Saturday, 28 June 2008
Oof! I'm back. And rather lighter in the pocket than yesterday.
The reason for the 'lightness' is that Broom is now resplendent with tri-dimensional twisted mahogany bracing and quick charging bristles. I also had a knot in the foreshaft opened for an eyeWand™ port. Plus, when I went in, there was a special on balancer wings: Buy Crow Thruster Wings with Spinal Cord Reflexors and get Blackbird Wing Stabilisers* free with a complimentary amber coating for the 'Cord Reflexor connector, so I had those fitted too. Although I would have preferred the opaque silver 'Cord coating as I can see all the nerve impulses through the amber as they travel up and down the shaft between the wings.
Before Dar Kart's could operate, I had to drain Broom of its thaumic charge to prevent any unnecessary danger - A bit like how mortals unplug the toaster before jamming a knife in to extricate a charred bit of toast. It was most exhilarating, I can tell you! I was on a high afterwards. Literally.
After I'd soaked up Broom's discharge, I found myself 20 feet off the floor with my face pressed against the ceiling, sparking from every appendage! It was only then that one of Dar Kart's lackeys told me they could've discharged it into the pear tree out back. With some difficulty, I made it to the ground and out to the back yard, fizzing as I went.
Honestly, you should see the thing. It's absolutely enormous! A bigger pear tree I never did see. In fact, it's pretty much one of the biggest trees I have ever seen. It's also got a habit of moving even when the wind isn't blowing. And it lights up the yard at night, so the lackey told me. I imagine that's pretty much par for the course seeing as it's used as a thaumic dumping ground.
Anyway, I'm exhausted after this latest trip over The Cusp, so I'm off to Bedfordshire. I just hope I don't wake up on the ceiling tomorrow morning...
* Not Beaky's unfortunately, but a witch can dream.
Thursday, 26 June 2008
I'm having Broom straightened out. The ergonomics are fine, it just isn't stylish in this day and age. And I have it on good authority that Broom won't become a classic in its current 'comfortable' incarnation.
The latest models are harkening back to the designs from the 1400s where only a slight kink or curve was king. Mine has curves fit for a bustle! Well, it does originate from the late 19th century.
I can't afford a new one, and to tell the truth, I'm quite fond of Broom (don't tell it that, though). So, we're going over the Cusp at the earliest opportunity, where Dar Kart will see to the shaft.
The bond between Witch and his/her Broom can be quite intense, so I'm hoping there'll be no feedback...
Monday, 23 June 2008
It was someone's birthday at work today, and as is the custom at our office, the birthday girl brought in cake for the rest of her team. The cake she brought in was a gingerbread house.
The thoughtless cow had the audacity to offer me some! When it's my birthday, I'm going to bring in some bricks and plasterboard and ram them down her throat. See how she likes it!
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Here, for your delectation, is a sort-of-review of the seventh book I've read this year. Good going, eh?
The book centres around a group of friends who live in, or around, Oxenworth, near Bradley in Yorkshire. The main setting is The Fleece, a pub in the village, and usually, it's winter. Snow seems to be a favourite theme to the author - It's almost always winter and almost always snowing. Hard. When it's not snowing, snow has just fallen and the countryside is covered with a thick white blanket. I know 'oop north' gets more snow than the more temperate climes of the UK, such as sunny Norfolk, but really, I don't think it gets that much! I'm not quite sure what Mr Brown is trying to say with the snow - I kept thinking 'white' and 'virginal'. A blank canvas for the stories, maybe?
There is a main protagonist who tells his story and who introduces his friends stories. The book has chapters, but it's more like a collection of novellas or short stories, which I found very easy to read - Probably because this format makes the book really easy to pick up and put down in a short space of time.
Each story is about how the friends lives have been affected by the Kethani - an alien race who come to Earth in a benign invasion and offer humanity an amazing gift: Immortality.
Now, before some of you think "Oh, here we go. Another sci-fi tale" it's not about the Kethani at all. In fact, we don't learn an awful lot about them, nevermind actually see one. Instead, this book challenges the friends - and the reader's - views on religion, faith, philosophy, science, humanity and mortality. And all due to the gift the Kethani bring.
