Tuesday, April 25, 2017

When is a Cipher a Cipher?

Again Holmes flattened out the paper upon his unused plate. I rose and, leaning over him, stared down at the curious inscription, which ran as follows:

"What do you make of it, Holmes?"

"It is obviously an attempt to convey secret information."

"But what is the use of a cipher message without the cipher?"

"In this instance, none at all."

"Why do you say 'in this instance'?"

"Because there are many ciphers which I would read as easily as I do the apocrypha of the agony column: such crude devices amuse the intelligence without fatiguing it. But this is different. It is clearly a reference to the words in a page of some book. Until I am told which page and which book I am powerless."

The Tragedy of Birlstone, The Valley Of Fear, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Queex the Hoobt

"The commander's unpleasant pet—Queex, the Hoobat—a nightmare combination of crab, parrot and toad, wearing a blue feather coating and inclined to scream and spit at all comers."

PLAGUE SHIP, ANDRE NORTON

Friday, April 21, 2017

Capsule Toy Bears

I just spent close to four dollars (US) to try to obtain one each of the five bears that were advertised on the front of the machine. Instead I received three of the five and two doubles. I don’t know whether I will try for the other two; might spend another three seventy-five to pick up one other and more doubles

I haven’t made a post on the other bears I acquired earlier; I must make a post on these. However, these miniature bears are of a better quality. They are made from sort of firm rubber like substance, stand about an inch and a quarter tall, and their heads rotate. Although they are not large enough to hug, they are sweet little bears.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sargolian Creatures

Sickness Hits the Crew of Solar Queen

"It walked erect on two threads of legs, with four knobby joints easily detected. A bulging abdomen sheathed in the horny substance of a beetle's shell ended in a sharp point. Two pairs of small legs, folded close to the much smaller upper portion of its body, were equipped with thorn shack terminations. The head, which constantly turned back and forth on the armor plated shoulders, was long and narrow and split for half its length by a mouth above which were deep pits which must harbor eyes, though actual organs were not visible to the watching men. It was a palish gray in color—which surprised Dane a little. His memory of the few seconds he had seen it on the Captain's desk had suggested that it was much darker. And erect as it was, it stood about eighteen inches high. The creature was able to turn color that matched anything it happened to be sitting on, thus making itself practically invisible."

It was because of this creature that most of the crew became sick. The sickness would start with a headache and then spasms with acute pain. The suffers would then go into a coma like state.

Plague Ship, Andre Norton

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Sargolian People, the Salariki Were an Impressive Lot

"As fighting men, Dane thought, trying to study the specimens before him with a totally impersonal stare, the Salariki were an impressive lot. Their average height was close to six feet, their distant feline ancestry apparent only in small vestiges. A Salarik's nails on both hands and feet were retractile, his skin was gray, his thick hair, close to the texture of plushy fur, extended down his backbone and along the outside of his well muscled arms and legs, and was tawny-yellow, blue-gray or white. To Terran eyes the broad faces, now all turned in their direction, lacked readable expression. The eyes were large and set slightly aslant in the skull, being startlingly orange-red or a brilliant turquoise green-blue. They wore loin cloths of brightly dyed fabrics with wide sashes forming corselets about their slender middles, from which gleamed the gem-set hilts of their claw knives, the possession of which proved their adulthood. Cloaks as flamboyant as their other garments hung in bat wing folds from their shoulders and each and every one moved in an invisible cloud of perfume."

Chapter 1, Perfumed Planet, Plague Ship, Andre Norton

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Ballad of Hares on Long Patrol

“Oh, it’s hard and dry, when the sun is high,
And the dust in your throat.
When the rain pours down, near fit to drown,
And soaks right through your coat.
But the hares of the long patrol,my lads,
Stothearts they walk with me,
Over hill and plain, and back again,
By the shores of the wide blue seas.
Through mud and mire to a warm campfire,
I’ll trek with you, old friend.
O’re lea and dale, in a roaring gale,
Right to our journey’s end.
Yes, the hares of the long patrol, my lads,
Love friendship more than gold.
We’ll share good days, and tread long ways.
Good comrades brave and bold.”

Tarquin Longleap Woodsorrel

Mariel of Redwall, Brian Jacques

Monday, April 17, 2017

Prophetic Carvings

‘The prophecies carved on Salamandastron’s walls tell of a time coming when trouble will become a byword. Our fortunes and fates are written in these rocks… Leave the worrying and wondering to the waves and clouds.’

Rawnblade Widestrip

Mariel of Redwall

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Click Chick Dress Up Dolls

These capsule toy dolls stand approximately two inches tall. The dolls are made of a light weight plastic. There are five different types of dolls, but with the sticker sheet stickers that can be applied to the dolls dress or the dolls eyes alternative types can be created. The dolls don’t snap together perfectly, but what did I expect for six-bits.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dangerous to Serve and Deadly to Trust-A Host of Characters

"There hasn’t been another rat on the high seas like Gabool the Wild. Gabool was the dreaded Lord of Terramort Island, King of the Searats, Warlord of the Rodent Corsairs, and Captain of Captains. Gabool the Wild was the biggest, the most savage, the cruelest, and the most ruthless badass upon the high seas. He was one formidable character.

