Category Archives: Tooty Stuff

Spoiled Illusions 8: Shoot it While U Can!

Sometimes a location for an Earplug Adventure photo-shoot can disappear with little notice or warning; so it’s very important that I grab the opportunity to gather some story material before the opportunity is lost. This was especially so in my former workplace – often because the prop or set was due to be loaded upon a truck and despatched to far away places. Louvres were often a big deal, so if I chanced upon one that stood out a little – that could maybe become something else entirely in the Earplug realm – I’d shoot as many pictures as possible, irrespective of any story line. Just get them in the can, so-to-speak, and worry about the continuity later – often MUCH LATER, like months or even years. Here’s such a louvre…

This looks like two zombies – Clux and Grimnax – from The Time Tamperer

In the absence of the original Main Thoroughfare that featured in so many Museum of Future Technology interior shots, I used this shelf and a perforated louvre as an alternative. A sort of secondary thoroughfare. The following picture features some cardboard packing-out pieces, upon which I stuck some little bits of yellow paper. It was to simulate apartment buildings. The length of grey/green insulation material is a grassy bank. Yeah – honest. Both are hidden beneath a sheet of plastic that served two purposes: One: to mask the area behind from the camera. Two: to hide the set from prying eyes. Even the boss couldn’t mistake the yellow paper for anything other than windows, right?

I can’t count how many times this ‘set’ was used. It’s not that it was a product that would likely disappear; but it could have come in very handy if the Despatch Department had required some packing-out material. So it was never secure. I was lucky to keep it. Here’s a couple of scenes in which it appeared…

I think they call this a scene setter. This time from Return To The Museum of Future Technology

And here is the same set in ‘action’…

Don Quibonki and Panta Lonez arrive at Lemonstone. From the same story

Not in any danger of being carried off in a truck, but certainly likely to be placed where it belonged, this plastic light tube cover was also used extensively. There had been some trouble with the light fitting; so whilst the cover was off, I hid it in plain site on this shelf – and no one seemed to notice it – for three years!

Well what a perfect corridor / tunnel it has made…

Here it appears in the story The Grand Tour

And I was still using it in Haunted Mars

There were other soon-to-disappear props that would…er…disappear for entirely different reasons. This shot from The Missing featured a hole that had been drilled through a concrete floor…

Clearly something has punched clean through the roof of the Museum of Future Technology!

which would soon be filled with concrete. And as regards this next shot from The Grand Tour

Well soon that set would be powder coated in matt black and travelling along at 120mph. Yes, inspiration comes in many shapes: even engine casings of a 1979 Kawasaki Z1000!

Make Room!

Sadly to say, with space needed on this blog for newer stuff, three Earplug Adventures have been excized. Yes, I know it’s terrible, but The Time Tamperer, Distant Land, and A Tale of Three Museums are surplus to requirements. Everyone say: “Bum!”

Who Has Been a Busy Boy Then?

It may have escaped your notice, but Tooty has been rather quiet of late. Some of this is due to his dislike of the cumbersome new system at WordPress; but much of his slowness to post is down to something else entirely. Yup, he’s been working on all his Earplug Adventure stories in preparation to post them as FREE PDF copies on HamsterBritain.com. In the process he has dropped the ‘Junior’ from the group title, and, in doing so has been forced to create new ‘covers’ for the PDF files. So he aint had a whole bunch of time to do much else. Oh, how he suffers for his art! Here’s a collection of pictures that display how the ‘new’ versions look…

Now all he has to figure out is how to make them available for you to download and read at your leisure. It can’t be difficult: just give him time.

Tooty the Chef in ‘Parsliotto!’

Tooty the Chef – when it comes to creating dishes – has been known to push the boundries of both his experience and his luck. Recently he decided that since everything else he has attempted ended in triumph and culinery glory, and also that the cupboard contained three packets of out-of-date arborio rice and the dregs of some Polish dried onions, he’d give Risotto a bash…

But when he looked in a cookery book for some rough guidence, he didn’t like what he saw…

So he put the book back from whence he discovered it…

…and decided to do it ‘his way’. In an aside, does anyone recognise this cupboard? If you’ve been reading Haunted Mars, you should. Look, it’s…

…part of Chef, Charles Du Glop’s Martian kitchen! But that’s by-the-by: on with the show. Well that self-same cupboard also contained this…

A rice cooker. Tooty the Chef is a big fan of rice cookers. He likes them so much that he keeps a spare in the attic. Never be without a rice cooker, that’s what he says. But before he set the wonder-device into operation, he sliced some chicken breast and peppers…

Then he proceeded to make some chicken stock by adding some ancient Spanish stock cubes (no Italian in the cupboard) to some boiling water…

After that he found time to turn his attention to the much-adored rice cooker, into which he poured sufficient water for three cups of rice…

Now Tooty the Chef is well-known for his stodgy meals; but on this occaision he thought it best to create something light and attractive that would linger in the memory for years to come. So, using his precisely measured Cafe au Lait cup, he poured in three cups of Waitrose Arborio rice…

Then – being an old and infinitely wise chef – he poured the remaining rice, from the packet, into a sealed jar – and didn’t forget to place a sliver of the packaging in with the rice for future identification. Good tip…

…even if the label was upside down. Well, no sooner had he done this, when it was time to start cooking the chicken and peppers together in olive oil…

But, of course, cooked chicken and peppers does not a risotto make. He knew he needed more. So he rooted through his supply of multifarious herbs and spices for something to add to the Polish dried onion. He found this three quarters-full container of parsley…

The onion was old, so it was a given that it would all go into the mix. Parsley is a bit of an unknown to our favourite chef, so he took no chances – or prisoners – and tipped the lot in. The result looked awfully like this…

So, whilst the rice steamed, blubbed and burst spectacularly in the direction of the kitchen sink…

…the parsley-stained stuff did much the same on the gas stove…

When he thought that it had bubbled like a looney for long enough, he reduced the heat – yes, you read that right: he REDUCED the heat – and let it simmer. This allowed him time to take out some plastic and cardboard packaging for recycling…

…and surrender to his prostate gland’s demands for him to visit the toilet…

Then, following a thorough washing of the chef’s hands (of course), it was back in the metaphorical saddle…

Which meant taking the cooked rice from the rice cooker and folding it into the chicken/peppers/Polish dried onions/parsley mush. It still turned out to be a complete stodge-fest…

But, boy, was it yummy! To call it a success would be to demean it. It was historic!

P.S This was written using WordPress’s fucking horrible Block Editing system. I anticipate that it took me twice as long compared to using their original system. If it was designed to reduce the amount of posts on WordPress, I imagine it has been a huge success: I’ve certainly cut back. Hmmm, I’ll have to try one of these Tooty the Chef tales on Wix.

Revel in the Ribaldry 31

The time is due for another excerpt from one of my…er…fabulous...Hamster-Sapiens books. It has been a while since I last entertained you with a snippet from this book...

…so it seems logical to do that right now. And here it is – and chosen entirely at random by pure chance…

Horatio became aware that Beryl was tugging at his sleeve, but tried to ignore it. So Beryl was left with no alternative but to knock off his novelty fedora if she wanted to gain his attention. So she did, and it worked wonderfully.

“I’m not native.” She whispered, “Who is that pompous ass-hole from which distain drips from every pore?”

Acknowledging the indisputable truth that Beryl wasn’t going to remain quiet unless Horatio gave her the information she required, the trepidatious young hamster decided to acquiesce to her demands.

“His name is Henderson Dangerpimple.” He spoke as quickly as he thought Beryl’s brain could assimilate the information, “He is a professor of Pox and Pustules at Chunderford University. He was the owner of the seafront fondant shop in the same town. Unfortunately his shop was destroyed by a mini-tsunami caused by a huge propeller that fell into the sea from the airship Dragon Slayer.”

Beryl was confused. “And he blames you for it?

“I was one of the passengers.” Horatio shrugged his shoulders, but instantly regretted the act lest the subtle movement reveal his location to the ethereal sniper.

“But still,” Beryl persisted, “that seems a little unreasonable.”

“Well I stole his wife too.” Horatio added slightly shamefaced. “They’d only been married a few hours. They hadn’t even consummated the union. But it wasn’t my fault: I had a really snotty allergy: An allergy to life without Colleen Slapper it turned out. So I told her that I loved her, begged her to leave Henderson, and she did. Now he hates me. I guess I can understand his motivation.”

“Is that tale in your autobiography?” Beryl inquired. “If it isn’t it should be.”

“Yes.” Horatio turned to regard the female beside him, “Haven’t you read it properly?”

“Not everything.” It was Beryl’s turn to look shamefaced, “Only the rude bits when you talk about your massive scrotum and suchlike. I just like to browse when I read.”

Horatio nodded. Once again he found himself capable of understanding the motivation of someone else – and it made him feel good. The Horatio Horseblanket Chronicles did run to three volumes after all. And there was the illustrated version too of course: That even included the famous photograph of his personal area that appeared on the cover of The Bucktooth Times. “Yes.” He said, “So I imagine that you’ve read all about how the President of Europe had a Particularly Popular Peoples Party pamphlet inserted into my anus and then set alight?”

“Oh yes.” Beryl assured Horatio, “It’s one of my favourite bits. And the episode where the famous Hamster-French three-wheeled go-kart race, Norbert Disentangle bit you in the…”

But Horatio was no longer listening: Instead he was regarding the TV monitor as a

cascade of whooshes and fizzles gave way to an actual picture…

“Yeah.” An unknown pilot yelled as he struggled with the controls of a recalcitrant military dirigible, “He’s my first-born. I named him after the first thing that I saw when I entered the delivery room in the hospital. His name is Legsakimbo.”

