Sunday Notes

First, thank you all very much for the kinds words about Wolfie. As Krissie said, he’ll live forever in Dogs and Goddesses and Faking It, so that’s something.

Book Club Logo 2

So I’ve been thinking about the Argh Ink Book Club, and I think we should give it a shot, see how it goes. I like the idea of putting up three posts on the same day, discussing characters, plot, and the story as a unified whole, keeping all the discussions going at once, but sorted out a little so things don’t get quite so confusing.

How does that sound? Too regimented? Would a single post be better? Do you want questions ahead of time? Should I post them the day the discussion starts? No questions at all, we’ll just talk about whatever we want? I’m open.

Oh, except on the book we’re doing. That’s Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.

Going Postal

So here’s your one-month-ahead-of-time head’s up. June 6, we’re gonna talk about how Moist raised the Ankh Morpork postal service from the dead while saving the Discworld version of the interwebs. A hero for our time. Anti-hero. Semi-anti-hero. Whatever.

And then in other news, io9 has an interview with the PoI showrunners, and it sounds like Season Four is gonna be grim. Those of you who decided to leave because it was getting too dark? Probably a good decision:

“We’ve never shied from killing off our characters, and this season is no different,” Nolan said. “Our team does not make it out intact.” In fact, he says that depending on how you reckon who’s a “series regular,” you could say that a majority of the regulars are dead by the end of the season. “We’re equal-opportunity killers.”

Great. Greer’s a series regular, right? We could spare him. Fusco and Bear better make it, though. (The showrunners have promised that Bear does not die, but you know showrunners.)

And then there’s my research:

“The average height and weight of women varies around the world, but in the United States in 2010, the average adult female height was 63.8 inches (approximately 5 feet 4 inches) and 166.2 pounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Oct 27, 2015.”

I had a line about Nita being medium height and weight, and I was aiming for about 5’8″, 140 pounds, so I’m a little off. Should I go for “tall” instead of medium height? I don’t want to be too specific, although her weight is going to be part of a plot point later (not as in “fat or thin,” but more of a mechanical thing), so I’ll probably be specifying 140 then.

And now, your moment of WiP. (I have more of this, but it’s in even worse shape than the stuff I’m posting.)

68 thoughts on “Sunday Notes

  1. I have “Going Postal;” I have never read any Prachett. Looking forward to it. I think 3 posts makes sense. I’m open to whatever regarding the questions and discussion. Maybe one open thread for wherever the discussion goes. Whatever makes your life easier, is my vote.

    I am 5’8″. I guess I’m considered tall, but 5’4″ seems shorter than average. (I just the last 3 days with 3 women who were all 5’4″ and they considered themselves short, too). So.

    1. As a 5’4″ woman, I realize most woman are my height, so realistically, I know I’m average. However, society idealizes tall women, or at least women with longer legs than me and I think I’m short, because I’m not what the idealized woman is.

      So, while the data says I’m normal in that I’m the norm, the expectations say I’m short because I’m not the height of your average movie star, magazine model, typical heroine.

  2. So they are definitely killing at least one if not both of the ladies off after they have sex, or so I’m getting from the heavily implied interview. Wah. Yes, here we go with the 100 again. This’ll tie right in with all the articles about women getting the boots off of their shows (Sleepy Hollow, Castle, etc.).

    On the other hand, if this is the last season, yeah, that’s probably the time to start killing people off. Doesn’t mean I like it at all though.

    I guess we should be taking bets on who does survive, other than Bear.

    1. You know, I’d bet they keep Shaw and Root alive to walk off into the sunset with Bear.
      But I don’t think they’ll kill Fusco, either.
      So Finch and Reese bite it, and Greer, definitely.
      If Iris is a series regular, I vote she goes.
      Leon and Zoe?

      Really what’s a series regular? But if you’re going with the Machine Gang and there’s five of them, then three die,and I don’t think they’ll kill Fusco, so yeah.
      Stupid writers. Let them all live.

      1. My bets for death would be Shaw, Root, and Reese, leaving Fusco and Finch alive. Those three because they’re the ones most likely to run directly into bullets (and as you’ve pointed out, Reese is near-suicidal frequently). I fear “most of series regular” boils down to 3 dying and 2 living. Fusco to watch the dog and his kid and Finch to live on and feel guilty.
        Finch would be next up for likelihood of death due to guilt. I think Fusco and the dog are more likely to be fine.

