Thursday 26 June 2014

Tin Hat and Tales Compo 2014

My 2010 model aerodynamic tin foil Hat

 I'm sure you'll all be pleased to hear that I've finally come up with a theme for the Tin Hat and Tales Competition 2014. After days of thinking really hard, accosting Tim in Norwich for inspiration, thinking some more (well, Tim was useless - all sweaty and exhausted*, and I hadn't even accosted him that much, either), I finally resorted to picking a submissions gallery premier date then looking at good old Wikipedia to find out what happened on said date throughout the years.
 The date in question is 13th July. While scrolling through the various events, I happened upon this:
  1919 – The British airship R34 lands in Norfolk, England, completing the first airship return journey across the Atlantic in 182 hours of flight.

 And that was when inspiration struck! The airship landing in Norfolk reminded me of my recent aerial adventures, so I decided pretty quickly on a theme of flight. Further scrolling down the births segment revealed these specimens of fictional flight-related fortitude:
1940 – Patrick Stewart, AKA Captain Jean Luc Picard,
commander of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D & E

1942 – Harrison Ford, AKA Han Solo, captain of the Millenium Falcon

1988 – Colton Haynes, AKA Speedy in the TV series Arrow
in which he uses arrows which fly through the ai-
Oh, OK, I'm grasping at straws and just wanted an excuse to look at
his naked wet torso and scowly face...

 So, without further ado, may I present the Tin Hat and Tales Competition 2014: 

Foil Flights of Fancy!

The rules:
 To enter, you must fashion a tin foil hat that somehow involves the theme of flight, take a photo of yourself wearing said chapeau (or, if you are camera-shy, put it on a melon or other head-sized object) and send me the photo (email address is in my profile) along with a short technical description of the hat's flight-related functions, and/or a tale of fancy to go with it.
 The winner will be chosen by any/all of myselves, and displayed on this here blog. There will also be a (yet to be determined, but you can guarantee it'll be cheap) prize, or prizes.
 And "when do we have to get these photos sent in by?", I hear you ask? Why, by midnight Saturday 12th July (GMT) ready for Foil Flights of Fancy day on Sunday 13th..

 So, there you have it. You have just over two weeks to design and build your tin foil hat(s - multiple entries will be considered) and email your photo of it/them in. You will then have a week to vote for your favourite hat and I will declare the winner/s (and losers) the following Sunday. Or possibly on the Monday depending how lazy/busy I am on the Sunday. I may even make another hat myself as I can't find my original creation (I think it may have been unceremoniously despatched during a move?).

 Oh, if you're wondering what this is all about, click here for the original compo's submissions gallery.

 Good luck and godspeed!


* OK, so he was sweaty and exhausted because he'd been teaching Bikram Yoga in the Fine City of Norwich over the past three days, and not due to my accosting. He took my accosting rather well, though - encouraged it, even. Twice!

Thursday 19 June 2014

Tin Foil Hats: Let's Do It Again

 OK. So, enough of you have expressed an interest in giving this another go, so shall we have at it?!

 Not just yet, though. You've got time to pop your (tin foil) thinking caps on and make sure your tin foil stocks are sufficient to create your masterpieces. I'm going to have a think about a theme (like last year's Mother Mindbeam Thwarting one) or whether I should just leave your hat's function up to you, so you can let your creative juices flow. If I do, just be sure to mop up afterwards...

Sunday 15 June 2014

Warning: Tin Foil Hat off the starboard bow

 So. Since the reminder I posted at the beginning of this month, it seems some of you have regrets about failing to take part in the Tin Foil Hat Compo that we hosted four years ago.
 Four years? Was it really that long ago?
 Yes, time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it!
 Sarcastic cow.

 For some reason, I am feeling uncharacteristically good natured and am thinking about hosting another tin foil hat-related competition. However, before I go to all that effort, I want to know if it will be worth my while. Will those of you who have regrets give it a go this time? And what about those of you who entered last time - Will you craft another chapeau de tin foil for the internet to ridicule marvel at?

 Just so you know what you could be up against, here are the entries from 2010's winners, Eros and Princess:

Popular Tin Foil Hat winner: Eroswings' Tin Foil Hat London Olympics

Technical Tin Foil Hat winner:
Princess's Empress-Dowager-thwarting, disco-ball'd-daywear tin foil hat

Let me know in the comments whether you'd like to have a(nother) go. Remember: You could win a prize!

Friday 13 June 2014

Don't you point that thing at me!

 Clutching my pearls chest to make sure I hadn't just been stabbed through the heart by Concorde, I stared up to the cockpit of the gleaming white airliner, wondering who the reckless pilot was. Behind the windscreens I could discern movement, then, one of the side windows was wound down and a familiar-looking arm and head poked out.
 Even if I hadn't recognised the handsome face, the sheer magnitude of sexy arrogance plastered across it was a dead giveaway. It was Knight!

OK, so this clearly isn't Knight. It's not even Concorde's cockpit.
It's actually the Smokin' (it says so on his assignment patch) Flight Lieutenant
Russell Adams of the Royal Australian Air Force.

