Sunday, February 19, 2017

There Was a Hue of Dull Bronze Upon Their Skins

These creatures were believed to have arrived from another dimension and thought to live within the willows. Algernon Blackwood was a protégé of H. P. Lovecraft thus his rendition of the multidimensional idea.

"I was half-way out, kneeling on all fours, when my eye first took in that the tops of the bushes opposite, with their moving tracery of leaves, made shapes against the sky. I sat back on my haunches and stared. It was incredible, surely, but there, opposite and slightly above me, were shapes of some indeterminate sort among the willows, and as the branches swayed in the wind they seemed to group themselves about these shapes, forming a series of monstrous outlines that shifted rapidly beneath the moon. Close, about fifty feet in front of me, I saw these things.

My first instinct was to waken my companion, that he too might see them, but something made me hesitate—the sudden realization, probably, that I should not welcome corroboration; and meanwhile I crouched there staring in amazement with smarting eyes. I was wide awake. I remember saying to myself that I was not dreaming.

They first became properly visible, these huge figures, just within the tops of the bushes—immense, bronze-colored, moving, and wholly independent of the swaying of the branches. I saw them plainly and noted, now I came to examine them more calmly, that they were very much larger than human, and indeed that something in their appearance proclaimed them to be not human at all. Certainly they were not merely the moving tracery of the branches against the moonlight. They shifted independently. They rose upwards in a continuous stream from earth to sky, vanishing utterly as soon as they reached the dark of the sky. They were interlaced one with another, making a great column, and I saw their limbs and huge bodies melting in and out of each other, forming this serpentine line that bent and swayed and twisted spirally with the contortions of the wind-tossed trees. They were nude, fluid shapes, passing up the bushes, within the leaves almost—rising up in a living column into the heavens. Their faces I never could see. Unceasingly they poured upwards, swaying in great bending curves, with a hue of dull bronze upon their skins."

The Willows, by Algernon Blackwood

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Another Look at the Plague Base

I wouldn’t have believed that I would get another chance to spray paint a base coat on any miniature this winter, but with the thermometer climbing to 670 today I did just that. I took an image of the Black Swans Plague Base sprue just before I did.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Simpson’s Comic Book Guy Character

Jeff Albertson otherwise known as the Comic Book Guy is a recurring character in the Simpsons. In the Simpson series Jeff Albertson is the proprietor of The Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop, a “stereotypical middle-aged comic-book collector”.

I was looking for Homer and Bartman figures and although I did not find either of the former I was surprised to find yet another Simpsons character being offered at this location. Like the other figures this figure is cast from PVC. The Comic Book Guy stands 2.75 inches tall.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

SORAIS’ SONG

As a desolate bird that through darkness its lost way is winging,
As a hand that is helplessly raised when Death’s sickle is swinging,
So is life! ay, the life that lends passion and breath to my singing.

As the nightingale’s song that is full of a sweetness unspoken,
As a spirit unbarring the gates of the skies for a token,
So is love! ay, the love that shall fall when his pinion is broken.

As the tramp of the legions when trumpets their challenge are sending,
As the shout of the Storm-god when lightnings the black sky are rending,
So is power! ay, the power that shall lie in the dust at its ending.

So short is our life; yet with space for all things to forsake us,
A bitter delusion, a dream from which nought can awake us,
Till Death’s dogging footsteps at morn or at eve shall o’ertake us.

Refrain

Oh, the world is fair at the dawning—dawning—dawning,
But the red sun sinks in blood—the red sun sinks in blood."

CHAPTER XV SORAIS’ SONG, Allan Quartermain

Monday, February 13, 2017

Invocation to the Sun

"Agon’s eyes were fixed upon the altar before him apparently in an ecstasy of contemplation, and mine were fixed upon the small of his back in another sort of ecstasy. Suddenly he flung up his long arm, and in a solemn and resounding voice commenced a chant, of which for convenience’ sake I append a rough, a very rough, translation here, though, of course, I did not then comprehend its meaning. It was an invocation to the Sun, and ran somewhat as follows:—

There is silence upon the face of the Earth and the waters thereof!
Yea, the silence doth brood on the waters like a nesting bird;
The silence sleepeth also upon the bosom of the profound darkness,
Only high up in the great spaces star doth speak unto star,
The Earth is faint with longing and wet with the tears of her desire;
The star-girdled night doth embrace her, but she is not comforted.
She lies enshrouded in mists like a corpse in the grave-clothes,
And stretches her pale hands to the East.

Lo! away in the farthest East there is the shadow of a light;
The Earth seeth and lifts herself. She looks out from beneath
the hollow of her hand.
Then thy great angels fly forth from the Holy Place, oh Sun,
They shoot their fiery swords into the darkness and shrivel it up.
They climb the heavens and cast down the pale stars from their thrones;
Yea, they hurl the changeful stars back into the womb of the night;
They cause the moon to become wan as the face of a dying man,
And behold! Thy glory comes, oh Sun!

