Thursday 28 December 2017

The Year of the Lunatic Coven Awards

"The Year of the Lunatic"...?  What on earth are you going on about?!
Well, I thought that would have been obvious?!
Clearly not.
Not even with that ruddy great moon up there?  And all the other moon shots scattered around?
I think someone has been doing too many sherry shots, never mind moon shots...
 Shush!  We've started!
Cripes!  Witchface is on the ball this year.
  Let's get on with it, shall we?
 Yes.  Every year devolves into some sort of squabbling before things get going.
"Every year"?  Ha!  What about all those years we couldn't be arsed?


  That's better.  Shall we?
 Yes.  Let's.
  Hello, and thank you for joining us for the 2017 - AKA The Year of the Lunatic - Coven Awards.
 The fact is, we've got a packed show for you this evening.
  Or, morning or afternoon, depending on your time zone.
 Yes.  No.  Exactly.  Yes.  Um...  What was I saying?
  Packed show.
  So, let's begin with a quick recap of the first quarter of the year before moving on to the first of the awards.
 Yes.  No.  Exactly.
  As usual, I'll present the awards, and Witchface will recap the year.  Are you ready?
 Yes.  Exactly.  Yes.
Christ!  Who let Anna Rampton in?  

Monday 25 December 2017

Sunday 24 December 2017

Christmas Panto

 In lieu of a Christmas post (I don't know why I'm worrying, as I haven't done one in years), for anyone who's interested (and lucky enough to have a few minutes of spare time this close to Christmas), here's a look back on the seasonal goings on here ten years ago:

 Unless some of you were lurkers back then (or have scoured my dusty crypts), I think it will only be The Very Mistress and ErosWings who remember the above tales from over the Cusp.

 One day soon - time willing - I will drag you all over the Cusp for an adventure or two, like we used to have.  I mean, it's been nearly three and a half years since our last foray:

 I tell a lie, it's been nearly three years, as we endured that James Bond related nincompoopery back in early 2015, didn't we:

Arrrgh!!!  I've got glitter in my eyes!!! (via)

 Do you have a favourite seasonal post of your own?  Or just a favourite themed post - one you're proud of or pleased with?


Have a Wonderful Winterval one and all,
and see you before the New Year at the Coven Awards!

Thursday 21 December 2017

Bent Groynes and Salty Spray

  I know we haven't been around Blogland much this past week or so, and we've missed several of your recent posts, but we do have a good reason:  When not tasked with entertaining nieces and nephew (on my days off, no less!), you may be pleased to hear that we've been working on this year's Coven Awards.
 As usual, things have been left until the last minute, but we're determined that the 2017 Coven Awards will take place on schedule*, and not be the unmitigated disaster that 2016's turned out to be (or didn't turn out, as the case may be).  Having said that, we cannot promise that the 2017 Awards will be a success, just that they will be.

  Anyway, the purpose of this post was not to harp on about what we are or are not doing, rather it is a dumping ground for some photos taken at the weekend while babysitting.  In an effort to get The Nephew to sleep, he was bundled up in many layers, strapped into his buggy, and pushed off to the cliff top:

Saturday 16 December 2017

Aljaž's Strictly Straplines

  Continuing from last month's Strictly Aljaž post, here are Strictly: It Takes Two's remaining straplines from adorable Aljaž Skorjanec's (and his down-to-Earth celebrity dance partner, Gemma Atkinson's) appearances on the show:

(On the right, Aljaž attempts his best catalogue pose)

For the non-Brits, a Mancunian is someone from the English city of Manchester
(Gemma is from Bury in  Greater Manchester)

He did remarkably well at the accent, but couldn't keep it up (how disappointing), so resorted to posing instead

Saturday 9 December 2017

Not The Usual Suspects: White Horses Edition

 While I was sorting out the Moon photos for the previous post, I came across some photos I'd taken last month and neglected to do anything with. So, to remedy that, here's another post consisting of birds (à la Mistress Maddie's Usual Suspects posts), and white horses.

 First up, a promenade perambulation on 19th November provided waders and white horses:

A foraging Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

"Anything good to eat over there, Mabel?"

"Yikes! Watch out for that wave!"

Thursday 7 December 2017

The Moon, She Cries

Not taken from my smallest room.
 I don't see why it's so super?  It looks just the same as the last couple of full moons...

 Anyway, let's have some music.  After leaving you with Blade Runner 2049's version of "Tears in Rain" last time, it's back to Erasure for this moon post and "Moon & The Sky":

 There's also Randy Roger's Ramjet Mix, that I quite like (no video, so maybe just have it on in the background).  And a Murk Monster Mix that I'm not going to link to because its rubbish.

 Vince and Andy seem to have a thing for the Moon, as it features in several of their songs.  "Man in the Moon", for instance...