Further conversation with an unseen comrade was interrupted as the airship bucked and yawed in the turbulent night air.

Below searchlights scanned the heavens – sweeping across the night sky like photonic brooms. Every so often anti-dirigible explosives would be sent hurtling into the air from gigantic catapults – to cause mayhem and consternation amongst the crews that flew high above enemy territory.

“Legsakimbo Dangerpimple?” the comrade struggled from somewhere aft in the gondola with a huge cup of tea and a slice of lemon drizzle cake for the pilot. “That sounds almost exotic – like something from Deepest Jungle Land or somewhere similar.”

“Totally accidental I assure you, old chap.” The pilot gratefully accepted the gift of delicious comestibles, and began stuffing his face.

The comrade checked his fob watch. “Hmmm.” He muttered, “I think I’ll check with Marius: We should be just about there by now.”

But he didn’t need to. Instead a voice crackled over the intercom…

“This is Marius Moonvictim, Skipper: Time that we said ‘bye-bye’.”

“Roger that.” The pilot responded into a huge brass microphone that hung above his pilot’s seat. He then clicked on a radio transceiver. “This is Pilot Officer Brandenberg Dangerpimple to base. We’re having some difficulty with our navigator. Request permission to break off the attack, over.”

“Your navigator?” A distant voice floated in and out of audible range, “What the fluff’s wrong with Moonvictim this time? Over.”

Dangerpimple didn’t hesitate to lie. “Bad case of the shits, I’m afraid, over.”

It took a few seconds for the distant voice to become audible again, but when it did, the owner sounded exasperated.

“Tell him to hold it in, and get on plotting your course. The target for this bombing raid was chosen by the Prince himself personally.”

“Too late, base.” Dangerpimple couldn’t help but smile wickedly as he spoke, “I’m afraid that he’s soiled the navigation equipment. When we get back it’ll need a complete overhaul. We’re virtually flying blind up here. I think we can just about make it to the emergency landing tower at Mollusk by dead-reckoning if we turn back now. If we try to continue – then I think that we’d probably get horrendously lost, and fly right off the edge of the world. Over”

He knew that this last line was a certain winner. He needed only wait a paw-full of seconds before a radio acknowledgement was received.

“Right’o, Marius.” He shouted, “Plot us a course for you-know-where.”

He heard a laugh in response. “Already plotted and on the board, Skipper.”

And Brandenberg Dangerpimple’s response to that was a sharp twist of the wheel to starboard, and the instruction to his nearby comrade, “Okay, Flight Sergeant Binge Tanning: You know the ropes: Prepare for borders.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

 

Tooty The Chef in ‘cauliflower cheese cottage pie anyone?’

Tooty the Chef would have liked nothing more than to have replicated the original Cauliflower Cheese Cottage Pie he alluded to recently, but unfortunately there was a problem. Two problems actually. One: he couldn’t remember what he did last time. Two: there was a distinct lack of ingredients in the fridge. So, with this Mark Two version, he laid his mits upon this stuff…

Left to right: minced pork (couldn’t find any beef), packet cheese sauce and some Delmio pasta bake sauce (Chef forgot to buy any ready-made cheese sauce in a jar), packet cottage pie mix (why piss about making sauces when you can get it like this?), cauliflower (of course), an expensive pointy pepper (Waitrose had sold out of the usual kind), a courgette, and an onion. He later delved into the fridge again for some grated cheddar and mozarella cheese.

So then it was straight into prioritising mode. Time was tight: barely a moment to lose. Clearly he would require the Roasting Thing: but what else? Ah-ha – a big frying pan and the Microwaving Thing…

Decisions made, it was time to chop up the cauliflower, which was so huge that his microwaving thing was only half big enough…

So he had to cook the cauliflower twice. Here’s the first load going into the microwave for seven minutes…

With the first load heating up nicely, it was time for Tooty the Chef to start dicing. Within seconds this had happened…

When I say ‘seconds’, actually, by the time that he’d tossed it all into some hot olive oil in the frying pan, the microwave had gone ‘ding’, and Tooty was fighting with some super-heated cauliflower…

But no sooner had the second load of cauliflower begun its journey into culinery hell, when the meat-veggie amalgam demanded Tooty’s attention…

Now it was at this point that our wonder chef displayed his multi-tasking skills. The ones that have him swearing like a trooper. Yes, he had to mix up the cottage pie mix whilst boiling and stirring the cheese sauce mix (which drives him insane) and keeping the meat-veggie amalgam on the move so that it cooked evenly and didn’t create any nasty burnt bits…

As is normal, the cheese sauce took an eternity to cook. When he was half-satisfied he added the pasta bake sauce with a generous helping of grated cheese…

…which gave Tooty the opportunity to display his remarkable talent for thespianism that has had thoroughly employable actors crying into their beer – and shows just how much he enjoys using Waitrose products. Waitrose, please note this free advertising: perhaps you would like to get in contact? Whilst that mess bubbled nicely for a few seconds, Tooty upended the frying pan into the Roasting Thing and poured in the cottage pie mix…

Of course the second load of cauliflower had long-since cooked, so it, and the first load, were gently laid upon the first layer of the cauliflower cheese cottage pie…

Then it was simple matter of using a spatula to spread the cheese sauce all over it in a most generous manner, and stuff it into the very hot oven for fifteen minutes…

Now you might have noticed at this juncture that Tooty the Chef has revealed a slender buttock: should Waitrose be wise enough to sponsor HamsterBritain.com, he may have to cook with his underpants on. It’s sad, I know: but Waitrose and buttocks are probably mutually exclusive. Of course, should the John Lewis Partnership elect to go it alone into an uncertain future, Tooty can continue to show his arse willy-nilly. But that’s by-the-by. With fifteen minutes to spare, it was off to the toilet (of course) and a quick watch of the local news on TV…

So, shortly, it was check-the-dinner time…

It was bubbling insanely, and was clearly cooked; but it just didn’t look properly cooked. Our favourite chef decided that it needed a few minutes under the grill. So, whilst Tooty selected some sugar-free Sprite and Mulled Wine…

… and warmed up the plates in the microwave, the cauliflower cheese was getting somewhat blasted by the grill, which left it looking slightly worse for wear…

But, being a seasoned kitchen campaigner, he quickly stirred the nasty burnt bits into the meal. And when he slopped it onto the waiting plates…

…it was, of course, glorious. It tasted quite nice too – with a good texture. And only one person noticed the burnt bits. All-in-all a vast success. You should try it.

I Couldn’t Help But Notice That…

…almost everyone missed the final installment of Haunted Mars. I must have released it when people were looking the other way. So, just to make sure you see how the enormous story ended, here’s another chance. Just click on Haunted Mars (part sixty-two) and be transported to another world. You know it makes sense.

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part sixty-two)

Shortly, Bo stood at the water’s edge. It wasn’t the larger expanse of semi-frozen water that constituted the ‘sea’ that the museum overlooked: but a smaller body near the old citadel, which (perhaps by coincidence – or by perhaps by design in an earlier time) made a perfect reservoir for the sunken city…

“How was it that female engineer in the museum described Mars?” He asked himself. “Haunted? Well no more. Those ghosts of Mars have been well and truly exorcized.”

He then wandered to the pedestrian entrance beside the ancient citadel gate…

…where the property developer in him reasserted itself.

“Hmm,” he mused quietly, lest some passer-by overhear his verbalised thoughts, “maybe I won’t cadge a lift back to Scroton on the Gravity Whelk after all. This is all prime land now – especially along the sea front. A nice promenade would look charming – and maybe  a pier poking out into the sea – with a funfair at the end of it: that would be nice. And, of course, house prices would go through the roof for such a location. And I have the expertise to make it happen. Yes, ride this wave of good fortune, Bo: you deserve it.”

So, despite his naturally miserable visage, Bo Smidgin was a very happy cable end, as he made his way along the shore to the Future Museum of Mars…

Naturally, that evening, an award ceremony took place…

Sir Dodger Muir made a fabulous speech in which he praised the crew of the Gravity Whelk for their sterling work. Actual awards were thin on the ground, but Treacle Fagging had his engineers manufacture a Golden Welder’s Helmet, which they thought was most appropriate under the circumstances.

Folie – being the de facto ‘skipper’ of the Gravity Whelk – stood centre stage: but it was Bo who rushed forward and claimed the Golden Welder’s Helmet.

“Mine, I think,” he said as he grabbed it and thrust it upon his head, “after all it was my idea and it was me who undid the bolts that held the Gravitonic Multiplicitor to the deck.”

But, sadly the helmet had been designed for an earplug’s head, and poor Bo couldn’t see where he was going. He stumbled around for several seconds before falling off the stage. Placebo couldn’t have been more pleased.

“Serves you right,” he jeered, “you big show off.”

Then it was Frisby Mumph’s favourite part of the ceremony – because on walked El Custardo y Los Natillas…

Of course their guitar strings remained permanently ‘twanged’, and their trumpet mouthpieces would never again accept pursed lips: but they could perform a cappella, and so they did. With much clapping and stamping of feet, the Latin beat got everyone out of their seats…

Frisby was so happy that he didn’t even mind the presence of the plugmutt, Rufus on his precious museum’s red carpet…

…because (when the festivities were over) he was going to enjoy the rest of his life bringing the planet up to a habitable standard. He couldn’t wait for the morning to arrive.

