Friday 31 December 2010

2010 in review

Five years. Who'd've thought we'd still be at this blogging lark after two years, never mind five?
I know. We could have gone out and got a life or something instead.
Well, we didn't.

Mainly because we're lazy.
Hey! Speak for yourself!
Shush, you two!
Anyway, on with the show. You probably know the routine by now. I'll give a quick recap of what we've blogged about this year.
And I'll present the awards. There are plenty of links and videos and things to get caught up in, so those of you as lifeless as us will at least have something to do in the New Year.


Hey, wait a minute. Presenting the awards is hard work! Why do I always have to do it?
Because you're more patient than me. I can never be bothered to scour the intermawebs for pictures, links and videos.
Well, I'm too lazy - I haven't even finished it yet. Ha!
Sigh... Just do it tomorrow. No one will know. They'll all be too hungover to notice.
Right. Better get on with these recaps:

January: We looked back at our favourite blog post of 2009 (which was Dungeons & Drag Queens, btw) and at 2009's Hottest Sci-Figure (the delectable Chris Pine). There was also the first of this year's monthly book reviews.
February: A visit from MirrorMe; Valentine's Day malarkey with Tim; and, at the end of the month we had spent a year Desperately Housewifing.
March: A couple of book reviews and the unforgettable Tin Foil Hat Competition.

Well, we should get straight on with the awards, so I'd better pass you over to The Host.
Why, thank you.

The nominees for my Favourite Film of 2010 are: Splice, Avatar, Megamind, Clash of the Titans, and Skyline.

Oh, Splice and Skyline, you had it all but then you lost it. What a spectacularly predictable ending you had Splice. And you, Skyline? Oh, you were doing so well until the faintly ridiculous "Destroy All Humans" reveal*. Avatar was a victim of it's own unbelieveable hype - It just couldn't live up to my inflated expectations. And Clash' was just plodding and dull.
So, my favourite film of 2010 is easily Megamind - and not just because Megamind is cuteness incarnate (see the third post down from December 15th).

* i.e. The brain harvesting. Not the lack of genetalia. Although the film didn't make it clear with that point...

I've added this DVD category because of the appalling lack of new films I've seen at the cinema this year. Those five up there are, in fact, the only instances of me entering a cinema in 2010. So, these films are new to me, but not necessarily new in 2010:
Watchmen, Push, Moon, and Mirrors.
This was a much harder call than the one for my favourite film but I'm going to have to go with Watchmen because it had style and substance and the day wasn't saved with a few seconds to spare. Plus, I love the second Silk Spectre's outfit!

The TV drama/comedy nominees have a few old faces from Coven Awards of yesteryear, but also a couple of new contenders: Ugly Betty, Misfits, Desperate Housewives, Being Human, The Event, Caprica, and The Middle.
Another tough one, but Being Human edges ahead of Caprica due to the restrained use of humour versus the total lack of mirth in the gritty Battlestar Galactica prequel.

Well, I say reality, but what I really mean is any non-fiction show. The nominees for this award include those shows where members of the public (or minor celebs) are derided and ridiculed before being whipped into shape before the show's end, such as:
The Hotel Inspector (the Alex Polizzi version, not the Ruth Watson one) and Mary Queen of Shops.
There are also factual shows: Tropic of Cancer and Wonders of the Solar System, both presented by very engaging and enthusiastic young men. The presenter for Wonders, Professor Brian Cox, used to be the keyboard player in hit 90s band D:Ream, and Simon Reeve, the presenter of Tropic, is awfully easy on the eye!

Then there are the comedy shows: Pineapple Dance Studio (which is also, vaguely, a Reality Show and unleashed Louie Spence upon the world), and
Harry Hill's TV Burp.

Gods. This is such a difficult one to choose. I want to go with Pineapple or TV Burp because they're just so funny - Probably the funniest things I've seen on TV this year - but the Sensible Susan in me wants to go for Tropic or Wonders.
OK. I'm going to go with Wonders of the Solar System purely because Professor Cox is the antithesis of the fusty old professor stereotype and is so enthusiastic about the subject.
Yeah, well, I'm choosing Tropic of Cancer because Simon Reeve is also enthusiastic and totally hot AND gets his kit off a couple of times!
Fine. Suit yourself, then.