Sunday 3 December 2017

Lilliputian Endeavours

 After an evening consisting partly of "I am had a much bottle of lots wine" - #woddingdwunks (aka #weddingdrunks) - with The Host's coven of friends (and getting home after the Witching Hour!), we decided to blow the cobwebs off our lethargy today with a walk on the beach.  However, as The Host and his SubC couldn't be arsed to go very far, but me and my SubC wanted a more entertaining perambulation than a short walk on an overcast beach would normally provide, we indulged in a little witchcraft to make our walk more of an endeavour.
 After rather more poking and prodding around in rock pools than I would have liked, we eventually found the lock for a particular Cusp Interface, pressed our fingertip to the mechanism, and found ourselves in a frigid land of monolithic coastal barrens.
Fingers at the ready!  Press here for instant access.
And remember: you can click to embigulate!


Friday 1 December 2017

It's A Faaaake! Not The Art Of Star Trek - Let's See Your OC!

  This month's Star Trek Art Challenge-
 Aaaand you've lost most of our audience.
Can you even call less than a dozen people an "audience"?
Who knows?
  Quiet, you lot!  If anything, the audience would have been lost before I started writing anything because the title's got a ruddy big "Star Trek" in it!
 Oh, get on with it then.  I cant be bothered with this malarkey - I've got apples to poison and fingers to prick.
  Well, shut up and go then!
  Right.  For anyone who is still even the slightest bit interested, November's Art Challenge is all about one's original character (OC):

Invent your very own original Star Trek character and present it in whatever way you wish.

Maybe you make up a little backstory for your character. Where does your OC live in the Star Trek universe? How does it look? Maybe draw a traditional character sheet or whip up a photomanip of the actor/actress you would like to see portray your character or do it complete as a CG render of your OC in action or or or …

There are only two conditions: (1.) It has to be a completely original character never before seen or heard of on the shows. And (2.), please give us the name, species, gender and age of your OC on the entry itself.

A quick sketch of Vilix'Pran's species
  I was a bit flummoxed at first, but then I remembered something: Lieutenant Vilix'Pran and Captain Boday, both from DS9. I've got vague images for them both in my head: Pran is basically a nest of tentacles with several sets of dragonfly-like wings, and Boday is vaguely humanoid - similar to an Alien/Xenomorph - but with a lovely transparent skull.  As well as his transparent skull, Boday was said to have a toothy grin. And how much more toothy does one have to get to best an Alien/Xenomorph's "grin"? Especially when the little mouth is out.

"What?!   This is a smile.  I'm smiling!"

Sunday 26 November 2017

Coming soon...

... probably.

  Spiralling paper baubles and Alien/Beluga-a-like Gallamites.

  What's not to like?

Saturday 18 November 2017

The Very Mistress MJ Diaries

 For those of you who didn't buy a copy last year (why not?), good news!  The Very Mistress MJ Diaries is back by popular demand, entering its third print run just in time for the Winterval gift-giving occasion of your choice.

 You've already seen the amuse.bouke.cusp excerpts (or you will do if you click the link up there), so the following are some of my favourites that I didn't get time to share last year.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

"I am not enjoying myself very much"*

Or: Weekend Walkies on Wednesday!

  The following photos were taken on Saturday afternoon as I walked in to Cromer along the beach.  I needed some fresh air and exercise after eating almost my own body weight of "beige food" at work on Friday (we had a buffet for someone's leaving do, which was placed on the empty desk next to me!), and spending most of Saturday morning dealing with sisters and their various offspring.
  I decided to go to Cromer to see if I could find a suitable prize for Savvy's Tin Foil Hat win (I did say I'd send the prize "whenever I can be bothered", remember?).
  Anyway.  Photos: 

The offshore supply ships Vos Grace and Vos Gorgeous.
I've never seen them together like this before.

I'm sure that cloud is nothing to worry about, girls...

Overstrand beach with Cromer Pier in the distance

Sunday 12 November 2017




Saturday 11 November 2017

Not the Usual Suspects

 While making a cup of coffee on Thursday morning, I absently gazed out of the kitchen window at the birds as they went about their business in the bijou garden of Château DeVice.  Reminded of Mistress Maddie's Usual Suspects series of blog posts, I thought this was a good opportunity to do one of my own, and set about taking some photos of the garden visitors.  While not quite as colourful as some of Maddie's visitors, the birds of Château DeVice are no less entertaining.

 Until a certain arrival spoiled everything...

House sparrows enjoying a bath

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Escape with Evil Edna

  I've been thinking about how quickly this year has seemed to pass, and how close we are to the end of times 2017.  And that means that I need to be working on my end-of-year review, AKA: The Coven Awards!
  After all, we don't want another debacle like last year...

  Do we?