        But yeah, I’m not thrilled at them offing most of the group, especially all the ladies.

    2. I also think kicking off Stacy is going to kill Castle.

      McMillian & Wife killed off the Susan St. James character and barely lasted another season.

      Yes, women like the male lead in these series but they like him as a romantic lead in a relationship. It’s different when the male lead never has a constant partner.

      1. I stopped watching Castle because I couldn’t stand her.
        Killing the wife in McMillan and Wife was not a good idea since that was the story center. But the whole Castle/Whosis thing never worked for me, so I stopped watching after the first season. Which means that the relationship was the center of the story, and you’re right: that’ll end it.
        But I will start watching again if she’s gone, just to see what they do with it. I like his relationships with everybody else.

        1. I used to luuuuuuuve McMillan and Wife, until she got pregnant. They were always so great to each other, but once she got pregnant, he started to put her down and call her a nag. It was so disheartening. Hart to Hart came out a bit later (I think), and while it was an imperfect show, I always stayed hooked because they were so great to each other. They supported each other as equals and that was fun to see.

  3. I’m almost 5’4″ which puts me at the upper edge of being petite. I wouldn’t call my height medium at all. Interesting on the 166 lbs. That makes the BMI 28ish which is overweight. I know I felt overweight when I was 152 lbs.

    1. Good point on the BMI. At 5’8″ I’m supposed to be <153# to be "healthy."

    2. I’ve always gone by five pound for every inch over five foot.
      So five foot is 100 pounds, and 5’8″ is 140. Which means I’m about twenty pounds overweight.
      I think the BMI is something like 140 to 160.

  4. I’ve heard the 5’4″ average stat before, but I think it includes all American women. If you break it out by race, 5’4″ is the start of petite for Caucasian women, but would be tallish for Asian women, for example.

  5. Age matters when discussing average height in populations. Also ethnicity, and socio-economic status as a child.

    I think 5’8″ is tall, but not very tall. If it’s important for Nita to be average in this way, then 5’6″ is better.

    1. That’s true. Women get shorter as they grow older, so it depends on how the CDC’s statistic was obtained. I wouldn’t picture a 5 feet 4 inch woman if someone said she was of ‘average’ height. I’d think more along the lines of 5’5″ or 5’6″

      1. My height is almost 5’6″ and I think I am average. My sister who is 5’4″considers herself as petite and my sister who is 5’11” considers herself very tall. My friend who is 5’2″ thinks of herself as very petite and doll-like (unfortunately she is a babe and gets away with this attitude. Good thing she is also charming and smart).

  6. I dunno what height and weight that is because my Post-colonial Commonwealth living self is 1.57 metres tall and 44 kilograms. Yes I’m thin. But it has it’s own very negative health implications. And yes I eat.

    I’m learning to emotionally detach, as in the opposite of attachment that is the root of all suffering so a character dying on a show is slowly starting to matter less to me these days.

    Run on sentences and paragraphs sold here. 😀

  7. So I’m finally going to read a Pratchett, and Going Postal at that. Since I saw a beautiful photo of him the other day, I’m up for this.

  8. I’m so sorry about Wolfie. Of all the things in life that truly suck, losing a canine companion is one of the worst.

    Thanks for the chapters. Off to read!

  9. I’m a white woman, and I always feel rather short at 5’4″ (3″?) when I’m in America. I feel very normal in Japan. I thought I once read that average height is 5’7″ . . . which is about my mom’s height. Maybe we degenerated generation Xers are shrinking . . . .

    I think the three post system sounds practical, but from what I know of the internet, you’ll have to be OK with “mixing the streams.” But just defining the three streams to start with will get people thinking along those lines.

    (-: How about a couple of discussion questions this week to keep in mind when we read the book? But perhaps the fact that we are reading for character, plot and unified whole is enough to keep in the top reaches of our minds.

    1. Micki. I laughed at your logic that generation Xers are shrinking. I don’t think so.

      My husband has commented that he thinks women are getting bigger racks in the younger generations because they drank so much milk from cows that were fed hormones. I haven’t explained to him about parents who let their teenage daughters have breast enlargements to enhance their self image (not a joke. My SiL who counsels teenage girls encounters this all the time).

  10. If I haven’t read any of the Discworld novels (yet), is “Going Postal” an ok place to start, or do I need to do some pre-reading?

