Terry Pratchett Quote

Okay, so if you’ve read my previous post you’ll know that I mentioned a Terry Pratchett idea that is mentioned several times in his books and can be boiled down simply to- “Be yourself. As hard as you can.” Well, I decided I might as well be thorough and tracked one down. It’s a bit lengthy, but I like it and I feel like it says pretty much everything that needs to be said. It’s from Good Omens, which was cowritten by him and Neil Gaiman.

“Then something very strange happened to (Mary)… She discovered, under layers of silliness and eagerness to please, Mary Hodges. She found it quite easy to interpret builders’ estimates and do VAT calculations. She’d got some books from the library, and found finance to be both interesting and uncomplicated. She’d stopped reading the kind of women’s magazine that talks about romance and knitting and started reading the kind of women’s magazine that talked about orgasms, but apart from making a mental note to have one if ever the occasion presented itself she dismissed them as only romance and knitting in a new form. So she’d started reading the kind of magazine that talked about mergers.

After much thought, she’d bought a small home computer from an amused and condescending young dealer in Norton. After a crowded weekend, she took it back. Not, as he thought when she walked back into the shop, to have a plug put on it, but because it didn’t have a 387 co-processor. That bit he understood- he was a dealer, after all,  and could understand quite long words- but after that the conversation rapidly went downhill from his point of view. Mary Hodges produced yet more magazines. most of them had the term “PC” somewhere in their title, and many of them had articles and reviews that she had circled carefully in red ink.

She read about New Women. She hadn’t ever realized that she was an Old Woman, but after some though she decided that titles like that were all one with the romance and the knitting and the orgasms, and the really important thing to be was yourself, just as hard as you could.”

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Repost: Being Happy in Yourself

I found this on Yahoo and had to share, because this woman makes a serious point. There is always something that’s wrong, that isn’t perfect enough. You need to be tall and statuesque, no- you need to be petite and 95 lbs. You need to have high cheekbones, no- full lips, no- sleepy eyes, no- you need wide doe eyes. You need a mysterious Mona Lisa smile, no- you need a wide vivacios smile, no- you need a seductive smile. It’s best to be fragile and vulnerable, no- it’s best to be quirky, no- it’s best to be confident and strong, no -it’s best to… blah blah blah. It’s endless. It’s never enough. No matter what you do, who you are, what you look like, it’s never enough, it’s never right. There’s always someone telling you that you should be someone else, shape yourself, body and soul, into someone else. Then you’ll be perfect, then you’ll be right, and then everything will be the fairy tale you see in books, movies and tv shows. Because it’s always that girl who has that indefinable combination that gets the happily ever after, that gets the guy, the career and the babies, who has all her dreams come true, and it’s always the imperfect characters who fall by the wayside, and are the object lessons for that indefinably perfect woman. These are lessons that we are taught through everything we touch from the moment we are born, lessons that are reinforced during school, when it’s the pretty, skinny, perfect girls in middle school and high school getting all the guys and going to all the parties.

There is no perfect and there is no right. Believe it or not, I got the best advice I have ever heard about how to be a woman and how to be comfortable in yourself from Terry Pratchett, who is not only a man but also somewhere at least in his 60s, maybe 70s. “The most important thing is to be yourself- as hard as you can.” I would say which book he says that in, but he says it in a couple and I honestly don’t remember which ones specifically. But seriously, that’s it, as far as I can tell, and that’s what she’s saying here. Just be yourself, as hard as you can. Simple and incredibly difficult, like all the best advice is.

What Losing 180 Pounds Really Does to Your Body — & Your Mind

By | Healthy LivingTue, Mar 19, 2013 12:39 PM EDT

By Jen Larsen, Refinery29

Jen Larsen is a fiercely real, funny, and honest writer. In her new book, Stranger Here: How Weight-Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed with My Head, she explains how losing 180 pounds and getting skinny wasn’t all she thought it would be. Here, in an essay for R29, she explains what it’s like to live through surgery – with unexpected results.