But when that morning did arrive, and with its soft-top roof repaired, the Gravity Whelk launched from Mars for the last time…

In time there would be statutes that forbade loud rockets booming over inhabited areas: but for now Folie was happy to celebrate their departure by letting the motors roar as loudly as they could.

Shortly after the rocket motor’s sound had died away upon a light breeze, in the mists and shadows of early morning William of Porridge used his fine baritone to sing songs of love to Lillie…

And his soulful rendition of the classic What Becomes of the Broken Winded brought tears to her eyes. But not only Lillie’s eyes: a short distance from the shore, two faces emerged from the ‘sea’…

“Honestly, Arthur,” the female said, “it’s not enough that we awaken from a million-year sleep: but we have to listen to that awful racket when we do!”

“I know, Millicent,” the aquatic earplug named Arthur replied, “noisy neighbours are such a curse. But this looks like it’s going to be a vast sea: I’m sure we can find a nice little place somewhere in the depths.”

The End (for now)

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

WELL – DID YOU ENJOY IT? SHALL I DO ANOTHER ONE?

 

It’s Strange…

…but, under normal circumstances, I would have published the two volumes of Haunted Mars prior to the final episode going on-line. It’s a kind of tradition with me. But (if you’ve been reading my recent laments about both Lulu.com and WordPress) you already know that it aint gonna happen this time around: and there are no published Earplug Adventure e-books available either. What with my Wix experiment looking to be a complete flop, I may have to carry on with the inferior version of WordPress a little longer ( I mean, who wants to give up all those followers? I’d have to be crazy), whilst I continue to seek a format that suits my particular requirements. Or I could have two blogs running concurrently: this one and the yet-to-be-created blog. Who knows? But regards the Earplug Adventures, I really am in two minds about them. So, for now – assuming that the new (and not-improved) WordPress allows – I might just post PDF files of the complete books for everyone to download and read at their leisure. The published versions earned me mere pennies, so it’s not like it’s going to cost me a fortune in lost royalties. And, who knows, maybe a proper publisher might see one and have a lightbulb moment. See – even a guy in his sixties can still dream. So, following the publication of the final episode of Haunted Mars, hopefully you’ll be able to indulge yourself in a plethora of earplug stories. But it might take a while: they’ll all need new covers – and that could take time and patience. I think I have plenty of the former: but the latter is in short supply.

Tooty.

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part sixty-one)

Of course, the locals turned out in small numbers. They were used to catastrophe and ecological disaster, so tended to stay indoors. Despite Frisby Mumph’s best efforts, most of their population still remained in deep-freeze. Could this dusty world finally herald a new dawn for their civilisation?

Gargling Vastium thought that perhaps it might. “Nice.” He said to his colleagues. “When the dust settles, we’ll be able to get a decent tan at last.”

“Oh, absolutely,” the red-brained Nipper Sodbury replied. “And look at the previously ice-bound citadel steps…

…they’re running with fresh melt water.”

Klurk and Radvalve made their way out of the citadel too…

“I guess you’ll be crowned as Prime Minister again after this?” Radvalve mused. “Allowing Mister Mumph to save the world was a good political move.”

Klurk leant sideways conspiratorially. “Actually,” he replied, “I’m putting you up for the role. For me – with all this surface water and a moderate climate – I’m going to start making coracles for a living. Everyone is going to want one. Muffins always loved coracles: I think it’s the roughly-hewn, vaguely circular shape that does it for them.”

“That’s a point.” Radvalve responded. “Coracles. And what if you turned them upside down and glued a stick in the middle? You could make a nice sunshade. We haven’t got time to grow some forests: I know a Muffin with a whole bunch of prehistoric sticks that date back millennia: how do you fancy going into business with him?”

Of course William soon joined Lillie outside. She quickly divested herself of her tatty pressure suit…

They walked here and there, despite here and there looking awfully similar, talking of nothing in particular all the while. And as they did so, the dust began to settle. So as the day wore on they discovered that the museum lay upon a lovely golden beach, with views over the rapidly-thawing ice sheet…

“Would you believe it, William,” Lillie said with a sigh of inner contentment, “that I’m actually getting paid for strolling along the beach with my favourite guy. Oh, this is so fabulous. And Las Chicas are going to adore it!”

Meanwhile Folie and Kyboshed were busy retrieving the Gravitonic Multiplicitor…

“I think it was Donny who said that we’d never know when a Gravitonic Multiplicitor might come in handy,” Folie said as he completed the task of bolting it down to the deck once more. “How right he was. I’m so glad we didn’t have to return to Scroton for a new one.”

“And the toilet?” Kybosh suggested.

“Oh yes,” Folie agreed, “we’ll definitely need to recover that too: it’s such a long walk to the Fantadanta Room.”

Soon the short Martian day came to an end, and William and Lillie sat themselves down upon a huge slab of sandstone to watch the sunset…

“I expect the ice-sheet will freeze a little over-night.” William said. “But come the morrow, the Sun will thaw it just a little more of it.”

“And the day after that, a little more.” Lillie added to the joy of the moment.

Shortly they were joined upon their slab by others…

“I wonder, does anyone think that proto-sea will ever contain fish?” Chef, Charles De Glop asked no one in particular. “It would be good to add seafood to the menu.”

Then more arrived…

And one pretty young female, realising how charming the scene really was, turned around and beckoned everyone else out of the Future Museum of Mars.

It wasn’t until the new day dawned that the Gravity Whelk returned in triumph from its mission. It swooped along the new ‘sea front’ and passed above the museum…

“Can you put me down near the old citadel?” Bo asked the Automatic Pilot. “I don’t really go for all that hero hoo-hah. I’d like to walk back to the museum by myself. You know – a little solitude before the inevitable festivities.”

“Sure,” the Automatic Pilot replied, “anything  for the cable end who saved the planet Mars.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

 

WIX?

I had a spat about how WordPress had been utterly ruined by their new system recently. I think I might have sworn a couple of times. Well I stand by what I said: the ‘new’ WordPress is bollocks: but I’ve just spent a couple of hours tearing out what remains of my hair as I’ve tried to make something meaningful happen at a WordPress competitor – Wix. I don’t think I’ve ever said the word ‘fuck’ so many times before in my life. And arse holes too. Mostly it was: “No – you fucking arse holes!” It was a torrid affair. But you might (and I stress the word ‘might’) be able to take a look at the result of my labours by clicking HERE. You won’t be impressed. Oh God, please don’t tell me I’m stuck with WordPress? I don’t think I could stand that. Where are those sleeping tablets?

Time Could Be Up For HamsterBritain.com

Today WordPress removed the post editor which worked perfectly for me over the years – to replace it with something so complicated that I find it next to useless. And Jesus Christ it’s slow! I shall attempt to use it, of course, but (as usual, it seems) something that isn’t broken has been fixed – to my detriment. Just as I pulled my Earplug Adventures from Lulu.com because of their total fuck-up, I think I might jump ship here too. Fortunately I’ve already scheduled the final episodes of Haunted Mars, so you’ll get to see how the story ends. After that, we’ll see; but I’m looking for an alternative site for my stories and pictures. Oh, WordPress – why can’t you fucking leave things alone?

Tooty the Chef: Has He Lost The Magic Touch?

All across the globe Tooty the Chef fans are asking each other (on-line of course) the same question; “Where the flipping heck has he disappeared to? ” Or: “Where’s that buttock-baring bastard got to?” Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, a few months have passed since he lost the most important person in the world to him; so he’s not an overly jolly chappie at present. But he hasn’t slipped into a  stagnant bog of dispondency: no, he’s been trying to live a little (in these Covid 19 lock-down days). So, in addition to his picture-snapping and story-telling, he’s also found time to utilize his playthings…

But the family must be fed, so Tooty the Chef must still wield the ladle with gusto…

…so that he might produce goodies such as the following…

And he still conjures up sufficient enthusiasm to use his roasting thing too…

…in which stuff such as these example meals are created to stratospheric levels of fabulousness…

But, despite the sense of satisfaction that he gleans from all this culinery artistry…

…what he really likes best is this…

Yes, dressing up in tight leather. No-no-no – I mean riding his motorcycle. But fear not – that hat and apron are never far away.

P.S that hula-hoop in the garage shot is not his. He doesn’t do the hula: he has a dodgy back.

Revel in the Ribaldry 30

It’s been a while since the last bout of ribaldry-revelling. Since this e-book…

…gets the lion’s share of my affections, I chose, this time, to delve into the rude wonders of this one…

…which is a double sequel – to The Psychic Historian AND this e-book…

So, you could be forgiven for thinking that it must contain all the qualities of both. And you’d be right. Here’s a random excerpt…

The next reader didn’t arrive in a cloud of smoke; appear from thin air; or present himself in an imaginatively spectacular manner as many had expected: Instead he merely ambled into view upon rickety legs from his perch upon a roughly-hewn log at the rear of the audience. But when he spoke everyone was absolutely certain that the being that now stood with his be-whiskered snout to the microphone could only be, without the faintest doubt, the elderly owner of The Where House – Boney Legge himself.

“I aint much good at public speakin’.” He announced. “In fact I aint much on speakin’ at all. I just likes to ogle and complain – in that order; or, dependin’ on me mood, goin’ for a shit at inopportune moments. But like the rest of us what live hereabouts I keep a diary, and for some reason the ghost of Freda Bludgeon took mine and made somethin’ out of it. She had no choice of course, coz it’s me what wrote the next bit of the story. But coz as an orator I’m total crap, I’m gonna ask my android friend, Colin, to do the talkin’ for me. How does that sound to you lot?”