    1. You don’t need any pre-reading.
      A lot of the supporting cast has had previous stories that make it fun when they show up. Guards! Guards! is a good one for that; it introduces Vimes (the captain of the night police) and Vetinari, the town’s ruler (?). The Truth is the story of how Ankh Morpork’s first newspaper came to be a big deal, and there’ll be a reporter from that asking the protagonist questions. But they’re all peripheral. The main characters show up in this book for the first time.

  11. The three posts sounds very reasonable. No need to have questions unless you want to. I’m finishing up Wyrd Sisters – book 6. Approximately 30 books to listen to in the next month. Luckily, I have 2 conferences to drive to, so I’ll through nearly a whole book there. I know discworld has many entries and doesn’t require a person to read in order. However, that’s a funky little quirk of mine, series must be read in order.

    I think POI isn’t going to be for me. I get WAY to involved with the characters.

    I’m 5’7″ and always thought I was average height (Midwestern American of German descent) until I looked up the average height for American women and learned I was tall. My “ideal” weight is to be 140 to have a BMI of 22. My mom is 5’8″ and slouches horribly because she was teased in high school for being so tall, probably 1960-1962. I think 5’4″ is short. Just asked my husband, “How tall do you you think a woman of medium height is?” His response was 5’6″-5’7″. Maybe 5’8″. Why? So I explained and he also thinks 5’4″ is short, plus tall is around 6’0″.

    Now off to read this week’s wip! Squee!

    1. I’ve always thought 5’8″ was medium, but then I’m 5’8″.

      And really, you don’t need to read them all. If you want some background, try Guards! Guards!, Feet of Clay, and The Truth. All excellent.

      1. I’m 5’8″, and am usually called “tall,” unless you stand me next to the women on the basketball team. Or the volleyball team. I do the standard tall stuff–reaching items on high shelves, for instance. And I’m still taller than most of my women students, so it’s not a geezer thing (63, here), that I’m considered “tall.”

  12. Just read the medium height, medium weight line about Nita. I pictured 5’6″ and 145-150 pounds even knowing that wasn’t what you were aiming for. With Mort being “taller” I have him at 5’10” – 6′

  13. I’ve never read anything by Mr. Pratchett, so this sounds like a good way to dive in.

    As for PoI… how depressing that the show will end in such a sad way. Might have to give the last season a miss after all.

  14. Going Postal is my favorite Pratchett. It’s the only one I felt okay reading out of order, until I realized how boring the first one is for someone who doesn’t like high(ish) fantasy.

    Guards! Guards! is also good. I read the graphic novel version of the second book, so idk if that counts.

  15. This. “Excellent,” Mort said and followed her into Hell.

    And then this: Vinnie frowned at him, legitimately confused. “Demons ain’t real. That’s just a tourist thing. Demon Island, Demon Rum, ball caps with horns, that crap. It’s why I named the bar Hell. And put up them flames.” He looked proud for a moment and then seemed to remember that his neon was no more. “I really loved them flames.”

    And now I’m onto Chapter 2. After I eat beets vinaigrette, smashed new potatoes in herbed butter sour cream sauce, pork chops in mushroom sauce. Pretty sure they eat this in hell.

      1. Cook just as it sounds, and have a cupboard full of Penzey’s spices and herbs at your back, especially Fox Point seasoning and French four spice

    1. Good thing you’re eating. I just finished all this week’s wip, all 4 chapters, and with the 2 diner scenes, I am quite hungry. Fortunately, last night dinner was at a great diner (the banner has a picture of it in all its silver shininess I had 2 eggs over medium, wheat toast, gyro meat (I’m allergic to pork so no bacon), hash browns came with, and a side order of French toast, which I suspected was cooked with cinnamon and sugar plus powder sugar on top of that and I smothered it in maple flavored syrup. Tea washed it all down. So very nearly the same breakfast that Nita had. It was sooo good! ?

      Thanks Jenny for the stories! Totally worth losing sleep over. ?

  16. I’m 6′ and it always makes me grind my teeth when a female character is described as being tall at 5’8″, because they’re not, but that’s just a personal gripe. For me, someone described as medium height would be 5’8 ish…

    I’m really enjoying all these discovery drafts. It’s a bit like getting a new Crusie every week – even if I’m not getting the HEA. 🙂

    All of them are very interesting characters and stories and I can see why you were having a major dilemma about which to work on, until you discovered the story that you’re not writing. 🙂

  17. You probably want the photographic height/weight chart at . It shows photographs of real people, multiple people at each height/weight combo, to illustrate how people with those numbers can look. Between wishful thinking, diet-industry propaganda, and the density difference between muscle and fat, there’s a lot of cultural confusion about that.