Gabool wore large gold hoops in his ears and having lost is fangs in previous battles had his fangs replaced with sharp, jutting, gold canines. Each set with an enormous glinting green emerald. Below his weird yellow, blood-flecked eyes, his dark beard over-flowed, sprouted and curled down his broad chest with silk ribbons of blue and red woven through it. Whenever Gabool moved his gold, silver, and ivory rings, bracelets, medals, and buckles jangled. In his purple sash he carried several wicked looking swords and daggers."

Mariel of Redwall, Brain Jacques

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Abbot Saxtus Recites a Prophetic Rhyme

Abbot Saxtus recites one of his favorite rhymes found within the many scrolls archived at the abbey gatehouse.

“This wind’s icy breath o’er the land of death
Tells a tale of the yet to come.
‘Cross the heaving waves which mark ship’s graves
Lies an island known to some,
Where seas pound loud and rocks stand proud.
And blood flows free as water,
To the far northwest, which knows no rest,
Came a father and his daughter,
The mind was numb, and the heart struck dumb,
When the night seas took the child,
Hurled to her fate, by the son of Hellgate,
The dark one called The Wild.
You whom, they seek, though you don’t speak,
The legend is yet to be born;
One day you will sing over stones that are red,
In the misty summer dawn.”

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Preamble to Mariel of Redwall

“Old stories told by travelers,
Great songs that barbs have sung,
Of Mossflower summers, faded, gone,
When Redwall’s stones were young.
Great Hall fires on winter nights,
The legends, who remembers,
Battles, banquets, comrades, guests,
Recalled midst glowing embers.
Draw close now, little woodlanders,
Take this to sleep with you,
My tale of dusty far-off times,
When warrior’s hearts were true,
Then store it in your memory,
And be the sage that says to the young in the years to come:
‘Ah yes, those were the days’”

Mariel of Redwall, Brian Jacques

This is the forth book in the Redwall series. The books in this series, with their woodlander characters have always been a pleasure to read.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Wax Dolls and Spells

"And one night, as one of suitors was watching behind the curtains in her room, he saw her making more wax dolls. And she made five, and hid them away. And the next night she took one out, and held it up, and filled the golden bowl with water, and took the doll by the neck and held it under the water. Then she said—

'Sir Dickon, Sir Dickon, your day is done, You shall be drowned in the water wan.'

And the next day news came to the castle that Sir Richard had been drowned at the ford. And at night she took another doll and tied a violet cord round its neck and hung it up on a nail. Then she said—

'Sir Rowland, your life has ended its span, High on a tree I see you hang.'

And the next day news came to the castle that Sir Rowland had been hanged by robbers in the wood. And at night she took another doll, and drove her bodkin right into its heart. Then she said—

'Sir Noll, Sir Noll, so cease your life, Your heart piercèd with the knife.'

And the next day news came to the castle that Sir Oliver had fought in a tavern, and a stranger had stabbed him to the heart. And at night she took another doll, and held it to a fire of charcoal till it was melted. Then she said—

'Sir John, return, and turn to clay, In fire of fever you waste away.' "

The White People, The House of Souls, Arthur Machen

Monday, April 10, 2017

Eight Zombies Hombre and Mujers

Although I acquired these specimens some time ago I am just now getting around to making a post on these miniatures. The miniatures stand approximately two inches tall and are cast from a hard plastic. The detail on these miniatures is outstanding; however the paint job on some of these hombres is anything but stellar.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A New Life

"One day when I was all alone I found a wondrous little stone, It lay forgotten on the road Far from the ways of man's abode. When on this stone mine eyes I cast I saw my Treasure found at last. I pressed it hard against my face, I covered it with my embrace, I hid it in a secret place. And every day I went to see This stone that was my ecstasy; And worshipped it with flowers rare, And secret words and sayings fair. O stone, so rare and red and wise O fragment of far Paradise, O Star, whose light is life! O Sea, Whose ocean is infinity! Thou art a fire that ever burns,[110] And all the world to wonder turns; And all the dust of the dull day By thee is changed and purged away, So that, where'er I look, I see A world of a Great Majesty. The sullen river rolls all gold, The desert park's a faery wold, When on the trees the wind is borne I hear the sound of Arthur's horn I see no town of grim grey ways, But a great city all ablaze With burning torches, to light up The pinnacles that shrine the Cup. Ever the magic wine is poured, Ever the Feast shines on the board, Ever the song is borne on high That chants the holy Magistry— Etc. etc. etc."

