Thursday 31 December 2009

2009: A review

Well, here we are again at the end of the year, having to put up with another of Witchface & The Host's hurried attempts at squeezing a years worth of events into a few thousand words and some hastily put together pictures.
They'll never do it, you know. I don't know how many times I've nagged and cajoled to put this thing together throughout the year when events are fresh in our mind.
You're right. I don't know why we even bother - They never take any bloody notice!
I've a good mind to-
Ssssshhhhhhh! Sssshhhhhhhhh! Here they come now!

Oh, thanks, you two. What a welcome.
Yes, bugger off!

* huff *
* double huff *

Bloody SubCs...
Right. Where were we? Ah, yes. This year's Coven Awards and blog review.

Hmmph! The blog review shouldn't take long. Lazy articles...

We are still here, you know?!
As before, I'll do the blog review and The Host will present the awards. Anyway, without further ado, I bring you:

January: We took a look back over The Cusp at our many adventures; Tim turned from stalkee to stalker; and an ill wind caused arial nanny-based chaos to Norwich's skies.

February: We inadvertantly shared some of our 'reference' books with you; Tim was once again the object of our affections in The Valentines Day Mascara; and we prepared to move out of Castle DeVice.

March: Ah, our birthday. Celebrated over The Cusp as per usual!

The frontrunners for this award - The most engaging film - were: Star Trek and District 9. I really wanted District 9 to get the gong over Star Trek because it hooked me almost from the get-go (although it did take a little while to get used to the documentary-style beginning). However, the rather lengthy fight/chase scene at the end stretched my belief to snapping point as the singleminded and relentless Colonel Koobus Venter wasn't killed in the constant hail of weapons fire.

Star Trek, on the other hand, was at once polished, emotional (especially George Kirk's sacrifice as Captain of the USS Kelvin and the beam out of the Vulcan elders), entertaining, voyeuristic (Hello Kirk in underpants! - More on that later) and gripping. Much as I wanted to be slightly dismissive of this reboot, I found that I couldn't. And still can't - I'm watching it tonight with SP (who says it's his favourite film EVER! - And this from someone who'd never watched any Star Trek before)!

The most disappointing film was easily Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. How could it have failed so epically when the first film was so awesome? What happened?
Next time, let's have less gung-ho giant robot fights where one can't tell what's going on, fewer new transformers, absolutely no John Turturro (or however his name is spelled), and a lot fewer clothes on Josh Duhamel - Rawr!

April: Mini-Tim; and the first book read this year.

May: The attack of Beaky's clone; and we were almost haunted by Yvette Fielding.

June: A Hellishly wrong number; and we became reconnected with the intermaweb in New Castle DeVice.

I think I've watched more TV this year than the last two years put together - Well, it seems like it, anway. You see, SP has the TV on almost all the live-long day (when he's not at work, of course)! However, I have managed to stick to my usual discerning viewing, so the nominees for my favourite TV show are: Ugly Betty (yay!), Being Human, True Blood and Pushing Daisies.
The winner, for the second year in a row (narrowly beating Being Human), is Pushing Daisies!

The biggest disappointment is an easy one. After waiting what seemed like an eternity for the TV movie of Dead Like Me, it was finally shown in the UK (albeit on Virgin pay-per-view) five years after the series ended.
I wish I hadn't bothered.
The worst things weren't the lack of Rube, or the different Daisy. No. The most disappointing thing was the way the characters seemed two dimensional, as if they'd forgotten who they were and were just going through the motions. Whose motions, I don't know, but they sure weren't happy about it.

An odd one this as it's not something I rediscovered, but something that SP did. This rediscovery leaves me free to blog while he's absorbed by dreadful 80s/90s hair and fashion (and I say 'fashion' in the loosest sense of the word), godawful cheap prizes (did anyone ever win that crappy Daewoo Nubira estate?), craptacular answers from stunned looking contestants (were they tasered to get them into the studio?) and Les Dennis's 'please-kill-me' style of presenting (plus his outrageous racism).

What is this rediscovery, I hear you ask? None other than Family Fortunes!

July: Ah, a month of gardening - Both domestic and exotic; plus we brought you the real Mary Poppins.

August: A glimpse of SP in the jungle; (hardly) inexplicable filth at MJ's; a blogger-birthday (yes, you, Dinah!); and a visit from an incubus.

September: An odious sea-cow; a book update; our holiday in poofiest Yorkshire (complete with sensational pictures of yours truly in a hot tub!); and another, rather moist, blogger birthday.

I'm not going to do a full-on review for this category because I've already posted book reviews here, here and here (call me lazy if you will). Suffice it to say that the winner is: The Never Ending Sacrifice, by Una McCormack (the first linked 'here').

