Monday 29 July 2013

Sock it to 'em

Does anybody know how to get ghost socks out of a washing machine?*

This is totally unrelated to my
dilemma but I was entranced by
the impressive chest!
The other day, I attempted to wash Grandma DeVise's unmentionables (she's been staying with us for a little while) but couldn't get them in the machine because of all the bloody ghost socks! Initially, I sought the services of a local priest for a quick exorcism, but when I told her what I wanted exorcised she just laughed and said she didn't have time as she was visiting her mother in Cheshire
Then I thought of the Ghostbusters, but someone pointed out that they were fictional. Not letting something as trifling as that stop me, I hopped over the Cusp and into the Spine Tower, hoping to open the door into the Ghostbuster's universe. It was not meant to be, however, as the only novel the Ghostbusters spawned wasn't popular enough to get its own universe.
The only other option I thought of involves helping the socks move on by completing their unfinished business.  But what sort of unfinished business can a bloody sock have once it's dead? Besides, there're too many for me to even contemplate going through all that malarkey, so I gave up before I even started.


* I don't know how many that infernal machine has devoured over the years. Between it and the airing cupboard, my supply of socks has dropped to dangerously low levels.


Saturday 27 July 2013


Don't worry. You don't have to take too much notice of this. Its just a reminder for myselves so that when I come to do the end of year review, I know (at least) which books I've read this year.

So far, anyway...

• The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
• Deep Cover, by Ian Botham & Dennis Coath
• Fallen Gods (Star Trek: Titan), by Michael A. Martin
• The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
• A Stitch in Time (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), by Andrew J. Robinson
• Summon the Thunder (Star Trek: Vanguard), by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
• Harbinger (Star Trek: Vanguard), by David Mack
• Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures (Star Trek: Enterprise), by Christopher L. Bennett
• What's Past: Distant Early Warning (Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers), by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
• The Stuff of Dreams (Star Trek: The Next Generation), by James Swallow
• Not the Royal Wedding, edited by Sean Hardie & John Lloyd (This was the inspiration for my Not the Royal Baby post).
• The Candle Man, by Alex Scarrow
• Allegiance in Exile (Star Trek: The Original Series), by David R. George III
• Calvin & Hobbes: Scientific Progress Goes "Boink", by Bill Watterson
• The Struggle Within (Star Trek: Typhon Pact), by Christopher L. Bennett
• Cold Equations: The Body Electric (Star Trek: The Next Generation), by David Mack


* Yes, he's written a book! Well, a novella, really. And it's good, too.  You should buy it.

Monday 22 July 2013

w-w-w-WOW! Not the Royal Baby edition

Click to embiggen

Tune in later in the week for an exclusive look inside this lavish, access-all-areas, official souvenir magazine of Not the Royal Baby, brought to you by w-w-w-WOW!


Thursday 18 July 2013

A name or art in the past?

Absolutely divine! I love this track so much. September cannot come quickly enough.

Sunday 14 July 2013

Star Trek: Voyages That Never Were V

OK. So, a little over two years ago I said I probably wouldn't do any more of these Voyages That Never Were posts as I didn't think I had anything left of worth to show. However, while searching for a cartoon I drew several years back, I found a few sketches of aliens that I thought I might share. Although, after you've seen them, you may agree with two-year-ago-me that they're not worthy...

After I'd drawn the starships and uniforms, I needed a crew to fill them. So, along with the usual humanoid races like the Trill, Betazoids and Vulcans, I set about creating some others...

This somewhat mermaid/man-like alien I called a Ssillaarii. I was going for some kind of serpent look, but it ended up looking like a man in a costume - OK for an actual TV show where it probably would be played by a man in a cheap rubber suit, but not OK for a realistic alien. Which is why I then produced these sketches (below) which, I think, are more natural-looking:
A hammerhead shark-like head, several limbs attached to its upper torso, and a long serpents tail complete with a fin on the end. This Ssillaarii would be a science officer on board whichever ship took my fancy at the time.

The alien in the upper & lower centre of the picture, and in the lower right, is an insectoid species called a Rane. Roughly the size of a human, she would look quite frightening, but would actually be very friendly and an excellent doctor.

This small, winged humanoid started off as quite unremarkable, as you can see in the sketch. However, like the Ssillaarii, I didn't want an alien that looked like a human with wings, and ended up redesigning her to be far more bat-like. Although named on the sketch as a Matarii, I eventually gave that name to a monstrous race of fairy-like aliens. Instead, her species is called the Yattho (the mentioned but not seen race of precognitive aliens from the Voyager episode "Before and After"). 

Ignore Deanna Troi and her crowned companion, I'm more interested in Stick-head on the right. I have no idea what race he's from, but I just like that he looks like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy!