Several times, the characters mention that the Kethani have brought humanity to the human race, and I found myself thinking, No. They've brought Kethanity. Humanity includes those greedy, violent, selfish and savage impulses that make humans what they are, as well as compassion, selflessness, understanding and love.
I must admit to feeling unsettled as I read this book. I found myself constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don't know if my reaction is commonplace amongst people who've read it, or if it's just my paranoia and cynicism brought about by watching/reading about alien invasions.
I really liked this book and found it very thought provoking. It also scared me how the Kethani somewhat insidiously changed the human race, despite changing it for the better (if you think that the change is better).
P.S. I totally bought this book by judging its cover!
Thursday, 19 June 2008
As you can see, I have finally updated The 'Shorts map to include CyberPetra, who is, of course, the current holder. Hopefully, this will spur him into action to hold his leg (maybe even literally) of the Caption Competition. I might even re-do the map as I threatened to do once before - After all, The UK is a bit of a mess what with all those travel lines zipping back and forth.
Anyway, snap to it, CyberPoo!
Monday, 16 June 2008
Thank you to the ever delightful CyberPetra for the tag. I thought it was about time I pulled my finger out and did this meme. I'm not going to tag anyone at the end, though, as I think pretty much eveyone has had a go. If you haven't, please be my guest.
One movie that made you laugh: South Park. There have been several films that have made me laugh like a special, but this is the only one that I can recall. I don't know why I can't remember any others?
One movie that made you cry: The Core. The bit where Herge is crushed to death in Virgil's rear compartment and Josh is screaming at Beck to open the doors.
It was between this, Brokeback Mountain and X-Men 2.
One movie you loved when you were a child: Flight of the Navigator. And I still love it now!
One movie you've seen more than once: Parenthood. About a million times. Indescribable and I can pretty much recite the entire thing from memory!
One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit: American Pie: The Wedding. I only watched it for Seann William Scott, but it was funny, disgusting, cringe-worthy and very entertaining.
One movie you hated: Beowulf 3D. What a crock. I would have walked out but was hemmed in.
One movie that scared you: The Descent. The bit when one of the women got trapped in that tiniest of caves while she was trying to wriggle through. Oh, and the bit where the cave monster suddenly appeared in front of the flashlight.
One movie that bored you: Pirates of the Caribbean 2. I actually fell asleep for some of it. It just didn't engage me at all. Johnny Depp was reasonably funny, though. And strangely sexy considering that he doesn't usually do it for me.
One movie that made you happy: Little Miss Sunshine. Just for the surprise-dance ending. Fantastic!
One movie that made you miserable: Brokeback Mountain. A truly lovely film, but I daren't watch it on my own lest I top myself afterwards.
One movie you weren't brave enough to see: Hostel. I totally agree with T-Bird on the sickness of these torture-porn type films.
One movie character you have fallen in love with: When I was younger it was Tommy Ross from Carrie. He's so dreamy - All that blond curly hair and his shy smile. Well, he was. He must be an old man by now.
Now it's Josh Keyes from The Core: Intelligent, very goodlooking, slightly scruffy, mmmmm...
The last movie you saw: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was OK. I'm glad I didn't pay full price for the ticket, though.
The next movie you you hope to see: Well, it was going to be The Happening, but after reading consistantly terrible reviews, I'm going to see Gone, Baby, Gone - Ben Affleck's directorial debut. Not because of Ben, who I find to be somewhat oafish, but because of the consistantly brilliant reviews.
That's all folks! I can't be arsed to provide any links or pictures - I'm tired and haven't drunk enough wine to care. You're lucky I've coloured it in!
Friday, 13 June 2008
As Princess Ava slept, dreaming of her favourite knight Sir Edward of Norton, what was once the frog roused. Getting to its now much larger feet, the four feet tall frog-thing unsteadily made its way to her bed. Its wobbling, bipedal, bandy-legged gait was punctuated occasionally by a webbed hand reaching to the floor for balance.