...'So I awoke from a dream of a London suburb, of daily labour, of weary, useless little things; and as my eyes were opened I saw that I was in an ancient wood, where a clear well rose into grey film and vapour beneath a misty, glimmering heat. And a form came towards me from the hidden places of the wood, and my love and I were united by the well.'

A Fragment of Life, The House of Souls, Arthur Machen

A Riddle

'Q. has had to go and see his friends in Paris,' it began. 'Traverse Handle S. "Once around the grass, and twice around the lass, and thrice around the maple tree."'

The Inmost Light, The House of Souls, Arthur Machen

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Interesting Specimen

I was out rock-hounding the other day and came across this very interesting specimen. It looks like a piece of iron ore with come small bits of coal crystals attached to the iron ore. In addition, there were two translucent blogs attached to the rock. The growths are about 30mm long and very sticky to touch and quite rubber like.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Kahamwoodoo

Kahamwoodoo translated from Zalarapamtranian is the Purple Beast of Stinging Death. The Kahamwoodoo like most creatures found in this dimension of earth’s future is an atmospheric kraken. The creature looked like a “rough disk with a diameter of at least mile and a half and had a thickness of three hundred feet.” From a far it looked like an island.

Kahamwoodoo’s body was purplish and the tentacles, which were mostly coiled up while it traveled, were blood-red. The Kahamwoodoo’s body was able to readjust and reconfigure itself for different situations it might find itself. This creature created havoc and spurned destruction wherever it went.

The Wind Whales of Ishmael, Philip Jose Farmer

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Blackrock Castle

When I first read about this toy castle I was determined to find a copy. I was surprised that a set like this was available for the price of $1.00 (well 1.49). I don’t suppose that it is true to scale. It might work for Z scale or if you wanted to use it on a N-gauge layout I would suggest placing it toward the back of the layout. In either case I would leave the figures out, in that they are close to 1/72.

Castle Parts


Castle Completed

1/72 scale castle figures

Saturday, April 1, 2017

An ancient serenade:

Di questo cor tu m'hai ferito il core
A cento colpi, piu non val mentire.
Pensa che non sopporto piu il dolore,
E se segu cosi, vado a morire.
Ti tengo nella mente a tutte l'ore,
Se lavoro, se velio, o sto a dormre …
E mentre dormo ancora un sonno grato,
Mi trovo tutto lacrime bagnato!

The House of Whispers, William Le Queux.

The Songs of Gabrielle Heyburn

As Gabrielle Heyburn sat at her Aunts old piano she sang this old-world Florentine song.

In questa notte in sogno l'ho veduto
Era vestito tutto di braccato,
Le piume sul berretto di velluto
Ed una spada d'oro aveva allato.
E poi m'ha detto con un bel sorriso;
Io no, non posso star da te diviso,
Da te diviso non ci posso stare
E torno per mai pin non ti lasciare.

"L'Heure d'Aimer"

Voici l'heure d'aimer, l'heure des tendresses;
Dis-moi les mots très doux qui vont me griser,
Ah! prends-moi dans tes bras, fais-moi des caresses;
Je veux mourir pour revivre sous ton baiser.
Emporte-moi dans un rêve amoureux,
Bien loin sur la terre inconnue,
Pour que longtemps, même en rouvrant les yeux,
Ce rêve continue.
Croyons, aimons, vivons un jour;
C'est si bon, mais si court!
Bonheur de vivre ici-bas diminue
Dans un moment d'amour.

The House of Whispers, William Le Queux

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Wind Whales of Ishmael

“One man survived.

The great white whale with its strange passenger and the strangled monomaniac its trailer, had dived deeply. The whaling ship was on its last, its vertical, voyage.”

The Wind Whales of Ishmael

This will be my fifth book in the Wold Newton Universe series that I have read. Like the rest of Farmer's work, it is hard to put this one down. This volume is a sequel to Melville’s Moby Dick in a way that only Farmer could come up with.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Prophetic Leaflet

To the prophetic leaflet which Mrs. Nixon had dropped in the garden? It was literature created by a little Welsh "skunk" named Richards which runs a small chapel in New Barent.

"THE NEW AND CHOSEN SEED OF ABRAHAM

PROPHECIES TO BE FULFILLED IN THE PRESENT YEAR

1. The Sailing of a Fleet of One hundred and Forty and Four Vessels for Tarshish and the Isles.[79]

2. Destruction of the Power of the Dog, including all the instruments of anti-Abrahamic legislation.

3. Return of the Fleet from Tarshish, bearing with it the gold of Arabia, destined to be the Foundation of the New City of Abraham.

4. The Search for the Bride, and the bestowing of the Seals on the Seventy and Seven.

5. The Countenance of Father to become luminous, but with a greater glory than the face of Moses.

6. The Pope of Rome to be stoned with stones in the valley called Berek-Zittor.

7. Father to be acknowledged by Three Great Rulers. Two Great Rulers will deny Father, and will immediately perish in the Effluvia of Father's Indignation.

