Saturday, 17 December 2016

Devlin Waugh: Reign of Frogs (2000AD #1158-1169)

"It was a bloodbath... it was all too ghastly for words" - Devlin Waugh

This is the middle part of a series of three linked storylines starring good old Devlin Waugh, following on from the first part Chasing Herod which I have covered previously.  If you don't know who Devlin is, he's a English gentleman, a flamboyantly gay man and a vampire (thanks to events that happened in his first storyline Swimming In Blood) who sort of works for the Dreddworld Vatican City as an expert in matters of the occult.  He keeps trying to retire, but events in Chasing Herod dragged him back into action.  In that storyline the Vatican was robbed and an item that summons a huge golem like creature called "The Herod" was stolen and auctioned.  Before Devlin and the Vatican City strike team could stop it, The Herod was summoned it killed several people and beat Devlin very badly before the others rescued him.  An avalanche temporarily brings it to a halt.  Now it is in the hands of a mysterious group who, at the end of the previous story, stated they will need to be ready for July 23rd, "and then.. we change the world".  Devlin, usually so smooth and composed is utterly terrified of The Herod, which he helped bring down in the past although we don't yet know how.  So before we find out what he is up too, there is a prologue introducing a new character to the series.  John Smith once again is writing, Steve Yeowell is also still doing the fantastically psychedelic art.

We're first introduced to one "Eddie Whyteman", a psychic detective from Megacity One who has been gambling and whoring in Indo-City.  "If luck was a lady, she was my goddamn ex-wife" he bemoans to himself as he is brought before Miss Kapoor of "Bollywood Heights" who is going to hire him so he can pay off his gambling debts faster than doing porn.
Eddie Whyteman
One of her prize Shi-Tzus has disappeared and she wants him to find it.  He drops in on the city's Grand Hall of Justice first but is told they can't even spare resources to find lost children let alone animals.  And dog flesh is tastier than rat.

He makes some inquiries on the streets and finds out a lot of dogs have been going missing, so he returns to his hotel room and gets out his old dollar bill so he could use the Illuminati Oracle and he performs the "XIII* ritual" to operate it.  It points him towards a meat packing district.

He hotwires a hover rickshaw and travels across the "radlands and mutant jungles of Western Ghats".  He ends up north in the uplands of Ahmadabad, "where my world came tumbling down".  He sees the dead dogs having their heads cut off and then the flesh removed in an acid vat.
Jack Of Knives.
A strange humanoid dressed like a clown with a distorted face and long knives for fingers is picking skulls out.  "It was Jack of Knives and he was building a bomb" thinks Eddie as he observes Jack putting together a pillar of dog skulls.  Jack starts the incantation to a spell, some sort of "spirit-bomb" synchronised with the lunar/cthonic current.

Unable to think of what else to do, Eddie pulls his gun and waits for a clear shot.  But Jack of Knives sees him.  It fires at him but in the long moment before the bullet hits  Eddie manages to send out a "garbled psychic distress flare."  Then the wind is punched out of him, the water comes up to meet him and all goes dark.

We then start the series proper with Devlin on his island off of East Samoa.  He's yelling at his two exquisite boys Luke and Phillipe that the haven't done the magical rites to protect his island properly.  They calm him down and he moodily says that "this place gets me so terribly down" and that "if this is life, I'm starting to envy the dead."
Devlin, hiding on a tropical island.
At the Vatican City a young man called Lazlo is making a presentation to the assembled Your Graces of footage of The Herod in action. It is shown tearing its way through a bunker designed to sit out a nuclear war in, a safehouse being used by targets, which are people born on the 23rd July.

We cut to Jenny, she is a woman who is very psychically sensitive and lies in a water tank in Vatican City. She starts detecting something.  Back with Lazlo he says when The Herod was last incarnate, Devlin and his brother Freddy defeated it.  Now Devlin is in self-imposed exile hiding from the The Herod it's up to the other Vatican operatives to stop it.

