Saturday, December 31, 2005

December 2005

Yes, my astroillogical possums, it's that time again! It hardly seems like it's been a whole year since last Hogswatch, does it? I myself only took down my sausage garlands and mistletoe last week - well, the garlands I left up because they'd become too feral to get near without lion-taming equipment after the first month, and the mistletoe I left up because you never know when you might need it. This year I've spared no expense to travel the Disc, seeking out well-known Personalities born under each Sign and asking them how they plan to be spending Hogswatch; some of them even deigned to answer me, and some of the answers were printable! So grab your star charts, your Great A'Tuin piñatas and your favourite hangover cures and par-tayyy...



The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Cheery Littlebottom: "I'm going to spend Hogswatch in Uberwald this year as a guest of the Low King. I'm so excited! We're going to sort tailings from the new silver mines - sometimes it's nice to get back to cosy traditional things, you know - and there's even a rumour that sh-, I mean he might have a Music With Rocks In disco in the Disused Shaft Club down in Old Number 22. Beats working with smelly chemicals and smellier dead bodies, I can tell you!"

His Grace Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh: "This year will be our first true family Hogswatch since our Mam, erm, since. No more shouting across the Ramkin banquetting table while Willikins serves like a silent Thief. No, this year we'll have all the party games and the crackers and the proper festivities, because I want my son to remember every Hogswatch as a joyful time when his father is home all day and no-one dies horribly on the doorstep. Nothing's too good for my Sam."

Mrs Evadne Cake: "Hogswatch will've been a laugh this year. We'll've had mince pies - with minced pork, of course - and roast suckling pig and some of that nice Mr Dibbler's sausages. Ludmilla and her young man will've done great at Charades, and young Mr Shoe from the Watch will've dropped by with a nice card from Lugubri's sorry-for-yer-loss shop. But I have to say that next Hogswatch was even better."

Sergeant Jackrum: "Upon my oath, I'm not a Hogswatch man. I'd sooner spend that day drinking and telling battle stories down the pub. Any pub. But this year, as a special concession to my Little Lads, I'm going to spend Hogswatch in the old traditional Borogravian way - fasting, reading the Book of Nuggan aloud in a sober voice, and toasting the health of the Duchess in mineral water. That's what I'm telling the Ruperts anyway!" And if you believe that, you'd make a good soldier."



Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Reginald Shoe: "Of course I won't be following all those vital people's traditions, because we postvitals don't eat pork products, or any kind of products. No, we rejoice in being by-products. Every Hogswatch the Fresh Start Club gives Ankh-Morpork and the wider Disc the best present of all, by not adding to the population problem. But I do try to keep an open mind, so I'll be participating in some of the less politically-incorrect party games and Hogswatch carolling. Oh, and I intend to pay a social call on Mrs Cake and bring her a card, but that's going to be a surprise."

Mustrum Ridcully: "This Hogswatch, I'll be going hunting. I intend to bag a boar, a stag and a brace of pheasants, then get Mrs Whitlow to stuff the pheasants in the boar and the boar in the stag and roast them with plenty of Wow-Wow sauce. That should make a fine little snack to start off our Hogswatch Breakfast. The Dean wants us to play Charades, but I've warned him that he is under no circumstances allowed to try acting out Beti the Exotic Dancer again."

Hughnon Ridcully: "Hogswatch is at heart a solemn time, a time to ponder on the ineffable ways of the gods and the marvels and miracles of the world around us, a time for abstinence and contemplation, a time of joy to all men. Oh, all right, and to all Golems. Yes, and other sentient species. Very well. I shall be reading the Hogswatch Service in Small Gods myself this year. After that? I hear Mustrum's doing a spot of hunting...abstinence is a state of mind, after all."

C.M.O.T. Dibbler: "I've got just the thing for you this Hogswatch - the finest quality cuddly toys! Fluffy scale-model cuddlies of Slasher, Gouger, Tusker and Rooter. Totally lifelike! And when you pull their hidden strings, they widdle and grunt! Just AM$9.99, and that's cutting my own throat! And can I interest you in a Sonky and Sons life-sized inflatable Hogfather? String of papier-mâché sausages? And of course there's the inimitable Dibbler's Festive Hogswatch Sausages Inna Bun and Holiday Pork (Probably) Pies. Buy one! Buy two! You know it makes sense!"



Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

Mrs Rosie Palm: "Every Hogswatch, my girls and I spare no effort to get into the festive spirit. Of course we're great supporters of pork products - especially, erm, sausages - and we're quite enthusiastic about dances, especially private ones, and wassailing. And mistletoe. Oh, and Charades. My youngest, most attractive girls will be dressing as Hogswatch presents. And I'm sure you know we're very keen on presents that come in stockings..."

Susan Sto Helit: "I don't hold with all that holiday rubbish, but I suppose I can stretch to dropping in on Grandfather for a cup of Albert's fried porridge. Just so long as Grandfather and that rat don't try to make me play Charades."

Tiffany Aching: "This Hogswatch I intend to work very hard on my holiday cheeses. Mistress Ogg has invited me up to her town to teach me the mysteries of the famous Lancre Blue cheese. I'm a bit worried about the way she says 'Blue' though. And about her telling me to bring a heavy leather apron and chain mail. Leather and chain mail for cheesemaking? Perhaps I should bring a frying pan as well, just to be safe."

The Abbot of the History Monks: "To a Yen Buddhist History Monk, all Days are as one day grzzlewaaah!, so we don't celebrate Hogswatch. Of course, if you look at it another way, every day is Hogswatch, but we don't eat pork wannapottywannapottynow! and that much sherry would give me terrible wind. I plan to spend your Hogswatch Day drinking hot yak-butter tea with my favourite Yetis, and shouting at the novices wannawannawannaBIKKIT!"




The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

William de Worde: "Has the Hogfather (age unknown) been secretly suffering a debilitating illness? Reports from various sources indicate that, on his Hogswatchnight outing last year, he was seen to appear considerably thinner - 'Almost like a skellington,' said Arthur Nougat (5) of No. 21 The Lane, Little Scullings. There's also the disturbing mystery of 'Albert the Elf', the Hogfather's new assistant; Mrs Elsie Gubbins (62) of Dolly Sisters claims she saw this personage smoking, swearing, scratching himself inappropriately and stealing festive pork pies. Is that the sort of influence we want our children subjected to at this sacrosanct time of year? The public should be told the truth."

Mrs Whitlow: "Polly, Dolly, Molly and H'ai shall be h'engaged in the making of the usual wagonloads of pork pies, mince pies, sausages and roast suckling pigs for the Faculty Hogswatch parties. We shan't have time to 'party', there's too much to be done. H'ai don't hold with this Hogswatch carousing h'anyways. There's far too much drinking, and those Charades can get pretty riskey. Or so H'aive heard. Hmph."

Gytha Ogg: "Our Dreen says she's ordered me one of those ex-o-teek palm trees from Klatch, to put next to the fireplace this Hogswatch Eve. That won't half confuse the Hogfather when he comes down my chimney! Of course, they don't celebrate Hogswatchnight out in Klatch, they decorate their camels instead and do the Dance of the Seven Veils. My second husband used to love me doing the Dance of the Seven Veils. He said I was the most erratic woman in all Lancre - spelling was never his strong point. But he certainly had a strong point...I've invited young Tiffany up to visit as well, going to give her some tips on cheesemaking. Fine young lass, though maybe a bit too serious. I may give her the palm tree - then she'll never lack for dates."

Mrs Marietta Cosmopilite: "I'll be locking my door this Hogswatch. I'm sick to the back teeth of all those little yellow men wandering in and sitting at my feet and taking down everything I say. One of them called me 'great sage' last year. Now I ask you, do I look like a kitchen herb? Some people ought to get out more in the fresh air, I tell you."



Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Dr Dinwiddie, Bursar of UU: "The Archchancellor's going to let me have cutlery! And Distressed Pudding! Wheee!"