  Anyway, around this time last year, I was thinking along similar lines, and roped in Evil Edna to facilitate a televisual treat-filled blog post in preparation for the end-of-year review.  So, as I've got nothing else planned, why not rehash the whole thing?  Only this time with videos!

  Here's a little taster of what's to come:

Sunday 5 November 2017

Where the Moon Hides Her Tears (part 2)

Last night's moon
(as seen from the smallest room)
  After a day of drizzle and murk yesterday, this morning arrived clear and bright.  Although, it is not expected to last...

 As I hadn't been down to the beach in a while, and inspired by Ms Scarlet's recent blue skies, I thought I'd make the most of this break in the weather and capture the sun over the sea.

  I was not disappointed:

Sunrise over Sidestrand

Saturday 4 November 2017

Strictly Aljaž

  Presenting the naughtiest pro-dancer on Strictly Come Dancing and Strictly: It Takes Two, the always entertaining - and extremely handsome - Aljaž Skorjanec!

Aljaž dressed as the Milk Tray Man in episode 4

  As much as I love the Saturday main show, Strictly Come Dancing, Zoe Ball's weekday "variety show" Strictly: It Takes Two is my favourite.  Full of gossip, training videos, interviews, behind the scenes wonder, music, costumes, celebrities & pro-dancers, Ian Waite's Wand, choreography, Vicky Gill, comedy, sketches, and general nincompoopery, It Takes Two is only better when Aljaž Skorjanec is on.

Tuesday 31 October 2017

It's A Faaaake! Not The Art Of Star Trek - Celebrate good times, come on!

 You were almost certainly expecting a post that referenced Hallowe'en, what with this being Hallowe'en and all, so I'm sorry for any disappointment this non-Hallowe'en post may cause. 

 Originally, I was going to post that Delilah nonsense for Hallowe'en, as I thought the 31st was on Saturday.  When I realised I'd been looking at my portable standing stones from the wrong angle and, therefore, got my dates all skew-wiff, I had to have a rethink.  It also didn't help that the Delilah Smythe Inc. goons sent to "persuade" me to "endorse" that cow's books kept getting under my feet and putting me off, resulting in me pressing 'publish' just to get some peace and quiet!
 So, on very short notice, and with assistance from the Host, instead of Hallowe'en, may I present a different ancient pagan festival: Rumarie.  Described as: "full of barely clothed Vulcan men and women, covered in slippery Rillan grease, chasing one another", Rumarie has not been observed since the 14th century.
 I'm sure some of you can't wait to participate in its come-back...

  Thanks for the intro, Witchface. 
  As you might have guessed, Rumarie comes from the Star Trek universe, and it was my selection for this month's Star Trek Art Challenge.  The theme for October was set by the winner of the September challenge (not me - I didn't have time to create a submission), below: 

Peldor joi, friends!

This month it's time for some celebrations. The theme is Star Trek holidays! Be it the Bajoran Gratitude Festival, the Klingon Day of Honor, the Vulcan Tal-Shanar or Earth's own First Contact Day – there's some celebrating to be done!
Here's a handy list of all the made-up holidays from the Star Trek universe. Either pick one of those fictional festive events or invent one yourself to use as the basis for your work. No really, you can do anything you like with it.

Looking forward to what you cook up!

  I thought of Rumarie almost immediately as I wanted to use a little-known holiday, and also because I could revisit the Vulcan aesthetic I used last year for Winter Solstice.

First, I looked up "people chasing each other", selected some likely images and cut-out their silhouettes
(adding pointed ears - they're supposed to be Vulcans, after all)

Saturday 28 October 2017

"Up yours, Mrs Beeton!"

[This post is brought to you in grudging association with Delilah Smythe Inc.]

 To celebrate my 1000th post in just over twelve years of blogging (although I did have a couple of years off, sort of), and the publication of Delilah Smythe's latest book, her autobiography, TV DINNERS (to be published in certain markets under the title Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Boiling), may I present my five favourite Delilah Smythe books:
You cow, Delilah!  I'll get you for this! 

 TV Dinners is Delilah Smythe's seventh published autobiography, and gathers together all the old dross that wasn't fit for her first six bios.  It also includes an in depth look at Delilah's contributions to the television and film industry, in particular, her seminal work in Fatal Attraction (proudly used for the cover image), and her iconic (but highly poisonous) blue food for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

 (The post title "Up yours, Mrs Beeton!" comes from chapter twelve.  Specifically, Delilah's reaction to the news that her then current cook book, Catastrophic Cakefarts, had surpassed the sales of her arch rival's Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management in the Christmas run-up of 11th-24th December 2016.) 

Sunday 22 October 2017

Further Adventures in Star Trek Scribbling

... Continued from Adventures in Star Trek Scribbling

  Look away now if you're averse to Star Trek nincompoopery.
  Yes, this is another post chock full of Trek-related art by myself and master of computer generated witchcraft, Scribble.
 (I mean, how can the models exist only within the confines of a computer?  They're real, physical constructs, aren't they?  They certainly look like it.)