One of the cardinals asks how it is possible that The Herod has killed people in Cairo, Bejing, Istanbul and Buenos Airies in the last 24 hours.  Lazlo says it travels via mirrors.  Occultists know this but they haven't made it public in case they induce mass panic.
Jenny and Lazlo.
Lazlo is asked what this genocide means, Lazlo says they don't know yet but have several agents think it may concern "the world energy grid in some way" but they have no evidence yet. Then Jenny is hit first by Eddie Whyteman's psychic cry for help then the full force of what Jack Of Knives set off before the others detect it.

Lucy comes rushing over to Lazlo saying Jenny's had some kind of fit and he needs to come and look because the whole mainboard has lit up like a Christmas tree:

Lucy: "It's India. Psi-Sats and Groundwatch both confirm it!  The Centre of Pestilence in India has just gone critical!"

The effects of Jack Of Knive's "bomb" is shown.  At 200 miles, shockwaves and Earth tremors. AT 100 miles, hallucinations, blindness, temporal lobe seizures and spontaneous combustion.  50 miles, hysteria, madness,  anti-gravity effects, earthlights and poltergeist activity. At Ground Zero, death. "One down.  Six to go." thinks Jack.
Pussy Willow in action.
While this is going on Devlin is getting more drunk and self pitying.  Luke and Philipe get him to bed. At the Vatican City Lazlo and Lucy talk about what happened.  Lazlo says it's not confined to India so they have been given "full sanction to send in Pussy Willow". Lucy protests saying she's not right in the head, but Pussy calls in and says "his Holiness has spoken so you're stuck with me aren't you?"

Lazlo asks her what things are like where she is.  She says it was a "dirty bomb" and she can't get within a mile of the blast zone.

Pussy Willow: "I'm reading high radon and widecast Zothyrian level emanations and there's all kind of levitation effects showing up.  Feels like gravity keeps switching itself on and off."

Checking closer she finds that it's not just a  "grid point activation", they have gone deeper and "locked the original grid down." She goes in closer still. "I don't know whether this is hell or the foundation stones of heaven.  But we've got trouble."
Devlin is visited by the League of Shadows.
Devlin blearily wakes up and hearing a noise, goes and looks for Luke and Phillipe.  He finds them dead, frozen solid by a group of nefarious individuals who have transported in. The leader introduces himself as "Dr. Nevermind" and a white-suited man with a halo called "The Catechist" puts a vampire killing knife to Devlin's throat.

In India, Pussy Willow reports that she needs to be pulled out of there, her ship isn't able to stand up to what's happening.  Lazlo tells her about the message received from Eddie Whyteman and could she go and find him?  She uses her special earring to track him down via his heartbeat.

Back with Devlin, the assorted people who transported in are all wanted by the Vatican City.  But the threat of The Herod has caused them all to band together against the greater threat and they want Devlin on their side as well.  One of them says The Herod is just one piece of the puzzle and someone has "struck fear into the massmind of the world." They know enough that everyone is under threat.

Devlin won't play ball however.  He's content to sit in the dark and drink while the whole world falls apart. "That's precisely what I intend to do.  Chin chin!" snarls Devlin. Watching this, Ralph Beerbohm says he's going to have to "bring in Stella."
He refuses to play ball though.
At the Vatican, Lucy is performing a rite of "feeding the Exus" when Lazlo interrupts saying "The League of Shadows" have got in touch, their arch enemies have declared a truce. Lucy says it's great news, then goes back to her ritual.

Devlin is still being intransigent. The others try to talk him into coopertaing but he says nothing they could say will convince him.  Then Dr. Nevermind activates "the Eschersphere" and someone comes through it.  "Mother?" whispers Devlin:

Stella: "Don't you 'mother' me.  I was at a whist drive in Biarritz before they dragooned me into this and I'm not in the mood for any of your crap Devlin.  Now stop gawping and fix me a drink and we can get this whole bloody mess sorted out."

