I see weird stuff everywhere. Here’s the proof…
Once again, if you’ve been exposed to the Earplug Adventures for long enough, it’s likely that you can recognise a scene by it’s set. Want to prove that you really know your Earplugs? Check out the following…
First up we kick off with an easy example of earplug derring-do. This set should be very familiar to you…
Yup, it’s the bridge set of the starship Chi-Z-Sox / Brian Talbot. But what does a predominantly yellow bridge crew tell us? Again yup – it’s the Brian Talbot. And isn’t that Placebo Bison I see standing at the front? Thrice yup: it can only be this scene…
Which, I’m sure you’ll recall, appeared in Distant Land: a story so wonderful that these characters returned in A Tale of Three Museums.
So, with the easy introductory question out of the way, it’s on to the second one. Recognise this?
It’s an early set, when I still had my fabulous ‘studio’ that was later demolished. Two silver earplugs on a see-through disc. Lit from above and behind in front of a sheet of something styrofoamish. Ugh, I guess it must be…
Yes, it’s the android earplugs aboard their flying disc – en route to a fortuitous encounter with the time-manipulator, Gobby – in Earplug Aftermath.
So who is this?
Silly question: Obviously it’s the world’s pre-eminent Earplug author, Tooty Nolan, in the act of shooting a scene in Fort Balderdash. And how numerous those scenes were. I liked Fort Balderdash: it was yellow. But do you recall any scenes set there? Well here’s one of them…
In this scene a Robot Guide…ugh…guides a rather miserable looking Plopper O’Hooligan and his girlfriend Belinda Noseguard somewhere to do something in Those Magnificent Earplugs. Moving on, what on Earth is this?
I’ll tell you. At the back stands a sheet of stiff corrugated plastic material in white. In front a sheet of similarly white flexible plastic lays across some empty boxes – to simulate topography. Centre sits a piece of polystyrene packing material. This is obviously a building. It’s quite a large set, and (at the time) it caught the attention of several passers-by. And it was used for one throw-away scene. This one…
…in which the leadership of the Ice World go outside, for whatever reason, in Those Magnificent Earplugs.
So, finally, to this charming shot of a fork-lift truck’s battery charger…
Sadly this is a set that I can never again use. It still exists, but since retirement, I no longer have access to it – though I’m sure they’d allow it, if I asked nicely. It is also a ‘set’ that has appeared in many stories – over and over – as the control panel in the Maintenance Department. It oversees the workings of the Museum of Future Technology’s Nul Space Power Generator ( and The Future Museum of Mars too). In this case I’ve selected this example of it in action…
Green lights across the board: all is well for Nennigross Numbwinkle and Catford Greene in Natural Selection. Of course it’s just as likely to be showing red lights, with all kind of warning signs on the panel above Catford’s head. I needed to be careful about the time of day that I shot my scenes here. During most of the day the machine was switched off, with no lights illuminated. At night, when the fork-lift was plugged in, they would shine red. In the morning, after a night charging, the lights would shine green. I had to make sure that I took my pictures within those brief windows of opportunity. Honestly, the trouble I go to in order to bring you The Earplug Adventures!
P.S all the aforementioned e-books are available as free PDF copies by simply clicking their images on the sidebar.
It has been yonks since I posted RitR32, so I thought it was well past time for the next excerpt. So, today I’ve opted for a sample of my favourite Hamster-Sapiens book: this one…
Picked entirely at random, this is it!
Well, it transpired, during a most pleasant afternoon beneath Chunder Bellows’ belfry, that not only had Mahogany been blessed by a vision of the Great Angler Herself, but that the same deity had actually imparted news from the future, and that Mahogany (having acted upon this information, and visited every betting shop in the county) had become very rich indeed. Even more astounding was the news that the Great Angler Herself had suggested Lancelot for the role of Dean.
“Did she explain why, dear?” Bellows inquired.
“Not exactly, darling.” Mahogany replied. “She went on a bit about causality loops and altered time-lines, but I’m afraid that my frail female mind just couldn’t keep up.”
“Not to worry, dearest,” Bellows patted the top of her head, “I expect my powerful male ego would have endured some discomfort too.”
“Anyway,” Mahogany continued, “it seems that it’s vitally important that in order to end the vile practice of euthanizing our mentally less well-endowed – we find somewhere for them to go after their normal school years have ended. Obviously our inept and spiritually bankrupt socialist government couldn’t possibly come up with prescription for continued existence for dim-shits: And any ultra-right wing organization would probably have thickos put to death just for fun. Of course, what with so many moderate hamsters having skeletons (both physical and metaphysical) in their cupboards, any politician that tried to tread the middle ground would be hounded out of office before his feet hit the carpet beneath his shiny new desk. So divine intervention seemed the only real alternative.”
