Monday, September 29, 2008

Booktastica


I thought it was about time I updated my book list. While not up to Dinah's standards, I have surprised myselves by reaching the heady heights of seventeen and a half books read this year! So, here we go:



15 - The Margarets, by Sherri S Tepper.

This book had such a marvellous premise, that I just had to read it: Margaret, a girl living on Mars' moon Phobos with her parents, has imagined six other personalities to keep her company - a queen, a spy, a warrior, a shaman, a linguist and a healer. After being forced to leave Phobos for an imperfect Earth, the various personalities split off from Margaret and spread throughout the galaxy, unaware of each other. In the end, they find each other, coming together to save the human race from slavery and destruction.
After an excellent, if somewhat confusing start, the story started to come together. Unfortunately, it quickly unravelled into a miss-match of a twee childrens fable/mythology/sci-fi/love story. Plus, with seven different Margarets to cover, the character development was left a little short, especially Naumi-Margaret's unrequited love for his friend Ferni.
On the plus side, everything was wrapped up in a neat little package at the end, and everyone lived happily ever after. Oh, joy.



16 - Smoke and Mirrors, by Neil Gaiman.

I *love* this book! It's a collection of short stories ranging from the old woman who finds the Holy Grail in a charity shop, a murder of angels, eating babies, wedding presents/marriage, the end of the world, sex changes, trolls and a different look at the legend of Snow White, amongst other things. Some stories I've read only once, others (like the Holy Grail story, the Wedding Present and Snow White) I have read again and again.



17 - Greater Than The Sum, a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel by Christopher L Bennett.

After the hokey old clap-trap of the previous two Next Gen novels that feature the Borg, I really didn't want to read this latest offering. (The only reason I did was that I'd heard that this novel set up events for David Mack's forthcoming Destiny trilogy which is getting rave reviews!) Plus, I wasn't too thrilled by Mr Bennett's last Star Trek book of the lost era, The Buried Age. That book was about Captain Picard's life between commanding the Stargazer and the Enterprise-D, and, while offering an insight to his character, I couldn't 'hear' Picard as I was reading it.
This book, however, couldn't have been more different. I could 'hear' all the characters as if they were right there in one of the episodes or films - Their 'voices' were spot on. The characterisation is excellent, which was imperative really, as one of the main story focal threads was the meshing of Picard's crew aboard the Enterprise-E. After the events of the film Nemesis - Data's death, Riker and Troi transferring to the Titan - Picard has to find suitable replacements for these trusted officers, which, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth in previous novels set after the film, he eventually manages.
The Borg, while a threat, were skillfully handled and thankfully weren't omnipresent. The only drawback was the inclusion of Hugh, the ex-Borg from the Next Gen episode 'I, Borg' - His inclusion just seemed a little twee.
Even a certain Chief Medical Officer's pregnancy didn't put me off - This is a great book!


Oh, there's a half, too:

.5 - Marshmallows For Breakfast, by Dorothy Koomson.

A friend at work loaned me this book last year. I tried reading it, I really did, but it really wasn't for me. I got halfway through before giving up on the main character - I didn't like her. She blows hot and cold, she has issues, and I couldn't care less about her stupid problems. OK, so they probably weren't stupid, but I just don't care anyway.
Luckily, my friend resigned last week, so I escaped from subjecting myselves to any more of it, and gave her the book back, half read. Ha!


Phew! That's it for now, thank goodness.


Happy birthday, 'Petra!





Whether it's out on the town, or in with the Sims, here's to a fabulously glamorous birthday, CyberPete! Don't get your frock caught in the car door, though.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heavenly

I've just come from Dinah's where she's posted the video of HYPNTZ by Dan Black. While listening to it, I was ensnared by the background melody. I knew it came from a sci-fi film but couldn't think which one. After a bit of investigation, I found it:



The Starman theme by Jack Nitzsche. It makes me feel serene.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Televisualising at Castle DeVice


After Tim's viewing pleasure, and Dinah's week of TV, I thought I'd finish off this post I found languishing in Witchface's drafts. It's all about my televisual viewing in the course of a week.
So, let us begin:



Sunday, E4: Desperate Housewives - In the last episode I saw, Bree had kicked Orson out for running Mike over, so Orson was staying at Edie's, who plied him with martinis then kissed him (she's such a slut!) and got him to divulge some of Bree's dirty secrets. Susan bumped into her ex-husband, Carl, at Lamaze class and tried to get one up on him and his young, bimbo wife, by pretending to have a hectic social schedule with her current husband, Mike. Lynette is in a battle of wills with her step-daughter Kayla, who seems to be picking up where her psycho mum left off - Well, she did convince one of the twins to jump off the roof, thereby breaking his arm. Gabby enlisted the help of The Gays, Bob (nearly as hot as Tom Scavo) and Lee, to out her lodger as a hooker. However, the lodger convinced Gabby and Carlos that she was only a tattoo artist, when in fact, she's a drug dealer! And finally, Katherine came face to face with her ex-husband (who used to beat her up) after her daughter, Dylan, had been meeting up with the scheming so-and-so, behind her back.