Oh, look! I've found the cartoon I was after, so I don't need to post any more alien sketches. You may all breathe a sigh of relief.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Cusp Trek VI: The Underused Crew

USS Cafe C 
Dorset Sector

 Beast sat up in his chair as a flunkie brought him his tea and placed it on the little table before him. It had been a long afternoon cataloguing gaseous chick pea curry-related anomalies and he was more than ready for something to eat. 
 Just as he was about to shove a forkful of sausage and beans into his mouth, a rattling sound distracted him. The rattle was coming from in front of him. He looked at his plate of greasy food and was alarmed to see it slowly shaking its way across the glass-topped table.
 "What the...?" he uttered, now feeling the entire decking shaking.
 "Oh, cripes!" Lieutenant Scarlet gasped behind him.
 Turning to the communications station, Beast asked her: "What?"
 "Something exploded, Captain, and we're about to be hit by the shockwave. Hold on! Oh, and stop waving your little sausage at me!"
 Stunned at Lieutenant Scarlet's outburst, Beast looked down at his zipped-up fly then looked blank for a moment before noticing that he was still holding his fork up complete with a small sausage speared on its tines. "Oh. Yes. Sorry" he mumbled before turning to his helmsman and ordering him to turn the ship into the wave.
 After an awful lot of shaking, crewmen careering haphazardly across the bridge and someone turning the lights off and on again several times to make it even more dramatic, the starship settled once more.
 "Where did that come from?" Beast asked, incredulous.
 "The shockwave originated from the vicinity of the Infomaniac Oubliette, Captain."
 "The Oubliette? That's the DragKlingon's key innuendo producing facility. Confirm."
 "I can confirm the location of the Oubliette, but not its existance" Lieutenant Scarlet answered. "Do we report this, sir?"
 "Are you kidding?"

USS Enterprise-A 
Denmark Sector

 "Well?" CyberPetra demanded from the captain's chair.
 "Cor, let me get out of the lift first, Chekov" I said, somewhat exasperated, before barging past Cardboard Cut-out Spock and stomping down the steps from the turbolift and into the command well. "I can't find him."
 "You obviously didn't look hard enough, then."
Plastic "no tackle" Tim
(& cronies)
Feeling a
little flat?
 "I'm a doctor, not a private investigator!" I snapped back. "I did find these, though" and from my back pockets produced an OFFICIAL SPARKY TIM CUT OUT 'N KEEP ACTIONLESS FIGURE and a Plastic "no tackle" Tim. "The real Tim's not on the ship, I know that much. He's probably doing his stupid yoga somewhere hot and humid."
 "Girls, girls" Roses teased from her post at the corrallerallerer station.
 'Petra and I narrowed our eyes at her but she didn't take any notice. Rather, she just lit up a cigarette and put her feet up on her console while Princess attempted to stifle a snigger from her seat at the helm.
 "I don't know why you're laughing, Lieutenant Valeris" 'Petra said turning back to face the front. "You've got to pilot us out of spacedock."
 "Preferably in one piece" I added.
 Princess scowled and started the engines. "Clearing all moorings" she announced then almost stalled. The entire bridge crew stopped what they were doing and stared at her as she fumbled with the controls, trying not to let the engines cut-out. "Stop it!" she shrieked. "You know what'll happen if you all look at me-"
The real Kim Cattrall?
 Suddenly she was silent. Instead of a living, breathing, screaming Vulcan Australian steering the ship, a mannequin looking not unlike Kim Cattrall's whory old dummy*, sat motionless at her console.
 "Everyone stop looking" 'Petra sighed. Reluctantly, we averted our gaze and after a few moments, Princess returned to her normal state.
 "Look" she said, turning to face me, "when I signed on for another Cusp Trek adventure, I didn't think I'd inherit my character's original actress's previous role's curse."
 "Neither did I" I admitted. "Although, we are over the Cusp so what else did you expect?" Princess just huffed and crossed her arms. "Oh, remember you're supposed to be piloting us out of spacedock..."
 Instantly, Princess turned back to her console and flailed at the controls, turning the Enterprise just in time to narrowly miss hitting the edge of the retracted spacedoors.
 "Strewth! That was close" she admitted. Everyone else just breathed a collective sigh of relief and unclenched their arses.
 Roses was the first person to speak. "Right" she said, her crash-anxiety almost gone. "We'd better get a move on if we're going to be on time for this dinner with the DragKlingons."
 "I want everyone on their best behaviour" Commander 'Petra ordered. "You know how touchy they are about the destruction of their Oubliette."
 "Oh, yes. Perhaps some Romulan Ale will make the evening go more smoothly?" Princess suggested.
 "Are you quite mad?!" 'Petra asked, aghast. "I'm not drinking blue Kool-Aid! We'll have champagne, and that's that."

