Saturday, November 18, 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, November 15, 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, November 12, 2017

Saturday, November 11, 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, November 08, 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, November 05, 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, November 04, 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, October 31, 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, October 28, 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, October 22, 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, October 19, 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, October 15, 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, October 08, 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, October 01, 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, September 30, 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.

Friday, September 29, 2017

What Would You Name Yours?

  What would you name your beach hut, that is?

  The following are some beach huts of note from Overstrand promenade.  They're not all named, but either the name or the design of each of these caught my eye. 

One for Mistress Maddie (as teased in the last post)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Taste of Things to Come...

... or "How to ensnare a Mistress Maddie".

I'll publish the actual post once I've sorted out the photos.  Probably at the weekend.  Probably...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Grasping at straws...

... or, pencil crayons, even.

Ooh! Shiny!  Just call me "Magpie"
  One might suspect that as I've been absent from the blog for a week, I would have been very busy doing very busy and important things?  Oh, the important busyness I could have been doing!
  Sadly, I haven't been importantly busy, or even busily important. No, I've been tasked with the taking-to and collecting-from school of The Little Witch all week.  And then keeping her entertained for a couple of hours until Indescribable comes to collect her after work.  This is what happens when I make it known that I have a couple of weeks off work.  You'd think I'd've learned by now...
  In between the taking-to and collecting-from school, I have been doing load after load of their washing (as well as all my own chores, and those of The Parents', too).  In fact, having done a couple of loads yesterday, I had thought that I'd have today to myself as Indescribable (and her spawn) couldn't possibly have generated another machine-load of washing so soon.  How wrong I was.  I made myself a cup of coffee and took a piece of cake from the tin (half of which was devoured by Indescribable and The Little Witch yesterday), then sat down in front of the Demon Box and opened up the blog.  And guess who turned up on the doorstep?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Overcast in Overstrand

 Another long photo post, but this one doesn't have music!  Oh, how I spoil you.

 The first six photos are from a brief perambulation along the promenade on 10th September - an overcast, yet calm day that had me thinking my first thoughts about how Autumnal the end of Summer is getting.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Where The Moon Hides Her Tears

  I seem to remember threatening you all with the view from Chateau DeVice's smallest room not too long ago?  Well, here for your delectation (or horror) is the view from the 5th August:
I can't believe it was that long ago? Where has the month gone?

That's not a mountain range swathed in clouds in the background - just clouds!
Although, there is a very small hill behind and to the right of the tree on the right...


  So. Where does the Moon hide her tears, you may be asking?  Well, inspired by the immortal words of Erasure from their 1994 album I Say, I Say I Say: "On until sunrise, where the Moon hides her tears" (from the song "All Through The Years"), here:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Strictly: You're My Favourite

  Strictly Come Dancing is back!

  Now starting its fifteenth series, the Strictly Come Dancing launch show aired yesterday evening, kicking off a glittering & sequinned Autumn full of Latin and Ballroom dancing that will see us through until Christmas.  Good job I don't have a social life as it's Saturday nights in front of the telly from here on in!
No change there then...
  Fifteen celebrities of varying levels of fame and recognition, and from a range of backgrounds, have been paired up with professional dancers to compete for the Glitterball Trophy.  I'd only heard of about half of the celebs (much like with previous series), but it doesn't really matter much to me as I'd happily watch Strictly even if "civilians" were competing rather than celebs.  However, three celebs caught my eye during the launch show: Simon Rimmer (chef), who I enjoyed watching on Something for the Weekend; Gemma Atkinson (actress/model), who I was vaguely aware of but now love because she said her mum describes her as a "baby elephant" when she comes downstairs; and Davood Ghadami (actor), who I'd never heard of (he's in EastEnders, which I absolutely do not watch - too miserable and depressing) is ridiculously handsome, and also has a killer bod!
Davood auditioning for my Hallowe'en Spectacular!

  As the dearly departed Sir Bruce Forsyth was fond of saying "You're my favourite."


  In other televisual news, The Expanse is also back on Netflix.  The second season is primed and ready to go when I've finished re-watching Being Human.  Then I'm going to re-watch Jessica Jones (having recently binge-watched Marvel's Defenders) hopefully before Star Trek: Discovery airs near the end of September.

  What have you all been watching, and is there anything coming up that you're really looking forward to (something new, or a returning show)?


  I started constructing this post early this morning, but Chateau DeVice was invaded by both siblings and their families - one after the other - which prevented me from finishing it until now! 


Saturday, September 02, 2017

Triumphant Tin Foil Hat 2017

The winning hat waiting to be unveiled
 It's time!

 Time for the unveiling of the "Tin Four, Rubber Duck" 2017 Triumphant Tin Foil Hat!

 All the votes are in - both the public gallery votes and the private email votes - and I'm pleased to announce that I didn't have to use my own vote as a Head Judge's Decider as there is a clear winner (just).

 But, before we get to the winner, we'd better take a look at the runners up. Yes, runners up plural. With three Tin Foil Hats gaining the same amount of votes each - just two less than the winner - this year's compo sees three runners up!
 And they are:

Charmaine's Ms Scarlet's Tin Foil Hat Competition with rubber duck by Andy Warhol

Mago's Darling - I set my head on fire for You !

and Dinahmow's Fantabulous Titfer

 And so, I am pleased to present the 2017 Triumphant Tin Foil Hat:

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The 2017 Tin Foil Hat Gallery!