“If it means that we don’t have to listen to you mangle the Hamster-British language anymore, that’s just fine.” Molly Horseblanket yelled from her seat beside her son, Horatio.

Boney nodded enthusiastically. He then waved to someone in the shadows. Moments later the tall, handsome, artificial hamster strode to the dais; hopped aboard; and gave the audience one of his toothy smiles for which he was almost famous.

“Well isn’t this a lot of fun, Boney?” He said. “I do love a nice chin wag on a sub-zero evening.”

Boney wasn’t sure that he would describe the current situation as ‘fun’: He’d rather be tucked up nice and warm in front of the brazier in his foldaway scooter park; perhaps playing darts at the Mouldy Lectern public house; or even watching nothing happen on the CCTV monitors in his security office whilst wrapped up in his favourite duvet, and supping on luke-warm cocoa. But he had to admit that it wasn’t exactly the worst type of torture that he was experiencing right now, and he consoled himself with the thought that his mere presence there that night might inspire one or two of the audience to spend a couple of Rodentos, and visit his emporium of alien artefacts, and possibly keep him financially solvent for another week.

“Yeah.” He replied, and tried a patently false smile that somehow came across as a lecherous leer, which frightened Farmer Niblet so badly that she squealed loudly, and instructed her husband, Farmer Tablet, to “skewer the deviant with your pitchfork, my dearest”.

Fortunately for the evening’s proceedings, Farmer Tablet seldom did as he was instructed. Instead gave Boney a cheerful ‘thumbs-up’.

Colin didn’t really need to clear his throat in preparation to speak; but he found that generally it got everyone’s attention rather well, especially when he turned his volume control up to ‘ten’ – nearly frightening people stupid in the process. And so it was that evening in Danglydong Dell – when he accidentally wound up his volume dial to eleven, and instead frightened Wendy Nuthatch stupid.

Blubbersday, the Forty-sixth of Plinth. Like the other two parties before them, the group that was psychically protected by Primrose Pickles entered Far Kinell through one of the four main gates. In their case it was the rickety old Historic gate, where market stalls had been set up that sold ‘old fashioned’ or ‘retro’ stuff – like woollen bloomers; clogs; wooden false teeth; earthenware bed-warmers; beetroot wine; and a plethora of multifarious strap-on dildos.

For a brief moment Colin was quite taken by the latter, and even went so far as to study one or two of them minutely.

“Ere,” Boney called down to him from the broad back of Gargantua the giant cavy, “leave them fake dicks alone. Nothing good can come of tinkerin’ with the unnatural.”

“But I’m unnatural.” Colin reminded his current owner. “There isn’t a natural product in my body. And I was just wondering if I could utilise one of these as an addendum to my ‘special tool’. It could be fun. I could frighten sailors with it.”

Boney had to think about this for a few seconds. “Yeah that sounds alright.” He replied finally, “Maybe we can mass produce ‘em too, and sell ‘em as advanced alien trinkets. They don’t have no patent laws in this world, do they?”

It was a brilliant idea, and Colin duly flicked a few coins in the vendor’s direction, and snatched up the largest, most impressive specimen on his stall. It wobbled alarmingly in his paw as he walked away, and appeared almost too real for comfort. “Indeed they don’t.” He said quietly.

Primrose, meanwhile, was reconnoitring the immediate area with all six senses. She cocked her head upon one side – as if listening to something that no one else could hear.

Gargantua noticed this, and immediately he began mimicking her.

“What are you doing?” Primrose inquired.

“Hoping that whatever you’ve got rubs off on me.” Gargantua replied. “Maybe I can

be the first recorded psychic cavy in history.”

Primrose was instantly fascinated. “Do they keep such records in Prannick?”

Gargantua shrugged his shoulders, which almost flipped Boney from his elevated perch. “Somewhere in some secretive cubby hole of The Wheel they do, no doubt.” He said.

Primrose’s fascination dissipated. “I’m trying to sense Tybrow Mooney’s presence, or at least his spore.” She spoke sternly, “Don’t interrupt with mindless trivialities.”

Colin arrived. He waved his wobbly dildo in Primrose’s direction. “What do you think of this, Primrose?” He asked politely.

Primrose wasn’t really paying much attention. “Lovely.” She said absentmindedly.

“Would you like me to go back and buy one for you?” Colin offered generously, “There was a sign that said ‘One size fits all’. Obviously I wouldn’t know what that means, but I’m sure it must be a positive attribute.”

Primrose then noticed the dildo as it wobbled like an elongated jellybean. “No!” She screamed. “It’s disgusting. Put it away.”

“You know those are exactly the same words that a police-female spoke when I got out my special tool during our last adventure on an alternate world.” Colin chuckled. “Lionel and Fanangy had to break me out of jail just a short while afterwards.”

“Hey!” Gargantua suddenly bellowed, “Maybe I aint no psychic, but my nose is smelling real good today. I smell cavy. One of ‘em is a foreign cavy too. It’s got the unmistakable pong of Sponx royal finery about it.”

“Margarita?” Primrose cried out in hopeful wonderment.

Again Gargantua shrugged his mighty shoulders. “Do I know this Margarita?” He inquired from behind suspicious eyes.

As Boney scrabbled to retain his tenuous grip upon the flanks of his mount, Primrose mentally slapped her wrist. “No, or course not.” She answered. “Silly me. Now tell me – does your sensitive nose detect the aroma of a Law Master’s saddle?”

Gargantua scented the air. “Yeah,” he answered in surprise, “I do. All sweating ass-hole stuff. You know it reminds me of the time when I was a Law Master’s mount. Great days. Great days indeed – what with all that driving peasants from their hovels, and chasing Stix across the countryside until they dropped from heat exhaustion or threw themselves down holes. Then I got sold to Lucas Cleats of course. It was still fun after that – but a different kind’a fun. Not so much Stix chasing; but loads’a abbey crushing and Law Master mangling. But it quickly palled, and I became disillusioned. So when you lot came along I saw it as a perfect opportunity to right some wrongs. As a result – here I am. Ta-dah!”

“Don’t he go on!” Boney complained. “It’s enough to make me ears come out in sympathy with me aching knees.”

But Primrose hadn’t been listening. Instead she strode forward through the market place, and headed straight for the only building in town that had rented rooms with adjoining stables.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Obviously I don’t need to remind you that this e-book is available at various outlets – some of which are mentioned on the sidebar. They include the publishers Lulu.com

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part fifty-six)

It was snowing again, some while later outside the Future Museum of Mars…

…when Frisby, accompanied by his right-hand-girl, Lillie, stood at a cargo door and watched the weather. But neither of them noticed the inclement conditions. They were there, trying to clear their minds before they had to announce the great plan of planetary salvation to the museum’s visitors. Frisby decided to play it straight…

“Right, you lot,” he said to the small knot of customers who had bothered to respond to his summons on the public address system, “I’ve got some scary news for you all. I want you to listen carefully.”

The word ‘scary’ brought forth an influx of eager visitors…

“Yeah,” he continued once the resulting hubbub had lessened, “really scary.”

This time the word impinged upon the consciousness of three members of Las Chicas De La Playa as they went in search of a nail varnish machine…

With no nail varnish machine within sight, they turned their attention to the growing crowd…

“In fact,” Frisby added for emphasis, “it would probably be a good idea to carry at least one change of underwear wherever you go.”

“And some moist toilet tissue.” Lillie added helpfully.

Well this had everyone hooked. Silence reigned like never before…

Then Frisby told them of the plan. “It’s gonna get rough.” He concluded without hesitation. “I don’t know how rough: but moving an entire planet closer to the Sun doesn’t come without massive disturbance.”

“There’s bound to be a lot of wind.” Sir Dodger informed them. “And not all of it outside the museum.”

“And tectonic movement.” Lillie added.

“Not all of it outside the museum too, I’d wager.” William of Porridge whispered in her ear.

“Dinner’s off.” Charles De Glop announced. Then by way of explanation he added: “I can’t work whilst all my utensils are being cast around the kitchen like disturbed spirits.”

“In summation, the only positive thing I can say,” Frisby finished, “is that there shouldn’t be any plague and pestilence.”

“Unless, of course, the tectonic movements disturb some long-buried virus below ground that rises up and wipes us out.” William added. “But I feel that’s unlikely.”

So the crowd broke up in sombre mood. But Lillie was anything but. She dragged William along to a Ladies Outfitters…

“Right then, William.” She said, “I’m going to go inside this futuristic changing room: I want you to look the other way.”

William did as he was bid…

…but he felt terribly tempted to take a peek. So, to calm himself he wandered to and fro…

…and wondered why it took so long for one female to try on one garment. Then, as his patience neared breaking point, he heard his name whispered. Turning around he was smacked in the face by astonishment…

“Lillie,” he yelled, “you’ve ditched your tatty old pressure suit!”

Lillie was as thrilled as William. “Yes,” she squealed with feminine delight, “I’m wearing regular ‘girly’ stuff. What do you think?”

“Think?” William responded. “I can barely think at all. I am overcome by your loveliness. By the Saint of All Earplugs: I was proud to have you on my arm before: now…

…I’m going to parade you around the museum for all to see!”

“And this outfit is thermal too.” An excited Lillie replied as they made their way to the exit. “We can outside, and I won’t freeze to death.”