HRH Magrat de Lancre: "In the ancient days, when folk were ancient and had far more folk wisdom than the kind of unwise folk we get these days, Hogswatch was all about the death and rebirth of the land, about the affirmation of ancient rituals and paying respects to the earth and to the gods. Now people seem to think it's all just about getting drunk and singing rude songs, and Charades, and who's got the biggest pork pie. I think that's a shame. I made Verence make a proclamation about it, but Shawn Ogg couldn't read it out in the town square because he was too drunk and he'd sprained his ankle acting out the Dance of the Seven Veils during Charades at Nanny's."

C.W.St.J. (Nobby) Nobbs: "I'll be practising traditional Ankh-Morpork folkways for Hogswatch. Why are you looking at me like that? Nothing wrong with traditional folkways. Nothing wrong with hankies; useful things, hankies. And bells. And athletic pursuits outdoors in the fresh smog, erm, air. I might meet Fred Colon for a smoke later in the day. He always tells the missus we're going carolling, and she always falls for it. Good woman, that Mrs Fred."

Agnes Nitt: "Hogswatch is all about giving, and sharing, and putting up with insults from one's family. And desserts, of course. But not mistletoe. Never mistletoe. I'll be carolling again this year, too. They even pay me, because they say my being able to sing two parts at once saves on rehearsal expenses."



Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

HRH Verence II de Lancre: "This year, I've decreed an old-fashioned, traditional Hogswatch festival in Lancre Town. There will be sausage bobbing, black pudding pitching, a bonfire, and humorous paper hats for all our subjects. I've tasked Shawn Ogg with setting up a tree recycling collection - can't overestimate the importance of recycling in these enlightened times. I wanted to have Mrs Ogg as our festival traditions consultant since she knows so much about ancient neglected folkways, but Magrat, I mean Her Royal Highness, says Nanny Ogg's traditions are the sort that ought to stay neglected. Oh, and we've sent to Slice for their famous weasel juggler."

Sgt Fred Colon: "Mrs Colon will be making all the traditional Hogswatch foods. We'll eat and drink even more than usual, pull our crackers, play Charades, and then listen to the town criers reading out the Patrician's Speech. Nobby's threatened to drop by later, so we might arrange to go out for a smoke, I mean for carolling. Hopefully no-one will steal the Brass Bridge while I'm on holidays."

Twoflower of Agatea: "Your Hogswatch holiday is so fascinating! So many unusual and exciting activities! I especially like the noble game you call 'Charades', and the exploding crackers with their sage and humorous slogans - very like our misfortune cookies. I intend to don your traditional paper hat, sit on the Hogfather's lap, and kiss him under the mistletoe. And I shall sit up late and eat pork pies with sherry, and wrap presents, and ask total strangers if they've been naughty or nice. I've bought extra paint for my iconograph imps to capture every moment of the festive season!"

Tomjon Vitoller: "I'll be appearing as the Ghost of Hogswatch Past, Present and Yet to Come in Hwel's new play 'Carol Does Hogswatch'. Some weasel juggler from Slice tried to hire me to impersonate him at the Lancre Hogswatch Festival - apparently he's double-booked - but I think I've seen enough of Lancre to last a lifetime."



The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Rincewind: "I intend to stay locked in my study, where I will do quiet, safe, unthreatening things and eat a big plate of steaming potatoes. No sausages for me, they look too dangerous. And I'm certainly not coming out for Charades, no matter what the Dean says."

Constable Washpot Visit: We followers of the great Om don't hold with the pagan frivolities of the unbelievers. The so-called Hogswatch Day, and every day, is for us a time of prayer and contemplation and haranguing all unbelievers to forsake their heathen ways and join the Church of Om. Can I interest you in some educational pamphlets?"

Ponder Stibbons: "We're throwing a little party for Hex this Hogswatch, since he's been working so hard all year. I know Hex is only a machine, but this is a magical University after all, and more and more he - it - acts like a person. Rather like the Bursar, actually. Hex printed us out a Hogswatch card last night, and made the following request, at least I think it's a request: ++ I POSTULATE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO PLAY CHARADES IN A TEXT-BASED MEDIUM. NEED MORE CHEESE, A DUNGEON, AND A BAG OF HOLDING++ - we'll be looking into that. Hex also managed to somehow send a clacks to Hung Lo's Klatchian Pizzeria, ordering 50 large Tropical Hots with extra Wow-Wow sauce. See? Just like the Bursar."