 "Hello, DeVice" he greeted me through a devastating smile. I was thunderstruck! I hadn't seen him in years, and now he turns up, quite literally out of the blue, in bloody Concorde! I think I actually gaped. "You're looking as lovely as ever."
 Suddenly, and with a loud whirring noise, Concorde's nose rose up and locked into its fully erect parked position as Knight gazed down at me with a salacious grin. I couldn't prevent the blush from taking over my face and, somewhat flustered, fumbled Hat's brim down a bit in the hope of obscuring it.
 While I fannied about with the press releases attempted to compose myselves, Knight disembarked and strode purposefully towards me. Much as I wanted to play it cool, the SubCs took over and fawned embarrassingly over our barely-uniformed not-really-an-ex-as-we-were-never-technically-an-item ex.
Hey! It wasn't all us.
Yeah, the Host played a big part, too.
 I think the less said about my part, big or otherwise, the better! Now, hush up.
 Will you lot shut up! I'm recounting this tale of aerial disaster, not you!
 Now, where was I? Oh, yes:

 "Ah, that's better" Knight sighed after he'd removed his flight jacket. Naturally, he wasn't wearing anything underneath and looked absolutely stunning. The years had been good to him and now, in his mid-forties, he and his abs looked better than ever. Bastard. "It's so hot out here. Especially after being in that air-conditioned cockpit."
 After gazing at him for what felt like an eternity and thinking thoughts I hadn't entertained since World War Two, I finally managed to pull myselves together and ask the obvious question. "What on Earth are you doing here?"
 Maddeningly, he just smiled that irritating, slightly patronising, smile-that-I-can't-resist, took my hand in his and led me towards the Control Tower Cabin. I was lost for words again.
 He booked his unusual inbound flight in the Movements book at Control, then, still silent but smiling, took my hand again and wandered over to the 'Cabin Crew' Diner. He left me outside and went in alone - a mistake, as, no longer under his spell, I was able to reassert myselves. I glared through the cabin window where I could see him flirting outrageously with the poor woman standing behind the counter. Poor Val was practically the colour of a beetroot by the time he'd finished with her, and so flustered that she was attempting to butter a washing up sponge using an egg whisk.
 "Well?" I prompted him with no small amount of impatience. Unable to take my hand again due to holding three cans of ginger beer, Knight cocked his head and gave me that kicked puppy look (seventh paragraph down), but luckily I had prepared myself for it. "Why are you here?"
 He gazed past me towards the runway before making eye contact again. "I heard about your last-minute collection of mythological flying machines and thought you might appreciate another addition."
 I was momentarily stunned. "But... But Concorde isn't mythological!"
 "Isn't it? When was the last time you saw one?" he asked, handing me a ginger beer as he did so.
 "I see one right now" I said darting a look over my shoulder.
 "I meant apart from now."
 "Er... Um..." I racked my brain and luckily the Host provided. "Twenty five years ago at Duxford! I actually went aboard the pre-production prototype Concorde 101, so there." Quite how I managed to prevent the Host from sticking his tongue out I don't know.
 "Well" Knight responded, "if you want to use it for this... well, whatever it is you're doing, you can. If not" and he looked past me again, a proper smile on his lips, "we'll just be on our way."
 Hang on, I thought. We? That was a little presumptuous even for Knight. I looked over my shoulder again to where he had averted his gaze. There on the runway, manhandling the supersonic airliner so it pointed in the right direction for take-off, was a figure in the same state of undress as Knight and far more muscular. The younger man looked up at us and gave a grin and a Gay Wave before resuming his feat of extraordinary strength. It was Blacksmith

Again, not Blacksmith (although he does look remarkably like him),
just another excuse to gaze at the adorable Russell Adams

  Ah, so that's who the third can of ginger beer was for! "So. You and Blacksmith, eh?" I prompted, surprisingly unsurprised.
  "Yes. Me and Blacksmith." He paused and studied my face for my reaction and, seeing my surprisingly genuine happiness for them, continued. "And it's all down to you."
 "Me?" I felt like kicking myself.
 "Of course. Don't you remember our little dalliance?"
 I thought back through the years, coming to a halt back in 2006. "Oh, yes..."
 "It took some time, what with one thing and another, but we eventually got together a couple of months ago." Knight looked over at Blacksmith again, who had, by this time, manoeuvred Concorde into position and was walking towards us with a grin on his face, his enormous muscles bulging and rippling disconcertingly. "We wanted to tell you as soon as possible because of our" and he indicated the two of us "nearly-but-not-quite relationship all those years ago. This aerial insurance ad thing was just a happy coincidence."
 "Well. I... I'm happy for you. Both of you" I said as Blacksmith joined us. "But you" I continued, pointing at Knight "have got to stop flirting at people!" Knight gave a good natured downcast look then turned to greet Blacksmith. Before they got carried away in a Public Display of Affection, I made my excuse to leave. "Right. I'd better go and find out what happened to those flying saucers!" 