So they did…

…and William suspected that Mars had never seen such beauty walk its surface.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part fifty-five)

A half-hour later Frisby and Bo explained to Kyboshed that they had finished unbolting the Gravitonic Multiplicitor from the deck…

“Now we can jettison it into space.” Frisby finished.

“But I don’t understand.” The robot replied. “This is Engineering: we have no cargo door or aperture large enough to allow egress for the Gravitonic Multiplicitor.”

“We didn’t say it was going to be easy,” a surprisingly ebullient Bo answered, “it will require some lateral thinking.”

“Ah,” Kyboshed said, he thought knowingly, “you’re going to dismantle it and pass it through the Space Vents in the ceiling; then reassemble it in the vacuum of space whilst wearing pressure suits.”

Folie overheard the unfamiliar term, Space Vents, and duly went to inquire…

Looking upwards he saw – for the first time since coming aboard the vessel weeks earlier…

“Hey,” he complained loudly, “I had no idea that vents opened directly onto space from here. It’s a terrible design: we could have been sucked into space without a moment’s warning. Also I note that the vents appear to be open: why aren’t we out there in space?”

“Force field, Folie.” Kyboshed explained. “It’s always on. It even has its own battery back-up in case the main power fails. And the vents automatically close in that eventuality too.”

“Great,” Folie said as he calmed down, “but why have them in the first place?”

“Two reasons.” Kyboshed explained further. “One: in the event of an uncontrollable fire in Engineering, the oxygen required for combustion can be vented into space instantaneously. Two: if we’re boarded by Space Pirates we can retreat to the bridge and blow them into space from there.”

“Oh, I like that.” Folie said as he felt himself warming to the design feature. “So we’re gonna dismantle the Gravitonic Multiplicitor and poke it out through those, are we?”

“No.” Bo replied. “I’ll explain on the way back to Mars.”

As they approached Mars, Folie still couldn’t quite believe what Bo and Frisby planned for the Gravitonic Multiplicitor.

“We can’t reassemble it in space.” Frisby had explained before disappearing into the toilet. “It’s too complicated. And we don’t have space suits. Well I do, but it’s old and tatty and not worth a fart.”

“We’re gonna cut the artificial gravity,” Bo said, “and let it float out through the openings.”

“But it’s bigger than the openings.” Folie pointed out the obvious.

“No problem.” Bo had replied. “The Gravitonic Multiplicitor is made on Scroton from a very dense material. It’s much stronger than the metal used on the Space Vents. It will simply barge its way out of Engineering. We can fix the vents later at the Future Museum of Mars.”

It was all perfectly logical, and soon the Gravity Whelk began its descent to the planet’s surface…

Once back in the museum, Frisby made contact with the Muffins in the ancient citadel…

He spoke with the blue-brained scientific chief, Gargling Vastium…

After explaining their plan he added: “Well, what do you think, Gargling?”

Naturally Gargling was excited at the prospect of a huge scientific experiment that pushed the boundaries of what was practicable. “Yo, man,” he cried, “go for it. But you’d better check with the politicians first: they might get really miffed at being left out of the loop.”

So it was a call to the uniped, Klurk that Frisby made next…

Naturally Klurk took some advice from his aid, Radvalve Thermostatic, before replying…

“We have no concept of a dual party political system on the planet you know as Mars,” Klurk informed Frisby and those watching, “so if anything goes disastrously wrong, the opposition can’t haul us over the coals in parliament for making a bad decision. We trust you, Frisby. You have our permission to save the world.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Lulu.com Vs Earplug Adventures

I’ve been using the on-line publishers, Lulu.com since I published my first book in 2009. For ten years our relationship was harmonious. Then, in 2019 they went for a massive re-build of their systems – and disaster followed. Authors across the globe cried into their word processors. It was an almighty fuck-up of literary biblical proportions. I won’t detail my concerns, but since I don’t sell enough books to worry my bank balance, I sat it out and waited for them to sort out the mess. Others jumped ship. But by the time that I was ready to publish again – following my wife’s passing – their ‘new’ system (although a pale reflection of the excellent former system) seemed to be working okay. It was shit; hard to fathom; un-helpful; and total bollocks: but I was willing to give them another chance. At first all seemed well: volumes 1&2 of A Tale of Three Museums went into global distribution – eventually: but 3 seemed mired in no-mans-land. Apparently there was something wrong with it, but Lulu didn’t seem keen on specifics. So I went through the manuscript and cover image with a fine-tooth comb. All was  well, with the exception of a slightly over-spec resolution on the book cover. So I made it the equal of volumes 1& 2, and duly republished. Lulu never got back to me on the subject; but the book didn’t make it into global distribution. But, considering what I’ve experienced in recent times, it was no big deal. I let it ride. But tonight I attempted to publish Vol 1 of Haunted Mars. To say their system tried my patience is the understatement of the year. No matter what I selected: what box I ticked or unticked; what file was downloaded, uploaded, reloaded, nothing could get the bloody book published. Apparently – and I use the word ‘apparently’ because nothing on their site is clear and simple – I could only buy the book myself; no one else could see it; and it didn’t have a cover image. So I removed all the Earplug Adventures from sale. I couldn’t delete them – that’s not possible these days: I could only ‘retire’ them. The whole point of author-controlled  on-line publishing is that the author chooses what gets published, and what happens to the work afterwards. Well that’s how it used to be: but the new-look Lulu isn’t the outfit I signed up to in 2009. I’ve left my serious books and the hamster-fiction up there for now – after all they’ve been there long enough that they have cyber cobwebs hanging from them. But, if I’m to share my stories with you, I’m going to need a new plan. A new publisher perhaps? Any suggestions? I’d really like to see these books out there…

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part fifty-four)

Naturally Bo shouted: “Abort! Abort! Get us the heck back to Mars!”

Equally naturally Placebo had already reacted to the potentially disastrous situation by turbo-boosting all the way to the doomed planet in a blind panic, and soon the Gravity Whelk was descending gracefully through a surprisingly azure sky upon Autopilot…

“Well that didn’t work.” Folie complained as he wiped sweat from his brow, “I suppose we’ll have to think of something else. It was such a good idea too: what a shame we can’t make it happen.”

Placebo might have replied with some inanity designed to calm his friend’s tattered nerves; but Folie never heard it, because…

…he found himself ensnared within Dark Space.

“Lucky it wasn’t me piloting.” He complained. “Snatching me away like that…well we could have piled into the Martian surface and become a flaming ruin.”

Dark Space decided to ignore the earplug’s outburst: “That experiment was foolhardy.” It said. “Had I not been there to use my vast gravimetric energy to save the Gravity Whelk impacting on the Sun, it would have been a complete failure – as well as a disaster for you, Placebo, and everyone else.”

Folie was placated in an instant. “That was you?” He said gratefully. “I thought it was just blind chance – or maybe the legendary Saint of All Earplugs.”

Again Dark Space ignored Folie: “But it did give me an idea. I am aware of your attempts to save the planet below from ecological disaster – again. The Scrotonite’s plan for using the Gravitonic Multiplicitor is ingenious – but flawed. Without something that has greater gravity than Mars for it to anchor itself to, the planet cannot be moved.”

A slight pause developed. Folie filled it with: “And?”

“I can be that greater gravity source.” Dark Space finally volunteered.

Folie, being surprisingly quick-witted when in the company of Dark Space, thought he could see a flaw in the alternate realm’s logic: “But you have no mass.” He pointed out. “You’re integrated into the deck, yet you disturb no atoms and add no weight to the ship. In fact, instead of slowing it down, you make it go faster.”

“Exactly.” Dark Space said with a hint of triumph in its telepathic voice. “I make it go faster by adding my great gravitonic energy to the thrusters. Of course it will mean that I will have used up most of my energy reserves; but, hey, someone’s gotta stop roving some time: and this Solar System of yours looks kind’a nice: A pleasant blue habitable world full of interesting intelligences: two – if I strut my funky stuff sho’nuf.”

Folie didn’t require any further convincing…

“Placebo,” he yelled, “don’t land: get this ship back into space!”

Placebo, slightly annoyed at the loud shouting in his ears, trusted his friend’s judgement implicitly and hit the launch motors. Seconds later the ship was clawing its way spaceward…

In the Fantadanta Room, Frisby and Bo were caught off-guard…

Bo expressed some little-known Scrotonite expletives, and Frisby asked: “Hey, what gives?”

Folie quickly explained.

“We’ll be right there.” Bo replied.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Spoiled Illusions 7: The Factory Toilet!

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

Sometimes, during my working day – when things had gone a little quiet – I would steal away to shoot Earplug Adventure scenes. One of my preferred places was the ever-reliable lavatory – a place that quaranteed anonimity and freedom from intrusion – though, it must be said, lacking in many artistic opportunities. In my latter working days, this particular loo proved a boon to my story-telling…

Positioned at the end of a row of cubicles, it was very cramped, and drafty (in winter), with a tendency to block easily. It was unpopular – so it became my go-to-loo for shooting earplugs. Here it is in all its interior glory…

I imagine you’re thinking, “Not a lot of creative potential there.” But you may not have factored in the genius of the Earplug Adventures creator. Look at that narrow shelf and structural support tubes…

Why, the potential is almost unlimited. Check this out: the very first shot taken (17/08/2017) in the ‘new’ factory bog…

With a little plastic widget for a ‘prop’ doorway, it’s two of the dancing girls from ‘The Missing‘.

In contrast, here’s the last picture taken there, in early 2020…

It utilizes the diagonal support tubes as they intersect the shelf. I didn’t know that it was the last shot at the time, of course. I also didn’t know that this character would appear in ‘Haunted Mars’ and be named Mulleon Cleets.  And I certainly never imagined that it would become an exit from a cave.

