wossname: (Plays)
[personal profile] wossname
We've just received a gorgeous poster for Unseen Theatre's next Discworld production, from director Pamela Munt. Have a look down the page... but first, AUDITIONS!

Adelaide's famous Unseen Theatre will be casting for The Truth at the end of July:

"We here at Unseen are very excited about re-visiting one of our most popular plays that we last produced in 2003. This will be a whole new fresh take on Sir Terry Pratchett’s “THE TRUTH”. Auditions will be held on Sunday 30th July 2017 at 3pm at The Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas St. Adelaide.

Roles available for The Truth include...

William de Worde (leading role – unwittingly invents the concept of investigative journalism)
Sacharissa (William’s offsider)
Gunilla Goodmountain (head of printing press – a dwarf)
Boddony (printing press worker – a dwarf)

Talking Dogs
Gaspode (talking dog) narrator and actor
Wuffles (non talking dog – belongs to Vetinari – main witness to the “crime”)

Lord Vetinari (Patrician of Ankh-Morpork – this role already pre cast)
Drumknott (Lord Vetinari’s secretary)

City Watch
Commander Vimes (head of the City Watch – a “born” Copper)
Nobby Nobbs (originally a street urchin – indistinguishable from a monkey – may be cut)
Angua (a werewolf)
Cheery Littlebottom (a forensic scientist dwarf)

Plotters (noblemen/women)
Slant (zombie lawyer) (this role pre-cast)
Lord de Worde, (William’s father)
Lord Rust
Lady Selachi
Lady Venturi

Charlie (Vetinari doppelganger, therefore played by the same actor as Lord Vetinari)
Pen (intelligent but insane criminal – think Straw Dogs)
Tulip (Mr. Pin’s very dumb but with surprising intellectual aspirations, offsider)

Foul Ole Ron (insane and really bad smelling head of street tramps for whom Gaspode “talks”)
Mrs. Arcanum (classic boarding house tyrant)
Mrs.Mackleduff (Mrs. Arcanum’s offsider)
Wintler (purveyor of amusingly shaped vegetables)
Duckman and other tramps
Pin’s “shadows”
Disorganiser (probably sound FX)

"All of our audition notices are now sent via our website, so if you are interested in auditioning and have not yet logged into our site, you will need to do so pretty quickly. When you have logged in please tick the 'audition' mailing list box and you will automatically be sent an email with all the relevant details on the auditions approximately two weeks from the audition time. If you have any questions about how auditions are conducted please go to our FAQ section before emailing direct because most of your questions will already be answered there."

wossname: (Plays)
[personal profile] wossname
Owing to illness-brainfog, I forgot to update the announcement in the July issue for Monstrous Productions' upcoming production of Guards! Guards! Oops! Here are the new details...

“We have been bringing the Discworld to life on stage for 5 years now and this is our second play to feature the popular Sam Vimes. After reaching our target of £20,000 raised for ARUK the proceeds from this production will be donated to Ty Hapus, a respite project for people with Alzheimer’s in South Wales.”

When: 16th–19th August 2017
Venue: The Gate Arts Theatre, Keppoch St, Cardiff CF24 3JW
Time: 7.30pm all evening shows; 2.30pm matinee on the 19th
Tickets: £8 (£6 concessions), available online at http://monstrousproductions.fikket.com/ or via email from http://monstrousptc.com/contact-us/ (EFT or bank cheques)


The girl went over the mountain

Jul. 23rd, 2017 01:01 pm
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
[personal profile] ilanarama
Yesterday I ran the Kendall Mountain Run in 3:17:45, making both my goals of a) under 3:30 and b) not falling. I felt a little guilty when I proudly announced my time on Facebook and a few people thought it was a marathon time (26.2 miles), since it's about five minutes under my marathon PR and a plausible result - at least if you didn't know that I haven't been training for a marathon, or that I've had a big slowdown in the past few years. So then I hastily added that it was for a 12-mile race, which immediately had people boggling in the opposite direction, considering my half marathon PR (13.1 miles) is less than half that time! But it becomes more understandable when you see the elevation profile:

The course runs up a freakin' MOUNTAIN. (And back down again.) I didn't take pictures, but for some historical background and video shots of runners on the course (all much faster than me) from previous years, the organizers have put a nifty video on Facebook.

Blathering about the run )

My final statistics were not actually that great. I came in 188th overall out of 236, 62/87 women, 5/6 in my 10-year age group (nearly an hour ahead of #6). Actually there were only four women older than me in the race - the F60-69 AG contained one 68-year-old - and all of them beat me! Oh, well. I have not been running nearly as much as I was back when I regularly ran this type of mountain race, so I'm not really surprised. I'm happy enough that I beat my nominal goal of 3:30, and most especially, that I didn't add any new scabs to those currently healing on my knees!

Now, my legs hurt like you wouldn't believe, though I don't think I actually injured anything, just overused the muscles of my quads and glutes. Hopefully everything will feel good by next Saturday, when we head out into the wilderness for a week of backpacking. Then it will be time to turn my exercise attention to mountain biking in preparation for the Telluride-to-Moab ride in September. But I'll still be running 3-4 days a week, including attending the club track workouts, and hopefully by the time October comes around, I'll be ready to run a decent half marathon, and maybe even sign up for a late fall/early winter marathon.
ozma914: a photo heavy illustrated history, Arcadia Publishing (Images of America: Albion and Noble Coun)
[personal profile] ozma914

We stopped at the Glenbrook Square Barnes & Noble on the north side of Fort Wayne last week, and I was very surprised to find they still have our book in stock:

 I say "book" singular, because it's the only one of our nine that we've managed to get into a chain bookstore--the others are either through small publishers, or independently published, and it's not easy to find shelf space for those. In any case it was a suprise, because I've always heard that major book stores won't keep a book for longer than a couple of months before they return the unsold copies, to make room for new releases.

But that's not the only Noble County related book they had in their history section:


Yay for local history books! For those of you who don't know, Ligonier is indeed within Noble County. The author of that book, Daniel L. Replogle, was my high school science teacher, far enough back that we'd probably both rather not discuss how far back it was. As for the other author, John Martin Smith, I got a look at his vast historical photo collection while we were researching for Albion and Noble County.

Of course, it goes without saying that you can get all of our publications at Barnes and Noble online, as well as all your better online bookstores ... and some of the worst ones.

Wossname -- July 2017 -- main issue

Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:19 pm
wossname: Clacks rendering of SPEAK HIS NAME to keep Pratchett on the Overhead (Default)
[personal profile] wossname
Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
July 2017 (Volume 20, Issue 7, Post 1)

WOSSNAME is a free publication offering news, reviews, and all the other stuff-that-fits pertaining to the works of Sir Terry Pratchett. Originally founded by the late, great Joe Schaumburger for members of the worldwide Klatchian Foreign Legion and its affiliates, including the North American Discworld Society and other continental groups, Wossname is now for Discworld and Pratchett fans everywhere in Roundworld.