A little while later, after we'd rendezvoused with the DragKlingon vessel, Infomaniac One, and invited its crew aboard, we were all sitting around the dining table getting hideously drunk.

Yum! Plastic baby sperm whale...
 "An' tha's how yo' tell a Terrelian fro' a Tarellian" Cookie slurred with a filthy grin on his face.
 "Buuuuh-Urrrrp!" exclaimed Ms. Nations and took another gulp of champagne.
 "Ah wouldn' mind if it wa' one o' those four-armed Terellians" said Eros salaciously.
 "Buurrrrrrrr- *hic* -urrrp!" agreed Ms. Nations.
 LX tried to fork a hardboiled Klingon egg on his dinner plate but, rather vexingly, it kept leaping in and out of focus.
 "General Chang" Roses began with only a slight slur, "tha's 'n impressive crest."
 Touching her hand (the one that wasn't clutching a bottle of Jameson's) to her gnarled and wrinkled forehead, MJ attempted a smile but failed and grimaced instead. "An' that's an equally 'pressive 'do" she said, the enormous crest knocking pictures off the walls as she turned her head to face Roses. "I'll 'ave to gerra picshur for the Hair Hall of Fame before we go."
 Suddenly, LX stood up and grabbed the edge of the table to stop himself swaying too much.
 "I offer some toast" he said raising his glass and sloshing Champagne all over the place. "The underused crew... The fu..." And with that, he very slowly fell over head first into a bowl of half-eaten plastic sperm whales (see the last paragraph of the Romulan Ale article as linked to above).
 "Shit" MJ sighed. "Gorkon never could hold his drink. C'mon you guys. Azetbur, Kerla, we're off."
 "Well, this was fun" I said.
 "Mm" 'Petra agreed taking another sip of Champagne. "We must do it again some time."

 In the transporter room, Princess looked up as the doors whooshed open and rolled her eyes at the carnage before her.
 "Good grief!" she exclaimed as MJ and Cookie staggered in supporting a comatose-looking LX. Ms. Nations crawled after them closely followed by Eros and myself, with Roses and 'Petra bringing up the rear.
 "Stand aside, lassie" Eros said to Princess, trying to shoo her away from the transporter controls as he used them to pull himself to his feet.
Princess gets wrapped up in her work
 "No way, Captain Scott! You're so drunk you'll beam them into the centre of a planet. I'll do it." And she scooped up her sewing from the console and handed it to MJ. "Here are your new costumes." MJ looked at them in horror. "I had to make them out of old curtains as you wouldn't stump up for new fabric."
 Before MJ could complain, Princess mashed the transporter keyboard with her palm, beaming the DragKlingons over to Infomaniac One
 "Drat! I forgot to get the recipe for those new poutine torpedoes from Brigadier Kerla" I grumbled. "Beam me over, would you?"
 With an enormous sigh, Princess obliged and I found myself materialising on board the DragKlingon's starship. 

IKS Infomaniac One
Canada sector

 The first thing I heard was someone throwing their guts up. The next was "look out!". I stepped back just in time to avoid being sprayed by purple puke.
LX/Gorkon after one too many Romulan Ales
 Across the room, LX lay on a table, wiped out after projectile vomiting.
 "Did... Did I win yet?" he whispered before passing out.
 Suddenly the ship lurched and the stars outside the portholes stretched out. We'd gone to warp. And probably with some pissed DragKlingon at the helm.
 "Look, can you stop this thing so the Enterprise can pick me up?" I asked MJ.
 "I doubt it" she replied. "Azetbur has locked herself in on the bridge and you know what she's like when she's had a few."
 I had to agree. "Well, just drop me off when you pass the next planet, then."

USS Enterprise-A
In orbit of "Rear Port"
(a DragKlingon penile colonoscopy haemorrhoid in Canada Sector)

 "I've picked up his lifesigns, Commander" Roses announced to 'Petra.
 "On screen."
 The image on the viewscreen changed from that of stars to one of two figures kneeling in snow near a camp fire. Each one appeared to be holding a doll or effigy and were articulating them around in an approximation of life-like movement.
 "Zoom in" 'Petra ordered, curious as to what he was seeing. "What are they saying? Isn't there any sound?" he whined.
 "Nah. I think the external microphone's broken" Roses replied as she re-focused the sensors. The viewscreen suddenly filled with the two figures, one of whom was IDV. "Well, there's Doctor McCoy."
 "Yes, but who's the girl?" 'Petra asked. "And are they..." he squinted at the screen. "Are they holding mini-Tims?"
 "Good grief, they are! McCoy's got an OFFICIAL SPARKY TIM CUT OUT 'N KEEP ACTIONLESS FIGURE and the girl has a plastic 'No-Tackle' Tim doll. They're playing with them."
 "Wait" Princess said. "I believe I can make out what they're saying."
 "How? Can you lip read?"
 "No. But due to my inanimate mannequin-half, I can understand what the inanimate mini-Tims are saying to each other."