Once at the side of her bed, it gazed upon the sleeping princess with almost human-looking eyes before hopping gently onto the quilt, so as not to disturb her. The frog-thing lay down beside her staring at the back of her head as she dreamed.
Suddenly, she turned over and faced him, her closed eyelids flickering in REM sleep and her lips puckered to kiss her dream knight. The frog-thing sidled towards her and was rewarded with her lips brushing against his.
Princess Ava immediately awoke, her dream dissipating. She gasped in shock at the realisation of a man in her bed! And then gasped again at his stunning good looks. As he smiled sexily at her, she attempted to compose herself while briefly looking down towards the foot of the bed, away from his penetrating gaze. She couldn't help but take a longer, lingering look when she saw that he was completely naked.
"Oh, my" she breathed, eventually meeting his gaze. They raised their right eyebrows in unison.
"Rawr!" he growled, leaning in for a kiss.
There before him was a tinny of Castlemaine XXXX.
And behind him, was me!
"Hello Timothy" I said as he leapt out of the bed scooping up the can to just-about-cover his not-so-modest modesty. "And where do you think you're going?"
Before Prince Tim could answer, the bedroom window blew open admitting another supernatural deity.
"Not so fast, Maleficent!" she crowed, levelling her wand at the can of lager covering Tim's bits.
I spun around. "You!" I hissed through gritted teeth, but too late to stop the meddling Firefly Fairy as her wand discharged.
* Poof! *
I couldn't help but smirk, despite the waves of jealousy, as Princess Ava rematerialised on her knees in front of Prince Tim, his hands inadvertantly holding her head in his groin.
"As much as it pains me to say this, I don't think this is the time or place, my Princess" Prince Tim declared, releasing Princess Ava's head and backing off, cupping himself with both hands.
At that moment the bedroom door burst open admitting Queen Dinah and Prince LeJour (who took one look at the buff Prince Tim and collapsed onto the bed).
"What's going on?" The Queen demanded. "What's all this shouting? We'll have no trouble here!"
Prince Tim took his chance and bolted out of the open door.
"Hey! Wait for me!" Princess Ava yelled, following him out.
"Oh no you don't!" I hissed, in hot pursuit.
"Come back here!" the Firefly Fairy shouted, as she too, joined the chase, following us down the stairs.
Prince LeJour recovered enough to notice the room was sans hot, naked, muscular men and pelted out of the room and down the stairs as quickly as his high heels would allow.
"Hey! Wait up! I can't run in these heels!"
Queen Dinah surveyed the empty room and rolled her eyes.
"Oh well. When in Rome..." she sighed, gathering up her skirts and, with a surprising turn of speed, followed the mad chase...
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
"And then that stupid frog actually retrieved my golden ball" Princess Ava recounted to her mother, Queen Dinah, at the dinner table. "What a sucker!"
"I do wish you wouldn't speak like that" the Snow White Queen lamented, frowning at her sass-mouthed daughter over a forkful of quail tongues. "It's most unbecoming."
The princess pouted but had to stop when she discovered it was physically impossible for the over fives to pout and eat at the same time. Meanwhile, the queen took on a far away look as she chewed on her mouthful. After unconsciously ensuring that every morsel from her mouth had been swallowed, Queen Dinah remarked quietly to no one in particular "That frog must have had opposable thumbs. And vocal chords... How enchantingly peculiar."
"What?" Ava muttered. Her mother ignored her and carried on eating while looking thoughtful. Ava rolled her eyes and resumed eating her meal, only to be disturbed again. This time by a wet scraping sound. The sound was coming from just outside the dining room french doors that led out to the gardens. She looked around from her high-backed chair and through the glazed doors. There was nothing there, yet the sound continued. Before she could get up to take a closer look, the queen swept past her in a rustle of satin chintz and opened the doors. There on the step was the disgusting frog who had rescued her ball from the depths of the woodland pool. And it looked pretty pleased with itself.