We then travel to Thailand.  A man in a flowery shirt is saying he sees drowned cities, "man crawling back to meet his maker".  Then a man with no legs informs him he's detected  unusual "aetheric activity" in the South Pacific where Devlin Waugh is.   The flowery shirted man orders an "earthquake level event" targetted at Devlin's location.  "They won't know what hit them" he says.
 Stella gives him a piece of her mind..
Devlin's mum Stella chews him out for his behaviour while Devlin protests.  She says he's "bringing shame" on the family name with his "grubby self-serving behaviour". Then the vatican City call and warn them something huge is headed their way. The man with four arms who was out on the beach runs in and says the tide has gone out, which is impossible on a small island.  And a huge tidal wave bears down on them.

We then jump forwards to Devlin, his mum and The League of Shadows safely at a hotel in Timbuk2.  Stella's diary records that they all managed to get in the Eschersphere before the wave crashed down.  She doesn't know how, "but he has my deepest respect."  Investigators up in space find the satellite that caused the wave, it's "HekTek".

Pussy Willow then shows up with Eddie Whyteman, he's injured but patched up enough to now to interact with people normally. Bewildered by all the strange people, Stella leaves them and goes to find something to drink.  Everyone else sits round a table and start to figure out what is going on.

Lazlo says that "Lord Benjamin Hekt" is behind everything. He apparently started to go off the rails with the building of Timbuk2, he's obsessed with the place.  Hekt has his fingers in many pies but his real interest is in "enviromental engineering".  He's been setting up satellite and ground based transmitter sites all over the world, but Pussy says they had no idea why until he suddenly powered up the "Centres of Pestilence." Eddie says that's when things get "seriously weird."
A loose end from part one tied up.
We then cut to a Vatican expedition on a boat where a wolf-headed man and a snake bodied woman are making out.  A Judge brings something they have found to their attention.  it's a floating shrine to Kali. Someone tried to escape through it and they shot him.  it's the Fakir from the first part of this storyline who stole the Herod skull and kicked everything off.

Timbuk2:  Eddie carries on talking.  He tells everyone about the "Dogon", an ancient people who migrated to Mali thousands of years ago from pre-dynastic Egypt.  They are "practically on their doorstep" and why Hekt chose this place to build Timbuk2. The Dogon's secret knowledge is about the dog star Sirius:

Eddie: "They believe civilisation was bought to Earth 15,000 years ago by amphibious extra-terrestrials from the Sirius system."

Others have heard of this alien race, the "Nommo". Eddie is asked what makes him such an expert and he says he is half Dogon himself on his father's side.  His father was a high priest before the "credit wars" forced him to relocate to Megacity One.

So he knows why Hekt is tripping the Centres of Pestilence.  He's "lighting the beacon that will summon the Nommo back to Earth".  The key is July the 23rd, which is when the hyperspace link between Sirius and Earth is at its strongest.  As well as other occult links with people born on that day being sensitive to "influences from the outside", July the 23rd is Hekt's birthday:

Pussy Willow: "And he's convinced that by snuffing out the competition he'll be the only channel to receive the Sirius transmission. An astral lightning conductor earthing the current himself."

Before the Nommo arrive, Hekt has to prepare the planet and that's what he's been doing setting up all the transmitter sites and seismic weapons.  Pussy Willow says he plans to flip the magnetic poles and flood the Earth.
The League and Vatican representatives try and figure out Hekt's plan.
Eddie says thousands of tonnes of meltwater will be released and there will be mile high tidal waves.  And when it ends the mass landings will begin.  Devlin however is somewhat dismissive of the idea of an alien invasion.  Pussy Willow admits maybe its not something to be taken literally, that it's something in their DNA.

The Catechist says maybe both are right, he sees it maybe a something to do with sex, "erotic symbolism which concealed intercourse with cosmic beings".  Devlin snaps at him that he doesn't believe his "satanic flim flam".  Eddie says they are all blinkered by their magickal dogma, "it's hard to know who's right and wrong".

Eddie then goes onto say that Hekt must have found out about the Nommo from "the Toad in the Stone".  A guardian left behind by the Nommo, which was to monitor mankind in their abscence.  It was sealed beneath the Spinx but is now somewhere under Timbuk2 and Hekt has tuned into its wavelength somehow.

