Sources of Everyday Earplug Inspiration 3: Venerable Swiss Sweetener Dispensers

In the original Everyday Earplug Inspiration, I mentioned a popular coffee sweetener dispenser. In this edition, another rears its familar head. It is, probably, the first artificial sweetener available in Europe, and has been in production for eons. It is, of course, this…

Now, if you read the first post, you might be wondering just how I managed to find similar inspiration from this tiddly little transparent box – with no apparent removable parts that could be utilised as Earplug modes of transport. But look closer. Imagine that blue plastic cover torn apart and cast into the nearest litter receptical. What would you be left with? I’ll tell you: it’s this…

I’m talking about the white bit, upon which all those other plastic parts have been glued. In this case Valentine and Rudi are discussing the merits of the Punting-Modesty Facepuncher XL5 Attack Craft. Here it is in action during the Battle of the Museum of Future Technology – in the story….er…actually I can’t remember which book that was. It might have been Liberation. Yes, that would make sense…

With no ancillary parts for a second Punting-Modesty, the next Hermesetas box yeilded a Taxi-sled, which carried a group of T.W.I.T recruits to the museum in The Time Tamperer

And soon the third will appear as a sports version of the sled in A Tale of Three Museums…

And who knows what other uses it might be put to. Can you think of anything? I’m all ears – metaphorically that is. 

Just How Famous Am I?

When you’re a self-proclaimed literary genius, international author, and master chef, it’s monumentally important to discover just how famous you are. Or in the case of me – how famous I am. To this end I ‘Googled’ Tooty Nolan. Of course, strictly speaking, I should have punched in my parentally-given name. But, heck, I’m Tooty Nolan: I’ll do as I damned well please. But, anyway, I was reasonably pleased to discover that I’m averagely omnipresent. More importantly, so are my books. And even more importantly, it proves one of my assertions: I AM an international author. Look, the people of France can buy my books…

Not to mention India and Brazil…

Of course I’m well catered for in my homeland too…

And not just on Amazon either. Why, even Polish book retailers carry my titles…

Now, tell me, did you notice something peculiar about these screen-shots? Yes, none of them feature any Tooty Nolan books. Instead they display my best work. My ‘Silent’ Books – which is probably as it should be – because they really are rather good – in an old fashioned, very English sort of way. Well I think so anyway. Look, they even prefer them in Norway…

In most cases this pair of books sell through Barnes and Noble. So it came as a pleasant surprise that even that respectable retailer is willing to stretch it’s street cred by including Earplug Adventures…

And why not: wonderful prose and stunning photography rolled into one genre. It’s a no-brainer. Talking of no brains: oh dear – look at this…

Oh no – even Walmartians can read my books. The operative word being ‘can’. Maybe they have that right: unfortunately they don’t choose to exercise it. So far Walmart have sold exactly none of my books. Why aren’t I upset? 

So there you have it: clearly I am famous. Just not famous enough to keep the Bank Manager happy.

P.S This is how my daughter sees her famous Dad. Er…not exactly flattering, is it!

Book of the Month?

I was surprised, when I checked out one of my books at Barnes & Noble, to discover that these books…

…bore a temporary label that read Book of the Month. Naturally I was pleased, and duly read the sample pages of the latter book. Here is a snippet from those pages…

When next I awoke I knew for certain that the world around me was real and tangible. There was a smell of straw and ancient timbers permeating the air. Once again I lay upon my back, but now the azure sky had been replaced by the sight of the cobweb-strewn rafters of an old wooden barn.

Sitting upright I discovered that I was alone – save only for the company of a wood mouse that searched amongst the detritus upon the floor close to the large double doors. It skittered away as I gained my feet. As it did so I discovered that I wore the combat fatigues from the vision of the past presented to me by Tasman. The strange, unrecognisable hand gun hung from an iron hook that had been driven into one of the oak uprights.

I felt a pain in my head. My hand discovered that someone had inexpertly wrapped my head in a bandage. I was relieved when it came away unbloodied, and the pain subsided.

Feeling better I decided to take stock of the situation in which I found myself. Firstly I knew that my name was Felicity Goldsmith.

‘A good place to start.’

I appeared to be some form of soldier. Or was I a paint-baller? The thought appalled me. No, I was certain that I’d never been a paint-baller.

‘What else?’

I knew a boy who has eyes like a goat. It was odd that I didn’t think of his eyes as particularly unusual.

‘Again what else?’