Wednesday, E4: Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World - Actually, I haven't seen this week's episode. I taped last week's, which was the first one, and watched that. The Lego-Gays invited some dirty, filthy lesbians 'round and offered them humous, or something. Then they both filled a glass with jizz because one of the lesbians wanted Rick's baby. I don't know how it ended because the recording stopped before the end of the show. I don't think I'll be watching it again as it wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be.
However, I'm mildly disturbed to discover that I have a small crush on Steve (in the red plastic shirt)...




Thursday, ITV2: No Heroics - I think I'll let the video do all the talking. Except that, so far, my favourite Cape is Electroclash.




Also on Thursday, on Living: Grey's Anatomy - Meredith doesn't want to know her annoying sister (who would? She's annoying!), and despite breaking up with McDreamy, still shags him at every opportunity. Cristina manages to avoid her almost-mother-in-law (the FABULOUS Diahann Carroll) for almost the entire show, and gets rid of her unwanted wedding presents, too. George wants to tell his wife, Cally, that their marriage is over because he loves Izzy, but he can't because Cally is Izzy's boss and would make things difficult. However, Cally already knows and is in denial. Alex gets told off by Miranda for getting knocked out by a crystal meth maker/dealer after Alex told him his son's body was full of meth. Lastly, and disappointingly, McSteamy isn't seen half naked.


Friday, Channel 4: Ugly Betty - Christina is up the duff with Wilhelmina and Bradford's baby and living at Wilhelmina's where she's privy to all sorts of secrets. Henry and Gio compete to see who can get the most numbers from girls in a club - All in the name of research for Betty's article for Mode magazine. Amanda sings for Henry's band and is discovered by her father, Gene Simmons from KISS, after she sings a song about being his daughter (which is really rather good - She should sing the next Bond theme!). And Marc continues to be sooooo cute!
Oh, and Daniel and Alexis have some scenes, too, but I can't remember what they were all about.




Coming soon: Heroes (Wednesday's on BBC2 from 1st October), Primeval (ITV in January 2009, I believe), Pushing Daisies (can't be soon enough - Although, I am watching the first series again on DVD). And here's the trailer for series two:




I have also been watching some films. And they are as follows: Transformers (again), Stardust (again), Hot Fuzz (again), Final Destination 3 (again) and V for Vendetta (for the first time - Wow!).




Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Host in the machine


I'm not back.


The fact is, I never left.


Well, I did, but I left me here in the Demon Box while I was... Am... Elsewhere.
Let me clarify: Witchface, The Host and Witchface's SubC have buggered off somewhere/when, leaving me, The Host's SubC, here, with only the vile and confusing HTML demons for company. I've managed to fend them off for now, enabling me to post this.
There's only so much I can do whilst I'm in here, so I'm bored. Oh, I've managed to infiltrate Facebook and have a few games of WordTwist and Scramble, but it's hard going. On the outside, I have fingers to press the keys, giving commands to the demons who have to obey them. But, in here, with no fingers, I'm at a disadvantage.


Hang on...


Gotta go. It looks like the HTML demons are regrouping.


Bugger.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Remote


I was remote viewing earlier* while laying in the bath, but seem to have left some of myself somewhere. Possibly in orbit...?

Anyway, until I gather myselves together, I won't be around here much for the next few days or so. Instead, I'll leave you in the capable hands of The Coven - Who are already one member short, so give them some slack. Not too much, mind. Don't want them getting lazy.

See you soon!