8. Binding of the Beast with the Little Horn, and all Judges cast down.

9. Finding of the Bride in the Land of Egypt, which has been revealed to Father as now existing in the western part of London.

10. Bestowal of the New Tongue on the Seventy and Seven, and on the One Hundred and Forty and Four. Father proceeds to the Bridal Chamber.

11. Destruction of London and rebuilding of the City called No, which is the New City of Abraham.

12. Father united to the Bride, and the present Earth removed to the Sun for the space of half an hour."

A Fragment of Life, The House of Souls, Arthur Machen

Monday, March 27, 2017

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume 2

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, volume 2 is a graphic novel that is illustrated by Kevin O’ Neill and written by Alan Moore. There are three volumes in this series.

With its host of extraordinary characters, fantastic storyline, and saucy scenes, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, volume 2 takes over where the last volume left off.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie takes its storyline from this series of graphic novels.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Disembodied Whispers

“There was the distinct sound of low, whispered words! Gabrielle held her breath to listen. She tried to distinguish what the words were, but in vain. Then she endeavoured to determine whence they emanated, but was unable to do so. Again they sounded—again—and yet again. Then there was another voice, still low, still whispering, but not quite so deep as the first. It sounded like a woman's.

Local tradition had it that the place held the ghosts of those who had died in agony within its noisome dungeons; but she had always been far too matter-of-fact to accept stories of the supernatural. Yet at that moment her ears did not deceive her. That pile of grim, gaunt ruins was a House of Whispers!

...But her thoughts were very naturally full of the weird story told of the dead and gone owners of Glencardine. She recollected that horrible story of the Ghaist of Manse and of the spectre of Bridgend. In the library she had, a year ago, discovered a strange old book—one which sixty years before had been in universal circulation—entitled Satan's Invisible World Discovered, and she had read it from beginning to end.”

Chapter XI Concerns the Whispers, House of Whispers, William Le Queux

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Ships of Black Beard the Pirate

A little over of a week ago I made a post on my review of Tim Power’s On Stranger Tides. I mentioned that On Stranger Tides was the inspiration for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Disney’s On Stranger Tides makes use of the Powers use of magic, and although there are a few other similarities the Disney film diverges its own course.

The pirate, Black Beard figures prominently in both stories. In Power’s On Stranger Tides Black Beard is in command of Adventurer, toward the end of the story and his life. Having taken over the body of another human being he in effect is reincarnated.

Black Beards Queen Anne's Revenge

In Disney’s On Stranger Tides Black Beard is in command of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. The ship in which Jack Sparrow finds himself after being shanghaied.

Screenshots from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Friday, March 24, 2017

Loving and Perishing

" 'Loving and perishing: these have tallied from eternity. Love and death walk hand-in-hand. The will to love means also to be ready for death.'

Gabrielle Heyburn recognized this truth. She had the will to love, and she had the resolve to perish—perish by her own hand—rather than allow her secret to be exposed. Those who knew her—a young, athletic, merry-faced, open-air girl on the verge of budding womanhood, so true-hearted, frank, and free—little dreamed of the terrible nature of that secret within her young heart.

Chapter VIII Casting the Bait, House of Whispers, William Le Queux

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Do you remember what Zarathustra says:

'Verily, ye could wear no better masks, ye present-day men, than your own faces,' Who could recognize you?

Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche, House of Whispers,

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Castell Gloom

“The history of Scotland is full of references to the doings at Glencardine, the fine home of the great Lord Glencardine”.  Now in disrepair, those “gaunt ruins of the old castle” were the muse for Baroness Nairne for these lines of prose.

 Oh Castell Gloom! thy strength is gone,
    The green grass o'er thee growin';
  On Hill of Care thou art alone,
    The Sorrow round thee flowin'.
  Oh Castell Gloom! on thy fair wa's
    Nae banners now are streamin';
  The howlit flits amang thy ha's,
    And wild birds there are screamin'.
      Oh, mourn the woe! oh, mourn the crime
        Frae civil war that flows!
      Oh, mourn, Argyll, thy fallen line,
        And mourn the great Montrose!
  The lofty Ochils bright did glow,
    Though sleepin' was the sun;
  But mornin's light did sadly show
    What ragin' flames had done!
  Oh, mirk, mirk was the misty cloud
    That hung o'er thy wild wood!
  Thou wert like beauty in a shroud,
    And all was solitude.

Baroness Nairne


The House of Whispers, William Le Queux

Monday, March 20, 2017

Two Repulsive Models Kits

Glob

Glob Sprue

These easy to assemble models are by Hawk models, part of their Weird-O line. These models are in 1/24 scale and depict two very scary monster types.

