Ancient Excerpt

I thought it was about time that I reminded the world that once upon a time I used to write stuff that didn’t involve a camera and a bunch of earplugs. Enter stage left, this book…

Yes, it’s the original Causality Merchant book. The same book that I keep promising to write a second sequel to. And here’s an extract…

Janice sat beside Wozniak as he manoeuvred the large estate car out of the driveway of The Peaks, and into Pikes Lane. She caught sight of her dishevelled hair in the sun visor vanity mirror, and attempted to reassemble the wayward strands into the neat, but unflattering pulled-back style in which she usually wore it.

“Leave it.” Wozniak said with a little more urgency than he’d intended. “It’s fine like that. Better than fine in fact. You don’t have to do anything with it.”

Initially startled at Wozniak’s abrupt demand, Janice reappraised her appearance.

I suppose it does look a little more care free’, She thought to herself, ‘If a little scruffy’.

“Really?” She enquired. “It doesn’t look a mess? I’m sure mother would think it was perfectly ghastly.”

“Yes, I expect she would.” Wozniak grumbled as he angled the large vehicle between the earth bank and a small van approaching from the opposite direction. “But then she’d think I was perfectly ghastly too; and we know that’s not true – don’t we!”

Janice didn’t reply verbally: she merely nodded and smiled slightly. She decided to get back to the subject at hand.

“I assume that when you say I’m to meet and greet the great Katherine Marcus, you don’t mean Doctor Katherine Marcus?”

“You assume correctly.” Wozniak replied – grateful for a moment’s respite from wheel-twisting as the vehicle entered a more open part of the lane.

“Isn’t that going to be rather difficult?” Janice said as she looked sideways at her chauffeur.

“Not if I’m right.” Wozniak said – his confidence of success seemingly high.

Janice pondered a moment before responding. This is not the Peter Wozniak of just a couple of days past: he had been pleasant enough then – but he’d also been a man who appeared to believe that he’d reached the end of his usefulness. He had referred to himself as a ‘washed-up writer’ more than once. Now this little adventure – even if much of it was delusional – was giving him back his confidence. And she was grateful for it: after all wasn’t she being thoroughly entertained in a way that she could never have previously imagined? And as regards to Peter – she was so pleased to see him favouring his cerebral nerves over his erectile variety.

“Supposing you’re right…” she said.

“Which I am.” Wozniak interrupted.

Janice ignored this, and carried on, “…how can you guarantee this doppelgänger Katherine Marcus is going to show up in the village? Judging from the way you described her previous behaviour, I wouldn’t be surprised if Brambledown hasn’t seen the last of her!”

“If I’m right…” Wozniak began in turn.

This time it was Janice who interrupted:

“Which you are.”

Wozniak grinned. “Yes – which I am. She doesn’t have much choice.”

“Of course that’s assuming Doctor Katherine Marcus goes to work this morning.” Janice reminded him.

“Oh she will.” Wozniak assured her. “She absolutely lives for her work. Given a choice between me in the sack, a national lottery win, or a morning at the office – or should I say ‘the laboratory’ – I know I’d have to settle for a distant second place. Or, dare I say it, third. Oh yes I’m pretty certain that my favourite doppelgänger will turn up: she has no choice in the matter.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

This is available as a paperback and as an e-book. See sidebar for details.

Dynamic Earplug Duos 3

So, to the third and final ten dynamic earplug duos that have appeared in God-knows-how-many Junior Earplug Adventures books through the past three and a half years. As usual, if you want to see any of them appear in the next tale, just mention either their name or their number in the comment box, and your choice is registered.

1: The husband and wife team of Mr and Mrs Spindly showed up at opportune times in the earlier stories. Often they would be accompanied by a sniper rifle. But not in this scene from Cometh the Earplug.

2: As the starting maintenance crew, Wolfgang and Charles have appeared many times. Solid and dependable, neither of them is particularly dynamic, but together they get the job done (Evil Empire)

3: Zak Bravado and Bolah Googly were miserable monks in their previous life. Now these dynamic little guys always seem to find themselves lending a helping hand to Buttox Barkingwell. (Plunging into Peril)

4: Mr Zinc is a delusional nut-job. But he has a talent for causing chaos that is extremely dynamic. He is ably assisted by his loyal biological android girlfriend, Blue, who shares his failures with stoic dedication. (Return to the Museum of Future Technology)

5: Klapp and Klappometer Neutron have come to Magnuss’s aid on more than one occasion. Their tendency to carry high explosives (and their ability to shove miscreants up their rectums) has proven invaluable. (Cometh the Earplug)

6: Going through several physical transformations, the subterranean refugee siblings of Gray-Vee and Cray-Zee looked like this in Cometh the Earplug.

7: Cushions Smethwyke and Hunting Provost. Cushions fell head over heels for the bounty hunter; but despite this they managed to get one or two things done. (Cometh the Earplug).

8: Back to the Ice Planet for the next duo – scientist partners Uda Spritzer and Tudor Porks. They who discovered doom approaching. (Liberation Vol 1)

9: Though not particularly dynamic as a duo, when Yu-Wah and Wah-Hey Pong teamed up with Rudi and Valentine, sparks could fly. (Cometh the Earplug)

10: Finally to the most prolific derring-doers in all earplugdom, Magnuss Earplug and Hair-Trigger Provost. What can be said about them? Here they appear in Evil Empire.

So there you go: make your choice.

Dynamic Earplug Duos 2

Well the search for the bestest duo in the whole Earplug Adventures thing continues. Here are the second ten candidates…

1: First up, two mean dudes from the (Liberation Vol 1) Ice World – the conniving Ludmilla Pongfinger and that nasty piece of work, Kim Phatt Lipp.