So what does the Herod have to do with this?  It's the "Opener of the Way" killing everyone born on July 23rd.  But Hekt has been killing those people for decades now with specially engineered viruses which killed 40% of people born on that day. "A quiet war waged with silent weapons" muses Lucy.

Elsewhere in the hotel a couple have checked in, although they were told not to bring in a mirror, the woman has smuggled one in.  Bad move, the Herod comes through and crushes her, then goes rampaging in search of his real target. Dr Nevermind panics, he was born on July 23rd.  Lucy summons the tree-like Exus to fight The Herod as they run.  Dr. Nevermind flees at great speed and Lazlo admits July the 23rd is his birthday too.
The Herod squishes people with ease.
The Herod catches Dr. Nevermind and crushes him, then heads towards Devlin's mother.  Lazlo asks how Devlin and his brother stopped it last time.  Devlin says his brother sold his soul to the devil to find out its "protocult codes" and nuked it with an "art/life virus".

He then uses his amulet on the Herod even though he thinks a fertility spell won't be much use, but some things grow from the ground an attack it and another of the group uses an ice spell against it which temporarily slows it down and Devlin's mother can get to safety.  Another of the group has his cockatoo transform into a pterodon like monster which fights the recovered Herod as everyone runs again.

They leave the hotel and find The Catechist in a truck. He disses God and says he's not afraid to die and rams the truck into the Herod.  They carry on running but find they can go no further.  Lazlo decides to face death with dignity, but then Jenny in her mobile tank rams the Herod who tosses her to one side.  Then he murders Lazlo and departs through a nearby nightclub mirror.
Lazlo is killed, Jenny badly injured.
The final part of the story is narrated by Devlin in flashback.  When he cast his spell he left traces on The Herod that allowed them to track it down to where Hekt was hiding. His base was in the salt mines under Timbuk2. The team from the boat which found the floating shrine join them and they went to investigate hoping for a quick "snuff job".

Jenny, despite losing her body's arms and legs wass still alive and traveled with them via her astral projection. "There was a foetor to that place - a reek of dissolution - and as we pushed further onwards it grew interminably worse" he recounts.  Then they were attacked by creatures with many arms and legs.

They managed to wipe the creatures out but sustained casualities as they did so.  With no other options they pressed on.

Devlin: "For the longest time it was eerily quiet - the kind of quiet you only find underground - the sense of all that rock pressing down. Then Jenny muttered something in a strange fluting voice and I knew then we'd found it.  Our quarry's lair.  The heart of darkness.  The house that Hekt built".

There was a massive geode cracked open outside the perfectly normal looking house.  They ventured inside with weapons primed, but a voice warned them they shouldn't have come here.
Something was inside that thing...
The voice then said before they died would they "like to meet Ixnaar.  I know he'd like a word with you".  Then the lights went out and there was a "damburst of ultrasonics".   It caught them unawares and had a terrible effect on Jenny distorting her astral form before she could pull back to her body.

Devlin then admits he can't remember much of what happened next. But as he fled he glanced back and saw a giant frog-like monster, which is obviously the Nommo Monitor Eddie spoke of. Devlin says that how he got out he doesn't know, "some things are so terrible.  So big and sharp and ugly they're not meant to fit in our heads."

They sent "the movers" down there the next day but Hekt and the Nommo were gone.  Jenny never regained her higher brain functions.  Devlin says sadly that "he beat us.  Trounced us like we were amateurs".  Nevermind, Lazlo, The Cathechist, Furor all dead.  Jenny as good as dead.