“Hmmm.” Bellows stroked his hugely furry chin, “Tell me, Mahogany dearest, were you enjoying a state of unconsciousness when the Great Angler Herself appeared to you in a vision?”
“My life was hanging by a thread.” Mahogany smiled broadly at the recollection, “And that rolling down the embankment that I got from the galley staff really whizzed my brain around something rotten.”
Bellows repeated his long, drawn out, “Hmmm.” He then backed this up with, “Now what I’m trying to say, dear – and I don’t mean to be disrespectful – but do you think that it’s possible that you might possibly have imagined it all? I mean – you always wanted to do something desperately altruistic, but you never had the ready cash available before: Is it possible that this is nothing more than pure wish-fulfilment?”
Mahogany took her brother’s huge paw in hers. “Oh Chunder, I know you mean well when you try to psychoanalyze me. So please don’t feel insulted when I tell you to stick your stupid ideas up your huge fluffy arse hole. Would you do that for me?”
Then with a grittiness in her voice that Bellows had never before heard she added, “How’d ya think I won all that money, ya great fat oaf? Luck? I’ve bet on every sporting event in the country since Thrudsday, the forty-tenth of Plinth until this morning. I’m a super-millionaire with more money that pubic fur follicles. I didn’t imagine anything, you twat: I’m blessed.”
Well in the face of such a verbal onslaught Bellows quickly made his excuses and left the room to Mahogany and the somewhat shell-shocked Lancelot.
Mahogany turned her attention to the young hamster seated across the desk from her. “Right we need a name: Any suggestions?”
Lancelot didn’t waste any time cogitating: He’d long dreamed of such a moment. “Saint Dunces.” He said emphatically.
“Good name.” Mahogany nodded. “Why?”
Lancelot then explained that for the entirety of his life he’d been the school dunce, and that he had the heavily-inked private parts to prove it. So any college that was founded specifically for dunces should also be called dunces.
It was logic of the soundest kind, but Mahogany thought that she spotted flaw in it.
“Ah but Lancelot, darling, is there, or has there ever been a Saint Dunce?”
It was a telling question, and under normal circumstances the young hamster’s dreams might have been thwarted. But these were anything but normal circumstances.
He was now the Dean of a hypothetical university.
“We’ll invent one.” He said.
“Can one simply invent a saint?” Mahogany asked reasonably enough.
“Of course.” Lancelot smiled, “I do it all the time.”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013
Now wasn’t that lovely! If you fancy purchasing this wondrous e-book, easy access to the publisher or well-known e-book retailers is available on the side bar. Should you elect to do so, you are guaranteed several hours of delighted sniggering at the rather rude humour.
Normally my photos struggle to gain ten ‘likes’ on Flickr (after all the standard is terribly high, and there’s some very fancy cameras out there). This one seemed to follow the usual path – until I’d sat myself down to breakfast – to discover that, over night, fifty people had found this nice enough to let me know. Captured the essence of Summertime perhaps?
Long ago I gave up worrying about the sales figures for my ‘Silent’, Causality Merchant’, and ‘Hamster-Sapiens’ books. The extra money may have been welcome – had there been much – but it has only ever been a very minor source of income. But as the years have passed, and my promotion of the books decreased, revenues have fallen to humourous levels. So low, in fact that (because of the cost and bureaucracy) I can no longer be bothered to cash the cheques. Here’s my latest royalty payment…
After charges I might clear $7.00 US. Not worth a trip to the bank. Still, if you fancy purchasing one of my stupendous works, be my guest: it’s nice to know that people want to read them. They’re all mentioned on the sidebar. Access to the major outlets is as easy as a simple click on the cover image.
I’d like to title this ‘Tooty’s Digital Art’, but, in all honesty, can I really call this ART?
Well gosh and all that – it’s another alien life form!
Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this tempestuous tale…
Whilst all this had been occurring, a great motor race had been organised inside the Museum of Future Technology. The protagonists now posed for publicity shots. The race car drivers comprised a veritable who’s who of Museum celebrities. Driving for Team Liver was the butcher’s favourite – Cyrus Buttcleft (the real Cyrus Buttcleft, that is: not the illusory one last seen in the imaginary reality created by the mind of artist Anton Twerp): Sullen the Perp – a recent arrival from the alternative ‘Evil’ reality – drove for Fenster: Naturally Magnuss Earplug was involved. Equally naturally he drove for Team Turd: Mister Pong ran his own team, which, because he was a restaurateur, he wanted to call Date and Fig – after his pet plugmutts; but unfortunately someone miss-translated the name into Chinese, and so his team was now known as Date of Manufacture: Cray-Zee was asked to drive for his friend Jeremy – and jumped at the chance of racing glory: And after exhaustive testing, Team Achtung selected Benjamin Booger – not so much for his skills with the steering string; but more for the delightful contrast between his green face and the car’s striking yellow paint work. Of course Rupert Piles was on hand to film the event…
But these were mere illusory sightings. For others, experiences were only too real. Others like Captain Sinclair Brooch; his wife Nancy; and the curator, Hakking Chestikov who were in the act of stepping on to the Woven Expanse, when the very fabric of the Expanse seemed to disintegrate before their eyes and rise up like some devastating sand storm.
“This is your museum, Hak: whatta ya think?” Sinclair enquired of Hakking Chestikov.
But Hakking found that he had insufficient time to author a reply. Instead, Nancy yelled: “Run, in the name of all that’s holy heck; run!”
So they did – as did Huget and Betty Johnson, who were standing upon the opposite side of the expanse, and now ran from a sand storm that roiled like a volcanic pyroclastic flow that advanced towards them threateningly. In fact the sandstorm was consuming the entire expanse – and Vic, Bob, Mandy, and Candy felt ever so slightly threatened. In fact the two former zombies and their ex-weightlifting girlfriends felt so threatened that they rushed to the first place of relative safety that presented itself. And that place was the legendary Fallout Shelter Seven – an edifice made famous when several customers took shelter in it when the hyperspace end cap invasion force landed the year previous, and scared the pants off everyone.
By chance Magnuss and Hair-Trigger had also sought sanctuary in the same shelter. In an effort to raise morale they quickly erected some lighting rigs; built a makeshift stage: placed their novelty sombreros upon their dainty heads; and performed a two-handed version of Los Caballeros Stupido…
This went down very well with the captive audience, and almost everyone joined it with the chorus; “Ooh, we’re the Caballeros Stupido, and we like to shave our hairy legs”.
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2016
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Return to the Museum of Future Technology cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.
As I stood, stock-still, in the middle of a sun-drenched meadow – framing this shot…
…a movement at the periphery of my vision made me pause a moment longer. I was then able to watch as a lone Hare loped towards me in a stop-start fashion – eventually arriving before me and totally unaware of my presence…
Unfortunately my autofocus chose that moment to ‘beep’.
Did I ever mention how much I dislike autofocus?
In England many farmers are paid to leave parts of their land fallow for several years, and turn it over to nature. Some go so far as to sow seeds of plants known to be of benefit to endangered species. The results have been very heart-warming to those who give a damn about the creatures that share this land with us. And areas that would otherwise be an uninteresting mono-culture, look like this…
If we keep this up, who knows, we may yet save the world from ourselves.
Whilst out walking recently, I discovered a location that gave me a previously unseen perspective on a section of road that I’ve travelled many times upon a motorcycle since the first time in 1973 aboard my dinky little (and dog-slow) Honda SS50Z. I took a photo of it…
Back in the day, when driven quickly, this was a section of road that could be quite challenging. As the decades have progressed it has become more so. In fact it now has a reputation for being an accident black-spot. Oddly it is easier to negotiate it faster on a motorcycle than in a car. Car drivers, it seems (judging from marks left behind on the bank of the preceding downhill adverse-cambered corner [right of picture] ), lose the rear end in a slide; hit the bank; and are catapaulted across the road – usually to crash into a drainage ditch (or through the hedgerow) just before the gate in the picture. Despite an uneven surface that includes ripples, cracks, potholes, and surface repairs, motorcycles move swiftly without incident (unless they meet an unexpected horse / cyclist / tractor / hedge trimmer of course). Although I must consider myself advancing in years, I still enjoy a quick squirt along this stretch. In fact I wind my Yamaha YBR125 flat out in top gear, which requires some serious leaning to stay on the apex. This is called fun. But then I looked at a second picture…
…and thought: “Flipping heck, there isn’t a whole bunch of room for error! Maybe flat out in top isn’t a good idea – even on a diddy bike like mine: a rider could travel quite a distance through the air at 60 mph.” So, dear reader, you can rest easy in the knowledge that, from now on, the world’s pre-eminent author of earplug stories will take it a little easier. If a bigger bike passes me, I’ll just let it go. Aah…such maturity.