2: This time Magnuss teamed up with his protegé, Yabu Suchs, in the extraterrestrial tale, Martian Interlude Vol 1.

3: In the early days of the museum, former female weightlifters, Mandy and Candy featured heavily. Here they are in Evil Empire.

4: When Sheriff Sinclair Brooch gave up his job to become the captain of Worstworld’s first star ship, he needed a First Officer. Naturally he chose his wife, Nancy (We Stand Accused).

5: Female weightlifters cropped up again in Natural Selection. This time it’s the back-up maintenance crew, Nennigross Numbwinkle and Catford Greene.

6: Two guys that cropped up in two guises were a pair of silver androids. Here (in Cometh the Earplug) they appeared as zombie versions of themselves, named Philip and Ingemar.

7: Two guys thrown into partnership by desperate circumstances (Martian Interlude Vol 2) were Plopper O’Hooligan and Benjamin Booger.

8: Of course no one could forget the original dynamic earplug duo from The Museum of Future Technology – Rudi and Valentine Earplug.

9: Relations reunited in The Masters of Scroton: Throgennis Frote and Cuckoo Slazenger.

10: Here are Mandy and Candy’s boyfriends – former zombies, Vic and Bob (Third Day of the Earplug) Such handsome fellows, don’t you think?

Usual stuff; if there is a duo you’d like to see appear in another Earplug Adventure, just leave either their name or their number in the comment box. But no vacillating, please: just get on with it.

Photography: Take a Backward Step (or two)

I found this camera…

…in a charity shop recently. I’m happy to take a chance on old cameras not working because the money goes to a worthy cause. But in the case of this 2006 model, I spent the money just get the memory card inside it. You see, I have more cameras than memory cards, and any opportunity to even the balance is grasped like a drowning man. But the camera did work; and so I set about checking its capabilities. This is the result of a close-up…

To place the mediocre result in perspective, I then took a similar shot with this…

A somewhat improved device from 2017. But even the Canon can’t perform miracles…

So I took a couple of backward steps and sat myself down . Distance, it seems, is what I needed for a decent picture. A long zoom too, of course. Witness…

Then I waited (not what I’m good at) for a cloud to hide the sun…

So what did I learn from this experience? Answer: For close-ups you don’t have to stand over your subject: take a backward step – or two. It can make all the difference.

Dynamic Earplug Duos: Who are the Bestest of Them All? Part One

On many occasions the heroes of the earplug tales have enjoyed the luxury of a sidekick to aid them in their quest. In fact there are barely any instances of an earplug going it alone. It just goes to show that no earplug is an island. That no one can become champion of the world without a team behind him/her. In the many Earplug Adventures that have plagued the Internet and e-book publishers through the past three and a half years, there have been a plethora of dynamic duos. But which one is best? Let’s check a few of them out…

1: Here’s Magnuss Earplug with one of his sidekicks. In this case (The Missing) its Benjamin Booger.

2: What about Magnuss’s brother, Chester and the biological female android, Agnes Lovehandles, in Return of the Prodigal Earplug Vol 2?

3: Chester again, this time with his twin, Miles, in Return to the Museum of Future Technology.

4: What about a pair of iceworlders, in the shape of Cold War characters, Clancy Hartnut and Wendy Earwacks? They were instrumental in all sorts of socio/political change.

5: More poor suffering victims than dynamic heroes, it’s Plankton Regis and Colin Ventana in Mutant Island.

6: And there are these sweet young things – Crudlove Twang and Fulham Peach. Here they appear in Unity Vol 2.

7: Of course some dynamic duos are complete wallies. In this case Don Quibonki and Panta Lonez. What a hash of things they made in Return to the Museum of Future Technology.

8: More sweet young things who proved useful when they were needed in Return to the Museum of Future Technology: it’s Fledgling McCormack and Spodney Gridlock.

9: A slightly naughty duo appeared in Those Magnificent Earplugs. You probably recognise them as Erroneous Bosche and Hellfire McWilliams.

10: Quite which one of this (Plunging into Peril) pair was the sidekick I don’t know. I don’t suppose either Hakking Chestikov or Sinclair Brooch are entirely certain either.

Well there you have the first ten. We’ll visit a few more next time. Now you’ve seen them you must vote for your favourite duo by leaving their name or number in the comments section. The winning duo will appear in the next Earplug Adventure. Don’t prevaricate: vote, vote, vote!



Blindingly Obvious Photography Tips

My mother (or somebody much like her – it could have been my chum, Steve) once told me: “Never shoot into the sun.” In those heady days of Kodak Instamatics, it was sound advice. But today shooting into the sun is almost mandatory. But even modern cameras can louse up sometimes: check this out…


Ooh, pretty pink shapes – but not an accurate representation of that glorious dawn. So here’s my blindingly obvious tip for the day: Unless you happen to be standing upon the roof of the Empire State Building, take two steps to the side. I did. This is the result…



Wallpaper 447: Late to Bed

I was up early enough to catch this little guy making his way home. I had to use all of my 50X zoom lens to ‘see’ through all the dead wood and bushes to get this; but as I did so, I realised that this was the first daytime badger I had ever seen in my sixty-one years on this planet. I’ll have to get up early more often.

Nookers Shame Kindlers

It happened before: it’s happening again. The owners of this brand of e-reader…

…kindly buy my e-books.

The owners of this brand of e-reader…

…take the free giveaways.

I’m saying nothing. I merely observe. But if you’d care to prove my observations wrong, I’d be most pleased. Go for it!