Voop


History of the Hawk “Weird-Ohs” Plastic Model Kits

Other Books from the Cthulhu Mythos

The Book of Azathoth

The Book of Azathoth features a “parody of scripture which praises the Outer Gods” and belittles Christianity.

The Book of Dagon

The Book of Dagon was a gift to Captain Obed Marsh from the Deep Ones after he had founded the Esoteric Order of Dagon.

The Book of Dzyan

This book contains a collection of ancient wisdom. This wisdom exists on a “higher spiritual plane” where only psychically sensitive travelers can connect with it. “Per tradition, the first six chapters of this book were brought to earth by the Lords of Venus”.

The Book of Eibon

The original manuscript was said to be written by the wizard Eibon. Legend has it that the manuscript was found amid the ruins of Eibon’s blasted tower.

The Book of Hidden Things

This text is mentioned in a manuscript discovered by Alonzo Typer. There is nothing else known about this text.

The Book of IOD

Although the Book of IOD is of unknown origin, folklore attributes it to the mysterious “Khut-Nah”.

The Book of Karnak

The Book of Karnak is a digest of occult knowledge.

The Book of K’ Yog

This book predates the age of Eibon and has been lost for a millennium.

The Book of Night

The Book of Night is purported as being a dangerous work on necromancy and is said to have been written by the Hyperborean wizard, Vizooranos.

The Book of Skelos

The Book of Skelos is an ancient text thought to have been written by the blind sage Skelos; the scroll being preserved by his devotes. However, some attribute its authorship to the serpent people's wizards of Valusia.

The Book of Thoth

This text is attributed to the Egyptian God of wisdom and magic, Thoth. Thoth is said to have authored thousands of texts on occult subjects.

The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia, Third Edition, Daniel Harms



Other books, manuscripts, scrolls and text fragments mentioned in the Cthulhu Mythos.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Quotes from the Necronomicon

I have started to pick through my copy of the Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia. There is more material here than I what to do with.

The Necronomicon is one of several texts mentioned in H. P. Lovecraft’s writings; this purported text, like the rest mentioned in his works are fictional in nature are are all part of the Cthulhu Mythos.

There are many writings included in the manuscript including the following couplet and translation.

A famous couplet:

“That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange eons even death may die.”

In the original Arabic, it is translated as:

“That thing is not dead which has the capacity to continue to exist eternally,
And it the abnormal (bizarre, strange) ones (things, times) come, then death may cease to be.”

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Wold Newton Universe

The Other Log of Phileas Fogg
Tales of the Wold Universe
Time’s Last Gift
Hadon of Ancient Opar
A Feast Unknown
Lord of the Trees
The Mad Goblin
Lord Tyger
The Wind Whales of Ishmael
Flesh
Venus on a Half-Shell

These titles are published by Titan Books

Monday, March 13, 2017

On Stranger Tides

This book was the inspiration for the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. With a host of cut-throat pirates with the likes of Blackbeard, hordes of the undead, ghosts, the Fountain of Youth, and magic spells, On Stranger Tides was a great read. It was one of those swash-bucklers that was hard to put down.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

On Stranger Tides the Epilogue

I faded on the crowing cock.
Some say that ever `gainst that season comes,
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say no spirit can walk abroad;
The nights are wholesome;
Then no plants strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow’d and so gracious is the time.

William Shakespeare

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Preambles of On Stranger Tides


Book 1  


…And unmoored souls may drift on stranger tides
Than those men know of, and be overthrown
By winds that would not even stir a hair…

William Ashbless (On Stranger Tides, Tim Powers)


Book 2


Cut off from the land that bore us,
Betrayed by that land we find,
Where the brightest have gone before us,
And the dullest are most behind-
Stand, stand to your glasses, steady!
`T is all we have left to prize:
One cup to the dead already-
Hurrah for the next that dies!

Excerpt from East India, by Bartholomew Dowling


Book 3


“Whats o’ clock?”
It wants to quarter to twelve,
And to-marrow’s doomsday.

-T.L. Beddoes


Thursday, March 9, 2017

On Stranger Tides

“And then all at once they were no longer alone-in fact, the clearing was crowded now with human-shaped forms that were nearly transparent to the torchlight, though the light was dimmed if a number of them overlapped in front of it, and all of these insubstantial things were crowded in toward he blood pit and crying out imploringly in tiny, chittering, birdlike voices.”

On Stranger Tides, Tim Powers

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Host of Characters-Governor Sawney

When Shandy (Jack Chandagnac) met up with the old hoot Sawney. “Swaney was wearing a baggy, bright yellow trousers and an embroidered silk jacket, and if he had on any sort of neck-cloth it was concealed under his tangled beard, which was the color of bleached bones.”

Swaney, otherwise known as the Governor had been to the fabled Fountain of Youth back in 1521. Sawney had dropped blood and had drank from the waters and had become immortal, that is as long as the plant that had sprouted up from his bloodletting stayed green.