After moving to the ‘new’ factory in 2017, most of my shooting took place at home. But there were times – when a new idea arrived – that I’d need to shoot then and there, before the thought escaped. Here’s a shot from ‘Mutant Island’ that used the top of the cistern for the first time…

It would be used again, fear not, as proven by this scene from ‘The Grand Tour‘…

…in which a desperate photographer needed an access tunnel for his characters to emerge from, but could only find the toilet roll. Desperate times: desperate measures. But I’m sure it was entirely convincing  within the story itself. And it was only half a toilet roll after all. And I did squash it slightly.

Speaking of toilet rolls – look how handy their  dispensers can become…

Yes, it’s the scene from ‘Distant Land‘ in which the reader is introduced to Placebo Bison. I didn’t figure he’d get a sequel at the time. But then why should I: I never plan anything.

So, finally, we come to the…ah…final example of lavatorial inspiration. It’s the opposite end of the shelf, where the bitter Winter wind blows into the bog in an uninterrupted manner. Prior to plugging it with a length of polystyrene, I snapped this shot for ‘The Time Tamperer…

Hopefully it conveys the idea of distance beyond the well-lit area. I’m sure it does.

In the next episode we’ll be looking at other locations around my former workplace – many of which were opportunistic. By that I mean I shot some piccies with no plan whatsoever – before the location changed beyond recognition, or disappeared somewhere on the back of a lorry. It was a working factory after all!

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part fifty-three)

Naturally Frisby – himself no slouch when it came to engineering – and Kyboshed bent themselves to the task of assisting the being from Scroton. It continued that way for an unmeasured amount of time…

Eventually Bo was forced to call a temporary halt whilst he stopped for a lavatory break…

“Would you look at that!” He exclaimed on the way to the toilet with a revolving door and a pink light above it. “We’re in space, and I didn’t even feel us launch.”

Frisby was a mud-plugger: he didn’t like the limitless openness of outer space. “Yeah,” he grumbled. “Great innit?”

But he was even less impressed when he discovered an original Anton Twerp hanging on the wall. In fact he was so less impressed that he walked on by without making mention of it…

But Bo felt differently. “I like this.” He gushed. “I really, really like it.” Then he had a thought: “Kyboshed; do you think Folie and Placebo would mind terribly if I purloined this? It would look wonderful in my toilet.”

But soon it was back to work…,

Bo felt the need to survey the situation from every observation point available to him. Even really high ones with no safety rails or parachutes…

And it helped too! “Hmmm,” he hummed. He then expanded on his thought processes: “The Gravitonic Multiplicitor should be pointed at Mars and activated. With any luck it should latch on to the planet in exactly the same manner that the tractor beam did in the Galactic Lens – all those years ago for Beaufort and Richter Skail.”

Frisby foresaw a problem. “But all that will accomplish is the ship being pulled down towards Mars’ surface quicker than its engines can keep it up here.”

Bo hadn’t thought of that. “I hadn’t thought of that.” He confessed. “It’s what comes of taking a cable end out of his natural environment and turning him into a property developer with no imagination or soul. Okay, let’s think about this. What do we need to make this work?”

“Something heavier than the ship and Mars for the Gravitonic Multiplicitor to pull against.” Kyboshed suggested.

Bo threw a glance out through a high window in the Fantadanta Room. “Yeah,” he said, “we’ve got one of those.”

Two minutes later the Gravity Whelk was passing behind the Sun, directly opposite the orbit of Mars…

“We’re in position.” They heard Folie’s voice over the ship-wide intercom…

“Excellent,” Bo said without looking up from the Information Matrix Globe, “now point the Gravitonic Multiplicitor at where I’ve calculated Mars should be, and give it a half-second blast.”

A half-second (and the time it took for Placebo to line up the Gravitonic Multiplicitor; select the timer; and to press the button) later…

“Why has the light outside gone all funny?” Bo demanded.

On the bridge Folie and Placebo were almost speechless…

After several seconds of uncontrolled shaking, Folie managed: “Because we’re ever so slightly nearer the Sun than we were a half-second ago…

…A whole lot nearer!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

No Time To Lose

Today Tooty the Chef turned one of his multifarious talents to the problem of a garden that had been left to its own devices over winter. It would have been a ten-minute tidy up, but (as usual) he got carried away, and, several hours later he realised that he should have been preparing a fabulous cauliflower cheese cottage pie for the main meal of the day. Yes, you read that right: Cauliflower Cheese Cottage Pie. It was an idea he had in the middle of the night. Paul McCartney dreams songs: Tooty the Chef has culinery nightmares. So, with no time to lose, he washed his delicate artist’s hands, and got stuck in. Speed was of the essence, so, of course, any thoughts of photographing the event were dismissed. In any case, there was the likelihood of abject failure, and none of us like to see a grown man cry into his ladle, do we? So he contented himself with a solitary shot of the finished product…

…which was splendid in every way. And because it was splendid – and not average-to-vile – he will produce the meal again, and give you all the gen in a full Tooty the Chef cookery lesson. Look forward to it!

And, yes, if you look  very closely indeed, it can be seen on his meal planner.

 

Tooty’s Been Thinking Again

Although I haven’t been paying my Mr Point’n’Shoot blog as much attention as this one (naturally), I have been quite pleased with the response to it. It’s getting some descent hits, and (very pleasingly) some followers too – despite the fact that I don’t post as often as I should. But, as I trawled through my photographic files in search of nice pictures for it, I discovered that (through the years) I’ve taken a disproportionate number of piccies that feature either blossom or blooms. What’s that, you’ve figured out what I’m about to suggest already? Oh, you obviously know me better than I thought. But I suppose I’d better make the suggestion anyway. I was thinking, wouldn’t it be a fab idea to direct lots of flowery kind’a pictures – which might otherwise clog Mr Point’n’Shoot with a repeat subject that could, just possibly, turn off people who don’t like flowers particularly – to a third blog that would specialise in the subject. It could be called…um…er…I don’t know…Mr Blossom’n’Blooms. Does that sound promising? A blog full of this sort of thing…

I’ll take a ‘Like’ as a vote of confidence.

P.S Please note Tooty the Chef’s meal planner behind me. How professional is that!

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part forty-nine)

Whilst the snow storm continued unabated outside, Folie decided to check-out an item he’d noted in the inventory that he thought might come in handy. So, upon discovering the whereabouts of the Snow Skimmer, he kick-started its diesel engine into life…

Fortunately there was a pleasantly circular porthole through which the disgusting, sooty smoke could escape, so he didn’t succumb to smoke inhalation. But, because the ship had grounded at an angle, every time Folie attempted to climb the resulting gradient, the Snow Skimmer slid back down again…

…which quite amused him – at least initially. But following several unsuccessful attempts to gain the door, he was getting decided miffed. So Placebo – being larger and heavier – thought he might try it…

But, despite casting a silent plea in the assumed direction of the Saint of All Earplugs, Placebo had no more success than his diminutive friend. “I guess it was designed for flat surfaces like frozen lakes and such.” He said without rancour.

Folie was less tranquil on the subject: “Whoever designed this thing is a total prat.” He snarled. “Now we’ll have to walk!”

A short while later the last of the squall blew in some other poor unfortunate’s direction, leaving the Gravity Whelk open to the ravages of the feeble light thrown by a very distant Sun…

Folie had returned to the bridge for his pocket compass, but now encountered the difficulty of exiting it without crashing into either the Engineering lavatory or the Gravitonic Multiplicitor…

“I notice your magnetic butt has you firmly attached to the floor.” Folie said as he watched Kyboshed going about his duties below him. “I’m going to try sliding towards the door: catch me if I fall, okay?”

But being a talented young earplug with a good sense of balance, Folie made it to the corridor unscathed…

“That’s the really good thing about these moving corridors,” he observed and then stated his observation, “they move at angles. They are basically self-levelling corridors. No need for a plumb line or spirit level. I’m impressed: it makes getting around a leany-over ship much easier.”

“And the windows too.” Kyboshed said as he peered out into the brilliant light outside. “They match the level of the floor perfectly. Do you think I should switch off the landing lights? They’re blindingly bright.”

A short while later the three mobile members of the crew disembarked. None of them much liked the chill of the snow upon which they wished they’d not needed to walk…

“If I ever meet the designer of that snow skimmer…” Folie grumbled – without conclusion or positive effect.

And as a wind blew up suddenly, Placebo decided that he hated the designer too. And the manufacturing plant in which it had been constructed. In fact he hated the very concept of the vehicle…

“I have detected the whereabouts of the Future Museum of Mars.” Kyboshed informed the miserable duo. “We shouldn’t be long in these inclement conditions.”

Unfortunately Folie’s bladder was effected by the cold more adversely that Placebo’s. He needed to drop behind for a while…

But when his task was complete he found himself alone in the cold. For a moment fear clutched his bowels with a chainmail glove. But when he heard Placebo calling his name he cheered up…

…and followed the sound back to the others…

“Ooh, that was a close call.” He said. “We should learn from this experience. Next time one of us wants a wee in the snow, the other will have to stay behind with him.”

Then, from out of the swirling, wind-blown snow emerged their destination…

“Ah, will you look at that.” Folie said in admiration. “Real technology, sent back through time from the future.”

“Yeah,” Placebo seemed to agree. But he spoiled it slightly by adding: “Pity they couldn’t have positioned it a little bit closer. If they live in our future, they must have foreseen our arrival here. So why make us walk across the huge divide? For all we know, that snow could be hiding a bottomless crevasse.”

