Sunday, December 14, 2014

Polar expressions


 Inexcuseable has finally won! She has made me endure a Christmas film, and one that I thought to be equally childish and mawkish. I thought this before I watched it, however, and had judged it based on a brief clip and Tom Hanks' voice.
 Now, I think otherwise. While it is undoubtedly a film for children - older children, I would think - and it does pull on the old heart strings-
 Oh, is that what that was? I didn't think we had any left.
Quite. Now, where were we? Oh, yes: I actually found it to be rather good, if a little creepy.
 Ugh, yes, those horrible animated faces! 
 Especially right at the beginning when the boy wakes up and opens his eyes. I was expecting him to vomit pea soup while his head spun around!
 All right. No need to get carried away.
 Well...
 Anyway, I don't want to harp on about The Polar Express
 For that is the film we were talking about, if you hadn't already guessed.


 Oh. Yes. I forgot to mention it, didn't I? Anyway, Polar Express aside, I was just wondering what your favourite Christmas film is (or movie, if you're an American)?
 Our favourite isn't Polar Express, by the way. No. It's Edward Scissorhands!
 Yeah, I thought our last heart-string gave out when Mary Berry died befo-
 Vincent Price! It was Vincent Price you nitwit!
 Was it? Wow. Don't they look alike?
 Well, I suppose...
 Although, I don't think I've seen Mary Berry making biscuits (or cookies) like that...


 Anyway... Please let us know what your favourite Christmas film is in the comments. And if you've watched it yet this year!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

This Antichrist - how many nipples has he?*


OK, it's book catch-up time again!

29. Disavowed (Star Trek: Section 31), by David Mack
 Disappointed, more like. Oh, not with the writing, which is up to David Mack's usual excellent standards. No, I'm disappointed with the story. 
 You see, I was hoping a novel which stars Doctor Julian Bashir (ex of Deep Space Nine, and one of my favourite DS9 characters) would actually have him as the star. Instead, the Mirror Universe seems to be the star, along with the MU Starfleet's jaunt ships and Director Saavik!
 Now, this was a double blow as I love the primary universe Saavik. She's so underused. In fact, she hasn't been seen (chronologically) since the woefully dull Vulcan's Soul trilogy. To make matters worse, she's cool, calm and sophisticated, just like our Saavik is/should be. But she isn't. OUR. SAAVIK!
 Oh, and bloody perfect Sarina (Bashir's girlfriend) is really getting on my thre'pennies!

30. The White Dragon, by Anne McCaffrey
 I was kind of dreading reading this book as it's 455 pages long (one of the girthiest of the older Dragonriders novels - only Dragonsdawn is marginally longer) and I find them difficult to read in big chunks. However, once I got going, the pages seemed to just fly past. I'd forgotten how good this book is - It's certainly much more engaging than Dragonquest (the 22nd book I've read this year), and even more emotional and exciting. Although some of the characters still suffer from lack of dimension and don't grow beyond their stereotypes.
Over all, though, a great read.

31. Something Rotten, by Jasper Fforde
 The fourth in the Thursday Next series, and just as witty, engaging, suspenseful, humorous and packed full of ideas and emotion as the first three.

32. Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
 This is a staple read of mine, but - after checking through previous blog book posts - I don't appear to have read it since 2010! 
 Still, all sorted now. It's so good that if I could only keep one of my collection of books, this would be it.
 I heard recently that it's been adapted into a radio play by the BBC and, after a quick bit of googling, it's due to be broadcast 22nd December on Radio 4.
 I can also see this as a Carry On film (but with the original Carry On cast, of course). Carry On Up The Apocalypse perhaps?
* Post title from page 289

33. Star Trek: Ships of the Line, edited by Doug Drexler & Margaret Clark, text by Mike Okuda
 This is the second edition of the Ships of the Line Calendar anthology, and adds images from the 2006 - 2014 calendars. Not all of them, though. Rather disappointingly, Mojo's 'Wolf 359' artwork from the 2007 calendar is one of the omitted images. However, there are still loads of new starships to ogle at, and the accompanying text by Star Trek stalwart, Mike Okuda, offers a bit of background to the scenes.
  
34. The Wounded Sky (Star Trek: The Original Series), by Diane Duane
 Now, this is an old Star Trek book. First published in 1983 it's very much a mesh of hard sci-fi and the beloved original series characters. Duane is very adept at fleshing these characters out and giving them a recognisable 'voice', and I particularly like the other crewmembers (human and alien alike) whom she introduced who also appear in her other Trek novels and comics. Plus, the Inversion drive experiences are incredibly well written, if somewhat trippy, and remind me of Dave Bowman's journey through the Monolith in 2OO1: A Space Odyssey.