Over two hundred years ago Sawney had been the governor of Porto Rico, and of all the islands there about. Sawney, AKA the governor, was no other than Juan Ponce De Leon.

On Stranger Tides, Tim Powers

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

More Mutterings of the Old Pirate, Sawney

“Bendita sea el alma,
Y el Senor que nos la manda;
Bendita sea el deá
Y el Senor que nos lo enviá”

“Blessed be the soul, and the Lord that keeps it in order; blessed be the day, and the Lord that drives is away.”

On Stranger Tides, Tim Powers

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Mutterings of the Old Pirate, Sawney

“Mas molerá si Dios quisiere- Cuenta y pasa, que buen viaje faza.”

“More will flow if God wills-count and let it happen, and the voyage will pass more quickly.”

On Stranger Tides, Tim Powers

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Micro-sized Off Road Vehicle



This off road truck is mud encrusted and is ready to go. Just back it on a hard surface and watch it go. This Nano Speed car measures 1-inch-long, ½” wide, and ½ inch high.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hawk Toys Drag Hag

Here is another one of those weird-o skate-boarders from Hawk toys. This figure is also made of PVC plastic and like the other Hawk toys figure the Drag Hag stand roughly six inches tall.

She justly named...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Unexplained Sand Funnels

The two river travelers find that many sand funnels have been formed around the island and expect that the unexplained creatures that they had previously witnessed are the cause of these indentations.

"It's those sand-funnels," exclaimed the Swede, when the tent was up again and the firelight lit up the ground for several yards about us. "And look at the size of them!"

All round the tent and about the fireplace where we had seen the moving shadows there were deep funnel-shaped hollows in the sand, exactly similar to the ones we had already found over the island, only far bigger and deeper, beautifully formed, and wide enough in some instances to admit the whole of my foot and leg.

Neither of us said a word. We both knew that sleep was the safest thing we could do, and to bed we went accordingly without further delay, having first thrown sand on the fire and taken the provision sack and the paddle inside the tent with us. The canoe, too, we propped in such a way at the end of the tent that our feet touched it, and the least motion would disturb and wake us.”

The Willows, by Algernon Blackwood

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

They Have Found Us

More of the Blackwood’s horrors among the willows…

"Look! By my soul!" he whispered, and for the first time in my experience I knew what it was to hear tears of terror in a human voice. He was pointing to the fire, some fifty feet away. I followed the direction of his finger, and I swear my heart missed a beat.

There, in front of the dim glow, something was moving.

I saw it through a veil that hung before my eyes like the gauze drop-curtain used at the back of a theater—hazily a little. It was neither a human figure nor an animal. To me it gave the strange impression of being as large as several animals grouped together, like horses, two or three, moving slowly. The Swede, too, got a similar result, though expressing it differently, for he thought it was shaped and sized like a clump of willow bushes, rounded at the top, and moving all over upon its surface—"coiling upon itself like smoke," he said afterwards.

I watched it settle downwards through the bushes," he sobbed at me. "Look, by God! It's coming this way! Oh, oh!"—he gave a kind of whistling cry. "They've found us."

The Willows, by Algernon Blackwood

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)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sacre Bleu!- Skirmish rules for the Age of Pirates War-game

This is one of digital titles that I purchased some time ago; another game rules booklet. The Sacre Bleu rule-book provides rules for war gaming in the age of pirates. This fourteen PDF provides rules and advice on the following topics: sequence, decision checks, static shooting, movement, shooting and shooting procedures, hand-to-hand fighting, and creating a force. In addition there are scenarios for four skirmishes. The rules are primarily for skirmishes using anywhere from 10 to 100, 25mm miniatures, but any sized miniatures could be used.

This post marks the fourth year for this blog. Happy Birthday, Ye-Olde-Site-of-Curiosities.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ugly Pets-The Gross Goldfish

I ran across a huge after Christmas sale at a local discount store and couldn’t pass up the savings on the toys that I decided to purchase. See my Weird-Oh’s-Sling Rave Curvette post for instance.

The Ugly Pet Store features 101 collectible ugly pets of all persuasions. The “Gross Goldfish” is cast from a polymer material and stands approximately 35mm tall. The tank: 2.25w x 3h x 13/8 “d. When pressed down, the fish tank omits strange gross sounds.

Collectors Guide

Friday, January 27, 2017

Madre Mia-"Oh mother!"

"People may say thou art no longer young
And yet, to me, thy youth was yesterday,
A yesterday that seems
Still mingled with my dreams.
Ah! how the years have o'er thee flung
Their soft mantilla, grey.
And e'en to them thou art not over old;
How could'st thou be! Thy hair
Hast scarcely lost its deep old glorious dark:
Thy face is scarcely lined. No mark
Destroys its calm serenity. Like gold
Of evening light, when winds scarce stir,
The soul-light of thy face is pure as prayer."