    My adult weight has varied by 50 lbs, and I looked pretty similar in that whole range, because the density was what varied.

    1. The height/weight photo chart is very cool!

      My sisters and I are all about the same height, but one has shoulders 2/3 the width of the others, no matter what weight any of us are. Body shapes vary from tip to toe even before you add in diets and workouts.

  18. Well, damn. Now I’ll just be waiting here patiently to find out what happens to Nick and Nita. Thank you – I’ve been feeling miserable with a cold today, and this helped improve my outlook enormously.

  19. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your fur baby, Wolfie. It’s so hard to lose a beloved pet.

    As for the loss of fictional characters in POI, I fear that it will definitely be Reese and Finch especially since the first episode spelled that out for us. I wonder if the machine dies as well. She’s also a series regular. Or perhaps the show will it end with the whole gang dead except for the machine…a pay phone rings ominously as the machine waits for the next person to pick up to recruit into a new machine gang.

    Tall and short are relative. I’m 5’4 and always felt I was on the shorter side of average. To me, 5’8 is tall. To others not so much.

  20. I thought I was tall at about 5’7″, until my kids hit 5’10” and 6’3″.

    I greatly enjoyed my moment(s) of WIP – glad you’re not writing this book.

  21. Like I need an excuse to read Going Postal again, love that book,

    I still have Season 4 of PoI to go before the last season. They’ll probably break our hearts, but their journey is always worth it. The dream is there is a happy ending, but as Finch said when they started, they’ll be lucky to walk away with their lives.

    Just read your draft, loved it. You don’t have baggage with this one, so it flows almost effortlessly. So glad you’re not writing it, will love it, when you don’t finish it, waiting impatiently for you not to carry on.

  22. I’m 5’9″ and think of myself as “tall-ish for a woman,” but I also work with high schoolers who aren’t fully grown yet. My mom and mother-in-law and mom, both 5’11”, are definitely notably Tall Women, and I’ve heard them both complain about “short women taking all the tall guys.”

    1. We have a situation like that in my church. A married couple where the dude is 6’2″ maybe and the woman is under 5′, perhaps 4’10”? She always wears 3-5″ heels and still only comes up to his elbow.

  23. Just finished reading the WIP. This is the best non-book I’ve ever read. 😉 I’m really enjoying this story and want to read more. Thanks for posting this for us!

  24. I’m 6’1″ and I feel very tall for a woman. I also know/meet only very few women as tall as I am. In context to female friends in group pictures I would estimate medium height around 5’7″ or 5’8″, while one of my best friends, who is 5’5″ considers herself petite.
    If you wrote ‘tall’ while writing about 5’8″ it wouldn’t feel quite right to me, because she probably would not be confronted with “tall-people-problems” like regular pants and sleeves always being too short, being taller than lots of men or (like Chloe Button with her name) people commenting about it regularly.

    1. Actually, I’m 5’7″, and have struggled with sleeve lengths for a long time. Then again, my sister called me “orangutan arms” when we were teenagers.


      Love the wip! For a not-a-book, it’s definitely coming along.

      1. I’m late in weighing in on the whole 5’8″ discussion (pun intended), but my architect best friend (God rest her soul) told me years ago that kitchens and baths were designed for the average height American woman, which she said was 5′ 4,” a fact that anyone taller can attest to when washing dishes for any length of time! Looks like recent statistics still show the average at that height.

        As a fellow 5-8er, I also have experienced sleeves and hems too short. Except during the disco years when pants were designed to accomodate platform shoes. Wearing today’s 3/4 sleeve length tops with capri pants make me look like I was stuck n the dryer, so I avoid that look, LoL!

        Love the idea of Terry Pratchett for book club, and three posts sounds good.

  25. Petite clothing targets women who are 5 ft 4 in if I remember correctly (or it was 5ft 6 in but definitely one or the other).

    If you have a burger as one of your focal foods in the Nita book, will you still use burgers in the Liz book? I ask because I don’t think the whole diner thing for Liz should be tampered with, so if you won’t be comfortable with burgers in both books, maybe you should change your Nita lunch?

    1. They’re doing different things.
      The burger in Liz’s book is something for her to be enthusiastic about. She’s so cautious with everything, but she just rips into that food, paying close attention. Her life is pretty much food and work.