Devlin: "We have six days before Sirius rises and the outer gateways flung open. Time to bury our dead and grieve before the final curtain".
And the mosnter is revealed.
And that brings this middle part of the trilogy to a doom-laden close.  This is not an easy read.  I must admit I only picked up on certain things when I was writing it up having missed them on my first casual perusuals.  Despite the serious nature of the overall story there is some humour with Devlin's mum being unleashed to get him to step up and help in the battle against Hekt.  Also Eddie Whyteman is an interesting character who I'd like to see more of, a shabbier and more low rent magician than the stylish gentleman Devlin.  Also once again praise is due for Devlin being depicted as an obviously gay man, we still need more of those in comics.  John Smith really goes wild with Escherspheres, monster clowns, killer golems and a range of weird and wonderful magical characters and Steve Yeowell depicts them all in a clean, crisp way.  More detailed than his hi-energy work on Zenith, he and Smith make an excellent pair.  If I had one criticism, the huge info-dump about the Nommo is somewhat inelegant, although obviously it was needed, I wonder if it could have been presented a bit more excitingly than people sitting round a table.  But I carp pettily.  This is great stuff and has really set up what seems to be an unbeatable enemy, so if you want to know how it all ends, I'll be covering the final part in mynext UK comics month.  This storyline is also collected in the first Devlin Waugh trade paperback "Swimming In Blood" too.


  1. Cool. We're back to our occult weaponry thing we were chatting about. I like the analogy to 'non magical' armaments (I won't say 'conventional' as there seems to be a bit of a nuclear bomb parallel)

    The Dogon/Nommo stuff is interesting. I was asking about this on Mammoth recently. But someone shattered my illusions by pointing out it was an anthropological hoax. But of course that's just what *they* want you to think.

    There was a Nommo story in that old comic Deadline. I wonder if there's a connection? I'll have to check that out.

    But yeah, lot to take in here. I'll have a mull. Nice artwork. Almost looks like rotoscope at times.

    Heh, and to pick up from our previous discussion, I was feeling quite indestructible today. Getting back into clamouring around to get back into shape. But basically I'm now going to take loads of codeine, have a soak and ask myself what on earth I was thinking.

  2. I didn't realise The Nommo was actually a "real" thing that doesn't exist, cool. It is fascinating seeing how magic could be weaponised, I like the bit where they are listing the damage by how far it's reached a bit like nuclear fallout.

    The artwork is very nice, and quite different from Yeowell's hi-energy Zenith stuff. Really suits the story well.

    I have decided to wait until new year until I start my "getting back into shape" program. I'm a bit more limited due to my back, but I forsee a similar situation at some point. At least I have plenty of pain meds on hand :D

  3. I'm.trying to convince myself that what I'm feeling is the 'righteous ache' that makes me feel smug after a hard days exercise; rather than worrying grinding sounds in my joints.

    Yup, the Dogon are quite fascinating. Apart from the Nommo worship and the fact they appeared to know everything about Sirius B before it was discovered they also have weird 'cloven' feet. Hence all the 'clearly decended from aliens' mythology around them.

    Yeah, I loved the nuclear warhead style damage assessment. It's a trope that crops up a bit but I'm a sucker for magic being treated as totally 'real world', especially when military style jargon is adopted.

    Still hoping we can inspire each other back to ninja warrior status next year. Probably a good time to buy shares on pharmaceutical companies though. I'm wondering if you can get Tiger Balm in 5 litre tubs.

  4. I'm definitely gonna pig out this Xmas and then make getting in shape a top priority. I don't think I'll be ninja warrior standard but just relieving the pressure on my left knee would be good. I usually apply a hot water bottle to affected areas myself. And take baths as well.

    I'll have to do some investigating into the Nommo now, might help me in my write up of the final part of this storyline.

  5. I've already started. A client got me a rather nice Xmas hamper and I couldn't resist. Normally I'm good at delayed gratification, but there's a few scrummy things in there and as Oscar Wilde put it, I can resist anything except temptation.

    And we'll need a few calories inside us for energy. You'll have to watch your knee but sometimes stuff like this can help. My back gets a lot less twingy when my core strength improves and my dodgy ankle and shoulder don't play up as much if I exercise regularly (Heh, so many things wrong, I'm like a low rent 6 million dollar man). I am looking forward though to getting a sweat on again. Jessie should be back from the states in the new year so we want to be fully up to speed for our Krav thing. With the academia efforts it's a whole mind body and kick ass moves package (you remember that show, the one with the kung-fu Brummie guy?)

    Enjoy your Nommo reading. The Dogon seem to crop up a lot in sci fi. Sort of chariots of the gods 2.0. Hoax or not, they have an interesting cosmology.