My favourite post title is The Year of Housewifing Desperately from February. This, of course, is a take on the 1982 film The Year of Living Dangerously, starring Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver.

April: A Grumpy Meme and searching for The Freakin' Green Elf Shorts.
May: A spat with 'Petra; my
OFFICIAL SPARKY TIM CUT OUT 'N KEEP ACTIONLESS FIGURE competition entry (Ohhhh, YES!); and some cakes.
June: Another meme and MJ goes AWOL.

The Most Heavenly Music nominees are all albums that I've (or SP, in the case of Lady Gagarin [as he likes to call her]) bought or been given this year. And they are as follows: Aphrodite by Kylie, Head First by Goldfrapp, Love 2 by Air, Night Work by Scissor Sisters, and The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga.
First to go was Air. Maybe I haven't listened to it enough, but none of the tracks on this album really grabbed me, much like with their previous album Pocket Symphony. I think my 13 year love affair with Air is now over.
Lady Gagarin was next to get the chop. There are some great tracks - Bad Romance, Alejandro & Poker Face - but also some clunkers. Kylie fared the same, I'm sorry to say. All The Lovers and Aphrodite are amazing tracks, but about half the others are just OK. Sorry Kylie.
The winner of The Most Heavenly Music award is, just pipping the mighty Scissor Sisters to the post: Goldfrapp with the sublime Head First!

The nominees for this category are all books that I read for the first time this year. Surprisingly, out of the 33 books I have managed to read (yes, I finished Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett), 20 of them were new reads. I didn't think I'd read as many new books as that. Anyway, you can find out about them in (slightly) more detail by clicking on the Books label in my sidebar.
So, on with the show. From this veritable library of books: Bad Blood by James Goss, Zombie edited by Christopher Golden,
Star Trek: Nero by Mike Johnson, Tim Jones & David Messina, Star Trek: Romulans - Pawns of War by John Byrne, T-Shirt and Genes by Richard Asplin, Nation, by Terry Pratchett and Star Trek Vanguard: Precipice, by David Mack, the winner is:
Nation, by Terry Pratchett

Now, this is the first category to come out of left field. There may be a few more, so be prepared to duck. The following modes of transport are not yet available to the general public, but their concept models/images have been released this year making me almost drool in anticipation: USS Aventine (not to be confused with the Renault Aventime), Captain Ezri Dax's starship from 2381,the Alfa Romeo Giulia (I've posted two versions - I think the black one is the one nearest production form) & 2uettottanta, the new Alfa Spider,

and the Citroen Metropolis, which is to be released as the DS9 (not named after the ex-Cardassian space station, apparently).

Well, I think the winner has to be the Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta because it's just so pretty!

I have rediscovered a few things this year, most of them while searching for or disposing of other things in the loft: I found a tape of Now and Again in my old video player while hooking up the spare TV to watch The Wedding Banquet (which I didn't watch due to being distracted by Now & Again, otherwise it may have made the list, too). I discovered the CD album Erasure by Erasure in the mini-hifi also stuffed away in the loft - I realised that it's been up there for about two years! Here's the track Fingers & Thumbs:

And my favourite track from the album,
A Long Goodbye (sadly, no video as it wasn't released as a single).
The next contender was reintroduced to me by SP. He found it while flicking through the many, many cable channels and immediately became enamoured with Kate Mulgrew's performance as Captain Janeway. The nominee is, of course, Star Trek: Voyager (I like it mainly for Tom Paris before he got fat & bald and Janeway as Arachnia, Queen of the Spider People - see Leading Lady category below).
This is an easy call. Now and Again trounces the other nominees - I don't think there's a bad episode in the series. In fact, you can start watching the series here, if you like.

July: A new driveway means Manual Labour; more cakes; and a smidgeon of time travel.
August: An invasion of manticores, water babies, trolls, centaurs, naiads, nannies, dryads and a very small yeti.
September: Even more cakes; the Disappearance of Dinah; considering a new coven; my 600th post - Cusp Trek III; and 'Petra's birthday - Cusp Trek IV.