To be continued (kind of) in... Flying Saucery


Monday 9 June 2014

An Assortment of Arcane Aerial Conveyances

 Ugh. Someone-or-thing over the Cusp has seen Top Gear's British made motors take over the Mall and the Allianz UK school run insurance ad and wants to do an horrific amalgam of the two for the Cusp's inimitable type of transportation insurance.

 I was contacted to see if I could organise a collection of unique, eldritch (to the mortal realm) personal conveyances so that they could be "auditioned" for suitability in an advertisement. I expect you can imagine my sighing and eye-rolling at such a task, but, unfortunately, the person (and I use that term in the loosest sense of the word's meaning) who did the asking knows a certain something about my past - that I'd rather stay in the past - and made it clear that this wasn't so much a request as a requirement.

 Anyway, I managed to gather a small fleet of apterygial AFOs (Arcane Flying Objects) at Northrepps Aerodrome this weekend. It was all very last minute, so I couldn't get everyone I wanted, unfortunately. 
Oh, come off it! You've known about this for weeks.
Yes, but we've been very busy with other important matters!
Yeah, like fannying about with centaurs and tin foil...

 OK, so I was given plenty of time, but my natural procrastinating abilities kicked in with a vengeance. However, it was still quite a sight as a loose formation of broomsticks, hoes & pitchforks, a magic carpet, an elderly Electrolux Model 30, two sensible umbrellas & a parasol, two flying saucers (don't ask) and a Mini-Metro took to the sky and performed low-level manoeuvres under the mostly sober guidance of their pilots.

The very elderly and difficult to manoeuvre Electrolux Model 30

 Everything was going swimmingly - or flyingly, I suppose - until a distant rumble rent the air. I was standing just off the leading edge of runway 04/22 being talked at by one of the nuns who'd arrived in the Metro, when I noticed her wimple vibrating slightly. At first I didn't pay it much heed as the nuns of the Chattering Order of Saint Beryl were capable of talking at such a rate of speed that I assumed the vibrations were a by-product of their loquaciousness. It was only when I noticed her being impressively drowned out by the ever increasing roar that I realised something else was to blame. As she obliviously blathered on, I surreptitiously glanced about trying to find the source of the noise. Soon, the roar was so loud that even she noticed it and changed subject to that of the noise so quickly that I almost suffered with whiplash!

 Suddenly, one of the few low-hanging cumulus clouds burst open to reveal an enormous white dragon, its wings spread and its claws out, heading right for us!

The mythological dragon, Concorde, about to seize its prey

 After that almost heart-stopping moment, I managed to gather my wits (no mean feat as some of them had managed to get quite a distance away) and see the "dragon" for what it really was.
 "Don't worry" I said, attempting to soothe the panicking nun. "Its only Concorde."
 And with that, my wits fled again - along with the nun - as the realisation that 150 tons and 62 metres of 20th century supersonic airliner was attempting a landing on a small village's grass runway that was only built mowed for microlights, light aircraft and the occasional helicopter.

 As I gawped in awed terror, rooted to the spot, the fleet of AFOs scattered to make way for the descending Concorde. Well, I say scattered - most of them did but a few of the slower ones were taking a terrifying amount of time to get out of the way. The brollies and the parasol were the chief culprits, but the ancient Electrolux was the worst. That thing couldn't manoeuvre for toffee and was attempting a starboard turn that made the Titanic look like a London taxi. It just about got out of the way though, its hose earning a clip from the very tip of Concorde's wing as the enormous jet dropped onto the runway.
 The airliner sloughed speed at an incredible rate, its brakes glowing red hot and screeching in protest, with great clods of runway being flung left, right and centre like a rubbish golfer creates divots. Somehow, it managed to skid to a stop before careering off the end of the runway, through a hedge and into the road.
 My heart hammered in my chest as, not two feet away, Concorde's droop nose pointed right at it.
 "Eeep" I said, breathing heavily.

 To be continued in... Don't you point that thing at me!

Saturday 7 June 2014

Witches' thimbles

... or, A Fandango of Foxgloves!

 The gardens of Castlette DeVice are coming along quite nicely thanks to the warm (and wet) weather the North Norfolk coast has enjoyed of late. So, I thought I'd share some of my very favourite late-spring/early-summer flowers: my collection of Foxgloves.

 As well as being a highly toxic essential ingredient of a couple of my staple spells, these foxgloves are also rather lovely to gaze upon as you can see below. As always, just click the image to embiggen.

  I'm hoping there will still be some in flower when it come to 
Mistress MJ's Garden Photo Event later in the summer.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Tin Foil Treachery

 I have recently discovered that one can search the interweb (using such institutions as Google) using images rather than words. It seems that all one has to do is drag an image to the image tab on the search page et voila! other websites hosting the same picture will be displayed, along with similar images, too.

 Imagine my surprise when I found this:

"weirdos" eh? I suppose it takes one to know one...
 The original image and post that it was attached to can be found here.

 And yes, of course I googled all most of the other original images from the blog. Somewhat disappointingly, nothing much of note appeared anywhere else unexpectedly. There were, of course, a few choice images that ended up at MJ the Infomaniac's, but those were hardly surprising.

* mutters something about MJ's 'right-click-and-save' finger being worn down to a nubbin *