I came up empty. Try as I may, I could find nothing more leaking out from my closed-off memory. I knew that I should have felt fear – or at least an appropriate portion of apprehension – with the situation. It was quite possible that I was brain damaged, or I’d simply lost my mind. But Tasman’s calm demeanour, and his gentle delivery had staved off the panic for another time.

‘Or preferably never.’

With nothing better to do I climbed to my feet. I felt stiff, and wondered if that was what octogenarians felt like all the time. I then placed the weapons belt around my waist; and made for the large rickety double doors.

Upon emerging from the ancient barn, I wasn’t surprised to find myself standing in an old flint and brick walled farm yard. Beside the barn there stood several lichen-coated brick buildings originating in several eras. They all showed the evidence of a great passing of time, and it occurred to me that the farm might not be a working farm, but was instead a farm museum. The area was littered by the detritus of years. Old farm equipment lay about that looked not only decades out of date, but possibly centuries. Masonry crumbled here and there, and the roof of one particularly old outbuilding had been stoved in. Patches of briar were encroaching, and weeds abounded everywhere except the areas that were either paved with concrete, or cobbled. I could see young animals corralled at several points within the farmstead. From my position I could make out small numbers of sheep, cattle, pigs, and goats. Through a gap in some mature trees I discerned a pond upon which ducks sailed less than majestically. From a rickety edifice beside the charming flint farmhouse emerged the sounds of chickens clucking contentedly.

I was still studying the inexpertly erected chicken coop when a boy of roughly ten years emerged from the farmhouse. He held an empty wicker basket in each hand. Without noticing me standing there in my incongruous ‘uniform’ he let himself into the coop through a shaky wire door.

“Hello…” I called in what I hoped was a friendly inquiring tone.

The boy looked up. His recognition of me was instantaneous, and he smiled broadly, before dropping his baskets; letting himself back out of the coop; and dashing back inside the farmhouse.

“Tasman,” I heard him calling as his booted feet thundered up the stair to the upper floor, “Felicity’s up and about!”

I smiled as those same two feet then raced back down the stair; carried their owner across the yard at break neck speed; and then stopped dead in front of me. I then received a hug that almost crushed the wind out of me.

“Oh Fel,” he breathed, “I never thought you’d ever open your eyes again.”

I had no idea who the urchin was, or why he was so glad to see me, but it was nice to be wanted.

“Thank you.” I replied. “It’s nice to be back: Where have I been?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

These books are also available at Amazon, Lulu, Apple iBooks, and various others. And very nice they are too – if rather violent at times. Well they do feature genocide, so a little violence is to be expected.

 

 

Arse-End of the Week Cooking (With Your Chef, Tooty Nolan)

If you’re anything like me, you hate shopping, so you’ll have bought the majority of your commestibles in one go – and hope that it’ll last you the week. As a result you’re probably left with a bunch of aging, disparate food stuffs with which you have no idea how to make a half decent meal  – and consequently end up stuffing it in the freezer, where it’ll sit until such time that either inspiration strikes or you throw it away. Hence the need for a recipe which uses up week-ending food. Step up your favourite Earplug author…

Note rice cooker and glass jar of ancient risotto rice. When I call this Arse-End of the Week Cooking, I’m including a degree of  Arse-End of Last Year Cooking too. You see I like to have the kitchen pulses on show…

Unfortunately, because they are just sitting there, doing nothing 24/7, I tend not to see them any more. So they seldom get used. Well today that situation is about to be rectified. Take a small, fancy coffee cup and fill it with rice. One per person…

And add to the rice cooker…

Cook rice; clean up the starchy crap that the rice cooker blows out of it’s steam vent; recall that it really only works well with long grain or bismati rice; leave to cool…

Whilst the rice gives up it’s heat to the immediate environment, thus increasing global warming to cataclysmic proportions, take a bag of minced pork – and slam it into a frying pan…

Cook it really quickly in it’s own juices. It doesn’t matter how badly it smells…

…or if it looks totally unappetising: it’s for your dog/cat, so isn’t going into the meal. Then, with that safely tucked away in a container, take a few examples of this sort of thing…

…and chop them into little pieces…

Chuck some chopped regular onion into some hot olive oil…

Then, after a minute or two, add in the other veg – in this case carrot, spring onion, and sweet corn…

…with some vegetable stock dissolved in boiling water. Continue to boil until its stupid..