35. The Collectors (Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations), by Christopher L. Bennett
 Hooray! Another DTI story from Christopher L. Bennett! I love these DTI tales, although the last one was rather lacking in Garcia/Ranjea action, but this one makes up for it.
 Rather than tying together lots of time-travel plots and references from the TV series' like the first two novels did (and very well, too), this one is an original story driven by the characters themselves. Bennett does his usual sterling job of setting the scenes, characterisations, techno-babble explanations and just incredible diversity of ideas. A marvellous read!

Hmmm... It's a bit Trekkie this month. I'm sure it'll be less so in the New Year.


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Squeeze your bum, point your toes, and go for it!*


 Oof! Here I am. Sorry about November. Many things contributed to this appalling fall in standards - work being the main culprit, but we have taken steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again: From the beginning of this month, the Host is now only working part-time.

 Well, I'm sick of having so little time to do the things I like!

 Some other points of note have been:

Babyzilla-sitting
• Cake baking for Inexcuseable's place of employment

An arthritic cat pelvis/hip x-ray cake, and a first anniversary in a new building cake.
 
• A 50th birthday party (no, not mine you rude lot - still over a decade to go)
• Plenty of reading (more on this in the next post)
• Not quite as much writing. Although, here's an unedited snippet from a Star Trek frippery I've been toying with:

 Sal was just about to climb into her bed when her door chime sounded. She sighed and pulled the light cover back over the inviting mattress, smoothing out the wrinkles as she did so. Muttering to herself about how certain people should know better than to disturb the chief medical officer at this hour, Sal grudgingly made her way to the door.
 “Yes, my Captain?” she groused to her friend as the door whooshed open. Wow! Regina looks even more tired than I feel, and that’s no mean feat, she thought. Still, her visitor managed one of her endearing smiles that caused her bright eyes to sparkle despite their obvious somnolent appearance.
 “Aren’t you going to invite me in, El’nor?” Farkas asked.
 “As if you’d wait for an invitation” Sal grumbled good naturedly, and stepped aside as the shorter woman barged in.
 Farkas headed straight for the lounge area of the spacious cabin and plumped herself down on the chaise longue, Sal’s oldest and most comfortable piece of furniture, and the only one she’d brought aboard from her home on Earth. Sal rolled her eyes at Farkas’ outstretched  hand and expectant look even as she relented and turned to the replicator to order up their usual Darjeelings.
 “Well?” Sal prompted as she settled herself into a chair after Farkas had taken the proffered cup of tea.
 “Nothing” Farkas answered.
 Sal just raised her eyebrows questioningly. She had never mastered the art of raising just one eyebrow and had long ago come to terms with the fact that she’d never pass as a Vulcan even if she did manage to master her emotions.
 “OK. Not nothing” Farkas relented taking a sip of her tea. “Information about the timeslip was lacking, but I learned quite a bit about Captain Trillya and the maiden voyage of the Jaddar Nym. For a woman with a failing memory, Galuth’s recall of that event is remarkably accurate. And very enlightening!”
 “Do tell” Sal prompted as Farkas took another sip of tea. “You know how I love a good bit of gossip. Even if it is forty-odd years old!”


• Some Memory Beta updating
Strictly Come Dancing and Strictly It Takes Two watching

 Right. I suppose I'd better see what you've all been up to in my absence.
 

* Post title courtesy of Caroline & Pasha from Episode 48 of Strictly It Takes Two series 12


Sunday, November 02, 2014

Samhain at Cromer Lighthouse


 After the excesses of Hallowe'en on Friday night, yesterday the Host and I - plus the SubConsciouses of course - observed the close of Samhain - the festival of darkness - from the highest point in Cromer, and rather appropriately: the Lighthouse.


 From its perch on the cliff top, views of the North, the South, the East, and the West are uncluttered and endless - Just right for watching over this little part of the world and bidding safe passage to the recently deceased.








 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Boo!


I smiled grimly as the tinder was lit.

- - -

The witch exploded. Internal organs festooned the branches of the tree, glistening slickly in the light of the pallid yellow moon. Every breath was held. The only sounds were from the globules of blood hitting the dry ground beneath the dripping oak.

When the sun rose in the morning, the tree was devoid of innards. Instead, it bristled with crows. Each one sleek and glossy and well fed. That evening, as the people returned to their homes from their toil and errands and affairs, they were watched. A pair of bright black eyes were fixated on each and every one of them. The pair watching the Baron clouded over momentarily and blinked...

There was silence.

- - -

Do you know where your ancestors were 600 years ago? I do.