  6. Bit O/T but as an expert in all things Japanese I'd be interested in your opinion on something. You ever seen The Tale of Princess Kaguya and if so what do you think of it?

    Got to watch it today. Must confess to being a bit underwhelmed. Nothing wrong per se. I even quite liked the art style (in small doses) although I thought the animation itself was a bit crude. Sort of on a par with low budget kids cartoons.

    Now I was quite happy to see this as standard mediocre kids entertainment. Basic fairy-tale close clichés and inoffensive music. Might be handy when you want the DVD player to do a bit of babysitting.

    But I'm being told it's some major classic that was like a gazillion years in the making and I'm a complete philistine and curmudgeon. I can't rule that out of course, if the cap fits and all that. But am I missing something here? I was sold on watching this on the basis "You love Spirited Away" and I certainly do. Now that film *is* a classic. But this has just left me wondering whats the Japanese for 'meh'

    Love to hear your take on this.

    (Won't be offended if it's 'you *are* a philistine :-))

  7. To be honest I have never heard of it, wikipeding it tells me it probably wouldn't be my cup of tea even if I had seen it. I tend to prefer giant robots shooting each other, teenage girsl fighting Lovecraftian entities and men with extravagent hair taking twenty episodes to have a single battle. So I am a phillistine myself really :D

    Actually I've been having a big anime-fest recently while playing the LEGO games, now I'm onto LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens. So I've been watching all the series which have superior English dubs which is quite a lot nowadays. Back when I was first into anime, English dubs were awful, but now they are often of very high quality. I tend to go 50/50 between dub and sub which means both sides of the "agrument" hate me. Oh well.

  8. Being pretentious I'm obviously on the subtitle side of things when it comes to foreign films. However I do have a massive soft spot for really badly dubbed martial arts movies. Especially the 70s ones where one bloke would do all the voices and the synching was so bad that the actors lips would still be moving way after the dialogue finished, or they'd just pad it out with completely inappropriate laughing. Sometimes when I'm sparring I like to do it myself.

    "Ah, but you killed my father and now you must die. Ha ha ha......ha"

    There's a deleted scene from kill bill that replicated that perfectly, even down to the grainy film stock and slightly off colour processing from those films. It's a pity Tarantino thought it wasn't right for the mood of the film(s). One thing he's great at is capturing the vibe of older movies and what made them so entertaining.

    I've been trying to find the video for Chemical Brothers Get Yourself High, but it's not on YouTube. That's a great pastiche of those films. They took an old chop sockey movie and synced the actors to it, the technique they used was very clever but they deliberately did it just bad enough for it to be perfect.

  9. Something for you for when you get audio back

  10. Yes, I have hung onto my badly dubbed martial arts movies because they are great fun. But anime works better for dubbing because obviously you don't get the weird disconnect between voice and person. When a script is written and performed to match the lip flaps properrly that's good dubbing. Sometimes it's interesting comparing the subtitles which are a more literal translation and the dubbing which has to be more pragmatic to fit properly. Listened to some interesting commentary tracks from translators and ADR directors on various animes, it's a fascinating area.

  11. I haven't seen huge numbers of anime but I still prefer subtitles. That is for a pretty daft reason though. I get what you say about the lip synching being perfect but, and I accept this us silly, unless the characters speak Japanese there's a real disconnect for me. It's like "that 10 year old girl lives in feudal Japan; where did she learn English?"

    It's weird but I'm the same with live action. I understand translation conventions. And it's weird because I don't find it off putting in say Gladiator that they're not speaking Latin (or Greek, as the posher Romans would) but if it's a 'living' language it feels different. If it's say an English production with English actors then I can sort of suspend disbelief a bit more, like when I'm watching a play so I ignore that it's just painted scenery and we're not really outside.

    (I'll won't divert things further by getting on about how I actually enjoy when they use English or even American regional accents in historical stuff, like Harvey Keitel's Brooklyn Judas)

    But when it's actors from the actual country then it's just really off putting if they're not speaking their natural tongue.