The doctor said, “It’ll be nice to be able to walk down the aisle of an airplane, right? To fit down the aisle, and to not see that look of horror when someone sees you coming.”
He said that because I weighed 300 pounds. He said that because he thought that all I wanted in life was to not be that creeping horror, shuffling sideways to the back of the plane, trying not to make eye contact with anyone because I didn’t want to see their relief when I passed by. Trying not to make eye contact with the person in my row because I didn’t want to see horror, and I really didn’t want to see pity, and I really didn’t want someone to lean over and explain to me that I was fat and that there are things I could do about it. Like water and jogging, or carrots and the Thighmaster.

He said that like it was a fact about all fat people. All fat people hate themselves. All fat people know that what’s good in life is really only accessible to thin people. Thin is the most important variable in of life’s equations. Thin equals happy, thin equals beautiful, thin equals a life worth living.

The most embarrassing fact of my life – and oh, how many embarrassing facts there are in my life – is that it was true. I was angry at him for saying it, for buying into the cliché of the fat person. For assuming that my life would transform immediately. Because he was saying all the things I had secretly thought. He was reinforcing all the secret fantasies I had about the way everything about me would be more amenable and lovable and acceptable to the whole rest of the world. To everyone on airplanes and everyone in my life. To myself. When I lost all the weight. When I got weight loss surgery.

He was my psychological consultant, the doctor who was tasked with clearing me for surgery. He signed off my mental and emotional fitness to get a surgery that I genuinely believed was going to save my life. Not just physically – though I was actually healthy – but emotionally.

And, three months later I got weight loss surgery. Seven months later I had lost over a hundred pounds; a year and a half from my surgery date, I had lost about 180 pounds. I lost a lot of things along with the weight. I lost my sense of self. My sense of proportion. My sense of dignity, of maturity, of control. I was skinny, but my life wasn’t suddenly and magically perfect-and that completely astonished me. It sounds ridiculous, having really fallen for the fairy tale of weight loss. But I had fallen for it completely, and then was blinded by the egregious lack of a happily ever after.

The nature of the weight loss surgery I got is that you can completely ignore the things the doctors tell you to do. They say, exercise, don’t drink, don’t smoke, eat well. And you don’t bother to do any of that, but still lose weight. You still lose every pound you want to lose, and then some.

The problem was that I lost all those pounds, but I didn’t have to change a thing about my self. I didn’t have to address any of the emotional or psychological issues. I didn’t have to figure out why I had been depressed – why I was still so, so depressed, despite the fact that the one thing I thought had been ruining my life was suddenly gone.

I was skinny, finally, and I was fascinated by the physicality of it. It was like my skeleton had floated up to the surface from the bottom of a murky pond. I had muscles and tendons and bones and in the shower I’d soap the ridges of my ribs, the knobs of my hipbones, and be amazed to make their acquaintance. It wasn’t pretty-I lost so much weight that I didn’t look like myself, and then I lost past that, to the point where I looked like a sick stranger. Briefly, I was a size two. Sometimes I was disappointed that I couldn’t be a size zero.

It doesn’t go away, you see. I thought that my body was wrong when I was obese; I thought my body was wrong when I was thin past the point of health. I thought there was something wrong with my body whatever I looked like, because there’s always just one more thing to fix before I look perfect, feel good in bed with hands on my body, feel sexy in a dress or a bathing suit, feel comfortable in my skin.

I felt helpless before. I tried to dodge out of the feeling by getting weight loss surgery, and now I’m angry. That I wasn’t fixed, yes. But also that so many people deal with this, this exact and pervasive struggle at whatever size they are, whatever shape, whatever they do. That we’re not good enough, with the implication that the best we have to offer to the world is an appropriately sized pair of jeans.

