Terry Pratchett, famed author, passed away last Thursday.
I've been trying to figure out how to write this since, because I feel like he deserves a better send off than one that's all about me ... but the internet has already provided such a thing in droves, so I'm just going to say what I can before I choke up again.
When I was sixteen, I wore a Discworld Convention T-shirt on a sixth form college Theatre Studies trip. Two students from another sixth form started talking to me during the interval as a result. They became my first friends in Lancaster.
I spent increasing amounts of time here during the second year of college, and when I finished, decided to move here for a year out to work a mindless job while learning budgeting and independent living before pursuing my long term plan of becoming an AI researcher.
In hindsight, the only reason that wouldn't've risked my accidentally destroying the universe through my own arrogance is that the department burned down a few years later.
But I never got that far; I fell into a job I rather enjoyed, acquired several friendship groups I was rather fond of, and found a D&D group that I enjoyed playing with, at which point my UCAS book (UK course list thing) got reclassified as a doorstop.
I've considered Lancaster home for close to a decade and a half now.
That job was how I first encountered perl.
The GM of that D&D group was Mark Keating.
Without pterry, I'd never have found my career.
Without pterry, I'd never have found my community.
Without pterry, I'd never have found my business partner.
Without pterry, DBIx::Class wouldn't exist.
Without pterry, local::lib wouldn't exist.
Without pterry, Shadowcat wouldn't exist.
Without pterry, honestly, mst as you know and ... know ... him ... wouldn't exist.
So, uh, thanks, pterry. Maybe I should've got over my aversion to writing fan mail before the embuggerance caught up with you.
One day I'll be dead and THEN you'll all be sorry.
-- (Terry Pratchett, 28 Nov 1992, on alt.fan.pratchett)
-- mst, out.