Editor in Chief: Annie Mac
News Editor: Vera P
Newshounds: Mogg, Sir J of Croydon Below, the Shadow, Mss C, Alison not Aliss
Staff Writers: Asti, Pitt the Elder, Evil Steven Dread, Mrs Wynn-Jones
Staff Technomancers: Jason Parlevliet, Archchancellor Neil, DJ Helpful
Book Reviews: Annie Mac, Drusilla D'Afanguin, Your Name Here
Puzzle Editor: Tiff (still out there somewhere)
Bard in Residence: Weird Alice Lancrevic
Emergency Staff: Steven D'Aprano, Jason Parlevliet
World Membership Director: Steven D'Aprano (in his copious spare time)






"It's going to be a Happy Hogswatch! A new collection of 10 never-published stories by Sir T for the young & not-so young."
– tweeted by @terryandrob on 11th July 2017

"…if your Mickey Mouse ears fall off, that nice Mr. Disney is not unduly perturbed. If someone buys a Discworld t-shirt and the colours run in the wash, I am the person who gets the email.”
– Terry Pratchett, Science Fiction Book Club interview 1996, as quoted on the Discworld Emporium website



A shortish issue this month (owing to your Editor being knocked over by a case of bronchitis muscular enough to have come straight from the eighteenth century disguised as consumption... remember, it's the depths of winter down here in Fourecks), but not lacking in interesting content. I'm going to press Send now and take to my bed with a supply of leeches and lace hankies. On with the show...

– Annie Mac, Editor




There's a new collection of fourteen "new" stories, to be published just in time for Hogswatch! Well, actually well and truly ahead of Hogswatch. Father Christmas's Fake Beard offers another collection of Pteenaged Pterry's delightfully wonky children's stories, following on from Dragons at Crumbling Castle and The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner and once again illustrated by Mark Beech. The release date is either the 17th of August, or an unspecified date in October, depending on which social media or commercial enterprise page you're reading... but at any rate, it's coming out soon! See item 8.1 for more details!


The Southampton City Art Gallery's Capture the Castle exhibition, currently running, is meant to be "the first ever large-scale art exhibition on the subject of British castles", but a certain otherworldly castle – Unseen University's Tower of Art, by Paul Kidby – is featured as well...

When: through to 2nd September 2017
Venue: Southampton City Art Gallery, Commercial Road, Southampton SO14 7LP – 5 minutes' walk from Southampton Central Station – phone: 023 8083 3007 (option 3)
Time: Monday to Friday: 10am-3pm, Saturday: 10am–5pm (closed on Sundays)
Tickets: free admission to all exhibitions



Roundworld's legendary, iconic and (possibly in)famous Ankh-Morpork Consulate – aka the Discworld Emporium – is, of course, the original only source of official Discworld stamps. On their website, Bernard "the Cunning Artificer" Pearson tells the history of Discworld stamps. Here be some extracts, but do go read the entire piece (link below)!

"Discworld Stamps began in 2003 while Terry was writing Going Postal. As part of his writing process, Terry's would revel in the opportunity to indulge boyhood fascinations with his subjects in the name of research. Being a stamp collector as a lad, philately was no exception and with our assistance he fully acquainted himself with the history of the Post Office and postage stamp manufacture in the Victorian era... The very first stamps off the press were perforated by Terry at Bath Postal Museum on a Victorian machine that we restored with the help of the author himself and a set of shiny new perforating pins! Terry became a patron of the museum and the Emporium consequently houses an array of postal paraphernalia that brings Going Postal to life...

"Since their inception in the book, our range has grown to encompass an ever-changing selection from post offices all over Discworld, illustrating a myriad of Terry Pratchett's characters and creations with contributions by guest artists including Paul Kidby, Joe McLaren, David Wyatt and Peter Dennis. Some of our older designs even make a guest appearance in Sky 1's television adaptation. We produce all manner of postal ephemera, from single stamps and whole sheets, to commemorative artefacts, lucky dip envelopes and first day covers. All our stamps are traditionally printed by our very own Mr Spools on authentic gummed stamp paper & perforated by hand. Like real stamps, designs come and go but thanks to a thriving secondary market older issues can be tracked down or traded on popular auction sites..."


...and for a shufti at all the latest Discworld stamps, go to https://www.discworldemporium.com/39-new-stamps


A promising report:

"Abnormal deposits that build up in the brain during Alzheimer's have been pictured in unprecedented detail by UK scientists. The team at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology says its findings 'open up a whole new era' in neurodegenerative disease. Their work should make it easier to design drugs to stop brain cells dying. The researchers used brain tissue from a 74-year-old woman who died after having Alzheimer's disease. The form of dementia leads to tangles of a protein called tau spreading throughout the brain. The more tau tangles there are, the worse the symptoms tend to be. Doctors have known this has happened for decades but what has been missing is a detailed understanding of what the tangles look like. The team took advantage of the "resolution revolution" in microscopy to take thousands of highly detailed images of the tau inside the woman's brain tissues... this could be one of the most important recent discoveries in tackling dementia. Attempts to develop a drug to slow the pace of dementia have been met by repeated failure. But it is hard to come up with a drug when you do not know the precise chemical structure of what you are targeting.

"Dr Sjors Scheres, one of the researchers, told the BBC News website: 'It's like shooting in the dark – you can still hit something but you are much more likely to hit if you know what the structure is. We are excited – it opens up a whole new era in this field, it really does.' The structure of tau, published in the journal Nature, is the first to be determined in such detail. Fellow researcher Dr Michel Goedert told the BBC: "This is a big step forward as far as tau goes but it is bigger than that. This is the first time anybody has determined the high-resolution structure [from human brain samples] for any of these diseases. The next step is to use this information to study the mechanisms of neurodegeneration'..."





Looks like it will be as fun as a fun thing! "We invite you to discover the streets of Ankh-Morpork, the greatest city of the Discworld. A folklorique network of old lanes, squares and alleys for your walking pleasure. Wherre exitement and trolls lurke arounde everry corner and much may be heard the traditional street cries of old time also the laughing visages of the denuizens as they goe about their business private. All guilds are welcome, so if you fancy yourself as an artificer, a seamstress, an assassin or a clown, you'll be sure to be in good company along The Street of Cunning Artificers. Dogs and unruly luggages to be kept on leashes at all times."

Features include the following (the original text – note spelling! – was too adorable to abridge or summarise):

An Ankmorpork Adventure: Seek! Hustle! Build! Conjur! Enter as a single person or with a team of wizzards, complete the tasks as laid out for you by the Patrician.

Fabricati diem, pvnc: test your mettale and train with the City Watch, they are recuiting!

The presence of beer always greases the rungs of the evolutionary ladder so make sure your Inn-sewer-ants-polly-seas are up to date and join us in The Mended Drum. Expect a test of wits, much revelry and many barbarians.

The Discworld Dress Up will happen in Pseudopolis Yard. Embody your favourite character and be victorious. Win Thynngs.

The great Wizards of the Unseen University invite you to engage in battles of Cripple Mr Onion, Thud! and the likes. Can you beat the brightest of the Discworld?

Burnt crunchy bits, dwarf bread, rat onna stick and other local delicacies can be found between Harga's House of Ribs and the Curry Gardens, so weary travellers and brave explorers will not have holes in their tummies. Keep an eye out for Cut-me-own-Throat Dibbler.

The Muntab Moving Pictures House invites those of a sloth-ier disposition to rest their weary rears upstairs in the Patrician's Castle, munch on banged grains and be enveloped in the screenings of Sir Terry Pratchett's visual fantastical-ness.

Garstairs Stables offers the usual range of equestrian services to the sons and daughters of gentlefolk.

When: 4th November 2017
Venue: The Moors Castle, 638 Larsens Road, 1739 Muldersdrift, Gauteng, South Africa
Time: 11.00 to 22.00
Tickets: R60.00. A limited number of tickets are available online http://qkt.io/DiscworldDay2017 or at the gate at a price of R80.00. Under-12s are free


4.2 DWCON 2018 NEWS

Short but sweet:

"Membership sales are now open, but we are almost full! You will now be sent an email if and when you can pay for your membership. Find out more about membership prices and types..."


