BY ROB COY
BY ADAM NICOL
By Matt Clark
By Andrew Turnbull
By Jon Paul Rasmuson
By Kris Carter
By Kat Nicholson
By Livio Ramondelli
By Lee Bradley
By Alex Milne
Keep an eye on the Lenten Experiment Facebook for the auctions going live!
Disclaimer: I wrote this just after reading my son The Cat In The Hat before bed. So if it makes no sense, blame Dr Seuss.
“Books must be treated with respect, we feel that in our bones, because words have power. Bring enough words together they can bend space and time.”
I want to talk about the legacy of Sir Terry Pratchett. I don’t mean his body of work, the novels, non-fiction, games, tv, etc. etc. I’m talking about a somewhat more profound, yet intangible legacy. I’m talking about how, through his words, he changed the way we think. About how, through the simple act of reading a Pratchett novel, the way you perceive the world is irrevocably changed.
Let me explain a little, from the beginning. I have a theory (it must be bunnies…no! Focus, woman). Perhaps I should rephrase that – there is a theory, known as ‘linguistic relativity’. The idea is that language influences our thoughts, and how we perceive the world. The strong version of this theory claims that language dictates thought - that the language we speak constrains our perception and cognition. A limited vocabulary means an equally limited world view. If you don’t know a word, you quite literally are unable to perceive, or think about the concept that word represents. The weaker version of the theory is that language merely influences thought, but does not determine it. In both cases, the crux of the argument is that humans rely on internal categories and concepts, in order to understand the flux of information we are bombarded with. The language we speak is part of this system of organisation; verbal labels assist us in making sense of and navigating our way through the world. Languages segment our experiences and perceptions in different ways – speakers of another language will literally see and describe the world differently. Take colour perception, for example. We perceive a particular wavelength of light, and label it with a colour name; this system is going to vary depending upon the language we speak. The colour one language defines as ‘green’, for example, may not even exist in another.
Okay, so far, so Psyc101. What is my point? (I have one, I promise). My point is that language isn’t just a means of communication, it is a weapon of sorts; change a person’s language, and you change the person themselves. Reading is a powerful way to deploy that weapon – when we read, it is not just a passive, transient activity which leaves us unchanged. When we read, the author’s words transmit meaning from their minds to our own, where it is processed and filtered and integrated. With each book you read, with every new concept you learn, with every new word that is added to your internal dictionary, the way you perceive and think about the world is changed forever. Pratchett, as all his fans know, was a master wordsmith. I know that I am not the same person after reading his novels compared to who I was before. My thoughts are different. The words I use are different. I view the world as being more complex and more wonderful and more strange than I did before. To me, this isn’t because of his characters or plot or humour. To me, it’s because each time I read a Discworld novel, Pratchett’s words percolate into my mind and mingle with my own. His language becomes my language, and his meanings become my meanings. My thought patterns are forever influenced by what I have read. And boom, everything else about me changes as a consequence. In my mind, this is Sir Terry’s legacy. The power of words.
Days are getting longer and leaves are starting to bud. This can only mean one thing….
YARD SALE SEASON!
I have been doing the yard sale scene for 30 years. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t going to yard sales. My parents would load me up and take me away. I would get 5-10 dollars to spend how I pleased. I learned the art of the haggle at a very young age. Yard sales here in America have changed with the technology boost. Just a few years ago, I would be able to find boxed G1 transformers all the way to some of the hardest grails of them all. With the invention of the smart phone, everyone has a price guide with the good old eBay app. Things are harder to find these days, however, there is always a deal to be found.
One of my greatest finds was about 5 years ago. I came across a man that had a G1 Blaster.
I got him for 2.00. Had a few here and there GI JOES and MASK toys. But there it sat. G1 complete MIB Omega Supreme. These things go for outrageous prices…..he had it marked $20.00. Well, that wasn’t good enough for me. Will you take $15.00? Sure, said the man. So for $20.00 total, I walked out of the man’s yard with a few hundred dollars worth of goodies.
Every year, I plan a vacation around the world’s largest yard sale. The 127 sale. Google it, it’s amazing. It runs through the majority of the Mideast in the USA. I have been going to this for years. I have probably driven thousands of miles while hunting for goodies. This one sale is the reason I had a pretty decent collection back in the day. I would find Ghostbusters, GOBOTS, MASK, Dino Riders, Transformers, GI JOE’s, you name it I found it. All for dirt cheap prices that no one would believe. A dollar here a dollar there, and I would haggle things to fifty cents. It was all about the hunt.
If you have never experienced the joy of the hunt, you have no idea what you are missing. Going to Toys R Us is one thing. Going through someone’s junk and finding your treasure is a high unlike any drug could produce. I challenge you with this; take 20.00 on a summer day. Stop at these sales and see what you find. I would be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts you don’t come back with the 20.00.
Ebay is the easy way out; you will have a new found love for the most common of toys if you buy them at a yard sale. It is literally digging up buried treasure.
Here is a list of some of the bigger items I added to my collection via yard sales:
Omega Supreme complete with box
Complete T-Rex From Dino Riders
Pee-Wee playhouse playset
TMNT Blimp in box
TMNT sewer playset sealed (yes I opened it)
Complete Soundwave in box
It is with utmost sadness that we must report today the passing of Discworld author Sir Terry Pratchett.
Sir Terry passed away at home today, surrounded by his family, with his cat sleeping on his bed. The author was diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy back in 2007, and in recent years had done a great deal to promote discussion of this and other forms of dementia.
In a press release from his publishers, Transworld, MD Larry Finlay paid tribute to Sir Terry as follows:
"I was deeply saddened to learn that Sir Terry Pratchett has died. The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds. In over 70 books, Terry enriched the planet like few before him. As all who read him know, Discworld was his vehicle to satirise this world: he did so brilliantly, with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention.
Terry faced his Alzheimer's disease (an 'embuggerance', as he called it) publicly and bravely. Over the last few years, it was his writing that sustained him. His legacy will endure for decades to come. My sympathies go out to Terry's wife Lyn, their daughter Rhianna, to his close friend Rob Wilkins, and to all closest to him."
The countless SF and fantasy fans who were entertained by Sir Terry’s books over the course of decades may like to know that a Just Giving page for the Research Institute to the Care of Older People has been set up in his memory.
.His death was announced on his Twitter account, on Thursday afternoon.
The first tweet was composed in capital letters - which was how the author portrayed the character of Death in his novels.
"AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER," it stated.
"Terry took Death's arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night."
It was a dark and stormy night when Mary Shelley sat down and thought to herself, “Yo Mary - I'm gonna write a book about a dude who builds another dude, and in doing so invent a genre that will change the lives of many, many, many people for hundreds of years to come.” Actually, she didn't, but that's how I like to imagine it happened. I also like to imagine that she was wearing a Snoopy tee-shirt and eating Ben & Jerry’s directly out of the tub, which is why my unofficial biography of her was never authorized for release by any major publishing house.
Upon the request of the Old Oilhouse’s Old Oil Master, I’ve decided to write a few semi-regular articles for the website. As you can imagine coming up with a topic for this is a challenge. The website has grown and diversified far beyond its origins and it’s not easy to find something original that other people aren’t talking about. We’ve got people talking about how DC is obsessed with crushing your long held affections for a man who had just one bad day, we’ve got people discussing how they became obsessed with a hobby where grown men and women buy toys and describe them as “collectibles”. We’ve got anime podcasts, movie podcasts and general podcasts. In short, the bases are well and truly loaded…covered…?
I’m probably getting that wrong, I don’t really understand basketball.