It was a good point well-made: but it was also entirely wrong; and within a couple of minutes they were clambering upon the museum’s metallic apron…

“Excellent.” Placebo said as he regained his breath. “Now all we need is a door.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Spoiled Illusions 6: The Rude Disused Go-Kart Park Pallet

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

There were many pallets and sheets of chipboard in use at my old place of work. Here is an example of a stack of them…

Now you might think this is a random selection, which, by chance, I had elected to elevate to a place of posterity upon the Internet. But no, look closely at that top pallet. It’s a strange example of the breed because it was made of a mysterious substance that looked and felt like concrete, and was impossible to lift without the aid of a fork-lift truck. It was also a perminent set for the Earplug Adventures. The subterranean go-kart park in the Museum of Future Technology, to be exact – a set that was used over and over throughout the earlier tales. That’s why you can see some tiny coloured objects in front of it, and a red sticker attached. Oh look, this it in action…

…in Museum of Terror. That’s Dan Down’n’out with his two slovenly wives. He was so poor that he lived in the go-kart park – along with some pigeon shit apparently. And it was still appearing (years after its demise) in later tales – namely in this shot from Haunted Mars

 

…where it had been placed upon a sheet of rockwall/plasterboard/pladur. Yes, it was a library shot – originally a bunch of earplugs waiting for a hover-train in an earlier story – minus the guano. It also existed in literary alternate realities, such as this one…

…featuring a nasty bunch of enforcers known as the Black Hatters in Evil Empire.

“But,” I hear you say, “what has this concrete pallet got to do with the word ‘rude’ in the title of this post?”

Well I’ll tell you…in a moment. First let me continue this tale. One day I arrived at work – to discover that the go-kart park had disappeared. In horror I went looking for it. After several panic-stricken minutes in the main warehouse I found it loaded with office equipment. Some bunch of dozy office workers had risked hernias lifting the concrete pallet down – where they could easily have used any number of lighter, more accessible wooden ones. Anyway I repacked their office equipment and stole my pallet away, where I kept it hidden in plain sight beneath the bottom strut of a racking system…

It did sterling work work there. And because it was so sodding heavy, no one ever bothered it. So, with it safely enconced, I was able to decorate it further. If you’re eagle-eyed enough, you might notice something written on the central ‘column’. Can’t quite read it? Here it is in close-up…

Yes, it’s earplug graffiti. And here it is in a story…

“Ugh?” you could be forgiven for uttering. “I don’t recall ever seeing ‘I Suck Dick’ in a lovely Earplug Adventure!”

Well, in the beginning, the earplug adventure books were rude. Very. But following some complaints I decided to re-write them as child-friendly. It was a good move: they were much improved. So, obviously this graffiti needed to be erased from every shot it appeared in. And, equally obviously, in shots where the erasing process looked odd, instead I substituted one of the words…

…and added a beam of sunlight. Much later I used the picture again as a night security camera shot…

Sadly, when the company re-located, the pallet had to remain behind in the old factory. But I snapped a few shots before I departed, and (chances are) they’ll appear as backgrounds in future shots from the Museum of Future Technology.

In fact one has already, as recently as A Tale of Three Museums...

Pretty convincing window, I think you’ll agree. Clever bastard, aren’t I?

Earplug Adventures © Paul Trevor Nolan

Revel in the Ribaldry 29

For this excerpt I return you to the best book in the world ever. This one…

Now you might think me rather bold to call this book the best in the world ever: but I have my reasons. It is – it’s as simple as that. And just to prove it, here’s that excerpt I mentioned…

Upon the huge screen weird shapes and sparkling fizzle-things were giving way to a wobbly image of a female gerbil as she huddled for warmth beneath a blanket made of purest animal pelt.

Beryl and Fanangy screamed as one. But whilst Fanangy bounced dementedly about in horror in the wings, Beryl found sufficient voice to yell, “By the Saint of All Hamsters – this is about cannibalism. That foul gerbil has eaten its mate. Quickly choose someone else.”

Now under other circumstances Boney might have felt inclined to accede to the mayor’s wife’s demand: But these weren’t other circumstances. In fact Chester Bogbreath had just slashed Boney’s benefits and passed a law than banned him from posting some scratched and fuzzy footage of mysterious alien sex-acts upon the internet – for which people had been willing to pay quite reasonable sums with their credit cards. So naturally Beryl would have to suffer for her husband’s misdemeanours.

“No – you carry on, lad.” He instructed the hesitant historian.

As the picture resolved so did the sound quality. It quickly became apparent that the gerbil’s teeth were knocking together in such a manner as to suggest some terrible chill passing through her body. Her knees appeared to be knocking together as well – so clearly she was frightened too. But it was only when they caught sight of her massively protruding nipples did they realize that the image dated from the Ice Age, and that the gerbil was a cave-rodent.

“Not gonna get much conversation tonight then.” The voice of Farmer Jacksey grumbled from the rear of the auditorium. “Just grunts and bellows. Nice tits though.” He added thoughtfully.

Boney was in total agreement with Farmer Jacksey, and was about to instruct Colin to remove his rather rude special tool from the special receptacle in the TV, when the gerbil spoke…

“Fluff me – it’s fluffin’ cold. I could use a fluffin’ good fluffin’ to warm me up. And that gerbil-eating weasel-bastard outside can go fluff his own arse!”

Of course no one actually heard the words – but each of them had studied the sub-titles as they appeared.

“Outrageous.” Chester Bogbreath bellowed with indignation. “The female is an absolute yob. Look at her language. If this is the sort of antecedent from which Brenda Bugler has evolved – well I say ‘send her back to where she came from: We don’t want her sort in Hamster Heath!”

A general murmur of discord passed through the ranks of mostly-hamsters, and several bums shifted uneasily upon their seats.

“Fluff and bollocks.” Boney roared his best, “Give the poor lass a fluffin’ chance will ya: We aint seen the whole story yet – ya big-mouthed shit!” Then more calmly he added, “Excuse my Hamster-French: No insult intended.”

So whilst Beryl eased her husband down from an apocalyptic fit of rage, everyone else returned their attention to the show.

Another gerbil had entered the cave. Although a fire  illuminated them both, very few physical details could be ascertained. But it was clear that the new-comer had lost some fur from his tail.

“Nearly got my bollocks that time, Mavis.” The male gerbil said as he indicated the outside world beyond the cave entrance. “I managed to stick a spear up the weasel’s anus – so I don’t think we’ll have too much trouble from her for a while.”

“Oh, Steve, you’re such a hero.” Mavis gushed, “Come – let me bathe your wounds. Then after that we can have heaps of uncontrollable sex. What do you say?”

Only then did Steve finally act in a way that more modern hamsters might perceive as cave-rodentish. He said, “Ugh – me want sex first: Then Mavis fix tail.”

Then he made a wild leap across the fire, and both gerbils rolled end over end until they fetched up against the rear of the cave.

“Ugh!” Mavis responded in turn.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

See what I mean? This e-book is available at the locations mentioned beneath the header and on the sidebar, which includes the publishers, Lulu. You have my permission to purchase the best book in the world ever. Become the target of unfettered envy.

 

Spoiled Illusions 5: Every Day I Use Everyday Items

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

What I particularly enjoy about shooting the Earplug Adventure photos is the using of everyday items to create the illusion of the earplug universe. When (in Haunted Mars) Folie visited  Deck One of the Gravity Whelk…

…he was quite impressed by it’s soft pastel colours and sensuous curves. He was less enamoured with the soft-top roof…

Well the story never called for that scene. It took it nowhere. But it was a quite amusing cameo for this everyday item…

Yup, a regular fabric conditioner bottle. Can’t remember which brand. But it doesn’t matter: they’re all excellent. Here’s an example of another one…

It’s the engine core of a Scroton Five from A Tale of Three Museums. It just needed some strange lighting to make it convincingly NOT a Comfort bottle – and some software jiggery-pokery to create the God of Stalled Motors. Same goes for bleach bottles too…

And the great thing about bleach bottles is – they come in so many different colours…

No doubt this rather exotic turquoise version will find itself included in a future adventure: I’ve got two of them in the shed. And a yellow one under the sink!

P.S I’ve already told the tale of how I use Lavatory Santisers and Canderel and Hermesetas coffee sweeteners to create convincing scenes for the earplugs to gallavant through. Check them out if you haven’t read them already. You might be amazed!

Tooty’s Fashion For Fogeys

It’s a well-known fact that not all old fogeys are as fashion-conscious as Tooty. They will happily go out in public in beige and grey. It’s almost as if it’s an age-dependent uniform. “I’m old,” they must think, “colour is an anathema so someone with so many years under his belt: I’m going out in public: where are my beige trousers and my light-weight grey jacket with matching flat cap?”  They will then step into their silver-grey Honda Civic and proceed to Waitrose at a snail’s pace.