"An update (and gentle reminder) about hotel bookings for the Convention:

"Those of you who have booked your Memberships will naturally be thinking about your accommodation. We will begin allocating rooms in the Convention Hotel, Chesford Grange, and our partner hotel, Woodland Grange soon. If you do want to stay in either of them, please make sure you update your details on our website by Monday. You can also book camping at the Convention Hotel."





The Progress Theatre will be auditioning for the cast of their forthcoming January 2018 production of Maskerade (see item 5.3 below). The auditions will be held on Sunday 17th September at 2pm or Wednesday 20th September at 7.30pm at Progress Theatre, The Mount, Reading RG1 5HL. "Auditions are open to all,but if cast you will need to join Progress Theatre.

"If you have any questions or would like to be considered but can't make the audition dates please contact director Chris Moran on 07729 501350 or at chris.moran@me.com or assistant director Jordan Emmett on 07932 976693 or at jdemmett27@hotmail.co.uk prior to the auditions."




The Marlowe Players, an amateur company who have been staging plays for nearly 70 years, take a crack at Wyrd Sisters next week!

On the subject of Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters director Rick Law says: "As someone who reads a fair few fantasy novels, I've never found a series that takes itself less seriously than the Discworld books, much to their credit. A lot of that comes from the narrator's voice, and that is Terry's voice. I challenge anyone to read his work without being reduced to a giggling mess at some point while your co-workers/people around you on public transport/your pets looks at you like you've gone mad."

When: 25th–29th July 2017
Venue: Darley Abbey Village Hall, Abbey Yard (off New Road), Darley Abbey, Derby DE22 1DS
Time: 7.30pm all shows
Tickets: £7, available from the Box Office (phone 07961 607372) or online by filling in the web form at http://www.marlowe-players.co.uk/book-tickets/

"Please note that we do not have numbered seating at Darley Abbey but we will do our best to accommodate those with special needs if you advise us accordingly."



Return of the Hat! After their successes with Eric and Mort at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Duck in a Hat theatre company will be back at with their production of Wyrd Sisters in August.

When: 14th-19th August and 21st-27th August 2017
Venue: Paradise in Augustines, (Venue 152) 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL
Time: 6.25pm all shows; running time is 90 minutes
Tickets: £9.50 (concession £8.50), available from https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/event/775570-terry-pratchetts-wyrd-sisters/ or ring the Box Office on 0131 510 0022



The next exciting Discworld play presented by Monstrous Productions will be Guards! Guards!

When: 16th–19th August 2017
Venue: The Gate Arts Theatre, Keppoch St, Cardiff CF24 3JW
Time: 7.30pm (2.30pm matinee on the 19th)
Tickets: £8 (£6 concessions), available online from https://t.co/vJToGp8O5P



Monifieth Amateur Dramatics (MAD) will be staging their production of Wyrd Sisters, directed by Steven Armstrong, in August: "Stephen Briggs has been involved in amateur dramatics for over 25 years and he assures us that the play can be staged without needing the budget of Industrial Light and Magic. Not only that, but the cast should still be able to be in the pub by 10 o'clock!"

When: 24th-26th August and 31st August-2nd September 2017
Venue: Monifieth Theatre, 72 High Street, Monifieth, Angus DD5 2AE
Time: 7.30pm all shows
Tickets: £9 (£6 concessions), available from Troups Pharmacy, Monifieth; Yorkshire Building Society, Broughty Ferry; and The Bay Diner/Grill, Monifieth. Ring 01382 480043 for details. Tickets are also available online at http://www.monifieththeatre.co.uk/tickets and at https://www.tickettailor.com/all-tickets/13094/1940/



The Todmorden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (T.A.O.D.S.) will be presenting an unusual Discworld experience – Vince Foxall's BBC radio play of Wyrd Sisters, performed live – at the end of September. "As with previous productions, this Hippodrome Foyer Play is based on an original radio script dramatized by Vince Foxall for BBC Radio 4 and will be performed script-in-hand with live sound effects and a large cast of players old and new. Featuring strolling minstrels, fools, ghosts, murderers and diverse alarums!"

When: 29th and 30th September 2017
Venue: Hippodrome Theatre, 83 Halifax Road, Todmorden OL14 5BB
Time: 7.30pm all shows
Tickets: £6, available online from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/todhip



Brisbane Arts Theatre will be presenting their next Discworld play, Lords and Ladies – adapted by Irana brown – in September: "Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg – the witches of Lancre – are the Discworld's only hope of rescue when elves threaten to take control with their hypnotic 'glamour'. Standing stones, wizards, Morris men, rude mechanicals, country lore and ancient magic all combine in this adaptation of one of Sir Terry's finest. With a full supporting cast of dwarves, wizards, trolls and one orangutan, the hilarious Lords and Ladies delivers an abundance of hey-nonny-nonny and blood all over the place."

When: 16th September – 21st October 2017
Venue: Brisbane Arts Theatre, 210 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Time: 7.30pm Thursdays, 8.00pm Fridays & Saturdays, 6.30pm Sundays
Tickets: Adults $34, Concession $28, Group 10+ $27, Student Rush $15 (10 mins before curtain), available online at http://bit.ly/2tjucfQ "Subscribers can redeem season tickets for this show. There are no refunds or exchanges once tickets have been purchased."




Twyford and Ruscombe Theatre Group will present their production of Mort, "an off beat tale of bacon, eggs and destiny", in October.

"Terry Pratchett's Discworld will once more be gracing the stage at Loddon Hall. We are putting on a production of Mort, which will involve a large cast, plenty of dramatic moments and a lot of laughs."

When: 5th–7th October 2017
Venue: Loddon Hall, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, Reading, Berkshire, RG10 9JA
Time: 8pm all shows
Tickets: £7, £8, £9 and £10, available online at http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/171598



The Erith Playhouse are staging their production of Mort in October.

When: 9th–14th October 2017
Venue: Erith Playhouse, 38–40 High Street, Erith, Kent DA8 1QY
Time: 8pm all shows
Tickets: £10, available from the Box Office on 01322 350345 or by filling out the form on the webpage (_http://www.playhouse.org.uk/show/mort/_). "Tickets can be posted to you or held at the Box Office for collection prior to the performance."



The Studio Theatre Club have slightly updated their announcement: "Don't tell anyone yet (this is just between you and us), it's still a long way off (2018!), we've only just had the formal permission for a new play and Stephen's still writing it, but he thinks it's about time he tackled another of the novels, and the third in the Moist von Lipwig Trilogy might just be the right one. It's been on his to-do list for a while...he thinks he owes it to Terry... Tickets are not yet on sale. News here when they are!"


5.3 PLAYS IN 2018


The Progress Theatre will be staging their production of Maskerade in January next year. But first, don't forget to check the auditions page,. above...'

When: 18th–27th January 2018
Venue: Progress Theatre, The Mount, Reading RG1 5HL
Time: 7.45pm all evening shows, 2.30pm matinees on 20th and 27th January
Tickets: TBA



Gainesville Theatre Alliance's 2017-2018 season will feature their production of Monstrous Regiment in a "February Festival of Theatre". "GTA is a nationally acclaimed collaboration of the University of North Georgia, Brenau University, theatre professionals and the northeast Georgia community that has yielded state and national awards."