There are probably way more than four men who I'd like to lead me, but in the interests of time, these are the four I can immediately remember: Matt Bomer from White Collar, Brian Austin Green from Desperate Housewives, Ian Anthony Dale from The Event, and Aidan Turner from Being Human.

As pretty and ripped as Matt is, I haven't actually watched White Collar (although I have seen clips from it), so he's the first to fall. Brian's next to go because whenever I see him I'm reminded of Beverly Hills 90210 (the original series obviously) * shudders in horror *. So it comes down to Ian and Aidan, and Aidan must take runner up place because I haven't seen him on TV in nearly a year! Being Human was last on in February (although it's back on again soon).
Which means the winner is Ian Anthony Dale - agent Simon Lee from The Event!

Out of these most ladylike of ladies: Captain Kathryn Janeway as Arachnia: Queen of the Spider People, Frobisher as Mavis Boyle, Beast as this... This domestic marshmallow goddess, only one can steal the crown.

As lovely as Beast and Frobisher are, neither are as camp as Janeway!

Retromen: Those good-looking actors of yesteryear (who may or may not still be working). Dennis Quaid, Ryan O'Neal and James Brolin have made my shortlist, but only one can win.

Sadly, Ryan is the first to go. Cute as he may have been in What's Up Doc? he just doesn't cut it anymore. James is still looking good, as is Dennis.

But it's Dennis who gets the award. Why? Just look at him now:

October: The loss of dear Piggy; The new Coven line-up revealed; BEAST wins The Freakin' Green Elf Shorts from Donn; and Hallowe'en.
November: Clean knickers for Tim's birthday; Cusp Trek V; and A dream of shoes
December: The making of a blog - From the bath; and we sat on Santa's lap for an iTim - It was definitely worth it!

Best Boy (as chosen mostly by SP) - Axl from The Middle, Harry from One Direction/X-Factor and Zain/Zayn (there seems to be some division on how his name is spelt) also from One Direction/X-Factor (Zayn is my choice. I also prefer the 'y' spelling rather than the 'i' spelling)

Hmmm... I can't believe I'm considering a couple of half-naked teenagers for this award. Actually, this is my award to give, so I'm going to give it to Axl as, even though he's supposed to be 17 or something, Charlie McDermott, the actor who plays him, is nearly 21.

Best Bouffant (also chosen by SP) -
Axl from The Middle, Harry from X-Factor and Beast (Oops! How did this get in here?).

Well, I think we know who's not going to get the award, so that leaves us with Axl and Harry. And just to appease SP, I'm giving the award to Harry.

Sexiest Santa?

No contest.
This one wins, hands down (his pants):

Which Witch?

Well, other than myselves, the only other witch who's had a mention is Fenella Fellorick the Kettle Witch from Chorlton and the Wheelies

And I'll be damned if that buck-toothed, green-skinned, miserable, hatchett-faced old hag is getting the award - I'm keeping it for myself!

Before Witchface gets too wound up, I'd better bring this to a close. I would like to thank all the men who took time out of their busy schedules to work on their bodies so they were worthy of stalking these sub-headers. Who knew YouTube could hold such a wealth of ripped young men?
The only problem is that whenever I now log onto YouTube, the 'Recommended for You' section is always full of half-naked, muscular men!

Wait. Did I say that was a problem?

Anyway (dear Piggy's favourite word), I would also like to thank you all for sticking around, especially the last month or two when I haven't been around much. It may have seemed like I was neglecting visiting your blogs, but I assure you that I was, albeit sporadically.
If I had made any New Year's resolutions, one of them would have been to spend a bit more time blogging. However, I haven't made any, especially the blogging one, mainly because I know I'm not going to have that much time, so 2011 will continue much like the end of 2010.
So, thank you all again, from me too. I'll be keeping an eye on you my faithful Flying Monkeys, so stay sharp!

Finally, may your transition into 2011 be free from incident. Have fun!

Friday 24 December 2010

A disappointment

Well, here we are again. Another shitting Christmas.