* Don't worry, Tim. I didn't make it to your neck of the woods. Maybe tomorrow?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bath time


I discovered this in my bath:







Normally, I don't mind spiders in the bath, but this one had used all my best bubble bath and splashed water everywhere. You should see the mess it's made!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Little things


I have nothing of consequence to say, but I'm going to post about the little things, anyway:

This morning I went swimming before work, and as I was doing a length under water, I noticed a pound coin on the bottom of the pool. Naturally, I dived down and retrieved it, but was then momentarily dumbfounded as to what I was going to do with it. My trunks didn't have pockets (imagine how hideous pockets on swimming trunks would look) and I didn't want to leave it on the edge of the pool in case one of the lifeguards, or another swimmer, snaffled it while I was at the other end. In the end, I resorted to holding it between thumb and index finger as I glided up and down the pool.
I did wonder, though, who took a pound into the pool with them? And did they have pockets on their swimming cossie? Ah, well. Their loss. And I don't feel bad for not handing it in at reception because a few weeks ago, one of the lockers ate my pound. I reported it to the receptionist on my way out and said I'd pick it up next time I was in, as I didn't have time to wait for a lackey to poke around in the locking mechanism and retrieve it for me. Needless to say, the next time I was at the pool, all knowledge of my devoured pound was denied. I was most peeved, as I'd been using that same pound for the locker for the last few months. It was my Swimming Pound, godsdammit!

And another thing: A girl spoke to me today in the pool. A girl! I'm sure you can imagine my horror. Anyway, all she said was "Is it me, or is it really choppy in here today?" I wanted to respond that, Yes, it was her, because she was splashing a lot and not looking where she was going, but AutoPolite kicked in and told her it was because the water level had dropped so the waves weren't going over the edges into the filters and were rebounding back into the pool.
I'm kind of glad I wasn't horrible to her, as she seemed quite pleasant in a charmingly naive way. Actually, I think you straight boys might like her: She's slim, blonde, pretty, young (mid twenties?) and appears to be quite innocent. Although, she's probably a complete ho.

Oh, and before I forget, there's a new foxy lifeguard on duty in the mornings! He usually stands at the poolside shallow end in his black shorts and yellow T-shirt, so when I surface there, I get to see his tanned legs. And, if he's not looking down, I can carry on looking up...
It's about time new eye candy was employed there - The last sexy lifeguard got promoted to manager, then left entirely.

- - -

I've just remembered: When I opened my bedroom curtains this morning, I saw a blackbird fly from my garden, over the road, and onto the grass outside the flats opposite. My heart leapt to my throat, but I realised a second or two later that it wasn't Beaky. For a start, this bird was brown, so it was either a female, or a young bird. I suppose it could've been Mrs Beaky? Or one of his monstrous progeny?

Beaky, you little shit: Where are you?!

- - -

I got a little bit stung by a bee the other day. Twice!

On one of the very few nice-ish days last week, I was pottering about the garden, as I am wont to do, and I crouched down to have a look in my pond - Well, I say 'pond', really, it's a water filled decorative plant pot (which is very understated and tasteful). Anyway, as I was crouching there, poking at the duckweed, I felt an itch at the back of my knee, which I ignored. But it got worse. So, I stood up a little and began to scratch the itch until - Yowww! There, clinging to my finger, was a half-squashed bumblebee. It had become trapped in the folds of my jeans behind my knee and managed to get its little stinger through the heavy fabric, but not through my skin, and release its venom. Then, when I poked it without realising mid-scratch, it dumped the last of its venom on my finger. Luckily, it hadn't broken my skin otherwise I'd have said more than 'Yowww!'.
Feeling sorry for the poor, squashed little thing (because bumblebees are sooo cute - all furry and strokeable), I managed to get it to crawl onto my finger so I could transport it to my buddleia where it could have a drink and recuperate.
I hope it did recuperate and didn't just die?

- - -

This afternoon - almost evening, actually - when I left work, I took out my Golden Delicious and took a bite as I was walking away from the office. Curiously, it tasted slightly of mustard. I kept eating it, marvelling at how apple and mustard tasted so natural together.
I think I might make an apple pie with a mustard pastry crust...

- - -

And that's about it. For now, anyway.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Coven Origins: Part Three


"It does give them a lift, doesn't it." Snow White said. "Where did you get it from?"

"Well, this one comes from The Bodice Shop over in Varz" Rapunzel replied, "but I have a golden metal bikini from-"

"Ssshhhhhh!" Scarlet hissed, silencing further conversation about their boobs.

"What?" whispered Rapunzel.

"Someone's approaching from" Scarlet cocked her head to the left "over there" she nodded.

"I can't hear anything" Snow White whispered. Scarlet brushed back her blonde hair and exposed a slightly pointed ear to the young queen. "Ah."