When: 16th–24th February 2018
Venue: UNG-Gainesville's Ed Cabell Theatre, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood, GA
Time: 7:30pm evening shows on the 16th, 18th, 20th-24th, and 2:30pm matinees on the 17th & 24th
Tickets: $18-20 for adults, $16-18 for seniors and $12-14 for students, depending on seat location, available from 1st July 1 online at www.gainesvilleTHEATREalliance.org or by phoning the Box Office at 678 717 3624.




The Broken Drummers, "London's Premier Unofficially Official Discworld Group" (motto "Nil percussio est"), will be meeting next on Monday 7th August 2017 at the Monkey Puzzle, 30 Southwick Street, London, W2 1JQ. "We welcome anyone and everyone who enjoys Sir Terry's works, or quite likes them or wants to find out more. We have had many visitors from overseas who have enjoyed themselves and made new friends. The discussions do not only concern the works of Sir Terry Pratchett but wander and meander through other genres and authors and also leaping to TV and Film production. We also find time for a quiz."

The Drummers have also taken up doing the odd afternoon meetup; the next one will take place on 27th August. Meanwhile, here be last month's report by Helen Nicholls:

"We met nearly two weeks ago. There is no reason for the late report beyond the fact that I just didn't get round to it. When I arrived, Charles gave me a Zelda wolf amibo as a birthday present, which was very nice of him. Charles told us of his attempts to embrace his Scottish heritage when Mahrie came in, making the meeting more Scottish. Later Rak arrived, making it very Scottish indeed. I recall a discussion on ancient Rome, the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and subsequent construction of the Colosseum from the proceeds. We also talked about Roman emperors and the suicides of Roman dignitaries that were really a polite form of execution (not that the death of Petronius could really be described as polite - Google it if you want the gory details). Never forget that this is a cultured group. Phil showed off cute pictures of his new kittens, Mort and Midnight, which caused an unbelievable chorus of cutesy noises from Andrew, Alex G. and Taz. Alex said that he loves to see pictures of cute animals and children. The others were very dismissive of the idea that children are cute. This reminded me of a Dara O'Brien routine where he asks what is wrong with us that we find the young of other species more appealing than our own. Jessica arrived in time to do her quiz on detective fiction. This was won by Mahrie, who will be doing the next quiz."

For more information, go to http://brokendrummers.org/ or email BrokenDrummers@gmail.com or nicholls.helen@yahoo.co.uk


Canberra, Australia's Discworld fan group is Drumknott's Irregulars: "The group is open to all, people from interstate and overseas are welcome, and our events will not be heavily themed. Come along to dinner for a chat and good company. We welcome people from all fandoms (and none) and we would love to see you at one of our events, even if you're just passing through. Please contact us via Facebook (_https://www.facebook.com/groups/824987924250161/_) or Google Groups (_https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/drumknotts-irregulars_) or join us at our next event."


For Facebook users in Fourecks: The Victorian Discworld Klatch is "a social group for fans of Discworld and Terry Pratchett... run by a dedicated team who meet monthly and organise events monthly." "If you'd like to join our events please ask to join the Klatch."



"The Gathering of the Loonies (Wincanton chapter)" is a public Facebook meeting group: "This group, by request of Jo in Bear will continue to be used for future unofficial (not run by the Emporium) fan Gatherings in Wincanton. Look here for information." Future events will include the Hogswatch Express meet (24th-26th November 2017) and the Did You Bring a Beer Along meeting (celebrating 20 years of The Last Continent) in April 2018.



The Pratchett Partisans are a fan group who meet monthly at either Brisbane or Indooroopilly to "eat, drink and chat about all things Pratchett. We hold events such as Discworld dinners, games afternoons, Discworld photo scavenger hunts. We also attend opening night at Brisbane Arts Theatre's Discworld plays." The Partisans currently have about 200 members who meet at least twice a month, usually in Brisbane.

For more info about their next meetup, join up at https://www.facebook.com/groups/pratchettpartisans/ or contact Ula directly at uwilmott@yahoo.com.au


The City of Small Gods is a group for fans in Adelaide and South Australia: "We have an established Terry Pratchett & Discworld fan group in Adelaide called The City of Small Gods, which is open to anyone who would like to come – you don't have to live in Adelaide or even South Australia, or even be a Discworld fan, but that's mostly where our events will be held, and we do like discussing Pratchett's works. Our (semi-) regular meetings are generally held on the last Thursday of the month at a pub or restaurant in Adelaide. We have dinner at 6.30pm followed by games until 9pm. The games are usually shorter games like Pairs, Sushi Go, or Tiny Epic Defenders, with the occasional Werewolf session, as these are the best sort of games that work in a pub setting. Every few months, we have a full day's worth of board games at La Scala Cafe, 169 Unley Rd, Unley in the function room starting at 10am. In addition, we will occasionally have other events to go and see plays by Unseen Theatre Company, book discussions, craft, chain maille or costuming workshops or other fun social activities."

The next CoSG event will be the Monthly Social Meet at the Caledonian Hotel on 27th July.

The CoSG also have another identity. Here's the skinny:

Round World Events SA Inc is a not-for-profit incorporated association whose aim is to run fun social Pratchett-themed events for people in South Australia. Our first major event was the Unseen University Convivium held in July 2012. We have also run three successful and booked out Science Fiction and Fantasy themed quiz nights named Quiz Long And Prosper, in 2013, 2014 and 2015! We are also running the next Australian Discworld Convention, Nullus Anxietas VI – The Discworld Grand Tour – taking place in August 2017. You can find more out about it on this very website (_http://ausdwcon.org/_)! The association will run some events under the City of Small Gods banner, but you do not have to be a Round World Events SA member to be part of City of Small Gods. However, we are always on the look out for new members for Round World Events SA to help us organise future events! Membership is $20 a year (for Adelaide locals) or $5 a year (for those not quite so close) and has the following benefits:

A shiny membership certificate all of your very own
Discounted entry price to some of the events we run
A warm, fuzzy feeling deep down in your chest (no, not quite that deep)
For more information, or to join as a member, please email RoundWorldEventsSA@gmail.com



The Broken Vectis Drummers meet next on Thursday 3rd August 2017 (probably) from 7.30pm at The Castle pub in Newport, Isle of Wight. For more info and any queries, contact broken_vectis_drummers@yahoo.co.uk


The Wincanton Omnian Temperance Society (WOTS) next meets on Friday 4th August 2017 (probably) at Wincanton's famous Bear Inn from 7pm onwards. "Visitors and drop-ins are always welcome!"


The Northern Institute of the Ankh-Morpork and District Society of Flatalists, a Pratchett fangroup, has been meeting on a regular basis since 2005. The Flatalists normally meet at The Narrowboat Pub in Victoria Street, Skipton, North Yorkshire, to discuss "all things Pratchett" as well as having quizzes and raffles. Details of future meetings are posted on the Events section of the Discworld Stamps forum:



Sydney Drummers (formerly Drummers Downunder) meet next on Monday 7th August 2017 at 6.30pm in Sydney at 3 Wise Monkeys, 555 George Street, Sydney,2000. For more information, contact Sue (aka Granny Weatherwax): kenworthys@yahoo.co.uk


The Treacle Mining Corporation, formerly known as Perth Drummers, meets next on Monday 7th August 2017 (probably) from 5.30pm at Carpe Cafe, 526 Murray Street, Perth, Western Australia. For details follow Perth Drummers on Twitter @Perth_Drummers or join their Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Perth.Drummers/ – or message Alexandra Ware directly at <alexandra.ware@gmail.com>



Blogger Navigating Neverland's introduction to Discworld comes via Guards! Guards!:

"The pacing of the book was fantastic! There weren't any parts in which the story dragged because even in parts that may have been uninteresting in another book, this one did it right by combining humor with fantastic characters. I was always interested in what was going on. The only part that caused trouble was at the beginning when we are just thrown into the story and, having never read Pratchett, I was trying to get used to his writing... The plot of the book was all-around entertaining, hilarious, and just down right enjoyable. This is the first book I have read in the series and, in my opinion, the world-building was terrific. I loved having my first experience being inside the city of Ankh-Morpork and learning all about its inner workings. It doesn't seem like a city I would enjoy living in, that's for sure..."