Magazine articles about body image talk about loving yourself despite your flaws. Sometimes they get really radical and they talk about loving yourself because of your flaws, and that is supposed to be empowering. And it makes me mad, because we’re talking about flaws here. A body that doesn’t look like the body of a Victoria’s Secret model is a flawed factory reject. My thighs aren’t the thighs of a figure skater, so they’re not good enough, but I should love the flubby little things anyway because I am so incredibly self-compassionate.

I want this: I want to say, don’t love yourself even though you’re not perfect – love yourself because you have a body and it’s worth loving and it is perfect. Be healthy, which is perfect at whatever size healthy is and at whatever size happy is. And of course that’s totally easy and I have just caused a revolution in body image. Let’s all go home now.

Right. So, I don’t know what the answer is, and I don’t know how to make it happen, and I don’t know what to do except keep yelling about it, wherever I can. Saying there’s no magic number, and there’s no perfect size – and of course you know that, but we have to keep telling each other because it’s hard to remember sometimes. We have to keep saying it. We have to figure out how to believe it.

http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/losing-180-pounds-really-does-body-8212-160-163900419.html

Dirty Food- Literally

I saw this on Yahoo and just had to repost it because.. because, well seriously? Dirt? Really? What the hell, people? I read that in a book once as a joke and you’re actually doing it? Seriously, it’s in “Hogfather” by Terry Pratchett, look it up. And here I thought it had been a fairly farfetched joke…

This Japanese Restaurant Has a Dirty Little Secret

By | Shine Food

Tokyo has a well-deserved reputation for high-end dining but one restaurant is making headlines for a menu that’s less hoity-toity and more down and dirty.

A French establishment named Ne Quittez Pas (“Please don’t leave”) is serving a ‘dirt course’, according to Japanese Rocket News, a website that sampled the menu. For $110 you can eat the stuff you scrub off your sneakers and pry from your kid’s mouth on the playground. Ne Quittez Pas’ menu includes a potato starch and dirt soup, salad with dirt dressing, aspic made with oriental clams and a top layer of sediment, a dirt risotto with sauteed sea bass, dirt gratin, and dirt ice cream. According to the Rocket News  investigation, despite appearing, well, dirty, none of the dishes  actually tasted like dirt and were described as “delicious” and  “divine.” They also reported that the dirt contains coffee grinds and  palm fiber.

“The dirt is called Kuro Tsuchi and it’s volcanic ashes mixed with soil and plants from the Kanto District in Japan,” Saeko Torii, a rep from the dirt manufacture Protoleaf told SHINE. “It has good bacteria, healthy minerals, and is natural and pure.”

So will we start seeing dirt on U.S. menus? And is it even safe? “Dirt isn’t regulated for human consumption so it’s hard to know the effects it would have on a person,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, a Washington, D.C. based registered dietitian. “Food gets its nutrients from soil, but one does not eat the actual soil. What’s more, countries have different safety regulations—people in Scotland eat sheep brains but that’s not allowed in the U.S. Protoleaf says their soil is safe to consume but is it safe to eat by American standards? We don’t know because we don’t really know what’s in it.”
For example, does the soil contain toxins, glass, or rocks? And is it even soil at all or just a snazzy marketing tool?
“My guess is that it’s a gimmick,” says Scritchfield. “You can consume good bacteria that promotes healthy digestion and immunity by eating foods like yogurt, tempeh, olives, pickles, or sauerkraut. Likewise, you can consume minerals by eating more fruits, vegetables, beans, and dairy.”

So, if you have an adventurous palate and a plane ticket to Tokyo, would you be insane to sample the dirt menu at Ne Quittez Pas? “If it’s real dirt, I’m not going to recommend it any time soon,” says Scritchfield.