If you're expecting me to be posting the latest of our adventures over the Cusp, prepare yourselves to be disappointed.
I don't know where time's gone this year, I really don't. Whatever time I've had at my disposal seems to have been... Disposed, somehow. So, instead of an original Christmas tale, I bring you this, an adventure from Christmas 2006:

Bah! Humbug!

My flight plan had been cleared by Norwich airport's air traffic control - my good friend Rapunzel works there. She has loads of experience what with all those years trapped in a tower of her own, with nothing but local bird flight and migrating geese skeins to observe. Usually, I wouldn't bother with logging a flight plan, but seeing as how I was returning home from some distance and would be flying quite high and fast, I thought I'd better check that the air space close to home was clear. Afterall, I didn't want to be sucked into a jet intake like poor old Sherry Bobbins, maysherestinpieces.

So, there I was, descending over Norwich, easily clearing the cathedral spire, my sights fixed firmly on home. Well, I say 'fixed firmly', but I may have been slightly distracted whilst rummaging in my hand luggage behind me for a humbug, which in hindsight, probably wasn't the best thing to do when coming in for a landing at 200 miles per hour. If only I'd switched my foresight on...

Now, usually I'd swerve aound Morrison's carpark, not for fear of being seen by the shoppers below - slack jawed mongs are too busy staring down at where their knuckles are scraping through all the puddles of drool they'd produced. Good job they've got oversized jaws, as I dread to think what else they'd push the trolleys with...

* shudder *

No. I avoid the store because of the cheap yellow light it gives off which makes me look jaundiced. Not to mention the hideous uplighting making me look more 'weathered' than I actually am. Not that I am to any great degree, you understand!

Anyway, having eventually located the humbug, I popped it in my mouth and turned to face forward again.

"Fark!" I exclaimed. Well, you try saying 'Fuck' and keeping a large boiled sweet in your mouth at the same time.

* Rrrrrrrriiiipsquelch *


Instead of last year's red nose* on the front of the Broom, there was an entire red body trimmed in dirty white fur with one and a half feet of gnarled ash Broom handle rammed up it's rather large chuff. It's eyes were watering copiously into it's bushy white beard.

Lawks! I'd knobbled Father Christmas! The reindeer scattered, breaking loose from the reins. Two of them headed for the football ground, one shot straight up and the rest barrelled off over the city leaving the sleigh to spiral downwards into the river.

I slammed on the brakes and Santa shot off the end, stripping the Broom handle as he went. He must have really clenched...

In a mix of mild horror and outright mirth, I watched as he tumbled through the air rather gracelessly - I expected more from Santa, perhaps a double salco? - and impacted rather heavily against Morrison's clock tower. It's a good job it had various handholds or he would have slid down on to the anti-pigeon spikes and we'd be eating Santa Kebabs for Christmas dinner!

It's at this point that I should point out that the clock tower probably isn't what you're imagining. It barely towers at all, being only two metres higher than the rest of the glass and metal roof. It's crowning glory is a black and yellow digital clock. Classy, eh? At least if it had a proper clock face, Father Christmas could have hung on to the hour or minute hand, a la Harold Lloyd, and I could have had more of a laugh as time ticked on getting ready to dump him unceremoniously onto the spikes below.

As I hovered there wondering what to do, holding my nose - Santa must have been eating cauliflower cheese for the last couple of days judging by the vile stench coming from the neatly stripped Broom handle - a spectral light appeared behind me, along with the smell of fish & chips mixed with Tweed by Lentheric. It could only mean one thing: Aunty X-Mas!

The late-middle-aged, rather overweight, Ghost of Anti-Christmas phased in on the back of Broom, even now this early on Christmas Eve, as tiddled as an excited puppy. There was only one thing I could do, so I did it.

"Ta ra!" I yelled in her face as she fully spectralised. "You can sort him out" and I pointed at the dangling Father Christmas, gunning the acceleratrix, leaving her sitting in mid air as I shot off towards home, waving over my shoulder.


Merry Christmas!

* I couldn't just say 'instead of nothing' so I took some creative liberty and made up the faded and cracked red nose. I wouldn't be seen dead or undead with one of those monstrosities strapped to any form of my personal transport.