    But here's the really daft part. I feel the same even if it's the actors themselves speaking English.

    That's probably a bit worrying. I'm like one step away from learning Klingon so I can enjoy Star Trek in the original!

  12. Well I do have a lot of anime and enjoy listening in Japanese which has helped me learn the pronuciations of words and the "50 syllabls". I am also fascinated by honorifics and love it when the subtitler keeps those in. But when I am playing a game I really need to be listening in English, I'm nowhere knowledgeable enough to know what they are saying in Japanese!

  13. When I had a brief flirtation with television (it came free with the broadband) I sometimes used to watch star trek tng in German. It was on some late night channel. It didn't particularly help my German but the adverts were nearly all for chat lines and they always stuck in my head. Kept finding myself saying 'nul nul zieben zex zieben' at inopportune moments. In my defence adverts are designed to be catchy.

    I had another day of trying to get back into shape. Got a bit over ambitious so now nursing a broken finger. Really annoying. Without the ability to grip you're pretty much back down the evolutionary ladder. Ah well, wounds heal chicks dig scars and glory lasts forever. I'll make up something about how I was rescuing some orphans from a runaway carthorse or something.

  14. I can see my attempts at getting back into shape running into the same problems. I'm someone who has dislocated her left kneecap THREE times getting out of bed after all. Now it's grumbling away at me which is my bodys way of saying "lose weight fatty". Just one more week and I will I promise, got a small hamper to work through first >:D

  15. Spectacular. Although, have you ever had that thing when you get tangled in the quilt cover? It can be quite a panic until you force yourself to lie still and think about how you're going to extricate yourself. Nope? Just me then.

    You have to over indulge at Christmas; otherwise you make baby jesus cry. Plenty of time then to gently work back to full kukri welding fitness. Like the adverts say 'is your body blood soaked skull strewn battlefield ready?'

  16. I sleep under two duvets because I like to be superhot when I sleep, and I literally don't move a muscle when I sleep so don't tend to get tangled up because of it.

    I plan a big overindulgence at Xmas, then a firm sticking to a good diet and starting to do as much exercise as my back will let me. I'm beginning to feel like I need to prepare for the end of the world as we know it...

  17. The worst thing about the apocalypse is that REM song will be on the radio constantly.

    I have a weird thing that I always like 'weight' on me when I sleep in a bed. So even if it's sweltering I need a really heavy but cool quilt, can't just sleep under a sheet. But in winter I love piling up the bedding so I'm nice and toasty with just my freezing nose sticking out (I'm too Yorkshire to countenance putting the heating on). But it's a major operation to get them all lined up and I'm jealous of your ability to go into paralysis because I usually roll over and they all slide off. If I'm not in a bed though I can sleep anywhere (there's a photo of me somewhere asleep in the middle of a stream)

    But yeah a massive food and slobbing binge then healthy new start. I'm not a big one for considering what I eat though. When I'm back in full extreme physical mode it doesn't seem to matter. At my peak I had the glorious thing of a doctor saying I needed to eat an extra meal everyday (I was getting heart flutters). Bliss. Mind you that was before I moved to compulsory pasty land.

    (There's another cool photo somebody took when they spotted my truck parked on the pavement outside the chip shop after a training session)

  18. I can actually fall asleep sitting upright holding a book and not slump or drop the book. My family find this unnerving because I start loudly rambling more non-sequitors than usual. To be honest the paralysis can be a bit of a pain, literally, you should hear the noises I make trying to get my spine to flex enough to be able to get out of bed after several hours asleep. I think it might be part of the reason why I tend to sleep for around six hours max now.

    I'm making a mug of hot chocolate which appears to have lumps of chocolate in the mixture. It was a gift, I am enjoying indulging more than usual.

  19. A friend of ours is famous for being able to fall asleep lying in front of the fire with her head in her hands. It's really freaky. Another friend does that incoherent rambling. That's just funny though cos she gets really emphatic. So when you try to get her to bed she almost starts remonstrating, but it's just nonsense sounds and random words. Then she nods like she's just made a really good point. I'd love to know what's going on inside her head, but the next day she can't remember any of it.

