The Scroton Five!

Ah, the Scroton 5. No, this post isn’t about a 1960’s British pop band by that name, which, I feel confident, never existed: but about the long-winded gestation of this ‘new’ space craft in the Earplug Adventure universe…

Originally this craft, and this craft alone, was to be named Scroton Five: but then I accidentally created this space battle shot…

Suddenly there were three more of them – and not one of them was slated to appear in the next Earplug Adventure: A Tale of Three Museums. So the single craft became a ‘class’ of space vessel – one of which was slated to appear in the next story. And, most importantly, it was to be piloted by none other than these guys…

…Yes, Flaxwell Maltings and Dr Gideon Snoot – the ‘stars’ of the next story!

My problem, regarding shooting scenes that featured them adventuring in the Scroton 5, was simple and singular. My space ship only had an outside. There were no interiors. And now that I no longer have access to a bloody great factory and everything inside it, finding inspirational parts to build the interiors became impossible. My shed didn’t help – being full of tools, garden stuff, and nothing that was any good to a desperate author. So it was back to my attic studio, and a prayer to The Saint of All Earplugs…

I began searching through several containers of earplug-related ‘stuff’ – with no luck, until I realised that one of the containers itself could be my saviour…

I call it a Domti box, because it (and several others) came home with me when I returned to Britain from Spain several years past, and were purchased (at a very reasonable price) from a shop named, unsurprisingly, Domti. This was impetus I needed. Soon the creative juices began to flow. Picking up an ancient LCD portable DVD player, I brought the two items together in a  holy union…

“Hmmm,” I mused, “If I were to put some space scenes on a DVD…Yeah, then build a control room floor that would sit above the working part of the DVD player…”

Cue the lid of a black box file, a tube of glue, and a few random widgets that had been tossed, willy-nilly, into the Domti box…

“Yeah, I can work with that.” I continued to muse. “But what about the reverse angle shots?”

Well box files have a lid and a base. The lid made the control room floor: the base could easily become a back wall…

So, a few minutes later, with the cutting and glueing complete, what did I have? Well there was the main screen and control panel, of course…

…not to mention a pair of seats for the pilots. There is also a cage behind the seats for the obligatory Ship’s Oracle – another of my regular inclusions/plot devices. Naturally I included a space toilet too…

After all, what would an astronaut do without a loo on the bridge? And some other items, for which I’ll invent a use when neccessity strikes…

At the rear there’s a window-type frame that might, or might not, look into an engineering section (when I’ve built it, of course)…

And a door that leads to…somewhere…

All together it looks like this…

…and this…

And when I populate it with a random crew…

And we see what they see…

…you know I have a ship that can kick literary ass…

Photography: Zoom Wars

Recently I was watching a squirell fart-arsing about in my garden, when I got the idea to snap it’s image for posterity. But, I asked myself, which of the four cameras sitting on the kitchen table should I choose? Silly question: I chose the Sony HX400v – my best camera. This is one of the results…

Now, every so often (on this blog) I do a comparison between some of my cameras. It’s an opportunity to use seldom-used pieces of kit that, otherwise, tend to sit around in the bottom of my wardrobe enjoying slow degenerative entropy. As I peered into the camera’s screen and studied the resultant portraits of cheeky rodentia, I thought: “Did I really need a X 50 zoom to snap a critter little more than four metres distant?” Answering my silent question, I replied: “Nah – a X 25 would have done.” But would it? I needed to find out. So, grabbing a X 25 Kodak Pixpro, I dashed into the garden, which, annoyingly, was now entirely rodent-free. Then my photographer’s eye alighted upon a nicely-lit bunch of pear blossom – which I proceeded to photograph…

I then reached for the Sony again. This is the result…

I had my answer: long beats short every time. But then I thought: “But what if the problem is that the 16 megapixel Kodak is just a piss-poor camera?” Time to check it against something else. Dashing back inside the kitchen I snatched a Sony compact off the table. But finding the battery depleted, I swapped it for a little, mid-noughties, 7 megapixel  X 3 Casio Exilim compact. Then, squatting in the dappled shadows thrown by the emerging leaves of the pear tree, I took this photo of fallen blossom…

I then repeated the act with the Kodak…

And I realised that the Zoom War would need to continue – only with different combatents. Clearly the Pixpro wasn’t up to the task: it is – to use the technical term – a shit camera. But that’s fine: it’ll give me a chance to snap happily, and show off nice photos of my abode.

Good Buy / Bad Buy

A while back, I was nosing through a charity shop ‘sale box’ in which lay several outdated film cameras, still in their carry pouches. Although I had no need for film camera, this pouch caught my attention…

Pristine and like new, I was happy to pay the £5 asking price. But when I got it home and extracted the ‘film’ camera, I discovered that it contained an equally pristine and like-new Sony dsc-W15 digital camera…

Not only was it in perfect order, actually made in Japan, and delightfully retro in style: it also worked excellently too…

So, I think you’ll agree, a ‘good buy’. But not every purchase works out that way. When the Coronavirus panic buying, in British supermarkets, began in March 2020, my household wasn’t caught out quite as badly as many. As a family unit we have always been aware that society can fall apart at the whim of nature; incompetent government; economic disaster etc, and so keep the house stocked in almost everything important. After all, you never know when the zombie apocalypse is coming, do you? Toilet tissue – or bog roll, as it is more commonly termed – was proving unobtainable. Our stocks were good, but not inexhaustable, so nerves were becoming strained. I mean, who wants to go through life without the ability to wipe their bum? Clearly not my son, whose nerve broke first. After I came back empty-handed on three sperate shopping expeditions, he didn’t hesitate to order a pack of bog rolls that were on offer, at exhorbitant prices, on-line. Of course they were going to take an age to arrive – and it didn’t occur to either he or I that it would originate overseas – but he didn’t care, because If I continued my unsuccessful foraging campaign, he could rest assured that help was on the way – eventually. But then, when it appeared upon the front door step, irony struck. As he proudly held aloft the new arrivals, I pointed out a small detail upon the packaging…

Bad buy.

“I don’t believe it.” He complained. “It’s from the same place as the damned virus!”

Needless to say he didn’t tear the package open and place the tissue in the lavatory. Instead he did the right thing: he parked it in the garden shed.

And that is where it will stay – until the zombie apocalypse of course. Then it’ll come in very handy!

A Free E-Book Gets Free-er.

By that, I mean that this e-book…

…which was free-of-charge previously, remains free-of-charge, but has been enhanced, improved, and contains more photos and lines of script. In short, there is more that is free; therefore it is free-er. Currently available at Lulu.com – or you can wait a few days from this posting date for other suppliers to get their arses into gear – and then get it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, etc – also gratis.

It’s quite a tale: you really should give it a look.

Photographic Art: Making Something Out of Bugger All 1

Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to present….The Space Testicle!

And just to prove that I created this wondrous inter-planetary gonad out of bugger all…here is the original shot of post-meal gravy boat dregs…

I’ll take a picture of anything and everything, me.