This was a very difficult category from which to chose a winner. Nominees included Royksopp, Lady Gaga, Escala and Kelly Rowland amongst others. In the end, I couldn't decide between Sebastien Tellier's La Ritournelle (which featured in an episode of Ugly Betty this year) and Freemasons feat. Sophie Ellis-Bextor Heatbreak (make me a dancer), so they both win.

Move over and Memory Alpha. Io9 gets my vote!

October: Continuing CyberPete's Over-The-Cusp birthday celebrations; a very understated fourth blogiversary; miniature crop-circles (for navigation purposes only); and Hallowe'en!

November: Tim's birthday over The Cusp; and wishing for a new Broom.

December: Hell Hound: Attack of the Moom!; Joey!
Eeeeeeuuuuuuwwwwwwwnnnnnngggrrrh!" (fx: tongue behind lip, drool, contort); and (really-not-that-rude) Consequences.

Ooh! Who to choose?
Seann William Scott, Aidan Turner, Connor Trinneer, Chris Pine or Zachary Quinto?

Hmmm... I think today I'll have Aidan.

Or maybe Eddie Cibrian?

Clockwise from top left: Chris Pine, Tim, Jared Padalecki and Ryan Kwanten.

What? I can have all of them, can't I?

Phew! After all those men from the last two categories, I'm flummoxed as to who to choose for the Hottest Sci-Figure winner. It goes without saying that I would choose Connor Trinneer again if I could, but, as far as I know, he hasn't got his kit off in the name of sci-fi this year.
Perhaps I'll just go for Chris Pine?

Except that I can't find a good enough picture of his buffness.

Why don't you tell me who your hottest Sci-Figure is?

Right. That's it. All that remains is to thank you all for tuning in for another, somewhat lacklustre, year here. I know I said I'd try and do better last year, but it obviously didn't happen, did it. I really will try harder in 2010.
And finally, thank you all for keeping us amused, entertained, shocked and enthralled this year.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday 29 December 2009

Loose ends

I thought I'd better tie up the loose ends before the year is out, so, without further ado, I will.

Consequences: Game 2

Beast met her royal highness Queen Elizabeth II at the fish counter in Walmart. He wore a Lone Ranger mask, chaps and boots, and she wore nothing but a smile. He said "Can't read my, Can't read my, No he can't read my poker face (She's got to love nobody)". She said "What makes you think that I liked it when you showed me your Willy?" And the consequence was that they were both forced to watch Ellen Degeneres in the throws of passion.

This game almost died a death, but luckily Princess sashayed onto the scene for the penultimate part, and I utilised Eros' guess for Wednesday, 23rd December film quote title, to finish it off, so SNAPS to him even though he didn't guess correctly. The quote is actually from A Fish Called Wanda. John Cleese's character's wife says it to their daughter when they're about to leave their house.
Needless to say, I won't be doing another one of these in a hurry.

Items of Interest: Saturnalia edition

The item of interest was guessed correctly by Eros, with: "It looks like a smooth, shiny, polished ball--one that hangs on a Xmas tree." Your effort shall not go unrewarded, Eros, but as I have yet to find a suitable prize, you may have to wait a week or so.
Here're a couple of photos of the item in its natural habitat at Castle DeVice:

All that's left is to wish you all a happy new year just in case I don't get time to conjure up my usual Coven Awards on the 31st, and to apologise for my lacksadaisical and somewhat sporadic posting this year - I'll try and do better next year.

Thursday 24 December 2009

Items of Interest: Saturnalia edition

* sigh *

It's that time of year again, and as usual I am not prepared. So, in a last minute panic I bring you this special edition of Items of Interest. Well, it was either this or a reposting of this.
I'm sure you know what to do: Just guess what this particular photo is of and, if you're very lucky, win a prize (yet to be decided on).

Here it is:

P.S. The comments for the Consequences: Game 2 post are still open, so you can still email me with what she said and what the consequence was.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Oh, do hurry up Portia!*

Come on! I want to get this consequence wrapped up (no pun intended) before Christing Christmas!
Tim, Miss Smuggersham; pull your fingers out and get to it. CyberPetra; Stop whining and get on with it. The rules are a couple of posts down: 6 is He said, 7 is She said, and 8 is the consequence.
The rest of you; feel free to jump in if the aforementioned slackers remain slack! Don't make me come down there.

I'm closing the comments to this post to encourage you to complete the game in the last post.

