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