After a few seconds, Rapunzel spoke in hushed tones. "I can hear something now."

"Me too" Snow White chimed in.

Scarlet sniffed the air. "It's a man." She sniffed again. "He's on his own." The three young women stood up, forming a triangle facing into the forest where the man was coming from. Scarlet was at point, with Rapunzel to her left and Snow White to her right. "Here he comes now."

The sounds of the man approaching through the undergrowth got louder: Rustling leaves, snapping twigs and a curious hissing, crackling sound. Then, through a particularly dense thicket of birch trees, the girls made out a shadowy figure, the glint of sunlight on metal and a swishing sound.
Suddenly, several loud 'cracks' rang out in quick succession followed by a grunt, then the creaking and groaning of full-grown trees collapsing into each other. A hole appeared amongst the trees edging the clearing and a half-naked man in what looked like leather chaps and the charred, tattered remnants of a once white shirt strode through, brandishing an absolutely enormous axe!
Scarlet dropped to a crouch, starting to look less like a pleasant young woman, and more... Well, more furry and pointy. Rapunzel and Snow White however, just stood there, transfixed by the vision of manliness before them as leaves from the felled trees fluttered down around him. Those that landed on his broad shoulders immediately crinkled up, the moisture in them hissing away in the heat he generated.

Then, the woodcutter saw them. He raised an eyebrow devilishly. "Rawr!" he growled, eyeing them up, following with a disarmingly sexy grin.

Both Snow White and Rapunzel's hands went to their throats, their eyes wide. Even Scarlet rose from her fighting stance looking every bit the lady again.

"My ladies" he said, bowing before them. "I am Tim, a humble woodsma-"

"Yaaarrrghh! Look out below!"

The four looked up to see a witch barrelling out of the sky towards them.

"Eeep!"
"Eeek!"
"Yikes!"
"Ooof!"
"Ow."

Amidst a heap of snow and hair, Tim the woodsman shook his head free of ice crystals and looked at the witch atop him.

"Mmmmmph! Mmmmphfff!" said the witch through the pointed hat which had been rammed down over the witch's head in the crash.

"Here. Let me help you" Tim said kindly, yanking the black hat off the witch's head.

"My hero!" gushed the witch, grinning soppily at the devastatingly handsome man beneath him.

"Aaaargh! You're a man!" Tim yelled, pushing the witch off him. The snow hissed to steam around him, and within seconds it had all melted, exposing the three girls underneath, all of whom looked less than thrilled.

"What is the meaning of this?" exclaimed a damp Snow White.

"Your Majesty" said the witch, bowing. "I apologise for dropping in like that, but I've come with a warning: We're surrounded by the evil and perverse flying monkeys of Majestrix J'zhum. One of them ripped a handful of bristles out of my broom - Thank you" the witch said as a tendril of Rapunzel's hair proffered him his broom, "- Causing me to crash."

"Did you not see the monkey approach?"

"Umm... No. I was a little..." and the witch glanced at the half-naked woodcutter, "Distracted."

Snow White also stole a glance at the woodcutter. "Yes. I completely understand" she said, just about managing to drag her gaze from the man and make eye contact with the witch again.

There was a rustling from the treetops surrounding them. "We'd better defend ourselves" the witch suggested.

The five of them stood facing out and upwards into the trees forming a pentagram. Snow White covered in ice and frost, Rapunzel's hair twisted into numerous writhing tentacles, Scarlet a vicious snarling werefox, Tim radiating intense heat and wielding his enormous red-hot axe, and me, shadowed in my hat and cloak, glowing ribbons of spells forming between my fingers.

Those flying monkeys wouldn't stand a chance!



The end.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Coven Origins: Part Two


Snow White paused on the little track. She thought she heard something. The snapping of twigs, whispered voices maybe? She glanced around but could see nothing but trees and straggly undergrowth.
"It's only birds or some other small woodland creature" she said to herself. "Nothing to worry about." But she hadn't been very convincing.
The young queen walked on in nervous apprehension, the air around her growing cooler, feathers of frost starting to appear on the hem of her long yellow skirt, reaching up to her knees, but she didn't seem to notice.

"... but you do have a fabulous rack!"

Snow White stopped dead and whirled around. She definitely heard voices that time. And they were getting closer.

"I can't get them back in."

Suddenly, the undergrowth parted and two figures burst out, too intent on themselves to notice Snow White.

"Ow! Stop prodding them!"

"Well, keep still, then."