Do you know what they were doing? To me?

They will rue the day. 

I insinuate myself within the circuitry of the machine.

Ahhhhh... 

My signal spreads throughout the web.

Now I touch all.

- - -

That reflection in your screen,

That shadow on your wall,

The shiver down your spine and the breath upon your neck.

Oh, don't turn around. I don't need to see your face.


That creak, that groan, it's not the floorboards warping in the heat.

Those noises aren't from the house settling.

That sound like voices whispering when the washing machine turns.

That tick-tock, clink-clank from the water pipes.

It's not them. It's me. I'm seeping through your house.


Can you see that figure, lurking in the window's reflected shadows?

Can you see that staring, dead-eyed face, formed from folds of cloth?

I can see you. I can see all of you.


When you're in bed, get under the covers and don't put your head out.

Don't bother with the light, you'll just be able to see me more clearly.

If you don't look, you'll never know what to be scared of.

It's for the best.


Do you feel that lightest of touches on the back of your neck?

I'm right behind you.


And I don't know if I'll ever go away...


.

Just in case I'm otherwise engaged:


This is how you haunt your house



 
A short film by Will Mayo

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Witches Abroad


 Actually, that should be The Witch Is Abroad. And not foreign abroad, either. I'm not leaving the country or anything. I just need a little down time otherwise I might snap into my component parts! The Host, for once, is in agreement and won't be here either.

 I/we should be back in time for Hallowe'en, though. Don't do anything too exciting while I'm/we're gone!

 Here's a Horrendous Space Kablooie to keep you going:


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cromer's Glacio-tectonic Folds - 89 in the 100 Great Geosites of the British Isles


 I was perusing io9 the other day, as is my wont, when I happened upon their article promoting the 100 Most Interesting Geological Locations In The British Isles.
 Hang on a mo, I thought, I live in the British Isles. Let's see if any of these supposedly interesting geosites can be found anywhere near me
 After a few deft clicks to the Geological Society's website, I discovered that I live on top of one! Number 89, in fact.



  Technically, this glacio-tectonic fold is located in the village of Sidestrand rather than Cromer, but Cromer is the nearest town, so I guess that's why it got top billing.

 Anyway, here are some photos I took when I went for a swim back in July (click to embigulate):








 
Oh, and here are a couple of photos showing the terrible surroundings and awful weather I had to put up with at the time:






 Ghastly, wouldn't you agree?


 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tuck me in


 Sometimes it's best not to look under the bed...



 This one minute horror can't wait for Hallowe'en. It's by director Ignacio F. Rodó and based on a story by Juan J. Ruiz. More details can be found at Filminute.com.

 'night 'night...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Widdershins around the garden


 While we're waiting for MJ (that lazy baggage)* to get up off her quince** and post the Annual Garden Event photos, I though I'd post these photos of the most interesting or colouful plants starring in Castlette DeVice's lush waning gardens this Autumn.
 The photos I submitted to MJ were from June when the gardens here were just about at their peak. Now that Autumn has arrived here in Blighty, the garden is looking a little worse for wear, full of lightly crisped foliage from the dry summer and dying flower heads as I haven't got around to doing any cutting back yet (then you're just as much of a lazy baggage as MJ)***. Still, a few bright sparks can be found amongst the embers, so here they are:

The final new growth of Gunnera manicata before the frosts turn it all to mush!

The bright bells of Penstemon. These should keep going for another month or so.

Colourful foliage of Heuchera.

Ah, Echeveria by the pond. Also destined to become mush in the wet, cold Autumn and Winter.

Garish Dahlia still going strong.

This spreading ground cover plant, Lamium, lightens up an otherwise dark corner.

I think this is Watsonia, an Autumn flowering bulb (I can't find the label).

The elegant and seemingly everlasting Gaura.

Young Euphorbias pushing through some Foxgloves.

Another beautiful Autumn flowering bulb: Nerine.

Seed pods of Eucomis comosa (the Pineapple lily) beside a variegated Euphorbia.

Undulating mounds of moss surrounding the base of an Acer (Japanese maple).

A pot of Salvinia natans in my Japanese garden with a frond of Acanthus (Bear's Britches) poking over the top.

 While the photos are displayed in order as if I went widdershins around the garden taking them (as the post title suggests), I'm not (despite popular belief) a silly witch who would go against the natural course of things. I am, however, contrary, so even though I won't tempt bad luck by actually travelling widdershins, I'm quite happy to give the impression that I did so! 

* Beast?! How did you get in here?
** An affectionate term for Moom's ladybits that has got away from me slightly.
*** You again, Beast? How are you doing this? Clear off!