Oh, Thou beautiful one, Thou drapest thyself in fire.
The wide heavens are thy pathway: thou rollest o’er them as a chariot.
The Earth is thy bride. Thou dost embrace her and
she brings forth children;
Yea, Thou favourest her, and she yields her increase.
Thou art the All Father and the giver of life, oh Sun.
The young children stretch out their hands and grow in thy brightness;
The old men creep forth and seeing remember their strength.
Only the dead forget Thee, oh Sun!

When Thou art wroth then Thou dost hide Thy face;
Thou drawest around Thee a thick curtain of shadows.
Then the Earth grows cold and the Heavens are dismayed;
They tremble, and the sound thereof is the sound of thunder:
They weep, and their tears are outpoured in the rain;
They sigh, and the wild winds are the voice of their sighing.
The flowers die, the fruitful fields languish and turn pale;
The old men and the little children go unto their appointed place
When Thou withdrawest thy light, oh Sun!

Say, what art Thou, oh Thou matchless Splendour—
Who set Thee on high, oh Thou flaming Terror?
When didst Thou begin, and when is the day of Thy ending?
Thou art the raiment of the living Spirit. {Endnote 16}
None did place Thee on high, for Thou was the Beginning.
Thou shalt not be ended when thy children are forgotten;
Nay, Thou shalt never end, for thy hours are eternal.
Thou sittest on high within thy golden house and
measurest out the centuries.
Oh Father of Life! oh dark-dispelling Sun! "

Chapter XIV the Flower Temple, Allan Quartermain

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Weird-Ohs Trading Cards

Included in each package of Weird-Ohs skateboarders is a set of five trading cards depicting Hawk characters. These characters were developed by Bill Campbell over forty years ago. The cards measure 3.5 by 2.75 inches, about the size of a playing card. I have included one of the five, the only one that came out okay, when I took images of them. I will have to try again.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Beyond Lies the Wub

Beyond Lies the Wub is a short story that was written by Philip K. Dick about a trading mission to Mars. The story picks-up with the ship’s crew (earthlings) finishing their loading of various Martian animals onto the ship. The last creature was a Wub, an intelligent creature which could read the minds of humans. Wubs are large, cumbersome, sluggish, sedentary, and docile creatures.

“The slovenly wub might well have said: Many men talk like philosophers and live like fools.”

The original image can be found here.

"We are a very old race," the wub said. "Very old and very ponderous. It is difficult for us to move around. You can appreciate that anything so slow and heavy would be at the mercy of more agile forms of life. There was no use in our relying on physical defenses. How could we win? Too heavy to run, too soft to fight, too good-natured to hunt for game—"

Beyond Lies the Wub, Philip K. Dick

And Some More from the Wold Newton Universe

Throughout the literature of Philip Jose Farmer you will find frequent use of footnotes. These footnotes typically point the reader to other texts and fill the gaps of the Wold Newton Universe genealogy or explain other pertinent facts.




1Interesting French comics.
2 A lot of Clark Ashton Smith’s work followed the Lovecraft genre.
3This very interesting article on the Wold Newton Universe appeared in the Guardian.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Japanese Gashapon Toy Capsule Labs

Since I got interested in collecting capsule toys I have been doing some research. Recently, I found these videos on YouTube. Toy Capsule Labs is a site were the authors opens several random Japanese gashapon capsules and exhibits the contents.

Another gashapon site I found is here. Neat stuff!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Capsule Toys-Buk Choy Boys

While walking down the beach listening to the surf and enjoying the scenery I happened to notice these little creatures. They had just come out of the brine and were standing investigating their surroundings.

I scooped them up carried them off in an empty Styrofoam coffee cup. I carried them home, set the cup down and to be honest, forgot all about them. It wasn’t until I got home from work the next day that I realized my negligence. The cup stood were I had left it, but upon closer inspection I noticed that the four creatures had gotten out of their improvised prison by crewing (?) a hole big enough for them to escape.

Over the next few hours I searched high and low for the creatures. I finally found them hunched together in a bowl in which my wife stores her collection of sparkly bits of glass. The creatures must have thought they had found some kindred souls in which to fellowship.

These Buk Choy Boy miniatures stand about one-inch-tall and are made of a transparent rigid, but squeezable rubber like material. They all have some type of imprint on the back of their heads and a Chinese inscription just above their eyes, which look rather alien in nature.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Umslopogaas’s Battle Axe

Umslopogaas1 was one of four African tribesmen that accompanied Allan Quartermain and his cohorts as they traveled to the African interior.” To Lamu and thence make their way about 250 miles inland to Mt Kenia; from Mt Kenia on inland to Mt Lekakisera, another 200 miles, or thereabouts, beyond which no white man has to the best of Quartermain’s knowledge, ever been.”