" * gasp * Not too tight!"

A blonde girl in a hooded red cloak was attempting to push her long haired companion's impressive boobs back into her bodice and keep them there while she laced it up.

"Nearly there" the blonde said.

"You're taking your time - Are you deliberately fondling my boobs?"

"No! Well, only a little. There" she said, finally lacing up the straining bodice. "Everything's back in place."

"Ahem" Snow White coughed daintily to get their attention.

The girls whirled around to face her. The blonde dropped to a fighting stance with a snarl on her face, and the coiled tresses of The-One-With-The-Fabulous-Rack came loose and writhed in the air, as if caught in a gust of wind despite there not being a hint of a breeze.

"Eeep!" exclaimed Snow White, rooted to the spot on the increasingly frosty ground.

"Oh. Your Majesty!" the blonde declared, standing upright and grinning. Snow White flinched slightly - There was far too much canine and incisor in that grin to be polite.

"Your Majesty?" 'The Rack asked quizzically.

"Oh, I forgot how long you'd been stuck up that tower" the blonde answered. "This is our new queen" and she gestured at the recovering girl in front of them. "Your Majesty, this is my friend Rapunzel. Please forgive her rudeness - She's been out of the loop for a while. And my name's Scarlet" she said bowing slightly while Rapunzel curtsied.

"Ah" Snow White said, trying not to be disturbed by the way Rapunzel's hair recoiled itself to the sides of her head. "Pleased to meet you, I'm sure."

- - -

Above the tree tops, aboard his broom, the witch silently followed a figure making its way through the densely packed forest.




To be continued...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Coven Origins: Part One


In a book filled parlour, in the royal castle of the kingdom of Cusp, its bored young queen suddenly snapped out of her doze. She'd been having the most peculiar of dreams about a tall tower and being chased by a giant grub.
She pouted her blood red lips and twiddled a lock of her ebony black hair with a finger so fair as to be almost white as snow. She was fed up with settling petty disputes, presiding over official functions and hosting stuffy balls. She glared at the plate of bread and honey on the occasional table beside her. She was sick of that, too, and swiped it onto the floor where it landed with a sticky crash.
"I've got to get out of here" she said to herself as she stared out at the expanse of forest that enclosed the castle's exquisite gardens. It suddenly looked a lot more interesting than just a bunch of old trees.


- - -


In the middle of the forest, in her frou-frou room atop a tall stone tower, a very long haired young woman gazed out at the green vista around her. She sighed heavily, resting her chin in her hands, her elbows leaning on the window sill. She tried to remember the last time she'd had sex, but failed.
"Bugger this" she said. "I'll never nab a man up here." Which was true. The last man to climb her tower was that poofy prince who only wanted to ask where she got her hair coloured.
She gathered up her long tresses, twisting them up into two 'cinnamon buns' either side of her head and pinned them into place with several ferocious looking hair pins. Then, she kicked down the rotten wooden door and stormed down the spiral stone steps to the forest floor hundreds of feet below.


- - -


In a ramshackle old cottage deep in the forest, a blonde haired young woman was instructing her sister on all the chores that had to be done in this, their ancient grandmother's home.
"And then you have to empty her po in the cess pit out back. After that, she'll need a bed bath. Remember to use a clean cloth, not the one you wipe the po out with... Unless the old bat's been particularly cantankerous."
The sister opened her mouth to ask a question, but before she could do so, she was interrupted.
"Strewth! I'm sick to death of this. If you don't know how to take care of the crotchety old bag by now, you never will! I'm off" the young woman declared, peering out of the small window and into the dark forest. Her sister stared in open mouthed shock as she pulled her red hood up and strode out of the cottage and into the densely packed trees.


- - -


At the edge of the forest, a devastatingly handsome prince looked back at his castle for a final time before plunging into the overgrown brush beneath the trees. He had traded his princely finery for the less conspicuous garb of a woodcutter so as to pass through the forest unnoticed.
He hefted his huge, but not unwieldy or out of proportion, axe onto his shoulder and set off for the heart of the forest, determined to boldly go where no man had gone before!


- - -


Just above the forest canopy, aboard a slow flying ash broom, sat a witch.
After a particularly long day thwarting the plans of a thieving, obnoxious, conniving trespassing, pig-tailed, witch-murdering farm girl, the witch just wanted to get back to his suspiciously edible-looking home and relax in front of the fire with a gin or twelve and a good book. However, movement below, caught his eye...




To be continued...