Haven't we been here before?
 Hello and welcome to the 2017 Tin Foil Hat Gallery, the fourth such exhibit seen over the years in this little corner of Blogland. This being the fourth collection of international chapeaux de tin foil, it seemed fitting that the theme also be "four". How you, the designers, interpreted the theme was entirely at your own discretion, and I'm very pleased with the diversity and alternative takes that made it into the collection.
 An added extra to the theme, that of the rubber duck, came about via one of the SubConsciouses. I can't remember which one...
Hey! It was me!
 Oh, yes. The Host's SubC. I might have known you'd be responsible for such an act of triviality!
Actually, it wasn't trivial. The rubber duck, in thought and form,
has been a part of this competition since the very first one back in 2010
(scroll down to the text below LẌ's [then known as xl] masterpiece for the reference).
 I'd hardly call that a rubber duck of any substance!
And then, in the second collection in 2014, Tin Hat and Tales: Flights of Fancy,
Mago wowed us all with his creation: The Duck!
 Fine! So the rubber duck theme didn't come out of nowhere, then. Hmmph...
(Thank gods Witchface gave up then, as I couldn't find a reference to rubber ducks
in 2015's 10th Anniversary Tin Foil Top Hats and Tiaras collection...)
 What was that?!
 Hmmmm... Right, then. We'd better open the doors to the gallery and let you all peruse the 2017 Tin Foil Hat Collection: Tin-Four, Rubber Duck!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Holes with stones around them...

... and other seaside somethings.

  From my various perambulations along the beach here, I bring you a selection of seaside flotsam and jetsam that I deigned fascinating enough to bring home.
  The thing is, all these pocket-fulls of stones and fossils and glass and shells are building up so that the interior of Chateau DeVice is slowly transforming into a beach... 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Foiled Again?!

[image via]
 No pressure, but we've received the first entry for this year's Tin Foil Hat Competition!  

 No, it's not "Sea Urchin" as constructed and modelled by Sir David Attenborough on the right here:
 (We had to disqualify his submission as he had "help" from NASA)

 You now have five days to submit your tin foil hats for entry into this illustrious competition (six, if you include the rest of today and a little leeway for the early hours of Friday morning to allow for time-travel nincompoopery).

Closing date for entries is midnight on Thursday 24th August

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fourwarned is Fourarmed (or fourhatted...)

Yves Saint Laurent adds the four-
millionth (and final) layer of
tin foil to the fourth hummingbird
gallstone decoration that will adorn
my own Tin Foil Hat masterpiece
(I may have to widen the brim somewhat...)
[image via]
 You lucky, lucky people can breathe a sigh of relief: I've extended the Tin Foil Hat submission deadline by four working days (or thereabouts) to midnight on Thursday 24th August!  Mainly because I haven't had time to construct my own shiny chapeau yet, due to unexpected/unannounced/unnecessary visitations from Indescribable, the Little Witch and Grumplestiltskin; plus the eventual birth of Inexcuseable's first spawn on Monday morning: Spider-Monkey (because that's what he looks like at the moment). But also because some of you have resorted to time-travel to try and eke out a few more days of construction time...

 This means that the Gallery of Hats will open on Saturday 26th August for a week of viewing and voting, with the winner being announced on Saturday 2nd September

 In case you're new here, or you've had a sudden attack of amnesia, the theme for this year's Tin Foil Hat Competition is "Four" (with or without a rubber duck). How you interpret this theme is up to you: You may wish to make four hats (sounds like too much hard work to me); take four different photos of one hat (that's a bit better); fashion your hat into the number four; adorn it with four items of decoration (or four rubber ducks); or go for something more subtle (or downright obscure), such as the four stages of metamorphism of the superorder Endopterygota (good gods!).

 Remember: to enter, you must fashion a tin foil hat (with or without rubber duck/s), 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 our profile) along with a short technical description of the hat's functions (and what, if any, purpose the rubber ducks serve - if you included any), and/or a tale of fancy to go with it.
 The winner will be whomsoever garners the most votes from you, the voting proletariat masses select, 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.

 Right. We'd all better get on with our hats then, hadn't we?! 


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dandy Horse Distraction

  Mago showed us his - and after a modicum of light pestering - I'll show you mine:

Unveiling the Velocipede
  For those occasions when taking Broom out is not an option (i.e. in daylight, mostly), I can't be bothered to walk, and I can't justify a relatively short trip in Car (i.e. to Indescribable's temporary woodland abode), Bike is summoned to transport me, if not in style, then at least in relative efficacy.
Bike hadn't even gone half a mile before stopping for a rest! Lazy...

Not bad for a 30odd year old bike, though.

  There. That's that out of the way so you can get on with crafting your "four" themed Tin Foil Hats (with or without rubber duck/s). There's only one week left until the submission deadline (19th August), remember! 

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Clifftop Calamities II (New! Butterfly flavour!)

 Again. As with the last post, not really any calamities... And remember to click to embiggen!

(To release the butterfly flavour, just tear open the tin foil pack and allow to stand for a minute or two. Then, to prevent waste, use the foil to craft a hat or four!) 

Remind you of anything...?

There's loads of these, so take a deep breath and ensure your scrolling finger has had plenty of rest.