Stanley of the Post Office: "We have a new special-issue Hogswatch stamp! In two sizes! These are offered in both domestic and foreign denominations and are produced to the highest standard, using vegetable-based paints of my own manufacture. The half-dollar stamps feature a new portrait of Lord Vetinari, specially commissioned, by Leonard of Quirm, and the tenpence stamps are available as a series of reproduced illustrations from the popular children's book 'Where's My Cow?'. These are not-to-be-missed collector's items! Ask me about stamps today! I'll be working at the Post Office all through Hogswatch, of course."



Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Otto Chriek: "I vill stay home und polish my iconograph lenses, und feed zer imps und zer salamanders. Und not drink zer blood. On no account vill I drink zer blood. Back in Uberwald, ve haff zer blood sausages, und zer blood pudding, und zer...um, I zink I vill go haff a little lie-down now, excuse me."

Mrs Vena McGarry: "I just don't know what I'll do with myself now that the lads have buggered off to another realm of pillage and plunder. Things have been dreadfully quiet ever since. I might drop in on Mrs War and help her with the new batch of massage oil and bunion creams, but probably I'll just stay home and knit broadsword scabbards for the grandchildren."

The Dean of UU: "Charades! Pork pies! Cracker-pulling! And even bigger than usual dinners! And Ridcully's agreed to let me lead the paintball battle! Yes! Hut! Yo!"

Carrot Ironfoundersson: "Angua and I will be ski-ing in the Uberwald Alps this Hogswatch. I suggested we drop in on her parents, but for some reason she said she'd rather visit the dwarf bread museum at Copperhead, or dive headfirst into a vat of boiling oil. I think she was displaying sarcasm."



Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Her Grace Sybil, Duchess of Ankh: "This is the first Hogswatch young Sam will be old enough to remember, so we'll be pushing the boat out to make it a memorable one. We'll have carols by dragonlight, and pork pies - he's on solid foods now, isn't he clever? - and sausages a la Genua, and paper hats with the Ramkin crest on them. I've made sure my husband understands that our son has to have one day when his father is home all day and no-one dies horribly on the doorstep. Nothing's too good for my Sams."

The Great Gaspode: "I'll be doin' a spot o' seasonal begging wiv my human pet Foul Ole Ron. Well, some say he's human. Myself, I'm not so sure. I've met Scoone Avenue poodles more human than Ron. Still, it always helps to have a pet human onna leash, people seem to dig deeper in their pockets for a double act. Oh, and we'll be begging at the Palace kitchens on St Furtive's Day. They're always good for a sausage or two, so long as we promise not to sing carols at them."

Leonard of Quirm: "Oh, is it Hogswatch again? How time flies, it seems like barely a year ago that I had built a chimney-widening apparatus to allow fathers to more easily pretend to be Hogfathers, and incidentally also prise open the walls of castles and fortresses. This year, I shall be finishing my device for using rays of invisible light to cook food very quickly from the inside out. I call it the Cooking Food From The Inside Out With Rays Of Invisible Light Very Quickly Device. Surely no-one would ever think of using it for something so terrible as cooking people very quickly from the inside out. Er, happy Hogswatch!"

Seldom Bucket: "A quiet holiday. Plenty of cheese. No stress. And no opera. Especially no opera."



Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Mrs Erzulie Gogol: "I'll be making my special Hogswatch jambalaya, so's I can have a look at what's goin' to happen in the next year. Young miss Ella says she'll be dropping round for a visit an' a snack on the day. She invited me to the palace, but I declined. After all, I can't afford to be seen lowering my standards."

Esmerelda Weatherwax: "Traditional Hogswatch celebrations? Cuddly Hogfather dolls? Load o' rubbish. I've met the Hogfather and I can tell you he's not even a little bit cuddly. Hogswatch is an important time for witches - keeping the real old traditions - and there's nothing cuddly about those either. And as for paper hats and Charades, I can't be having with that sort of thing."