~ ~ ~

What?! I'm working on the end of year review, which is surely more important than some Christmas bilge. Isn't it?
Actually, I'm not even sure I'll have time to get that finished.
Oh, I long for a beans-on-toast Christmas. You know, A totally hermit Christmas with no friends, no family, no hideously expensive & rich food, just an indulgent couple of days slobbing around (or blogging around).

Maybe next year?

Anyway, before IWeMeUs sign off: Happy Christmas, or whatever it is you celebrate, or grudgingly tolerate!

Se you in a few days.

Saturday 18 December 2010

What would you sit on Santa's lap for?

Apple have finally released a product I would actually use, so I steeled my nerves, sat on Santa's lap and he gave me one.

The sculpted, handsome exterior is very pleasing on the eye and an absolute pleasure to handle due to the use of soft touch materials in its construction. It's also a very intuitive design and ergonomically perfect - I could use it all day without tiring.
There are a couple of concerns, however. The Aux-in is a bit tight for my docking station, but I'm sure it'll give after a few uses. The Aux-out connector on the other hand is really quite large. Not that I'm complaining - There are far too many small parts about these days. No, it's just so big that one needs both hands to operate it otherwise it's just unwieldy. It's also overloaded my software a couple of times due to the sheer speed and volume of the datastream. I tried pulling it out/off but that only seemed to make it worse. It must have swollen up in the heat of the moment modem as I just couldn't pull it free!

Ooh! I nearly forgot to tell you what this splendid new product is.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

I think I fancy Megamind!

Oh gods.

Just look at his cute little face:

Anyway, enough of that. I know I haven't been around much. I'll be back properly at the weekend.

I hope.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Shiver me timber

Brrrr... I loathe flying in these freezing conditions. In fact, I generally avoid flying during winter as Broom's bristles tend to ice up and the last thing I need is plummeting to a frosty doom in the middle of nowhere. Plus, flying means I have to carry a multitude of apparatus for safety reasons:

Weather vane to measure wind direction
Thermometer to measure temperature
Thaumometer to detect magical fields
Heliostat to capture what little sunlight there is
Siderostat to capture starlight while night-flying
Barometer to measure atmospheric pressure
Goggles to prevent watering eyes (namely, mine - Anyone else should bring their own)

No. It's too much. Flying during winter is for emergencies only. Car will just have to stop whining about being taken out in such treacherous conditions and lump it.

Ooh! I wonder if that abominable snowman stable is up and running yet? Perhaps I could ride an adult one around until the snow and ice melts?

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Of Baths and Blogs

 Now, some of you seemed surprised at the fact that I have a blog notebook. When you think about it, it shouldn't be surprising. After all, I can't recall how many times I've mentioned how forgetful I am.

 My little blog-book always comes with me when I have a bath. You see, I like to wallow for a couple of hours in a nice, soothing bath, but it traps me, so, to stave off boredom, my imagination & memory go into overdrive and generates/recollects most of my ideas/our adventures. I think it's because I'm laying there doing nothing, with little to no distractions, so my minds are free to wonder/wander (as long as they come back again). Many an adventure over The Cusp has been recalled and jotted down - sometimes in excruciating detail - while in the bath. Also, the little adventures we've had out and about, or on the way to work. Even those things that have happened in the comfort and privacy of my own home.

 Here's Blog-book in its natural habitat:

('Petra, for your perusal, I have included my non-touchscreen phone which functions pretty much only as an alarm clock)

 Blog-book also follows me to bed. Well, one never knows when a dream will need capturing and pinning down to the page for later transference into the Demon Box, as the 27th November post clearly showed.

 Once I've transferred the captured thoughts and recollections, I cross through the page (or part-page if there's more than one subject per page) to show the future-me, who may be looking through the Blog-book, that we have committed it to Demon Box.

 Here are some examples that you may recognise. You may notice that not everything survives the transition intact:

(lick to engorge)

(Oops! I mean 'click', obviously...)

EDIT 17.06.2019 - added "
& memory", "/recollects", "/our adventures"