Blogger Michael Beyer reviews Raising Steam:

Terry Pratchett is always a good choice if you like laughs, thrills, and satire. Raising Steam does not disappoint. It uses familiar characters like Moist Von Lipwig from Going Postal and Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork city watch along with new characters like the engineer Dick Simnel and the goblin Of The Twilight The Darkness (Yes, they like you to use the whole name)... The usual mix of plot complications and themes of science versus magic are thrown about like fireballs to keep the story interesting, and one dark and foggy night aboard the train on a rickety bridge with the deposed king of the dwarves on board headed back to his kingdom sums up the sheer magic of Terry Pratchett's gift for story-telling..."


Blogger okelay's thoughts on the Long Earth series:

"There isn't exactly one plot. It's more of a worldbuilding exercise and exploration, some stories get a lot of time, others little... This could be either positive or negative depending on the reader. Personally I liked seeing what was going on in all the different places of the Earth and would like to see more of that. Like what's stepwise Chile like? Underwater? Destroyed by vulcanos,earthquakes,tsunamis?, are there worlds where the Andes are not there and what does that do to the climate? What kind of life lives here? There's a lot to explore. I've also seen several reviews of people thinking the plot is too meandering. It's entirely possible, but I don't see that as a negative thing. It is fairly slow plot-wise, there's no thrill or urgency. Which is nice, cause there's no hurry to finish the book,no omg whats gonna happen, you're not racing to the end so you can sit back and enjoy the journey... [the books] are not particularly funny and prose doesn't feel Pratchett-like at all which makes me think that maybe he came up with the ideas and Baxter did the actual writing..."


Blogger Ivy Torrejos loved The Last Hero:

"Seeing it on the shelves of a bookstore, I was drawn by its wonderful pages full of illustrations (it's like a childrens book) and it's a twist on a familiar theme (Conan the Barbarian?!). I read the synopsis at the back and was intrigued by the storyline. I bought the book and it became one of my favorite... I have read The Last Hero many times since I bought it. I always wanted to experience the adventure and funny moments. It helps cheer me up everytime I find myself in a lag..."


Blogger The Past Due Book Review is back to give five out of five to Good Omens:

"Good Omens may seem a simple parody at first but it posits the theory that people, when left to their own devices, will be good or choose to carry on rather than chuck it and start over. Adam grows up under the influence of neither Good or Evil, but humanity. Pratchett and Gaiman weave a story that is entertaining, complex, and hilarious; their voices and writing prowess are so similar, and complementary, that I have a hard time picking out who wrote which parts despite having read multiple works by both authors. Filled with references to pop culture, the Bible, and literature, Good Omens is a treasure trove for those with sharp eyes that enjoy little Easter Eggs. I have three copies of this book; a dog-eared copy that I lend to other people, a nice (as in quality, not accuracy) hard cover I received as a Christmas gift, and this copy that I found in a Half Priced Books. If you are searching for a book that lands its jokes at with impeccable timing while delivering a message that could save us all, look no further."


Blogger fantasyst95's review of Small Gods:

"I have found through reading Pratchett's books that they often have some underlying message, often by parodying life and our everyday struggles or alternatively, other literature; Equal Rites addresses the issue of gender equality, Wyrd Sisters parodies the three witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth and Moving Pictures is a humorous take on Hollywood and the power of media. Small Gods I think is no exception... Corruption in the church is also an issue which is brought up, as the local population with the help of Om attempt to depose Vorbis, the head of the Quisition with whacky schemes of a million-to-one-chance odds, so it just has to work… right?! Well, nothing ever goes exactly to plan, but the Discworld population are adaptable if nothing else. This book has some real laugh-out-loud moments, and although I wouldn't say it was in my top favourites of Pratchett's Discworld novels, it still holds its own..."


Blogger Making Them Readers is back with another mother-and-child review, this time of The Fifth Elephant:

Oscar loved it because the Watch stories are his favourite, particularly any scenes that involve Nobby Nobbs, and I loved it because it really hammers home the point that by this time, Pratchett had gone way beyond the traditional limits of fantasy and is writing in a much more philosophical vein about all the foibles of being human. This is particularly underscored in his handling of the Uberwald class system, and the things about the dwarves that Vimes discovers. It foreshadows his material about goblins in the very last books he wrote.

There are the usual comic touches, but The Fifth Elephant is so much darker than the early works and, to my mind more multi faceted, showing the different layers of understanding and discovery that Pratchett was exploring. Whether a child reader will pick this up or not is largely irrelevant as the stories bear reading over and over again, and as my delight in rediscovering this attests, will last a lifetime of re-examination.


Blogger Jamesbee also highly recommends The Fifth Elephant:

"The novel is takes place largely in Uberwald where dwarves, vampires, werewolves and Igors all live together in uneasy harmony. Pratchett uses this to make some interesting points on race relations and traditions. Drawing parallels between the Discworld and our own is not difficult, and is relevant even to this day. As usual, he hides his rather vicious deconstruction of society behind comedy. The plot is intricate and engaging, with a number of clues and mysteries to solve. All the characters you would hope show up show up and grow and evolve. The novel hums along nicely with each chapter pushing the towards to the conclusion. Overall the Fifth Elephant had all of the elements that lend the Discworld novels its charms without having some of the pitfalls that sometimes show up. The novel was well plotted, charming, and in many parts, hilarious. I would fully recommend this novel to any fantasy lover, even someone who hasn't read much or any of Terry Pratchett's novels before."


Blogger Rustling of Pages finds gloom worth loving in Feet of Clay:

"I had a bit of trouble finding into the story because I had never before read a City Watch Book and had to get to know the characters first. Next time it will be decidedly easier (hopefully). However, each more or less important character has their own backstory, doubts, feelings and thoughts. They are well-rounded characters who you just have to like immediately. The only one who annoyed me whenever he was on the page was Nobby for being … Nobby. The plot follows different strands, even into people's personal lives and leaves you wondering how they might fit together. At times it was difficult to tell what was even going on with all those deviations and digressions and in the end some things had nothing to do with the plot at all but I didn't mind. With Ankh-Morpork being shrouded in mist during the night the setting immediately became darker and more mysterious. Shadows lurking in the mist, murders being committed. This added a nice clammy and creepy touch to the story... Pratchett has a lovely writing style. Shorter sentences and devoid of lengthy descriptions. There is a lot of dry humour and playing on words which I absolutely love!