  I did warn you.

The latest version of my alternate take on the officer ranks.  If you look closely, you can see that the gold bars are wider than on the previous models, and the ribbing is parallel to the long edges of the open areas in which they sit. 
Hasn't Scribble done a marvellous job?!


  Since the last post, in which we looked at the officer ranks, I've been thinking about the flag officer ranks - i.e. the various admirals - and some of the other uniform accoutrements and embellishments.

It appears I'm not the only one thinking about uniform bling.  Here we see James T. Kirk eyeing up Admiral Morrow's impressive embellishments!

Thursday 19 October 2017

BEAST is Back!

 Oh, the horror! 

 Yes, BEAST - he of the stinky duvet and unfortunately placed banana - is back.  To get over the upset, I invite you all to view these soothing beach photos from Sunday:

Sunday 15 October 2017

Conflict of Interests

"The fact is, this is about identifying what we do most of best,
and finding fewer ways of doing more of it less."
Anna Rampton, Director of Better, BBC

  I've spent all morning so far, pretty much all day yesterday, as well as Thursday (my day off), not doing what I'd planned to do except for when I sat down to do it but then didn't.

  Last night, I came to the realisation that I'm not doing the things I planned to do because there are more things we want to do than personalities and bodies available to do them. It also doesn't help that the things I planned to do aren't necessarily the things we want to do.

Sunday 8 October 2017

Adventures in Star Trek Scribbling

  Remember those Star Trek: Voyages That Never Were posts I used to occasionally churn out?  Well, if you don't, you can just click the link and take a look.  But, if you can't be bothered with all that clicking and reading and sighing about my Star Trek fetish, or just don't want to relive the horror again (or, maybe you do actually remember?), just skim over this post then nod and smile when you get to the end.
  Anyway, someone liked what I'd shown in those posts enough - well, they liked the alternate Original Series Movie rank insignia that I designed, rough sketches of which can be seen in the first ST: Voyages That Never Were post linked to up there, and then later attempts in the most recent ST: VTNW post a year and a half ago - to render them into 3D computer generated models (just look at the beautiful job they've done with my lieutenant commander insignia in the teaser image).

  Before we get to the redesigns, I'd better show you the originals, as designed by Robert Fletcher for the Star Trek original series movies:

Commanders Chekov and Uhura looking perturbed at the Star Trekkyness of this post...

  So, below are my alternate takes:

Sunday 1 October 2017

Earworms & Bookworms

  Mago's recent book post reminded me that I haven't published one since yesterday March!  Not that I've read that many books over the last three months - well, not many that you'd be interested in, probably...
  Anyway, before we get to the books, here's Strawberry Switchblade with "Since Yesterday" (because it was an earworm of mine when I first started constructing this post months ago):

  And, here are the books.  It's all a bit Star Trekky from 16 onwards, though...

11. The Lives of Dax (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), edited by Marco Palmieri (1999)
      I last read this back in 2010, it seems.

12. Martian Time-Slip, by Philip K. Dick (1964)

13. Dirty Beasts, by Roald Dahl & Rosemary Fawcett (1983)
      One of the books I had as a child found languishing in a box at Inexcuseable's house...

14. Hocus Pocus Diplodocus, by Tom Stanier (1980)
      Along with Dirty Beasts was this book - millions of years of evolution on Earth
      condensed into 32 pages of rhyming poems for kids (with some pretty amusing
      pictures, too).

15. Orlando, by Virginia Woolf Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke (1973)
      I quickly got bored of Orlando, so I moved on to 'Rama.

16. Shield of the Gods (Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations),
      by Christopher L. Bennett (2017)

17. Enigma Tales (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), by Una McCormack (2017)

18. Jaws, by Peter Benchley (1974)

19. Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference (Star Trek: Enterprise),
      by Christopher L. Bennett (2017)

20. Gamma: Original Sin (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), by David R. George III (2017)

  I'll leave you with the sublime "Pilots" by Goldfrapp - another earworm:


Saturday 30 September 2017

Not the Gardens of Château DeVice

 Much as I'd love to submit these photos to The Very Mistress for her annual Garden Photos Event, sadly they are not from Château DeVice's extensive tiny grounds.  
 Yesterday saw a trip to Norwich to drop Indescribable off for some course she's undertaking (she couldn't drive herself as her car was being M.O.T.ed), so I had a few hours to kill while waiting for her to finish.  And what better venue could I have chosen to obliterate those hours (not to mention my bank balance) than at the Urban Jungle?!   

A beautiful Datura

Datura something-or-other, Canary Island Foxglove (Digitalis canariensis), and something that I didn't get the name of

I love this broken pot planted with ferns - I'm not going to chuck out broken or frost damaged pots anymore.