“By a piece of grim humour, Umslopogaas had named this axe ‘Inkosi-kaas’, which is the Zulu word for chieftainess. For a long while I could not make out why he gave it such a name, and at last I asked him, when he informed me that the axe was very evidently feminine, because of her womanly habit of prying very deep into things, and that she was clearly a chieftainess because all men fell down before her, struck dumb at the sight of her beauty and power. In the same way he would consult ‘Inkosi-kaas’ if in any dilemma; and when I asked him why he did so, he informed me it was because she must needs be wise, having ‘looked into so many people’s brains’.

I took up the axe and closely examined this formidable weapon. It was, as I have said, of the nature of a pole-axe. The haft, made out of an enormous rhinoceros’ horn, was three feet three inches long, about an inch and a quarter thick, and with a knob at the end as large as a Maltese orange, left there to prevent the hand from slipping. This horn haft, though so massive, was as flexible as cane, and practically unbreakable; but, to make assurance doubly sure, it was whipped round at intervals of a few inches with copper wire—all the parts where the hands grip being thus treated. Just above where the haft entered the head were scored a number of little nicks, each nick representing a man killed in battle with the weapon. The axe itself was made of the most beautiful steel, and apparently of European manufacture, though Umslopogaas did not know where it came from, having taken it from the hand of a chief he had killed in battle many years before. It was not very heavy, the head weighing two and a half pounds, as nearly as I could judge. The cutting part was slightly concave in shape—not convex, as it generally the case with savage battleaxes—and sharp as a razor, measuring five and three-quarter inches across the widest part. From the back of the axe sprang a stout spike four inches long, for the last two of which it was hollow, and shaped like a leather punch, with an opening for anything forced into the hollow at the punch end to be pushed out above—in fact, in this respect it exactly resembled a butcher’s pole-axe. It was with this punch end, as we afterwards discovered, that Umslopogaas usually struck when fighting, driving a neat round hole in his adversary’s skull, and only using the broad cutting edge for a circular sweep, or sometimes in a melee. I think he considered the punch a neater and more sportsmanlike tool, and it was from his habit of pecking at his enemy with it that he got his name of ‘Woodpecker’. Certainly in his hands it was a terribly efficient one.

Such was Umslopogaas’ axe, Inkosi-kaas, the most remarkable and fatal hand-to-hand weapon that I ever saw, and one which he cherished as much as his own life. It scarcely ever left his hand except when he was eating, and then he always sat with it under his leg.”

Chapter IV, Alphonse and His Annette, Allan Quartermain




1Umslopogaas was an old venerable Zulu warrior.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Beautifully Worked Sword

"Mr Mackenzie, by way of answer, went out of the room and returned, bringing with him a most curious sword. It was long, and all the blade, which was very thick and heavy, was to within a quarter of an inch of the cutting edge worked into an ornamental pattern exactly as we work soft wood with a fret-saw, the steel, however, being invariably pierced in such a way as not to interfere with the strength of the sword. This in itself was sufficiently curious, but what was still more so was that all the edges of the hollow spaces cut through the substance of the blade were most beautifully inlaid with gold, which was in some way that I cannot understand welded on to the steel {Endnote 5}.:

Allan Quartermain, Chapter III, The Mission Station.




Endnote 5
"Since I saw the above I have examined hundreds of these swords, but have never been able to discover how the gold plates were inlaid in the fretwork. The armourers who make them in Zu-vendis bind themselves by oath not to reveal the secret.—A. Q. "

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Western in My Pocket a Free Print and Play Game

Download the "Western in my Pocket" zip folder which contains the games components. Once you unzip this file you will find a set of tiles, Event and Score cards, and game rules. Pick a character and scenario. This is a one-person or solo game. There are good guys and bad guy scenarios. The rules are very basic and open for interpretation. Not that you need them to play I suppose “old” west miniatures of any size could be used, but with the size of the tiles as they are I would propose using either 15 or 25mm miniatures instead of some miscellaneous token. This might make playing the game more meaningful.

Friday, February 3, 2017

My Mid and Late Winter Reading List

  • The Hill of Dreams, Arthur Machen
  • Youth, Isaac Asimov (short story)
  • The Yellow Claw, Sax Rohmer
  • Beyond Lies the Wub, Philip K. Dick
  • The Mystery Ship, Percy F. Westerman
  • The People of the Mist, H. Rider Haggard
  • The Apartment Next Door, William Andrew Johnston
  • The House of Whispers, William Le Queux
  • The Willows, Algernon Blackwood
  • The House of Souls, Arthur Machen (collection of four short stories)