Preface from the The Boats of the "Glen Carrig"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Two Faces

"Now, suddenly, and in the distance, I caught the far wailing that came before the night, and abruptly, as it seemed to me, the tree wailed at us. At that I was vastly astonished and frightened; yet, though I retreated, I could not withdraw my gaze from the tree; but scanned it the more intently; and, suddenly, I saw a brown, human face peering at us from between the wrapped branches. At this, I stood very still, being seized with that fear which renders one shortly incapable of movement. Then, before I had possession of myself, I saw that it was of a part with the trunk of the tree; for I could not tell where it ended and the tree began.

Then I caught the bo'sun by the arm, and pointed; for whether it was a part of the tree or not, it was a work of the devil; but the bo'sun, on seeing it, ran straightway so close to the tree that he might have touched it with his hand, and I found myself beside him. Now, George, who was on the bo'sun's other side, whispered that there was another face, not unlike to a woman's, and, indeed, so soon as I perceived it, I saw that the tree had a second excrescence, most strangely after the face of a woman. Then the bo'sun cried out with an oath, at the strangeness of the thing, and I felt the arm, which I held, shake somewhat, as it might be with a deep emotion. Then, far away, I heard again the sound of the wailing and, immediately, from among the trees about us, there came answering wails and a great sighing. And before I had time to be more than aware of these things, the tree wailed again at us. And at that, the bo'sun cried out suddenly that he knew; though of what it was that he knew I had at that time no knowledge. And, immediately, he began with his cutlass to strike at the tree before us, and to cry upon God to blast it; and lo! at his smiting a very fearsome thing happened, for the tree did bleed like any live creature. Thereafter, a great yowling came from it, and it began to writhe. And, suddenly, I became aware that all about us the trees were a-quiver."

The Two Faces, The Boats of the "Glen Carrig", William Hope Hodgson

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Glorious Trees-A Host of Characters

“We would, from time to time, pay visits to the country seats at some of the great lords’ beautiful fortified places, and the villages clustering beneath their walls. Here we saw vineyards and corn-fields and well-kept park-like grounds, with such timber in them as filled me with delight, for I do love a good tree. There it stands so strong and sturdy, and yet so beautiful, a very type of the best sort of man. How proudly it lifts its bare head to the winter storms, and with what a full heart it rejoices when the spring has come again! How grand its voice is, too, when it talks with the wind: a thousand aeolian harps cannot equal the beauty of the sighing of a great tree in leaf. All day it points to the sunshine and all night to the stars, and thus passionless, and yet full of life, it endures through the centuries, come storm, come shine, drawing its sustenance from the cool bosom of its mother earth, and as the slow years roll by, learning the great mysteries of growth and of decay. And so on and on through generations, outliving individuals, customs, dynasties—all save the landscape it adorns and human nature—till the appointed day when the wind wins the long battle and rejoices over a reclaimed space, or decay puts the last stroke to his fungus-fingered work.

Ah, one should always think twice before one cuts down a tree!”

Chapter XV Sorais’ Song, Allan Quartermain, H. Rider Haggard

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Tree at The Mission Station

"In the centre of the square thus formed was, perhaps, the most remarkable object that we had yet seen in this charming place, and that was a single tree of the conifer tribe, varieties of which grow freely on the highlands of this part of Africa. This splendid tree, which Mr Mackenzie informed us was a landmark for fifty miles round, and which we had ourselves seen for the last forty miles of our journey, must have been nearly three hundred feet in height, the trunk measuring about sixteen feet in diameter at a yard from the ground. For some seventy feet it rose a beautiful tapering brown pillar without a single branch, but at that height splendid dark green boughs, which, looked at from below, had the appearance of gigantic fern-leaves, sprang out horizontally from the trunk, projecting right over the house and flower-garden, to both of which they furnished a grateful proportion of shade, without—being so high up—offering any impediment to the passage of light and air.

‘What a beautiful tree!’ exclaimed Sir Henry.'

‘That reminds me,’ I said, ‘the Consul at Lamu told me that he had had a letter from you, in which you said that a man had arrived here who reported that he had come across a white people in the interior. Do you think that there was any truth in his story? I ask, because I have once or twice in my life heard rumours from natives who have come down from the far north of the existence of such a race.’ ”

Chapter III Allan Quartermen, H. Rider Haggard

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Gear for a Black Ops Operation

This is another post on a capsule machine find; same machine as the last two posts, however nothing fits the robot with the exception of the ball cap. There must be other figures in the machine that can make use of this gear. The miniatures are cast; from what I believe is polystyrene.

The question is, do I want to try to obtain one of these supposed figures? Perhaps…

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mini Weapons Cache Confiscated

These weapons were smuggled into the DC area inside a toy capsule. It is a good thing that these weapons were confiscated before today’s Inauguration. To get an idea as to the size of these automatic weapons, the object at the bottom right is a hat and is about the size of an American quarter dollar.