Cultured Vultures blogger Nat Wassell is getting near to the end of her epic re-read of the Discworld novels. Here are her thoughts on Snuff:

"I am inclined to say that whilst I agree it is not the strongest Watch novel, as a finale to their story, it is a very good one. Sir Terry did not know that this was going to be the last Watch novel of course; I seem to remember several sources at the time of his death talking about how the one after 'The Shepherd's Crown' was going to be a Watch story, and as he did not know, most of the characters aside from Sam are probably neglected a little bit. Detritus and Angua, for example, have very little to do here, which is a shame for his last appearance. The focus is on Sam, for the most part, because he has been forced out of town on a holiday. Of course, the odds of Samuel Vimes actually enjoying a holiday are slim to none... 'Snuff' does such a great job of finishing off Sam Vimes' story because it is the perfect example of character growth and change. When we first met him back in 'Guards! Guards!' he was a drunken police captain who was in charge of a force of three people, including himself. He was reluctant to even take on a dwarf, let alone a troll. Now he is a duke, a happily married father, in charge of a metropolitan Watch; dwarves, trolls, gargoyles, vampires, werewolves, golems and a Feegle rub shoulders with humans, and everyone is much happier for it... I've talked a bit about how Vetinari, Vimes and Sybil, Archchancellor Ridcully, William de Worde and Moist Von Lipwig are changing the face of Ankh-Morpork, and it is encouraging to think that the future of the city, and indeed the Disc, lies firmly in the hands of youngsters like Young Sam and Tiffany Aching..."


...and finally, on new fansite We Atent Ded, Spanish blogger Carlos Ors Bravo writes about his love for the Pratchett oeuvre and its effects on him:

"It isn't easy for me to talk (or, as is the case, write) about Sir Terry Pratchett. Not ever since he died. Although, if you were to talk to my close family, they'd say that Pratchett is the only person I talk about (if you don't take into account Neil Gaiman, Jeff Bridges, the Coen brothers and, on occasion, Tim Curry). But that's not what I meant. Even though I talk about STP quite often, I still feel a sting in my heart every time I mention him or quote him (which is very, very often). But before I talk about him, let's travel back in time. Seven, eight or, maybe, nine years. I'm not quite sure about it. Anyway, let's go to Arte 9 – a comic-book store that's one of Madrid's nerd culture staples. Let's go to the franchise they have by Manuel Becerra, where I spent many (maybe too many) afternoons as a teen... I went into that dark comic-book store, clutching what little money I had, and leaning by the door was a huge piece of cardboard with a book glued to it. The book was Equal Rites and, by it, the editor had said something or other about Pratchett. I don't remember what it was, but I'm sure it didn't do him justice. I'm positive. Two days after buying it, I'd already read it and was doing a short presentation on the bespectacled, bearded, man on the back-cover. I wasn't an expert, but I knew enough to convince people to read his books... thanks to the many books I've read ever since I picked up Equal Rites all those years ago, I've confirmed all my suspicions which, in retrospect, are fairly obvious: Pratchett was incredibly well-read (obvious, I know, but still…). He disassembled everything and satirized it in the process. Many other things. His culture lead me not only to writing, but to reading and buying other books (Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, for example) and, also, to improving myself as a person..."





* A new book of stories!

"Terry Pratchett presents Christmas with a difference! Forget the tinsel and turkey, gifts and games, and indulge in abominable snowmen, explosive mince pies, a Santa Claus who ends up arrested for burglary, and a partridge in a pear tree! Enjoy a festive frolic with ten early short stories written by Terry for the Bucks Free Press in his days as a journalist – Father Christmas's fake beard will have you chortling, giggling and possibly crying into your Christmas pudding!"

Priced at £12.99, Father Christmas's Fake Beard will ship on the 17th of August 2017 and can be pre-ordered via the link below. Also, a deluxe slipcover edition, priced at £25 and due for release on 5th November 2017, is available to pre-order (see second link below). Both editions promise to ship on the day of release. For more information, and to pre-order, go to:


* A found treasure trove of copies of The Witches!

"Long out of print and much in demand, we've rescued copies of this Discworld board game from distant lands and wrestled them out of the grasp of creatures from the Dungeon Dimensions to get them back on our shelves! DON'T MISS OUT!!

"Most problems can be solved with a little headology, but sometimes a witch must resort to magic - use caution however, as a little too much can cause an inexperienced witch to turn 'Black Aliss'. Play as Tiffany Aching, Dimity Hubbub, Annagramma Hawkin or Petulia Gristle and travel around the kingdom of Lancre. This beautiful game is illustrated by Discworld artist Peter Dennis and features 55 illustrated cards and a map of the witches' homeland. The second Discworld board game from Treefrog can be played by up to four participants, but can also be enjoyed as a solo adventure!"

The Witches is priced at £55. For more information, and to order, go to:



The stunning Discworld Massif, aka the Disc's biggest iconograph-selfie, was recently featured in art magazine ImagineFX – a timely reminder that prints of Mr Kidby's wonderful piece make great Hogswatch gifts for Pratchett fans...

"This is a unique collectors print featuring 77 favourite characters from the realms of Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Each print is hand signed and numbered and the edition is limited to only 2000 copies worldwide. Prints will be despatched rolled in tissue in a postal tube. Price includes Postage and Packaging for UK Deliveries."

The Discworld Massif is priced at £50 (plus shipping, for buyers outside the UK). For more information, and to order, go to:




A quick couple for you...

The "blocking-in" stage of Paul Kidby's latest Nac Mac Feegle sculpt:

A nicely funky Nanny Ogg preparing to do the Rite of Ashk'Ente, from the Maldon Drama Group's recent production of Wyrd Sisters:



And that's the lot for July and back to bed for me. Take care, and we'll see you next month!

– Annie Mac


The End. If you have any questions or requests, write: wossname-owner (at) pearwood (dot) info

Copyright (c) 2017 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
wossname: cropped photo of Paul Kidby's stunning Pratchett sculpt (Kidby's Pterry bust)
[personal profile] wossname
The Terry Pratchett: HisWorld exhibition opens in September...

A four-month exhibition on the works and life of Sir Terry Pratchett opens at the Salisbury Museum this coming September: "The Salisbury Museum, The Estate of Terry Pratchett and Paul Kidby present 'Terry Pratchett: HisWorld', an exclusive major exhibition based on the extraordinary life of Sir Terry Pratchett, the creative genius behind the Discworld series. Follow his journey to becoming one of our best known and best loved writers. This unique exhibition will include artwork by the man himself and treasured items owned by Sir Terry which have never previously been on public display. Also featured will be over forty original illustrations by Paul Kidby, Sir Terry's artist of choice."

When: 16th September 2017 to 13th January 2018
Venue: Salisbury Museum, The King's House, 65 The Close, Salisbury, Wilts SP1 2EN (phone 01722 332151, email museum@salisburymuseum.org.uk)
Time: opening times are Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00, Sundays (9 April - 29 October) 12:00 to 17:00. "Please note that our cafe is closed on Sundays."
Tickets: Adult £8, child £4, family (2 adults/4 children) £20, under-5s free. "Please note that all tickets issued by the museum are ANNUAL PASSES and are valid for one year. This is a condition of participating in the Gift Aid scheme and is offered regardless of whether you opt for the standard or donation admission."


Tickets are also available online from http://salisbury.merlintickets.co.uk/product/ADME


wossname: (Plays)
[personal profile] wossname
Gainesville Theatre Alliance's 2017-2018 season will feature their production of Monstrous Regiment in a "February Festival of Theatre". "GTA is a nationally acclaimed collaboration of the University of North Georgia, Brenau University, theatre professionals and the northeast Georgia community that has yielded state and national awards."