* Snaps to whoever knows which film this quote is from.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Let's give it another go

You clamoured in your thousands (ok, two of you did), so let's play Consequences again. You know the rules - And if you don't, just scroll down to 6th December post, or click here.

Phew! This should keep them occupied long enough so we can churn out something a bit more meaningful.

And on a different note, a certain Coven member has returned from beyond the ether. Now our number is complete. Cower before us, puny mortals!

Mwah hah hah hah hah hah haa!

Saturday 12 December 2009

Consequences: Game 1

Phew! For a while there I thought this was going to be a wash out, then Eros & BEAST popped back and saved the day.

So here is the fruit of your labours:

Eroswings met MJ at Disney World. He wore a Superman cape and she wore Wellington boots and a wimple. He said "This is so creative! I love it!*" She said (quoting Mae West) "Good sex is like good Bridge... If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand." And the consequence was that they ended up starring in a Filthy Friday Photo essay featuring Piggy, Tazzy and an egg whisk.

* Either someone forgot to email me, or I lost their email amongst a pile of spam.

Sunday 6 December 2009


Now, I'm sure you all know of this parlour game. You must have played it with a group of friends - ideally whilst consuming alcoholic beverages. But, should you be unaware of the laughter and disgust that goes hand-in-hand with this particular game, here are the rules:

Each person takes a turn choosing a word or phrase for one of eight questions, in this order.
  1. Man's name (or close approximation of a man)
  2. Woman's name (or close approximation thereof. You get the drift.)
  3. Place name
  4. He wore
  5. She wore
  6. He said...
  7. She said...
  8. The consequence was...
Then the story is read (for example):

Tim met IDV down the cake aisle in Waitrose. He was wearing chaps and a bandanna. She was wearing a smile. He said "I like your style". She said "Are you coming on to me?". And the consequence was that their love-making brought the house down. Literally!

Traditionally, the game is played by writing the words on paper and folding the paper to hide the previous words before passing it to the next player. However, as this is the age of technological sophistimacation and paper has gone the way of the dinosaurs (ha!), we shall play it slightly differently.
Instead, each player (you, the visiting bloggers) shall declare which of the eight subjects you are answering by submitting the question in the comments, and then email your response to me (my email address can be found in my blogger profile). These questions must be answered in order, so, for example, if MJ is the first commenter, she will only comment "Man's name" and then email me the name she's chosen. If Eroswings is next, he will comment "Woman's name" and email me the name he's chosen. And if CyberPete is third, he will comment "Place name" and email me his chosen location. And so on and so forth. This way, each commenter can see what subject has gone before but not see the answer, so making the outcome hilariously random. Or just plain weird. Of course, rudeness is encouraged (not that I would expect anything less...).
If more than eight people want to play, or you want to play several times, just keep going. So, once the eighth commenter has commented, the ninth just starts the game again. In a few days time (date to be confirmed), I shall post the outcome of each game for your amusement/disgust, so stay tuned.

Thursday 3 December 2009

Joey Deacon

Today we remember.

It is the 28th anniversary of the death of an icon to millions of former Blue Peter viewers*, an inspiration, a National Treasure, a man without compare: Joey Deacon.

Non Britlanders probably won't have a clue who I'm talking about. Not even if I do this:
Eeeeeeuuuuuuwwwwwwwnnnnnngggrrrh!" (fx: tongue behind lip, drool, contort), so here's a clip of the great man himself:

It's a bit quiet, so turn up the sound.

And if you still haven't a clue, then you are
Denied a full understanding of the subtler nuances of flapping their clawed, twisted, limp-wristed hands together and biting their shoulder while standing behind someone who is doing something stupid. Forging their way in the world, being shafted by the government, and denied the small solace of being able to comment on some particularly imbecilic piece of govern–mentalism by pushing their tongue between their lower lip and their teeth and going Eeeeeeuuuuuuwwwwwwwnnnnnngggrrrh! I mean, look at Iraq... they didn't find any WMDs and now the whole place is one gigantic clusterfuck. What's the most cathartic reaction? You could go "Oops, silly Tony got it wrong"... or you could go "Well, what the fuck did you expect, Joey Blair? Eeeeeeuuuuuuwwwwwwwnnnnnngggrrrh! (flap, spasm) Tony is a deacon, (tongue behind lower lip) Ttttwnnnyyyyy zzzzzthth uuuhhh dddddEEEknnn (contort, drool) Mwwthmm gghhuuuuu nnnngh". Which - and be honest with yourself here - would you really prefer to do? Which one would be more appropriate to the situation, which one would provide the greater emotional release? It's the Joey one, isn't it... it has to be, unless your life has been impoverished by missing out on the whole Joey experience. I suppose it's a case of "what you don't know you can't miss", but the life of one who does not remember Joey Deacon must surely be sorely lacking.