While the veg ruminates upon the terrible injustices perpitrated against it, take the remains of Monday’s pulled ham roast out of the freezer…

…tear off a few chunks and chop ’em into bits. Then grab yourself a wok or deep frying pan…

…and transfer the cooked veg and ham to it…

Fold in the cool rice, heat for a while until it steams pleasantly – if steaming could ever be described as pleasant…

…add some black pepper…

…and YUMMY it’s ready. Remarkably, this time at least, the result doesn’t look like cat sick…

Tooty Nolan: an international author, literary genius, and master chef – all rolled into one. It’s just a shame about the hair!

 

A Tastier Taster and a Promising Promise

Do you remember these guys?

No? They appeared in an Earplug Wallpaper. Hair vs Hat, I think it was called. Well, they weren’t a one-off. They – Flaxwell Maltings and Dr Gideon Snoot – are going to (finally, at last) appear in an Earplug Adventure. And in a very important role too. In fact they are going to tell the tale of A Tale of Three Museums – using a very nice little scout ship that enjoys the moniker of the Scroton Five…

…to search for The Porthole of Everywhere…

…which will display The Museum of Future Technology…

…in two timelines and two distant spacial locations – making three museums in total. Gosh! Imagine! How will I ever manage to keep all of these disparate threads coherent within my aging (and not always rational) brain? With difficulty, that’s how.

Well hopefully I’ve whetted the appetites of any Earpluggers reading this. Also hopefully, I’ll get the time and opportunity to shoot the pictures and write the script required to produce the story. At the time of writing this, the vagaries of life are creating barriers to the completion of my literary and photographic plans: but, fear not, I shall persevere. You will see another Earplug Adventure. I just don’t know when.

Tooty.

   

Writing: Continuity is Everything.

I’ve been watching some 1970’s cop shows of late, in which, I’ve noticed, continuity is often a little wanting. Relationships between characters seem to change from episode to episode – depending, it seems, upon the needs and whims of the scriptwriters. In one episode a Sergeant took an exam and was promoted to Lieutenant and, at the show’s denoument, lamented that from now on he would have to call his (former) superior by his first name. The following show saw him once more cast as the brow-beaten sergeant – without so much as an attempt at explanation. Also the central character’s distinctive two-door coupe appeared as a four headlight model in active scenes, but, oddly, resorted to the earlier two headlight model for library-supplied establishing shots. This, as a viewer, annoys me beyond endurance. I’ve bothered to invest my time and cerebral energy to the show: the least the show’s makers should do is not insult me by assuming I wouldn’t notice the glaring errors. And so it is with the Earplug Adventures. Okay, maybe only three or four people read these tales avidly, and might notice; but I try my best to keep accurate continuity for them, their kin, and future generations, who, one day might discover this silicone world of wonder – despite my inability to remember stories I’ve written, or their character’s names. Take this as a case in point. When I decided to start preparing to shoot some scenes for the next photo-book, I had to read back through The Time Tamperer Vols 1&2 to find out what some of the lesser characters looked like; what their names were; what they did; and what they said. In the majority of cases the latter amounted to a single line or two of dialogue. Here’s a shot that features several of them…

No, not that one. That’s disgusting! I mean this one…

Trapped inside a force field, by the look of it. Or maybe this one…

Because it will be necessary for these characters to appear in A Tale of Three Museums, however briefly, I was required to search through the (literally) hundreds of characters that are stowed away in compartmented plastic display boxes in my attic ‘studio’. A long and exhausting task, I can tell you. Well check out the little golden-eyed guy third from the left. His name, I discovered, is Nobby De Aranquez. Why, I have no idea – but it’s a distinctive enough nomenclature, you’d think I would have remembered it. In The Time Tamperer he did sod-all but wander around in the past with all these other characters. He barely said a word. He was, effectively, little more than an extra. But because I believe in continuity, I couldn’t let it rest when (despite an extensive search that resulted in loud and extensive cursing) I failed to find him. I went back the following evening and left no prop, set, or light unturned in my efforts to return him to the fold. The result was this…

Step up Nobby De Aranquez. He who was lost is found! And this time I’m gonna have him say something significant. Heck, he might even try to chat up Hair-Trigger Provost! 

Okay, Time For Some Rude Hamster Fiction!

As per usual, when I’m struggling to think of anything new to bring you, I step back in time – to an era when I wrote books. Books with words alone, that is. No pictures. No earplugs. But, hopefully, books that include a giggle or two. Step up Hamster-Fiction. Welcome to a random extract of this wondrous e-book…

Joan and Lucas crouched in the shadows of the forest immediately opposite the great wooden gate that barred entrance to the abbey. Joan now wore Lucas’ trousers, whilst Lucas himself stooped self-consciously in his underpants, and prayed that he wouldn’t snag his scrotum upon one of the many thistles that grew thereabouts.