"Your majesty" the frog grovelled pathetically. "Your daughter, the b'eautiful P'rincess Ava, p'romised me a kiss in return for her b'all, which I recovered from the cold, dark dep'ths of a woodland p'ool." The frog paused dramatically, glaring at the princess with something approaching longing. He studiously ignored the queen's artful retreat from his showers of spittle. "I have come to enab'le her to keep her p'romise."
Princess Ava, her eyes wide, almost choked on her asparagus. "What the-"
"Do come in, noble frog" Queen Dinah said interrupting her daughter and ushering the frog in. "Won't you join us at the table? We've just started dinner."
Ava looked horrified as her mother lifted the frog to a spare setting. Unseen by the queen at the opposite side of the table, Prince LeJour stuck his tongue out at Ava as the frog was lowered gently to the table top with a smug look on its face.
"Now" said the queen rather sternly, turning to the frog as she resumed her seat "I understand you blackmailed my daughter for a kiss?"
This time it was the frog's turn to look horrified. "B'ut... B'ut..." it stuttered, showering its immediate vicinity in sticky saliva.
"Don't worry. I have an idea of what has really transpired" And how to resolve this matter, amongst others, she thought.
After an almost silent, atmospherically seething dinner, Princess Ava let her knife and fork clatter down on to her empty plate, momentarily startling her mother and brother, not to mention the frog, who burped in shock.
"I'm going to my room" Ava announced as she rose from the table.
"Very well, dear" her mother replied, not looking up.
"Take me with you, P'rincess" the frog implored, his bulging, glistening eyes widening.
"Rack off!" Ava snapped.
"Dear!" the queen admonished. "Remember your promise. Now, be nice to that frog and take it upstairs with you. You obviously don't want to kiss it down here infront of us, otherwise you'd have done so by now."
" * huff * " Princess Ava glared daggers at her brother, LeJour, as he sniggered into his ruffles. "Come on then" she said to the frog, relenting and lifting it down from the table top. "But I'm not carrying you up there. You can make your own way up." And with that she dropped the frog onto the stone tiled floor and stormed off upstairs. The frog slowly hopped after her.
A little while later, the frog reached Princess Ava's room and managed to push open the door which had been left ajar. It hopped across the floor and climbed up the sheets onto the bed where Ava had thrown herself in an indignant rage.
"P'rincess" the frog spluttered. "Can I come up that end and sit on your p'illow to be near you?"
"What?" Ava snapped, turning away from her book. "Aaaaaiiieee! Get off my bed!" she shrieked, picking up the despicable creature and throwing it across the room where it hit the wall with a wet thud before sliding down to the floor out of her sight. "Eewwww! Ick" she sneered, wiping her hand on the duvet cover, oblivious in her disgust to the faint * glingle glingle * sound coming from across the room.
She collapsed, laying on her back, staring at the ceiling, wishing she were somewhere else instead. It wasn't long before exhaustion from the day's activity caught up with her and she fell asleep.
At the bottom of the damp trail on the wall marked by the frog's descent, something rather larger than the frog stirred...
Saturday, 7 June 2008
"Happy birthday!" the Queen said to her daughter, handing over the key to the orangery. The princess hurriedly unlocked the doors and pelted through the warm, orange blossom scented air towards the far end of the great glass room.
Princess Ava had always opened her presents in the orangery for as long as she could remember. She loved the smell, the warmth, the view down the gently sloping gardens to the woods and lake at the foot of the hill. Although now, on her twentyeleventh birthday when her appearance was paramount, she was beginning to have second thoughts about starting her day here. The humid air had started to affect her carefully straightened hair. She could feel it absorbing the moisture, growing bigger and frizzier.
At last she reached the doors that opened the orangery into the gardens. For a moment, Princess Ava was torn between the huge pile of lavishly wrapped presents and gifts that had been carefully piled up next to the wood-framed glass doors, and the ornately carved, white painted doors themselves. Her hair won out, and she unlocked the double doors, throwing them wide open letting some of the humid air out and the fresh outside air in.
As she smoothed down her unruly hair, her family joined her.