Well, it's one of those things... if you weren't there at the time then maybe you'll never grasp it. You have to remember watching that seminal Blue Peter broadcast, you have to have that vivid memory of, the next morning, seeing someone's inadvertent clumsiness or stupidity inducing a reaction of "You fucking Joey! Eeeeeeuuuuuuwwwwwwwnnnnnngggrrrh!" (fx: flap clawed hands, tongue behind lip, bite shoulder). You have to remember your reaction - whether it was the kudos of being the first one to call someone a Joey, the shame of being the recipient of the insult yourself, the immediate feeling of being slightly shocked but within five minutes calling people Joeys yourself, or perhaps you were the stuck-up git who made out that you found it really offensive while refusing to admit to yourself that really you thought it was just as funny as everyone else did. You have to remember the craze growing as Blue Peter continued in blissful innocence to feed the flames, until less than a minute's conversation was more than sufficient time for someone to have gone Eeeeeeuuuuuuwwwwwwwnnnnnngggrrrh! and flailed spasmodically about. You have to remember the variety of insults in use, ranging from a quick and discreet shove of the tongue behind the bottom lip to the full-blown drooling-and-convulsing-on-the-floor spaz-out. You have to have been there.

So, if you are a member of said segment, you may be wondering what this is all about... Well, it started at the time - which, if I remember rightly, was between The Wall and The Final Cut (just to keep up the irrelevant Pink Floyd reference, because I like Pink Floyd) - that the BBC programme "Blue Peter" made a series of broadcasts featuring Joey Deacon. Joey was a cerebral palsy sufferer who had been in institutions since childhood. When another inmate, Ernie, proved able to understand Joey's attempts at speech, Joey decided to write a book about his life and used the proceeds to build bungalows for himself and his friends. This heartwarming story was shown bit by bit on Blue Peter, along with plugs for the book, and we eventually got to see Joey and his friends move into their new bungalows and live happily ever after, or rather until they died, which was sad, especially as it wasn't very long after, not much of an "ever" at all in fact, at least for Joey, though I think the others lasted a bit longer.

Unfortunately, the programme producers had not thought through the consequences of showing lengthy sequences of a drooling, grunting spastic at peak viewing time. As implied in preceding paragraphs, the next morning people up and down the country were rapidly developing Joey impersonations into an art form. Kudos was obtained by going to new extremes in twisted and clawed hands, jerking arms, facial contortions, drooling, spasmodic vocalisations, attempts to eat one's own shoulder, and for special emphasis dropping to the floor, adopting a foetal position and undergoing violent grunting convulsions. "Doing the Deacon" was the hot new performance art, "Joey" was the hot new insult, and woe betide anyone with the misfortune to have the surname "Deacon" or a given name with the initial syllable "Joe". A whole vocabulary of mangled vocalisations developed, finely tuned to express different degrees of "Joey–ness" in whatever the recipient of the insult was being insulted for. A quick shove of the tongue behind the lower lip could be used to discreetly insult someone without (in theory) anyone not in the line of sight noticing. Joey was a phenomenon. Just not in the way Blue Peter had hoped he would be.

Looking back, it's hard to see what else they expected. It's human nature to take the piss. People know it's wrong, but that doesn't stop them doing it, and once you start laughing at it it just gets funnier the more out of order it is. And look at the size of the stimulus - a whole bunch of 25-minute programmes, each with most of the time devoted to the Blue Peter team patronising Joey as he grunted and twitched in his wheelchair, and watched by several million people. Given that sort of input, any group of people of non-negligible size is going to contain at least one person who starts taking the piss, and once one in the group starts doing it everybody's doing it. That's what people are like, and it's no good being all wishy-washy and trying to pretend everybody's nice, because real-world experience suggests that the most useful definition of a "nice person" is someone who manages to refrain from doing Joey impressions when someone in a wheelchair is actually present.

I was going to write my own version of the above but couldn't get anywhere near the 'subtlety' of the original, so I just copied and pasted from Pigeon's Nest. Besides, I haven't got much time right now (18:20 02/12/09) as I'm supposed to be getting ready to go to the cinema.

See ya later, you bunch of Joeys!

* Although, some of them may still be watching.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Pet toy cemetary

Huh? What's that? It looks like a... A paw?!

Eww! More paws and... What is that? Intestines?

Yeeuch! A decapitated duck.

Ooog... I think I'm going to be sick. I wonder what type of monster could inflict such carnage?

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgh! Run away! Run away! A Hell Hound!