When: 16th–24th February 2018
Venue: UNG-Gainesville's Ed Cabell Theatre, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood, GA
Time: 7:30pm evening shows on the 16th, 18th, 20th-24th, and 2:30pm matinees on the 17th & 24th
Tickets: $18-20 for adults, $16-18 for seniors and $12-14 for students, depending on seat location, available from 1st July 1 online at www.gainesvilleTHEATREalliance.org or by phoning the Box Office at 678 717 3624.


wossname: (Plays)
[personal profile] wossname
The Todmorden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (T.A.O.D.S.) will be presenting an unusual Discworld experience – Vince Foxall's BBC radio play of Wyrd Sisters, performed live – at the end of September. "As with previous productions, this Hippodrome Foyer Play is based on an original radio script dramatized by Vince Foxall for BBC Radio 4 and will be performed script-in-hand with live sound effects and a large cast of players old and new. Featuring strolling minstrels, fools, ghosts, murderers and diverse alarums!"

When: 29th and 30th September 2017
Venue: Hippodrome Theatre, 83 Halifax Road, Todmorden OL14 5BB
Time: 7.30pm all shows
Tickets: £6, available online from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/todhip


race prep (and photos of fun stuff)

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:10 pm
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
[personal profile] ilanarama
I haven't been posting in a while, bad me, so you're forgiven if you've forgotten that I'm doing the Kendall Mountain Run tomorrow. I'm a little less prepared than I'd like to be, mostly because I fell really hard while trail running twice in successive weeks, then also fell hard mountain biking, and so I've been more cautious and doing less trail running than I really should have been. But I have been hiking and biking and running!

On top of Graham Peak

Read more and see more photos )

So, tomorrow I am getting up way too early and going up to Silverton (it's about an hour's drive) with a friend who is also running. Now that I've seen what the course is like (we drove the first three miles to get to the trailhead of our late-June overnight backpack) I don't think I can make sub-3; I'm hoping to come in somewhere around 3:30. But my main goal is to NOT FALL.

Doctor ... Who is a Woman?

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:27 am
ozma914: mustache Firefly (mustache)
[personal profile] ozma914
Doctor Who fans are aghast, or deliriously happy, that the show's main character is having a sex change. Non Doctor Who fans are saying the same thing they always say when they hear details about the show: "Huh?"

We'll get to the good Doctor--whose name is not Who--in a moment. This is set against the bigger question of whether it's okay to change the race or gender of an established character, always (so far) to a person of color and/or womanliness. In general, if it's another case of political correctness gone rampant (I call it Political Over-Correctness) I'm not a fan.

"The next James Bond needs to be black!"
"So we can have a black James Bond!"
"Okay. Or, you could just create a black secret agent from scratch."
"Yeah, but ... then he wouldn't be James Bond!"

Honestly, it's not something I care enough about to argue over, which sets me apart from most people who care at all. If the TV and movie industry disappeared from the face of the earth right now--which isn't the worst idea ever--I'd just go back to reading books for entertainment. Interestingly, if the race of a character in a book isn't specifically mentioned, most people either don't think about it at all or put their own skin color on the character. It never occurred to me, until I saw the wildly entertaining TV version, that Shadow Moon from American Gods was black. You can call that racism or you can call it being color blind, whatever. People will color anything I say here with their own views anyway.

James Bond is an interesting case when it comes to gender and race swapping, because the franchise has already done it--just not with 007. Bond's CIA buddy Felix Leiter has already turned from white to black--twice, if you include 1983's Never Say Never Again. The famous Moneypenny had a similar transformation, while Bond's boss M became a female ... although it should be noted that M is a title, rather than an individual.

You can complain about it all you want, but for me when it does work, it works spectacularly. Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica was just as much fun and kick-ass as a woman in the reboot, for instance. From the time I was old enough to read comics I knew Nick Fury as a white guy, fighting his way across Europe in World War II. Now I can't imagine him looking like anyone but Samuel L. Jackson.

Which brings us back to Doctor Who, who Samuel L. Jackson could totally play if he wanted to. Are you going to tell him no?

On the question of changing a character's looks just for the sake of changing them, the Doctor is a special case. Sometimes the actor playing a character is changed without explanation, as with the James Bond series. (Wait--who's this new Darrin on Bewitched?) Sometimes it's a reboot, as with Battlestar Galactica, and thus not really the same character. But Doctor Who ...

Okay, in case you don't know, I'd better offer a brief explanation.

The original Doctor Who, back in 1963, was an old guy. He was a grandfatherly type, on a show designed as a fun way to teach kids history. (He's a Time Lord, you see.) But the actor began to have health problems, and it was soon apparent he couldn't continue in the roll. It seemed Doctor Who was doomed to retirement.

But wait, the writers said. We've already established that he's an alien. Suppose this particular species of aliens, when facing death, could cheat their way out by transforming into a new body? Regenerate into, say ... another actor's body?

Yeah, they're all the Doctor

That was twelve Doctor's ago. More, really, but we don't have time to go into that complication. In fact, the Doctor has already been a woman, played (very briefly) by Joanna Lumley in a 1999 charity episode.

So there's no story reason why the Doctor can't be female. In fact, one of his main antagonists, also a Time Lord, already regenerated from male to female. The show has had many strong female and minority characters in the past, and the Doctor's most recent companion was a black lesbian. (Is lesbian still a permitted word? I don't care.)

That's Bill, on the left. Black, prefers women, young, smart, and most importantly fun.
So that's where we are in the Doctor's complicated half century. In the Christmas episode the current Doctor is going to meet the first Doctor--that kind of thing happens, from time to time--and then presumably regenerate into someone who looks a lot like the actress Jodie Whittaker. If they did it to freshen up the show and keep things interesting ... well, why not? I'm not sure it's any more of a shock to me than when uber-young looking Matt Smith regenerated into still another grandfatherly type.

I wasn't thrilled back then ("my" Doctor is David Tennant), but I came to like Peter Capaldi's version. That's why I don't understand the so-called fans who are closing the doors of the TARDIS and going home. I know it's not just mysogeny, as some narrow minded people claim. Not always, anyway.

Honestly, I suspect it's just resistance to change in general, and I get that. Contrary to what some will tell you, sometimes change is bad. But you won't even give the new Doctor a chance? Why not? With that attitude, the show would never have made it out of the sixties.

And we'd have missed a lot of fun.

There's a new Doctor in the TARDIS
[personal profile] mjg59
In measured boot, each component of the boot process is "measured" (ie, hashed and that hash recorded) in a register in the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) build into the system. The TPM has several different registers (Platform Configuration Registers, or PCRs) which are typically used for different purposes - for instance, PCR0 contains measurements of various system firmware components, PCR2 contains any option ROMs, PCR4 contains information about the partition table and the bootloader. The allocation of these is defined by the PC Client working group of the Trusted Computing Group. However, once the boot loader takes over, we're outside the spec[1].

One important thing to note here is that the TPM doesn't actually have any ability to directly interfere with the boot process. If you try to boot modified code on a system, the TPM will contain different measurements but boot will still succeed. What the TPM can do is refuse to hand over secrets unless the measurements are correct. This allows for configurations where your disk encryption key can be stored in the TPM and then handed over automatically if the measurements are unaltered. If anybody interferes with your boot process then the measurements will be different, the TPM will refuse to hand over the key, your disk will remain encrypted and whoever's trying to compromise your machine will be sad.

The problem here is that a lot of things can affect the measurements. Upgrading your bootloader or kernel will do so. At that point if you reboot your disk fails to unlock and you become unhappy. To get around this your update system needs to notice that a new component is about to be installed, generate the new expected hashes and re-seal the secret to the TPM using the new hashes. If there are several different points in the update where this can happen, this can quite easily go wrong. And if it goes wrong, you're back to being unhappy.

