All posts by Otto

On Terry Pratchett


When I was a kid, I found about Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels from my dad very early on. He had quite a large collection, including an original paperback of Dune (in sadly terrible condition), lots of the ERB Princess of Mars collection (NSF kids, BTW), and all sorts of assorted good collections from the 60s and 70s. Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, just everything. About 200 to 300 novels.

At one point he was going to toss them. I stole the whole lot instead and took it to college with me. Now they sit in my bookshelf, because *hell no* you’re not tossing those! :)

In something like 8th grade, I discovered Douglas Adams in my school library. Sometime shortly after that, I discovered the Discworld of Terry Pratchett. Instant addiction.

When I was in college, one summer, I was staying at home. I was probably around 19 or 20, and working for the summer, as a computer salesman (yes, seriously). My dad had a predilection for late-night reading back then. Lot to do during the day, people bugging him all the time, best to do his reading alone, when he could smoke, at some time after 10 pm. Simple. He used to borrow from my collection (his, which again, I totally stole and told him I was doing so), but which also had many of my own added in.

One night that summer, he chose to read “Moving Pictures”.

I woke up to my dad *screaming* in laughter. He came into my room, at about 2 am, turned on the light, and in between fits of giggling, read this back to me:

‘What’s it called?’ he said cautiously.

‘We call it Evil-Minded Son of a Bitch,’ said the newly-appointed Vice-President in Charge of Camels.

‘That doesn’t sound like a name.’

‘ ‘S a good name for this camel,’ said the handler fervently.


I laughed along with him, and proceeded to inform him that a) yes, I had read the book like a dozen times, and b) it was 2 in the god damn morning, let me sleep you son of a bitch, I need to be at work at 7 am, jackass.

Here’s the thing. Thinking back on that, that particular quote isn’t actually funny without the backstory and setup. It’s a straight-man joke. It’s the kind of joke you need setup for in TV shows. That’s how good Terry Pratchett was. You had this entire mental image of the surroundings, the people, the background, the backstory, everything necessary to make that joke *friggin’ hilarious*, without ever seeing anything but black text on a white background. Terry was simply that good of a storyteller.

Tonight, I received in the mail “The Shepherd’s Crown” from my Amazon pre-order. I have not opened it yet. I actually teared up when I looked at the package, because Terry died back in March, and I have not fully dealt with that fact yet. I have read and reread everything Terry Pratchett ever wrote, oh, hundreds of times. I have memories of me and my dad laughing over his prose. I know excessive amounts of details about the Discworld and can quote ridiculously long passages from the novels for no reason whatsoever.

Laughing along with Terry at his insanely funny parody of the crazy world around us helped me through sometimes, especially when I needed to laugh rather than weep at the silliness surrounding us all.

I’m not sure I can open that package from Amazon. I’m sure I will, eventually.

But, you know what? I miss you, Terry. Thanks for all the laughs, especially when I needed them the most.

How WP affected me

Since everybody else is doing a blog post about how they got started with WordPress, figured I might as well give up my story too. Hey, a blogger’s gotta blog. ;)

Originally, this was a story about WordPress. But I’m not posting it on my WordPress blog, because as I wrote it, I found that this isn’t a story about how I use WordPress, as such. It’s a story about how using and working with and on WordPress has impacted my own life. So it’s on my personal blog. This may reduce the number of readers, but whatever. :)

This is long. So, click through the more link to read it.

Continue reading How WP affected me


Not “man show fire to meat and then eat it while it still squirts and pulses.”


“Medium rare” = “good vet could get it up on its feet in an hour or two.” That’s not cooked with fire. That’s threatened with fire.


Start seasoning steak and before you know it? You’re French. No. I go to my personal butcher and say, “Give me a piece of meat that’s been sawn off an animal.” And they throw me a chunk of animal. And then I say “Show me the animal this meat was sawn off.” And they show me a picture of a crying cow with a gaping hole in its side. And I say “Did the animal cry when you sawed my piece of meat off it?” And they show me a Ziploc bag full of cow tears. And I say, “Rub that on my steak! Let that be my seasoning!”

Second email to my condo management company

> Otto:
> Thank you for the note. Help is on the way this morning.
> Pete

Howdy Pete!

After walking up six flights of stairs, I’ve lost more than a little faith in your definition of “help”.

Don’t get me wrong. After the sudden flooding rain downtown and the ensuing lightning storm, I fully get it. Shit breaks. No problem.

But, and here’s the thing, if the “usual” guys haven’t been able to get it to work on a reliable basis for almost 5 fucking years, then I’m not 100% sanguine about their ability to suddenly magically acquire the necessary skills to “fix it”.

Perhaps you should look into a different maintenance company? Maybe one with the “skills” to fit the “bills”. Just saying that, right now, after having to, once again, “hike” to my freakin’ condo, I’m thinking that perhaps we might be paying you guys (and by extension, the elevator maintenance company) a tad too much.

Needless to say, fucker’s still broken. Just so you know.


Email to my condo management company…



It’s broke. Again. Stuck on the fifth floor. For no reason whatsoever. No weather, no power outage, no nothing.

This is like the fifth time in 2 months.

What is so hard about this? What is the major malfunction? Is elevator science new or something? Why can we not get a fucking elevator that works for more than 2 fucking weeks?

Is it money? Is it sex? Is there some kind of magical fairy fucking unicorn that is needed to solve this god-damn problem? I dunno. Do you? DOES ANYBODY KNOW?

Hire somebody worth a shit and get the god-damn thing corrected. Or somebody, at some point, is just going to stop fucking paying.

Nothing personal. Just a tad ticked off.


The Pirate Bay trying to launch flying server farms…

TPB says that they want to have their servers flying over international waters.

While I’m sure that this is pretty unrealistic, though certainly do-able, if they actually get it to work then there’s only one real response I can make:

On another note though, I don’t see how this solves their basic problem. They still have to have that radio link on some shore somewhere. In a sense, this is no different than if they put the things on a boat and ran a bunch of cables to land. Ignoring potential attacks on the boat, those cables have to touch ground somewhere, and that’s the point of attack. Unless you have lots of them and have them possibly mobile, which is at least more feasible with radio than with undersea cables.

I suspect that the idea is more of a political talking point. They do seem to love coming up with those.