These micro-sized weapons were acquired from a capsule toy machine; the same machine were I obtained the robot; yesterday’s post. I believe these capsule guns are formed from polystyrene.

With the exception of the hat none of these weapons are compatible with the robot model, so I am guessing that there are other models in the machine that are.

I still want to try to identify these weapons and I believe it might be fun to add some paint to these miniatures and being out some of their details.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Robot Capsule Toy

Here is another capsule toy that I recently acquired. One of my long standing goals is to keep my eyes open for interesting capsule toys.

My robot was assembled from five unique parts. The plastic parts were snapped together and did not require glue.

The assembled model stands 40mm tall and is ready for action.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Beauty in the Land of Dreams-Journey into the Unknown

“And the butterflies sung of strange and painted things, of purple orchids and of lost pink cities and the monstrous colours of the jungle's decay. And they, too, were among those whose voices are not discernible by human ears. And as they floated above the river, going from forest to forest, their splendour was matched by the inimical beauty of the birds who darted out to pursue them. Or sometimes they settled on the white and wax-like blooms of the plant that creeps and clambers about the trees of the forest; and their purple wings flashed out on the great blossoms as, when the caravans go from Nurl to Thace, the gleaming silks flash out upon the snow, where the crafty merchants spread them one by one to astonish the mountaineers of the Hills of Noor.”

Tales of Three Hemispheres, Lord Dunsany

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Yann Bore Us Onwards-Journey into the Unknown

“And so Yann River bore us magnificently onwards, for he was elate with molten snow that the Poltiades had brought him from the Hills of Hap1, and the Marn and Migris2 were swollen full with floods; and he bore us in his might past Kyph and Pir, and we saw the lights of Goolunza.”




1Hills of Haps are said to raise like isles above lands of Dream.

2Marn and Migris are rivers that mingled their waters with the mighty Yann.

Mandaroon- Journey into the Unknown

“We knew that soon we should come to Mandaroon1. We made a meal, and Mandaroon appeared. Then the captain commanded, and the sailors loosed again the greater sails, and the ship turned and left the stream of Yann and came into a harbour beneath the ruddy walls of Mandaroon. Then while the sailors went and gathered fruits I came alone to the gate of Mandaroon. A few huts were outside it, in which lived the guard. A sentinel with a long white beard was standing in the gate, armed with a rusty pike. He wore large spectacles, which were covered with dust. Through the gate I saw the city. A deathly stillness was over all of it. The ways seemed untrodden, and moss was thick on doorsteps; in the market-place huddled figures lay asleep. A scent of incense and burned poppies, and there was a hum of the echoes of distant bells.

I said to the sentinel in the tongue of the region of Yann, "Why are they all asleep in this still city?" He answered: "None may ask questions in this gate for fear they wake the people of the city. For when the people of this city wake the gods will die. And when the gods die men may dream no more." And I began to ask him what gods that city worshipped, but he lifted his pike because none might ask questions there. So I left him and went back to the Bird of the River2.”

Tales of Three Hemispheres, Lord Dunsany



1Mandaroon was beautiful city with her white pinnacles peering over her ruddy walls and the green of her copper roofs.

2A trading bark that plied the Yann River.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Human Nature is God’s Kaleidoscope

"Man’s cleverness is almost indefinite, and stretches like an elastic band, but human nature is like an iron ring. You can go round and round it, you can polish it highly, you can even flatten it a little on one side, whereby you will make it bulge out the other, but you will never, while the world endures and man is man, increase its total circumference. It is the one fixed unchangeable thing—fixed as the stars, more enduring than the mountains, as unalterable as the way of the Eternal. Human nature is God’s kaleidoscope, and the little bits of coloured glass which represent our passions, hopes, fears, joys, aspirations towards good and evil and what not, are turned in His mighty hand as surely and as certainly as it turns the stars, and continually fall into new patterns and combinations. But the composing elements remain the same, nor will there be one more bit of coloured glass nor one less for ever and ever."

Introduction, Allan Quartermen, H. Rider Haggard

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Black Swan Plague Base

This 25mm Black Swan Plague Base is a, multi-part, resin scenery piece which includes a variety of distressed industrial terrain details and a pair of ‘filthy’ little imp like creatures. One of these creatures is molded into the top piece and the other impish creature can be placed anywhere you like. The terrain piece comes with two choices of foundation. One foundation comes with machinery and miscellaneous debris whiles the other base with skulls and maggots. The latter is probably a better choice of the two.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Armored King Mech-Unit Capsule Toy





This capsule toy, No. K7-10, from "Blocks World", is a 25 piece Lego like puzzle (toy). I call it a puzzle because I am puzzled on how to assemble it. However, I haven’t given up yet! As you can see from the front of the assembly sheet, the kit can be built in three different configurations. I have been trying to assemble the model as the Mech-unit, that is, the model illustrated on the right. (above)