Is there a way to improve this? Surprisingly, the answer is "yes" and the people to thank are Microsoft. Appendix A of a basically entirely unrelated spec defines a mechanism for storing the UEFI Secure Boot policy and used keys in PCR 7 of the TPM. The idea here is that you trust your OS vendor (since otherwise they could just backdoor your system anyway), so anything signed by your OS vendor is acceptable. If someone tries to boot something signed by a different vendor then PCR 7 will be different. If someone disables secure boot, PCR 7 will be different. If you upgrade your bootloader or kernel, PCR 7 will be the same. This simplifies things significantly.

I've put together a (not well-tested) patchset for Shim that adds support for including Shim's measurements in PCR 7. In conjunction with appropriate firmware, it should then be straightforward to seal secrets to PCR 7 and not worry about things breaking over system updates. This makes tying things like disk encryption keys to the TPM much more reasonable.

However, there's still one pretty major problem, which is that the initramfs (ie, the component responsible for setting up the disk encryption in the first place) isn't signed and isn't included in PCR 7[2]. An attacker can simply modify it to stash any TPM-backed secrets or mount the encrypted filesystem and then drop to a root prompt. This, uh, reduces the utility of the entire exercise.

The simplest solution to this that I've come up with depends on how Linux implements initramfs files. In its simplest form, an initramfs is just a cpio archive. In its slightly more complicated form, it's a compressed cpio archive. And in its peak form of evolution, it's a series of compressed cpio archives concatenated together. As the kernel reads each one in turn, it extracts it over the previous ones. That means that any files in the final archive will overwrite files of the same name in previous archives.

My proposal is to generate a small initramfs whose sole job is to get secrets from the TPM and stash them in the kernel keyring, and then measure an additional value into PCR 7 in order to ensure that the secrets can't be obtained again. Later disk encryption setup will then be able to set up dm-crypt using the secret already stored within the kernel. This small initramfs will be built into the signed kernel image, and the bootloader will be responsible for appending it to the end of any user-provided initramfs. This means that the TPM will only grant access to the secrets while trustworthy code is running - once the secret is in the kernel it will only be available for in-kernel use, and once PCR 7 has been modified the TPM won't give it to anyone else. A similar approach for some kernel command-line arguments (the kernel, module-init-tools and systemd all interpret the kernel command line left-to-right, with later arguments overriding earlier ones) would make it possible to ensure that certain kernel configuration options (such as the iommu) weren't overridable by an attacker.

There's obviously a few things that have to be done here (standardise how to embed such an initramfs in the kernel image, ensure that luks knows how to use the kernel keyring, teach all relevant bootloaders how to handle these images), but overall this should make it practical to use PCR 7 as a mechanism for supporting TPM-backed disk encryption secrets on Linux without introducing a hug support burden in the process.

[1] The patchset I've posted to add measured boot support to Grub use PCRs 8 and 9 to measure various components during the boot process, but other bootloaders may have different policies.

[2] This is because most Linux systems generate the initramfs locally rather than shipping it pre-built. It may also get rebuilt on various userspace updates, even if the kernel hasn't changed. Including it in PCR 7 would entirely break the fragility guarantees and defeat the point of all of this.

Birthday and Grandkids

Jul. 17th, 2017 05:32 pm
ozma914: (Dorothy and the Wizard)
[personal profile] ozma914
 I can't say I had the perfect birthday: Emily worked part of the day and I ran some errands, including getting some maintenance done on the car. However, we had fried chicken and chocolate ice cream, and if that doesn't make for a good day, what does? Also, I introduced Emily to Smoky and The Bandit ... and since she liked it, I guess I'll keep her.


We also had the grand-twins over during my days off, watched Lego Batman, cooked hotdogs over a fire, and slept. The only way it could have been better would be if I'd gotten some writing time in, but sometimes the days are just full.


Thanks for all your birthday wishes! I'm of an age where birthdays are a mixed blessing: You don't really want to admit to getting older, but it's nice to be thought of.


Oh, and the twins got to go swimming. I supervised with the camera.

ozma914: mustache Firefly (mustache)
[personal profile] ozma914
Yeah, life. It's a thing, ain't it? You're rolling along, way too busy, doing too much of what you don't really want to do and not enough of what you do.

Then, one day, you find out you're going to be a grandparent, for the third time.

Well, that's the way it happened to me, anyway.

In the great tradition of our family birthdays being either in mid-summer or in December, my daughter Jillian is due to give birth around December 11th (Jill--it's Jill now, not Jillian--was born on the 27th). I've known for awhile, although shockingly not as long as Jill did. She posted the news on Facebook in June, but I think a lot of people missed that.

I assume that if it's a boy, the first name will be Mark, and if it's a girl the first name will be the feminine version, which is Marka. But I suppose I should actually talk that over with Jill and Doug, and be satisfied if they merely gave him/her the middle name of Mark or, um, Markma. Or, okay, they could use my middle name Richard, which has the feminine version of Ricarda. Or she could name him Hunter, but then he'd have a cousin also named Hunter, and I'd have two grandkids named Hunter, and you'd never know for sure who's being yelled at. Probably me.

So anyway, Jill's life is essentially over--and she's started a new one. Way different, but in its own way just as fun, more exciting, and crazy expensive. The next generation is well on its way.

Jill practices her baby cuddling skills with the closest nephew, who survived and just turned nine.
ozma914: mustache Firefly (mustache)
[personal profile] ozma914
  I'm not saying I'm behind on book reviews, but Emily and I listened to American Gods while driving to and from Missouri—in 2015. So, I am saying I’m behind on book reviews, and since this one’s easy I thought I’d knock it out.
Not that Neil Gaiman needs any help from me, especially with American Gods on its way to becoming a TV series. (Wait, the show's first season is over; I'm behind on posting blogs, too.) Better that than a movie—I can’t imagine how they’d fit this story into a two hour or so time frame.
Main character Shadow is released from prison early, on the news that his wife has been killed in an accident. He’s flying home for the funeral when Mr. Wednesday appears next to him during a violent storm, and offers him a job. What’s the job, and how does Wednesday know so much about Shadow? That’s just the beginning of the mystery, and as close to normal as this book ever gets.
The grieving Shadow just wants to be left alone, but soon finds himself in a war pitting old gods against new gods as he wanders across the American Midwest, meeting every sort of odd character, human and otherwise. And that’s about as close as I can come to describing this mind-twisting novel in ten thousand words or less.
Although I like listening to podcasts and audio non-fiction, I haven’t had good experiences with fiction on audiobook. That changed with American Gods, which is narrated (performed?) by George Guidall. At least, my version was; I've since learned that there's at least on other audio version. Thanks to Guidall I can’t imagine Wednesday being played by anyone but Anthony Hopkins (well, I can now), but he does a great job with all the voices, as well as Gaiman’s wonderful narration.
This audio addition of American Gods is, I assume, unabridged, and so seemed to take forever. That’s a compliment. It was like an endless bowl of ice cream that you never get tired of. In fact, this novel is the reason why I usually give books I really like a four out of five rating. That way there’s room when the occasional perfect reading—well, listening—experience arrives. This is it: Five out of five.

(By the way, the series is just as mind blowing. Instead of trying to shove all this story and characters into one movie, there's actually room to expand it a bit. I couldn't imagine how they could turn American Gods into a TV series either, but they did it, and it's a work of surreal genius.)

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