PROTOLEAF: Salad with dirt dressing

PROTOLEAF: Dirt risotto with sauteed sea bass

PROTOLEAF: Dirt ice cream

PROTOLEAF: Dirt gratin

PROTOLEAF: Aspic made with oriental clams and a top layer of sediment

http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/this-japanese-restaurant-has-a-dirty-little-secret–164612162.html

“The Long Earth” by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett

This book caught me by surprise, mostly because I had no idea it was coming out. Which is kind of unusual, since I normally keep a pretty close watch on my favorite authors, but somehow this one slipped by me. Anyway, I liked this book, even though it was rather odd. And I don’t mean odd like most of Terry Pratchett’s books, where it’s weird but completely awesome and hilarious. I mean, it was awesome and funny in parts, but it was not like his other books. This one was apparently written because he and Stephen Baxter had an idea and decided to write about it. You know the kind of book I’m talking about. The kind where it’s a great concept, and the author talks at length, and with great eloquence, about that concept for several hundred pages before all of a sudden apparently realizing that they need to have a plot or a conflict in their book, which is when they toss in a sudden kidnapping or whatever, that is very quickly resolved and then all of a sudden the book ends. I have never encountered Terry Pratchett doing that before. I’m not sure how to feel about that. Normally I ding an author for that kind of behavior, but I have long since canonized Terry Pratchett so I don’t think I can do that. He is my very favorite author, ever. This is coming from someone who can never pick a single favorite anything, so the fact that he is my single favorite author should tell you everything you need to know. This book though… this book was different.

Okay, so- the long Earth. The concept with that is basically the multiverse, which, if you haven’t heard of it, is the idea that for every decision you make, or don’t make, every thing you do, or don’t do, somewhere out there there is a version of you that did the opposite. That, in some parallel universe, there is version of you that is living every single possible life that there is. Which is kind of a nice thought, really. Somewhere, somehow, everything has happened, and there are no true missed opportunities. Anyway, well this book plays with that idea. Basically, there are infinite earths and people have figured out how to go to them. You have the original earth, the Datum Earth in the book (datum is a reference point for measurements, like if you were saying “blank miles from Chicago”, Chicago would be the datum) and from there you can East or West, left or right, even though technically those directions mean nothing, it’s just a way to understand it. And from there, they apparently stretch on to infinity, or as near as makes no difference. And the further out, the stranger they can get. In one, the dinosaurs never went extinct. In several others, there’s an Ice Age going on. In another, there is no moon. It goes on and on. Evolution going in all different directions, creatures that we can only imagine, in fact every creature you can possibly imagine exists somewhere on the long Earth. And part of the reason it’s called “long” is that how you get there is by stepping. Most people use this little technological gizmo to get them there, but mostly that’s for show. You don’t actually need it to get there, it just tricks your mind into figuring out how to do it, like showing it this door that wasn’t there before.

Anyway, and in all these other Earths, there are no other humans, or there weren’t until people started going there. Apparently we are a unique phenomenon to Datum Earth. There are other bipedal humanoids out there, some benign, some malignant, but none that are human human. Which means, basically, that there is this whole new world, infinite whole new worlds, for us to explore, to colonize, to harvest from. There is suddenly infinite resources, for everyone. Any man can have a gold mine, if he goes out far enough. Any man can have anything, if he wants it. And all of a sudden, gold has no value except for how pretty it looks. All of a sudden, all the things that we have spent all of human civilization building up, seem kind of empty. How can you have an economy when a huge part of that is based on you having a limited amount of something that other people value? What would happen to our culture, our civilization, when anyone can have anything, when a huge part of the way we work, the way we look at and act upon the world is based on the fact that there are only so many resources and we have to do our part to get it. What happens when we no longer need to farm, because there’s enough resources that we can be hunter- gatherers forever? I have to tell you, reading it, it feels a bit like the apocalypse. Not necessarily in a bad way, because lots of good things come out of it, but it is definitely the death of the old world, the old way of life, and the birth of the new. In the book, they never really tell you what year it is, or what year the plans for making a stepper appeared online, but they always tell you, whether in a flashback or not, how many years it’s been since the Step Day, the day when so many people unwittingly stepped out of our world, our universe. There’s a very good reason for that.