“You want my jacket too?” He complained.

“If I am to crush my generous mammalian mounds flat enough to convince the door-hamster that I am male, I am going to need something tight and sturdy.” Joan replied matter-of-factly.

“And what about your face?” Lucas took a moment to scrutinize his captive, “You may not be the fairest of face, but you don’t look like the arse end of a hay cart either. Where do you propose to hide your head:  inside my underpants?”

It was a facetious remark, but Joan couldn’t ignore it. “Faeces of the forest.” She replied. “We spread it about my facial fur, and in moments I’ll appear to be a slightly well-rounded urchin in need of a bath and a bed.”

“Cunning.” Lucas clearly approved. “Then once you are inside the wall you can wait until mid-morning prayer, and then open the gate to let us in. They won’t even begin to suspect until I sink my blade between their ribs. But by then it will be too late.”

Joan gulped. “Hmmm.” She managed.

Five minutes later found Joan tip-toeing towards the main gate of the abbey. She was being true to her word: She’d promised that she would finagle her way inside: and finagle her way inside she most certainly would. But any subsequent actions remained a mystery to her.

Joan raised her fist with which she planned to pound noisily upon the gate, but before the opportunity presented itself a small hatch opened upon the gate’s mighty flank. A huge dark-furred face filled it.

“Hola, buenas noches.” It said in a distinctly Spanish accent. “Como estais?”

Joan merely stood there with her arm raised – as if about to ask the teacher if she could go to the toilet.

The face then seemed to stiffen, and a look of questioning wonderment crossed it.

“Is that Joan Bugler hiding beneath a disguise of faeces of the forest that I see before me?” The face continued in an equally distinctly Spanish accent.

It was all that Joan could do to stop herself whooping with joy. “Alfonso Dos Fresas,” she whispered gleefully, “What are you doing here? I thought you’d given up the church, and were planning to return to your homeland and start a family.”

“Sí, that was my plan, Joan.” The huge shaggy head dropped so that the eyes disappeared momentarily. Then they reappeared. “But my heart was not in it. I could not leave this land whilst two situations remained unresolved. The Wheel still rules much of Prannick: And you were gone.”

For the second time in just a few minutes Joan gulped, and was lost for words. But before she could begin to search her memory banks for some profound response, Joan heard a key rattling in the lock.

“To be here at night, and dressed thus, your immediate situation must be dire.” Alfonso whispered, “Enter, Joan, but let no one see or hear you: Your disguise is weak at best: Even woodland shit can not disguise your maturing feminine beauty.”

Then the gate was opened, and a huge paw grabbed Joan by the ears; yanked her off of her hind paws; and dragged her inside.

She was still recovering as the gate swung closed once more, and the key rattled for a second time.

“Would you care to take a bath?” Alfonso inquired. “I have a spare habit that might possibly hide your physical charms. It is only slightly soiled from potato peeling.”

Joan was still feeling rather shell-shocked – both from the speed at which she’d been brought into the sanctuary of the abbey, and the revelation of Alfonso’s feelings towards her. She’d always assumed that if Alfonso Dos Fresas had any leanings at all it was towards big hunky sod-ball players. A split second later her thoughts were placed further into a whirl as Alfonso swept her into his arms, and ran upon sandaled feet – into the main building and up the wide flight of stairs; along a corridor; and finally into the self-same, stone-cold, bathroom that she’d first visited all those many yonks ago.

“I will leave you alone now, Joan.” Alfonso said as he lowered the shaken female hamster onto her wobbly legs, and set fire to some kindling beneath a huge cauldron of water. “I do not imagine that you would care to have me witness your stark nakedness by lamplight. A towel is on the back of the door. There is wood for the fire in the cupboard. I will leave my spare habit outside the door.”

Then, like a sudden summer thunderstorm, he was gone.

“Blimey.” Joan said to the empty room. “Events certainly move apace in Prannick these days. I hope Alfonso doesn’t think that I’m still a virgin: I’d hate to disappoint him.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

As you’ve probably gathered, these hamster books aren’t suitable for children. Only big ones. Ones who have left school. If you fit this category, this book is available for you at most e-book outlets. Check out the Tooty’s Books Available Here! page for a few of the obvious ones.