Lord Havelock Vetinari: "In honour of the festive nature of the day, I shall take an entire thirty minutes off from scrutinising and ruling the city, and consider one glass of wine with my bread and water. For sheer indulgence, I shall read the entire score of Fondel's 'Underwater Music'. One must accept a modicum of frivolity at least one day of the year, especially on the part of others, so I shall give Drumknott an hour off. Don't let me stop you leaving, madam."

Moist von Lipwig: "I was thinking of dropping round to the Golem Trust to ask Miss Dearheart if she wants to go watch the carollers in Sator Square with me. I've taken the precaution of buying six cartons of Klatchian Kools cigarettes, an armload of Higgs & Meakins finest chocolates, and some mistletoe. Does anyone know how to buy off a Golem chaperon?



The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Lu-Tze the Sweeper: Is it not said that to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven? Not that I'd know, but I can tell you that each day is the same as every other one when there's sweeping to be done. It's not like sweepers get time off, you know. Especially on public holidays, when people are partying and making even more rubbish than usual. For is it not said that many hands make light work?"

Count Giamo Casanunda: "Mistletoe. Hogswatch is definitely all about the mistletoe. So, what's a lovely lady like yourself doing out working alone on Hogswatch, when you could be sharing the delights of the language of love with a willing admirer like, say, the world's second greatest lover? Have you ever eaten oysters? Or watched the moonrise over Cori Celesti from a secluded bower? Mmm?"

Conina: "Mmm, wild boar. Roast wild boar. See these hairdressing scissors? I can carve a roast wild boar - or a live one - into perfect portions in twenty seconds flat. And Io help anyone who gets within three feet of me with a paper hat. Herrydeterrity is so embarrassing..."

Angua von Uberwald: "I'll be ski-ing with my...friend Carrot, and enjoying a vegetarian meal. I certainly won't be spending time with my family. I wanted to stay on duty for the Hogswatch season - crime is rife when the dog's away - but Carrot can be very persuasive. And at least he's not the sort to commit, er, indulge in Charades."



Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Rob Anybody Mac Feegle: "Aye, 'tis Hogswatch, right enough. Me an' the lads'll be oot giein' ship beasties an' Sassenachs a face full o' heid, and havin' a sip o' the auld Special Sheep Liniment. An' stealin', o'course. Wouldn't be Hogswatch wi'out the stealin'. I've commissioned, that's one o' them lawyer words, our gonnagle t' make an extrrra special Hogswatch poem in honour of Kelda Jeannie. Accomp'nied by mousepipes, o'course - it's been a while since the burrow had a good clean-out o' vermin. As for thet Hogfather - crivens, we Feegle don't take kindly to the housebreakin' unless it's us what's doin' it. If he dares shinny down our chimney, we'll gie him a kickin' he'll not soon forget!"

Jason Ogg: "I be decorating our Mam's house for Hogswatch, same as always, and forging some new strings for her banjo. And I always take time on Hogswatch to do a little shoeing job for a very special customer. It ain't easy shoeing boars, but I've got Duties."

Dr "Mossy" Lawn: "Holiday celebrations? As if! Hogswatch is my busiest time of year, what with all the cases of alcohol poisoning, the knife and bludgeon wounds, the frostbitten carollers, the unsuccessful suicides...not to mention all the embarrassing injuries sustained from playing Charades. And young fathers suffering from burns and soot inhalation after attempting to convince their children that the Hogfather really can fit down a chimney. And the jolly uncles with lampshades stuck on their heads. And don't get me started on the body parts I have to extract mistletoe from! But I will be cooking a Hogswatch goose in the surgical sterilising cauldron, though Cori Celesti knows when I'll get time to actually eat it."

Igor: "All I want for Hogthwatch ith my two front teeth. And a few thetth of thpareth. And a couple of new kidneyth. Mind you, the old one'th I got from my Uncle Igor are thill functhioning exthellently. I'd love to do thome thurgery experimenth on the Hogfather; I thuthpect that grafting thome of the flying pig partth onto him would make deliverieth of prethentth eathier and fathter..."

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