And, beyond that, there’s the fact that there’s a full fifth of humanity that cannot step, no matter what. They can be carried to another world, but it makes them violently ill. A full fifth of the world that cannot take part in this new world, this new age of exploration, can’t go to another world, can’t experience the world as it is without people, the unspoiled beauty, the endless possibilities, can’t reap the rewards of unlimited resources, nothing. Well, they can’t reap the rewards directly. A big part of the book is actually an expedition that is being undertaken to find the end, if there is one, and it’s being done on board an airship, which can travel world to world. No one else had figured out how to do that yet, and if it worked out then it would revolutionize trade and Datum Earth’s flagging economy would be revamped, not only revamped but take off like a rocket. However, these people don’t know that. All they know is that they can’t go there, they are apparently evolutionarily backwards and they have been left on what must feel like a dying world, a world with taxed resources and an economy in the toilet. Which, when they describe it like that, makes you cheerful as all get out, let me tell you. So of course they’re angry and of course they make groups and of course someone does something stupid.

By and large, the book is overwhelmingly in favor of a return to a simpler lifestyle, and they make some excellent points about it. How, with less crowding there would be less crime. I have no statistics to back that up, but it does sound about right. How things would be more fair, that the working poor and worse could get away from their lives. That they could just walk away into what is basically unspoiled paradise. How you can just walk away and start anew, anywhere you want, on a whim. It all sounds great but they did forget a few things which would make it a little less than great. If you’re a pioneer and you get into an accident, what happens? You end up crippled or dead. If you’re a pioneer woman and you’re giving birth and things go wrong, what happens? You die. If you’re a new mother and your baby won’t nurse, where do you get formula? Nowhere. Basically, they forgot about things like medical emergencies, childbirth and infants. Inconvenient little details like that. But other than that, yeah, I guess it would be better. I would sure miss my air conditioning though.

It’s a very interesting book and I couldn’t stop thinking about it while I read it and I haven’t had much success since I finished it, but I have to say, there’s not a whole lot of plot. There’s the expedition, and there’s the hate groups back home with their developing story, but other than that it’s a bunch of vignettes of what the authors think the world, so to speak, would be like if this happened. Like I said, it’s like they had an idea, wrote about that idea, and then tried to shoehorn a plot in afterwards. That being said, it was wonderful and wonderfully written and a fascinating concept. If for no other reason than that, I recommend it.

Quotes I Love

“Fear is a traitor and makes us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt,” -William Shakespeare.
“No one’s perfect. Well, there was that one guy but we killed him,”  -anonymous.
“Live well, love much, laugh often,”- anonymous
“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter,”- Yoda
“Do or do not. There is no try,” -Yoda
“Beware the man of one book,” -Thomas Aquinas
“If people were meant to pop out of bed, we would live in toasters,”- Garfield
“Love all, trust few, do harm to none,”- William Shakespeare
“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles,” -Charles Chaplin
“There is no formula for success, except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and all it brings,”- Arthur Rubinstein
“The question that sometimes makes me hazy: am I, or the others, crazy?”- Albert Einstein
“I never look back darling, it distracts from the now,”- Edna “E” Mode (“The Incredibles”)
“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful”- Mae West
“The difference between stupidity and genius, is that genius has it’s limits” – Albert Einstein
“I don’t really like customers. And I’m not much for service. But other than that I’m a people person!”- Mike Rowe
“I used to compete in sports a lot, but then I realized you can buy trophies. Now I’m good at everything ” – Demitri Martin
“I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish” – Michelangelo
“Death: Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.
Susan: With tooth fairies? Hogfathers?
Death: Yes. As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
Susan: So we can believe the big ones?
Death: Yes. Justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing.
Susan: They’re not the same at all.
Death: You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet, you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some, some rightness in the universe, by which it may be judged.
Susan: But people have got to believe that, or what’s the point?
Death: You need to believe in things that aren’t true. How else can they become?”   – “Hogfather” by Terry Pratchett