On the frozen arsteroid below...     

 "I can't believe I kissed you" an awed OFFICIAL SPARKY TIM CUT OUT 'N KEEP ACTIONLESS FIGURE said.
 "Must have been your lifelong ambition" the sexily arrogant plastic 'No-Tackle' Tim doll replied.
 The two effigies stared longingly into each other's eyes as the tingle of the transporter beam washed over them and their flesh-and-blood manipulators.

In the transporter room aboard the Enterprise...

"That was quite a sordid little fantasy you two were re-enacting down there" 'Petra said with a hint of jealousy.
 "Hmmmph" I muttered.
 "So" he said turning to my companion, "who are you supposed to be?"
 "I'm Tara."
 "I'm sorry, what did you say your name is?"
 "Umm... Martia?"
 "That's better. Much more becoming this farcical scenario we find ourselves in, don't you think? Why, it even uses the same letters as 'I'm Tara'!"

 "I suppose" Tara pondered. "Hey, am I still married to David Bowie?"
 "I don't know?" 'Petra answered, then turned to the rest of us. "Someone google that" he ordered.
 "Christ!" Princess whispered to me. "This 'captaining' has gone to his head. Who does she think she is?"
 "Why do you think he only had cameos in all the previous instalments?" I whispered back.
 "So, what happens now?"
 "I don't know. This has all turned into a bit of a shambles. The storyline's unravelling faster than a magic carpet snagged on a Scots pine!"
 "Actually, now that you mention it, I was going to ask why I had to make those curtain-uniforms for MJ."
 "Well, she's playing General Chang who was originally portrayed by Christopher Plummer, who, as I'm sure you know, played Captain Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music. So, that was going to lead on to-  Shit!" I suddenly blurted out.
 "What?" Princess asked.
 "We haven't done MJ's 'reveal'!"
 "Oh. But everyone knows she's really an Alien Queen by now."
 "Do they?!" I almost screeched.
 "Of course" Princess soothed. "Even if they'd forgotten (because it's been nearly three years since the last Cusp Trek), the fact that her massive crest kept knocking pictures off the wall in the dining room whenever she moved her head was a big giveaway. That and all the drool..."
 "You're sure? I don't want to have to go back and fit in more explanation and such-like."
 "Positive. Besides, no one except Tim really reads this guff, and he's not even here!"
 "Fine" I snapped. "Let's just get this over with.  Roll credits!"   

Starring (in order of appearance):

Sulu - Beast
Janice Rand - Miss Scarlet
Chekov - 'Petra
'Bones' McCoy - IDV
Spock - a Cardboard Cut-out
Uhura - Roses 
Valeris - Princess
Kerla - Cookie
Azetbur - First Nations
Scotty/Trip - Eros
Gorkon - LX

And special guest star:
Chang/Hideous Alien Queen - MJ

* Tim, rather rudely, proclaimed that Kim Cattrall was a "whory old dummy" here.

Monday 1 July 2013

Spot the bunny

In the absence of anything terribly exciting or mystifying (it's been a slow couple of weeks), I thought I'd just give you a brief update of what's been happening here at Castlette DeVice.

First up, last weekend we had a visit from my sister, Indescribable DeVice, and my six week old niece, Lionel (not her real name, although I think it should be). My gods that baby can scream!

The screaming didn't seem to perturb Ming that much, as you can see below:

A sleeping Ming

Indescribable also left me with her familiar. She thought I'd pay it more attention than she does now that she's got a Lionel to look after. Although not quite a Moom, Gerbil (yes, Indescribable's that lazy that she couldn't be arsed to think up a name for it) is settling in nicely and not tormenting Inexcuseable's cats too much.

My new familiar, Gerbil. Great name, eh?

On Friday, Inexcuseable and her husband departed for a two week holiday, leaving me to my own devices. (Note the lowercase 'd' - No incest here).

So far, I've kept myself busy, mostly repotting and rearranging my modest array of potted plants. Although, the array is getting somewhat less modest as I can't seem to stop myself from visiting the garden centre!
Anyway, here's how my little potted garden is doing:

Oh, one final thing: I am no longer incommunicado. I have a new phone! My last phone slipped into a coma several months ago (December or January, I believe), and I couldn't put myself through the trauma of trying to find a suitable new one. Remember the drama when I was in need of a new PC?! 
The longer I put it off, the more used to not having one I got. However, after some almost relentless nagging from various friends & relatives, last week I finally caved and ended up with this: 

I've had it a week and sent three texts so far. I don't think I'm in any danger of exceeding my free 5000 per month...

So. That's it for now. I'm off over the Cusp in a little while, so I should have plenty to tell you when I get back.