      The burger in Nita’s book is her own invention, something she’s consciously mixing hot and cold in. Even the way she describes it is hot plus cold. It’s her way fo marrying the two opposite sides of herself, the cold facade she’s been trapped behind for thirty-three years and the passion and anger that simmers underneath. And then it also works as a metaphor for her and Nick, cold and hot taken together balance each other, I think she says in one sensuous experience. So she’s already looking at him as a balance to her cold even if she’s not admitting it.

  26. So these are my running notes/reactions as I read Chapter 1:
    I like how the “psychic” thing got thrown in there early via Mort. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that was part of the very very first version.

    I have never heard of skin so pale that it’s almost green. SO INTERESTING CONSIDERING THE COLLEGE DEMONS.

    Well you clearly figured out how to bring up the blood on the hand thing. That was really smooth and flowed naturally.

    So what happens when Nita gets angry? I am intrigued. At this point I am totally convinced she is part demon. Did Mort get anything?

    Do names have power in this world? Just wondering on the insistence of Nick knowing her name.
    Oh. Maybe to bring up the mushroom thing. To bring up death. To tie into the blood thing. INTERESTING.

    Does anyone else find it odd that Nick is just telling everyone that he’s the Devil? It’s just different from other books where the supernatural tend to keep it quiet.

    And damn, but that’s all I have time for. Time to click back into the world.

    1. I’m not sure about Nick telling people he’s the Devil, but the thing is, he just got shot seventeen times and there are no bullet holes in him (just his shirt). So that needs an explanation. There really isn’t one aside from the truth.
      Also, telling the people he has suspicions about is a way of watching their reactions, but that comes up later.

      1. I love that he tells people he’s the Devil. It’s an immediate key to his personality, and his candor makes him an appealing hero.

        1. MJ, after reading Chapters 2 – 4 and finding out the rest of his background, I have to agree with you–totally speaks to his personality and good clue to us.

  27. I know shooting people is bad, but I like Button.

    “Oddly enough, his used car place is called Demon Island Used Cars.” LOL

    GREEN donuts? It kills demons. AND SHE GOT SICK. Man, I am loving this. Three dead. Thirty sick. SOMEONE has been having A LOT of fun on this island. Oooh, just got a flashback to “Wild Ride.”

    In Chapter 4. The amusement park. THE AMUSEMENT PARK?! *dies*

    OK. This was great. So thoroughly enjoyed it.

  28. Is the book club something we can join later? I can’t right now, with work and projects and grad school, but if life calms down a bit I would like to jump in in the future probably. Is it now or never?

    Sorry about Wolfie, the sweetest things in life never seem to stick around as long as we’d like, but I’m glad he got a good spot in d&g.

    1. Of course. Not sure if anybody will still be talking, but the posts will stay open.

  29. I just fell off the end of Nita’s WiP.

    Thank you for posting these. I am having such fun reading them.

  30. That was great. I love the fact that your early drafts are almost all dialogue. I love that Button is a crack shot and quick on the trigger. I love that Nita sleeps with all her partners and then dumps them when they get too serious. I love that she and Mort (Mort!) look so much alike. I love that the Devil is a really competent bureacrat.

    This feels like it combines the strong protagonist of Bet Me and Agnes and the Hitman with the paranormal elements of D&G and The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes and the humor of Bet Me (sorry, I know it’s not your fave, but it is one of mine).

    And I’m blown away that you’re already consciously thinking about how the food echoes the theme so early in the process.

    Okay, that’s my fan-girl rave. I’ll try to find time to re-read and see if I have anything useful to offer, but honestly, I’m just loving the whole deal.

  31. Thank you all for reading Nita’s first chapters. You really are the best of all possible commenters.

    1. THANK YOU for posting the WIPs these past two weeks, you have saved my sanity, where it’s been unhappily hanging out on the brink because of a SQL database design class that I’m about to flunk. Seriously, saved by the amazing characters and relationships your brain puts out. I’m grateful.
      Speaking of, Nita is fantastic, it doesn’t read like a WIP at all. I’m about to go read it again, because I love it, please keep writing it.

  32. I didn’t read through all the comments. But if this is a repeat, my apologies. There is a movie. Beautifully done. Pratchett makes a cameo (as he does in all his movies).

    Going Postal — available through Netflix discs.

    My favorite is The Hogfather with Michelle Dockery, the perfect Susan.

    The books are awesome! The movies stay pretty close to the books.

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