing up to 29 kg (64 lb), and its almost equally
      powerful walking legs allow the crabs to climb vertically up trees.
      And climb trees they do, in search of fruit or to escape daytime
      heat or predators. The rest of the time coconut crabs live in
      burrows lined with coconut husks, one or two crabs to a burrow, as
      these moist burrows create a kind of air conditioning that allows
      the crabs to breathe easily.

      The coconut crab's diet consists mostly of fruit (especially
      coconuts), but they have been observed to eat almost anything
      organic, including rotten fruit, eggs, and dead animals. They have
      an excellent sense of smell and can detect interesting odors over
      large distances. While there is no evidence that they pick their own
      coconuts from trees, they do have an affinity for climbing coconut

      http://hugecrab.com/ is a light-hearted, often comical site that
      offers some lovely photographs of Coconut Crabs.

      Here's a useful tip, should you ever find yourself pinched by a
      coconut crab that won't let go: apparently the best way to make the
      crab loose its grip is to tickle its underside with a piece of
      lightweight cloth!

      (sources: Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia)




      It's out. I saw it at Dymocks when I was racing around trying to
      find the best price on Nation on Wednesday. On their Pratchett
      shelves[1], along with Nation (of course) and The Folklore of
      Discworld. I think they were all released together (or Dymocks
      decided to put the other two on the shelves on the same day -
      maybe they just ordered "a box of Pratchetts" and took whatever
      they got).

      [1] As in, the label up top actually says "Science Fiction & Fantasy
      - Pratchett". It's just about the one thing I respect them for,
      although in recent months there's been a worrying influx of Rowling
      on the Pratchett shelves, which happen to be next to the "Tolkien
      and other classics" shelves. Once I get around to buying a camera
      I will put some photos up to demonstrate what I mean.

      I got my copy yesterday. It's so lovely that I'm considering buying
      a second copy to read and just tucking the first one away so I don't
      damage it with my drool.


      Someone mentioned having a PLN in an off-topic post, and the
      following exchange occurred:

      "Forgive the Resident Olde Fart, but what's PLN??"

      "Crivens! Ye dinna' ken what a PLN be? Hah, ye scunner! It's what
      yer Nac mac Feegle make when a bold deed needs doin' - as writted
      doon by the Big Man o' the Chalk! First comes the PLN, an' then
      comes the doin', ye ken?"

      "............ and here's me just having finished Wintersmith
      again! D-oh!!"



      MAKING MONEY: A RE-THINK (contains spoilers)

      I almost did not reread _Making Money_, but I'm glad I did, because
      I now feel I judged it too harshly when I originally read it. It is
      not that I actively disliked it or thought the execution was a tad
      below Terry's usual standards, but it just seemed such a forgettably
      *familiar* book. Characters, events, and themes all too reminiscent
      of what we'd seen many times before (often in Going Postal, which
      didn't help); nothing new or interesting. It felt like the kind of
      decent, nothing-really-wrong-with-it type of Discworld book that
      Terry by now is probably capable of writing in his sleep. It utterly
      failed to engage me.

      So I filed the book away, skipped posting a review, and nearly
      overlooked it earlier this week when I was in the mood for something
      Pratchetty to read on a long journey. But then I realised that apart
      from Mr Fusspot's slapstick turns with the rubber wingo I could not
      really remember any other scenes or events from the book at all -- I
      was not even capable of recounting the plot beyond the initial
      gimmick. Now, that is just plain silly: Terry's writing, even when I
      don't like it, does not have *that* little impact or staying power,
      so I started suspecting that at the very least *I* might have not
      really been having a good day as a reader last year either, and that
      I needed to give the book a second chance.

      And yes, it turns out that there is indeed a lot more to enjoy than
      I originally thought. Rereading Pratchett is of course *always* a
      worthwhile experience, because of all the foreshadowing and little
      bits he puts in that you won't recognise yet as being relevant the
      fist time round. I had tremendous fun with the ways in which Mr
      Bent's Big Secret is hinted at in almost every sentence written
      about the man. I also gained a new appreciation for the Glooper
      scenes (I definitely had not been paying good enough attention the
      first time), and Moist's ruminations on the nature of banks and
      money were considerably more interesting this time around, what with
      the various real-life resonances and ironies suddenly springing from
      the page.

      Now, Making Money is still not going to make my Top 10 Discworld
      favourites list any day soon, and I stand by my general criticism:
      the book does coast along a tad too comfortably, the Gladys subplot
      is one example of something we've now really seen (imhoe) too often,
      and Cosmo is an astonishingly uninteresting villain. But it is a
      much funnier and more coherent book than I remembered it, and I will
      now go so far to say that I'm actually looking forward to Raising
      Taxes (although a part of me does hope that it will not just be
      about Moist coming up with the concept of progressive taxation).

      -- Leo Breebaart

      [Editor's note: Leo's review is a good illustration of something I
      tackled in a recent issue of WOSSNAME, to wit, 'the right time to
      read'. I had a similar reaction to Small Gods when re-reading it
      over a period of years, and then on a final, frustrated re-reading,
      it suddenly 'talked' to me...]