Her mother, Queen Dinah, smiled warmly at her before stepping through the open doors and onto the paysho outside. Princess Ava marvelled at how well behaved her mother's ebony-dark hair was, not a single strand was out of place from the complex and intricate beehive-do that she'd taken to wearing lately. Her mother's smile didn't seem so warm now. Ava could have sworn there was more than a hint of smugness in those blood red lips.
Her father, King Skillz, was away on business - Something to do with beans and financial security, she'd heard.
Ava's younger brother, Prince LeJour, was flouncing about wearing too many frills and ruffles as usual. Why he didn't just wear a dress and have done with it, Ava didn't know. At least then she could stop pretending that she didn't know he sneaked into her chambers and paraded around in her clothes and shoes - well, those that he could squeeze into - when he thought she wasn't around.
"Come on" she whined, self consciously smoothing down her hair again. "Help me get these outside so I can open them on the paysho."
A little while later, all around Princess Ava and her pile of opened presents, ripped and shredded paper, discarded ribbons and gift tags rustled in the late morning breeze. And slapped on her face was the biggest pout she'd been host to since she was told, at age nine, that she wasn't going to get a shiny new guinea under her pillow for her fourth tooth because the Tooth Fairy had been retired*.
Displeased with her daughter's ungratefulness, Queen Dinah had retired to the parlour to eat some bread and honey, leaving Prince LeJour out on the paysho with Ava.
"I mean, what the Hell!? I'm
"Well, you needn't have been so rude to mother" LeJour half snapped. She's been really busy since father's been away." He looked amongst the strewn about gifts for the present he gave. "Don't you like my present?" he asked.
"Oh yes" she replied sarcastically, holding up a pair of killer heels. "A pair of hideously expensive, fabulous shoes that are three sizes too big. In fact, they're just the right size for you, aren't they Petra?"
LeJour stood up, and snatched the shoes from her, inexpertly kicking a golden ball away from it's place at her side and nearly toppling over. "There" he sneered as the beautiful golden orb, a gift from the Firefly Fairy, bounced away. "Fetch!"
Ava stared in horror as her golden ball rolled down the hill. The only gift she didn't think was a worthless piece of crap was getting away from her, picking up speed as it shot down the wide path towards the woods. The ball must have hit a stone or something on the path, as it leapt into the air then fell back to the path only to bounce higher this time. Each bounce was higher than the last, until the golden ball bounced high enough to catch the sun. The ball shone like a tiny supernova as it arced through the air, clearing the hedge at the end of the garden and disappeared into the trees beyond.
"My ball!" Ava shrieked. She turned and grabbed LeJour by his ruffles. "Go. And. Get. My. Ball" she hissed through gritted teeth.
"In these shoes?" LeJour protested, pointing at the elegant crystal heels he'd managed to smush his feet into. "You must be out of your mind, Ava dear." And with that, he wriggled free from her grasp and sashayed off into the orangery, leaving Ava to fume.
Several minutes later, Ava was at the bottom of the garden pushing through the beech hedge and into the secluded woodland beyond. The ground squelched unpleasantly beneath her feet as she picked her way through, trying to avoid the brambles and wild roses. As she rounded an unruly thicket of thorns, she stopped. There before her was a large, still, dark-watered pool. Some of the rocks at its edge bore the tell-tale water marks from a large splash. Ava got as close to the edge as she dared and peered into the depths. At the bottom of the pool was a dim golden glow - Her ball! But how was she going to get it out?
As she sat pouting on a large boulder, movement near her feet caught her eye. It was a disgusting, slimy frog.
"Eww" she uttered and stood up so she could kick it away from her. She swung her leg back and-
"Rrrraarrrrp" said the frog, halting her in mid-kick. "P'lease don't kick me, P'rincess." Big globs of spittle flew from the frog's mouth as he pronounced the Ps and landed in the muck by Ava's left foot.
"Ewwwww" she said again, even more disgusted. "Get away from me, you horrible creature!"
The frog looked sad, in as much as a frog could. "But, P'rincess" and Ava took a step back out of the line of fire - or spittle, rather. "I can get your b'all for you."
Ava pulled a face as a spit bubble formed and then quickly burst when the frog said ball, but she hastily covered it with her bland, smiley 'official function face'. "You can get my ball for me?" she asked.