    The spine thing sounds a right pain sympathies. My thing is to have a really good stretch in a morning. But every now and then I over do it and suddenly get cramp. Then its 'ow, ow, ow'. Eh, bodies eh? If anyone ever mentions intelligent design they get a lecture (bit like your Chumbawumba one) with me just listing everything wrong with how bodies work (what deity could create both barbed wire fences and dangly boy bits?)

    Having said that my finger is stopping hurting and it's that wonderful feeling where the *absence* of pain is so euphoric it was actually worth the pain in the first place. Like when you stub your toe and then it stops throbbing.

    That sounds like very posh chocolate. Enjoy. Just remember, in the new year it's nothing but cabbage water so make the most of it.

  20. What's really odd from my perspective is that I don't go through a protracted waking up period. I'm off then switched on again so like I'll start watching a TV show or film and suddenly the end credits are rolling, it's like I've jumped forwards in time. It's very peculiar.

    And yes, I have many complaints about the design of the spine and knee joints. I look at Biff and his ability to twist his body like an invertebrate and feel great jealousy. Apparently cats don't have collarbones and that's how they can flip round 180 degrees if they fall back first. Wikipedia has an article on it (of course), cats are endlessly fascinating beasts:

    The chocolate was delish, the lumps melted into yummy swirls. I just ate the bag of high class jellybeans that came too and I don't even care, mwahahaha! *is trying not to think of new year gruel based diets*

  21. Cats don't have collar bones? Is that why Mr Jinx wears a bow tie without a collar? Makes sense now.

    I'll have a read of that article. Feline landing abilities are amazing. My understanding is that Manx cats can't do it because they don't have tails. So it'll be interesting to check.

    I do have the ability to wake up straight away if necessary but left to my own devices it's a protracted process. Quite often involving dreaming that I have woken up. I like that though. Dreaming fascinatines me. I am quite good at lucid dreaming so I can know I'm dreaming and alter what I'm doing to taste. I also have a lot of dreams where there's a full story that all makes sense. I suppose I should write them down. Some of them are quite interesting plots.

    I got jealous (although I'll call it inspired) by your chocolate. But then I remembered I bought a scrummy cake yesterday (I have a habit of dashing into the supermarket just as they're about to shut and seeing what they're getting rid of dirt cheap) so I've just scarfed half of that. I doubt if I could squeeze a jelly bean in now. Hmm, I think I might have to check out the sweet shop tomorrow though. Think I'll go with jelly babies. I like those and they're supposed to be good for your joints. So they're practically medicine. Taking care of your health is fun! :-)

  22. My pain meds make me lucid dream, when I stick a new pain patch on I tend to sleep for about three hours and have crazy vivid lucid dreams. I can see why poets and so on were always getting shit-faced on morphine now.

    Cat's tails are definitely important, also cat's whiskers are pretty marvellous. They grow to just over the width of the cat so they can measure the gaps they can squeeze through. My dim bulb previous cat burned one side of his whiskers off once after sleeping near the gas ring (it was Buxton, cold remember?) and would sit and meow pathetically on the otherside of the half open door because he couldn't judge distances anymore. Luckily they grew back.

    I like the idea of the jellybeans being good for me. They were very nice at any rate.

  23. Now you've got me thinking like one of those Viz 'Top Tips'

    "Make your cat think the world is shrinking by glueing extensions to his whiskers whilst he sleeps"

    I did consider fastening some sort of stick to the bonnet of my truck (on the same principle as whiskers) after once getting jammed in the entrance to a multi story car park. In the end I just decided to measure how high the truck was and compare that to the warning signs. Some low entrances though do have dangly things that work along similar principles. So that's another idea we have to thank cats for. Along with cats eyes they've made a pretty good contribution to motoring safety.

    Yup, all sweets containing gelatin are good for your joints and a heck of a lot nicer than boiling prawn shells and drinking that (as I was once advised). Not very veggie of course but I find the fact you can turn horses hooves into Polos a miracle of science.