      Post 16. HOMEWARD BOUND

      This will only be a shortish Clog, because I'm off at last! All my
      possessions have been returned by the Watch, with nothing missing,
      and I'm packed and ready to go.

      Looking back on my months here, I'd have to say I'm happy -- feeling
      glad; I've got Ankhstones in my bag; I'm luteless, but not for long;
      my lucre is coming on... all in all, not a bad way for this
      wandering Bard to end a long and eventful stay in Ankh-Morpork.

      Today was a chilly Sektober morning, still dark outside, and raining
      just a bit. We left the Palace under cover of Dawn (One Glorious
      Dawn, that is; a very friendly Agatean immigrant who's recently
      joined the Palace Guard, having arrived with references from the
      Emperor Cohen himself), who thoughtfully provided us with shelter
      under his cloak as we scuttled through the early morning streets.
      Not many people about at this time of day, although I could hear the
      ripe swearing of traders setting up their stalls in Sator Square and
      the dull clonks of King's men collecting night-soil buckets...
      typical charming A-M street sounds, I'll almost miss them.

      It's also a good thing I still have my Personal Demonicommunication
      Activator -- otherwise I'd be buried in reams of Clacks flimsies. So
      many good-luck and thank-you and sad-you're-leaving messages from
      people all over (and under) the city! I've been reading through
      them while I wait for my coach... The ladies at Mrs Palm's ordered
      me a saucygram, but the Palace guards wouldn't let him in, so I was
      treated instead to a, shall we say, eye-popping performance in the
      coaching yard as our baggage was being stowed! The coachmen were
      *very* amused. As for the saucygram himself, I have to say he
      certainly was all there (yes, I got his C-mail address; never know
      when one might want a male stripper to make housecalls in Lost
      Wages). After he put his clothes back on, he kindly gave me the Woo
      Hon Ling catalogue I promised to take home for 'the girls'. I'm sure
      it will provide me with many interesting hours of reading on my

      Listeria, Lucrezia and Anaglypta came along to see me off. We got
      quite teary! I thought Listeria might be joining me on the first leg
      of the trip, because she mentioned having to make a stop in Sto
      Helit before setting off again around the Disc, but it seems that my
      coach goes direct to Sto Lat instead. What's more, it looks like
      there wouldn't be room for her anyway, because, there's a party of
      five Cabbage Grower's Collective Bank actuaries sharing the first
      leg with me. Luckily for me, none of them looks to be the talkative
      kind. I doubt they'd be interested in the catalogue, either; they
      probably only get excited about columns of figures, not graphically
      illustrated intertwined ones...

      Cert couldn't join us at the coaching yard. I knew that in advance,
      because he's back to working 24/8 somewhere below Dolly Sisters on
      the Undertaking, but he has some holidays coming and intends to join
      me in Lost Wages in time for Hogswatch... ooh, almost time to go --
      and our driver, a Mr Bombalurina from Brindisi, just told me "the
      lads" would appreciate it if I could give them a song, and he just
      happens to have a lute in his locker in the office. My last
      performance in Ankh-Morpork! I'm putting the imp into Record mode:

      There's colour on the Disc
      Called octarine
      Sator Market trade is brisk
      Dibbler's sausages are green
      But there's a warning sign on the Circumfence
      There's a load of warring species
      Not to mention Undead
      Dunmanifestin is awash with Gods
      So I pray to the Lady
      To adjust the odds

      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!
      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!
      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!
      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!

      I see a Turtle in the sky
      Toting giant pachyderms
      Witches on broomsticks fly
      Igors battle germs
      Though the magic's here to stay
      Those Devices are a hit
      It's time for change
      And we've a knack for it
      There's reformed Moist
      Who will never break a bank
      (Clever, backing Harry King: *he'll* be dredging the Ankh)

      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!
      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!
      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!
      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!

      We got a hundred thousand souls
      In Ankh-Morpork land
      We've got a stern Patrician --
      One vote, one Man
      We've got united Guilds, from plain to fancy
      Got new improved HEXes crunching technomancy
      Got a Cube revolution and it's turning fast
      Got carts to drive, got spells to cast

      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!
      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!
      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld!
      Keep on rockin' round the Discworld...

      Well, that went down a treat. They wanted me to do more, but some
      Watchmen just showed up. To report that I'm leaving, no doubt. So
      it's goodbye to the little house on Silver Street, and goodbye to
      the various Guilds who have been so welcoming to me, and goodbye to
      the dirty old Ankh, and to all the wonderful pubs and shops and
      restaurants and Cultural Experiences and Colourful Local People.
      It's been...educational. I do hope I can come back some day.

      Time to leave. The sun is rising, and we're just pulling out of the
      yard now. I'm homeward bound!

      -- Alice

      Note for Roundworlders: the original lyrics for Rockin' in the Free
      World, by Neil Young, can be found at:



      End of Part 4, continued on Part 5 of 6.
      If you did not get all six parts, write: interact@...
      Copyright (c) 2008 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
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