"Yes, P'rincess." Ava tried not to wince. "I only ask one thing in return."
Oh, here it comes she thought. "And what would that be?"
The frog looked up at her with its staring, glassy eyes. "A kiss."
This time Ava couldn't disguise the look of disgust on her face. She recoiled in horror, tripping over a stone and landed unceremoniously on her arse. "Oof!" she said.
"You want me to kiss you!?" she asked incredulously as she got to her feet. "I think no-"
"Not even for your b'eautiful b'all, Princess?" the frog cajoled, cutting her off and showering her elegant, but muddy shoes with spit.
Ava pursed her lips and thought for a moment. She really did want that ball back. The Firefly Fairy had informed her it was a special orb that could give pleasure to those afflicted with Singletondom. Ava hadn't read the instructions yet, but she had quickly scanned them - There was something about sitting on it, she thought.
"Very well, then" she relented. "One kiss. And no tongues!"
The frog beamed with joy and leapt into the water.
After what seemed like an eternity, Ava noticed the glow in the pool grow brighter and brighter. My ball she thought. That wretched creature really was retrieving her ball.
At last, the golden ball broke the surface of the water and the frog flipped it onto the ground at Ava's feet before dragging itself out.
"And now for my kiss!"
The princess gingerly lifted the frog up at arms length, feeling its cold clammy skin against hers. She grimaced as it shut its eyes and attempted to pucker up its wide froggy mouth. Then, without any warning, she dropped the startled frog and kicked it hard before it landed.
"Sucka!" she yelled as the stricken frog sailed over the pool and into a small thicket of briar roses. She didn't wait to hear if it hit the ground as she'd scooped up her ball and was running back to the castle.
To be continued...
* One paranoid little boy had clonked her over the head with a chamber pot when she came to collect his tooth. She was given early retirement otherwise she was going to sue due to getting injured on the job.
P.S. Happy birthday, T-Bird! This is for you x
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
"You have thwarted me for the last time" the witch hissed through a sneer. "And for that, you shall pay."
Sparks corruscated along the witch's long outstretched arm, culminating in a fierce green nimbus of light at the tip of the taloned, but elegant, index finger.
A frog sat blinking slowly amongst a pile of faintly steaming clothes...
To be continued...
Monday, 2 June 2008
Well, it seems Blogger is pimping out Tim.
It wasn't only admin duties that Blogger suggested contacting Tim for. I decided not to post the other suggestions for fear of jinxing them.
How can he refuse the mighty force of Blogger?
Victory may yet be mine!
Sunday, 1 June 2008
Whilst out pottering around in the garden earlier, the demons Grnnthargl and Izzkt walked by. Well, when I say walked, I mean Grnnthargl made an effort at bipedal locomotion, only using his wings to balance himself occasionally, whereas Izzkt just buzzed in and out of existance keeping up. I find it most disconcerting seeing Izzkt in motion - it reminds me of the static from an untuned TV channel. Then there's the smell...
I looked up from my weeding when I heard the buzzing, but was too late to avert my gaze and prevent eye contact*, once I realised who they were. I thought I'd doomed myself to an interminably long and boring conversation with the two infamously dull demons, however, Grnnthargl almost immediately said he couldn't stop and chat. I was rejoicing inside, but couldn't help wondering why he was so uncharacteristically keen to move on. As three of his eyes were focused elsewhere, I followed their gaze, spying Beaky in the cherry tree, glaring down at us malevolently. Ah, so Beaky has a use after all. Even demons were terrified of him!
Anyway, according to Grnnthargl, it seems that the charge for opening Hell Portals is to increase significantly in the near future. So much so, in fact, that I may have to resort to more efficient but less convenient methods of transport to Hell. One of which is to go down the old 'Death' route again, but it would mean leaving my physical body here while I visit, and the reanimation process afterwards does take a while. I know I'm already a little bit dead, but that just won't cut it anymore.
I don't suppose anyone else has any sure-fire ways of getting to Hell?
* Of course, I could only make contact with two of Grnnthargl's five eyes.