Well, if you’re a regular here, you’ll know that Tooty the Chef will always dress inappropriately for both his age and the occasion. Check out his last display…

Yes, a red Waitrose Christmas apron with a Homer Simpson pajama top. Nothing wrong with that. But Tooty the Non-Chef also thinks about what will appear best suited to making him look…ah…non-linear in a chronological sense. By chance he does possess a single pair of beige trousers. He’s not proud of the fact; but at least there is no grey light-weight jacket or flat cap in his warddrobe with them. And, oh dear, he does drive a silver-grey car to Waitrose too. But it isn’t a Honda: and it’s due to be replaced with a snazzy bright blue car. So, today, as he prepared to go shopping, he pulled on his beige trousers and looked at himself in the mirror. “How very tedious,” he said eloquently, “you look like an old fart. Best do something about it.” So he went straight to his shirt warddrobe and fetched out a ghastly nylon shirt that he bought (in a moment of madness) in a Benidorm street market. But even that wasn’t sufficient to totally eradicate the fogey-ness of the trousers. So to the sock drawer he marched – delving deeply into its caverous embrace and having a good old rummage. This is what he found there…

Matching socks – and a red belt too. Almost perfect. See, he may be getting on a bit; but he refuses to be a boring old fart! 

P.S It’s a shame he made such a balls-up of the ironing: those creases don’t look at all groovy. Or maybe its just the bad light.

Tooty the Chef in ‘Root Canal: Toots Banal’

After several days of the abject misery that comes with having unrelenting toothache, Tooty the Chef went for a quick bit of root canal work. Finally, after so many missed lunches and dinners, he could let his culinary imagination loose. Only, when the time arrived, he seemed strangely lacking in that department. Late week meals are usually a special time when he uses up the remnants in the fridge, and his imagination is allowed to soar into the gastronomic stratosphere: but this time around the fridge was replete with perfectly usuable stuff that wasn’t out of date. So, rather reluctantly, he chose these very sensible items…

So what do we have? L to R = sliced pork, courgettes, breadcrumbs, eggs, ras el hanout, dessicated cheese sauce, cheddar cheese, olive oil, and cauliflower.

Naturally time was of the essence, so it was out with the microwave cooking thing…

…into which he placed the chopped-up cauliflower, and placed into the microwave oven for nine minutes…

Then Tooty the Chef laid into the courgettes, slicing them into thick slices with gay abandon…

Quickly followed by the breaking of eggs into a bowl and the addition of a generous sprinkling of ras el hanout, followed by a quick whisk of the ghastly mess that ensued…

But, of course, he didn’t choose sufficient eggs. He never does. Fortunately he had another in the fridge…

Then it was dip-the-courgettes-in-the-eggs time…

And again with the slices of pork…

At this point the microwave went ‘beep’, so the good chef tipped the super-heated cauliflower into a roasting thing…

Tooty absolutely hates making sauces from packets; but being a really good egg who always does the right thing, he went straight ahead without complaint…

By the way, here’s a simple cookery tip to save time and retain your sanity. When you’ve poured the sauce over whatever it is you pour sauce over, don’t use a spoon to retrieve the dregs: use a spatula. Cuts down on time and energy and waste…

Of course, as you’ve probably discovered yourself, cheese sauce by itself is utter shit: you must add grated cheese to it. Now normally Tooty would have gone straight to the nearest packet of pre-grated cheddar from either Sainsburys or Waitrose: but he only had a bag of Cheddar and Mozzarella, which, as you also have probably discovered, is like super-powerful spiders web when cooked. So there was no other course of action open to him: he had to open the fridge, select a lump of cheddar…

…and GRATE IT HIMSELF! Aargh! Then he sprinkled it on the steaming cauliflower….

So, having prepared one element of his wondrous meal for the oven, he returned to the pork/egg amalgam, which he coated with the breadcrumbs…

Likewise the courgettes, which he placed into an olive oil lined roasting thing…

Of course, assuming that pork and courgettes cooked at the same rate – but having no evidence to support this belief – he placed the pork into the roasting thing beside the courgettes…

And being a waste-not-want-not kind’a guy, he poured on the egg dregs…

The oven, which had been maxxed-out for a good fifteen minutes, then welcomed into its bosom the two roasting things…

This gave Tooty the Chef time to sit down for a while – forty minutes actually – to jeer whatever annoyed him on TV, which is most things…

After that it was a  simple matter of retrieving the perfectly roasted cauliflower…

…selecting some Pimms Number One to accompany his regulation sugar-free Sprite…

…grabbing the pork/courgette mix and slapping it on to the pre-heated plates…

…then adding some coleslaw…

…before sitting down to discover that he is the jammiest chef in Britain. Somehow it worked out  fab yet again!

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 28

With so much Earplug Adventure stuff appearing here, I thought it would make a pleasant change to see some Hamster-Sapiens rudeness. To this end I have delved into this e-book…

…and pray that the resulting random excerpt pleases you beyond measure. And here it is…

It was cold, dark, and down right nasty beneath the surface of the River Turgid, as it ambled between Prannick’s twin towns of Near and Far Kinell with all the pace and alacrity of a bout of constipation. But Perfidity Gallowsmith had scant moments to consider such discomforts: Her immediate concern was the severe depletion that had taken place to the air reserve that she’d managed to accumulate in her hamstery cheek pouches moments before being knocked unconscious by a huge torpedo-shaped cavy-dropping, and falling into the river. Since then she’d been forced to ditch her famous chainmail knickers and leather breast-hammocks in order to remain above the mucky goo of the river bed, and now she was feeling distinctly naked both outwardly and inwardly

It was difficult for her to judge whether the onlookers upon the bank were still ‘on looking’, but she couldn’t take the risk of being discovered by them: In Prannick the vanquished leader was always put to death in a most public exhibition. She would rather drown than face that ignominy. Then, as she drifted with the river’s flow, the town’s sewage out fall pipe seemed to crawl past at a snail’s pace. It was dark and foreboding; but it might also supply a temporary sanctuary for her.

“With any luck,” she spoke to herself through lips that were clenched so tight that they might have been hermetically sealed, “there’ll be air at the top of the tunnel.

Striking out for the circle of black in an otherwise colourless environment Perfidity tried to gauge the time of day: She must be in and out of the tunnel before sixty-three minutes after thirteen o’clock, when the Town Ka-ka Release Officer emptied the slurry pit below the public toilet into the river: An ignominious departure into the hereafter was preferable to Death By Excrement. But as she approached the outfall she became aware of a subtle change in its appearance. It seemed to have become somehow blacker. A more intense black. A negative-light sort of black. She blew-off several times to dispel the intense feeling of fear that was threatening to steal her reason away. But despite these gaseous out-pouring, the darkness seemed to be drawing her to it. Then, as she began to struggle against the impossible pulling sensation that seemed to be acting upon each and every atom that made up her rather large, but surprisingly curvaceous body, the darkness seemed to leap forward to engulf her. She had just sufficient time to break-wind once more, and then scream incoherently.

Upon the bank Felicity and Roosevelt were walking paw-in-paw. They were chatting excitedly about the day’s battle, and their triumph. They also wanted to find a nice warm spot in which to perform some form of warm, cuddly, sex-act. Felicity noticed the bubbles as they burst from the surface of the water. The first few were rank and foul, and were immediately dismissed at ‘swamp water’: But the final few smelt far sweeter, and, much to their surprise contained a sound, which went, “Arrgh!”

“I’m sorry,” Roosevelt said apologetically, “is it alright with you if we pass on the vaguely-planned activity that would undoubtedly have culminated in non-reproductive sexual intercourse? Those mysterious bubbles have quite put me off.”

Felicity had to agree with her chum: Under these altered circumstances she didn’t even think that she could stretch to heavy-petting: It was a documented fact that drowning hamsters and their talking farts had a nasty habit of utterly deflating libidos.

“May The Wheel bless you, my son.” Brother Algy Tumbler would say to each an every injured lawman and militia-hamster that he treated, “And may the glorious light of The Rim shine upon your wretched bulges, and make it feel much better in the morning.”

The chubby hamster was pretty much sick and tired of this oft-repeated litany; but each time that he found the need to say the words he was simply amazed at the paucity of any real injuries, and marvelled at the Hamster Heathens’ ability to project their will by the simple administration of high-speed sods and custard pots to the vulnerable squelchy parts of their enemies. He also doubted that the forces of The Wheel would have been as magnanimous and kindly to their vanquished foes had the situation been reversed.

A short distance off Algy Timber was helping the Heathens as they reloaded the team buses. He couldn’t help but notice how incredibly similar he and Brother Algy Tumbler looked. He said as much to Joan.

“It’s like we’re twins.” He added, “I think I’ll engage him in conversation: P’raps we share the same interests. I wonder if he chews his own privates during periods of great angst?”

Joan put out a paw to stop him. “Best not, Mister Timber.” She said.

Algy wasn’t to be put-off. “But I want to.” He said with an almost petulant air, “He’s my inter-dimensional double.”

But he could take no more than a couple of steps before Rootley leapt from the roof-rack where he was strengthening the paw-holds, and grappled him to the floor. “No, Mister Timber,” the small hamster squeaked – his face contorted with dread, “Don’t go near him: There is a great danger. I can feel it.”

                                                                              

Algy pushed his assailant aside. “What do you mean?” he said as he dusted himself off, “Am I allergic to his smelling-salts, or something? Does he smell something awful?”

“I don’t know.” Rootley confessed, “I just know that it’s dangerous.”

“I think I can guess.” Joan said as she assisted her boss to tidy his dress, “It’s probably a space/time conundrum, or something. Two identical people from different dimensions probably can’t exist in the same place at the same time. I expect that they’re mutually exclusive. No doubt the result of contact between you would be utter devastation.”

“And you know this because?” Darkwood inquired as he appeared around the corner of the vehicle.

“The experiments at the Institute:” Joan replied, “They’ve intensified my brain power.” Then she added, “And I’ve been watching Rat Trek on TV too. The self-same thing happened to Mister Splatt in the episode No Coypu is an Island. It was very good. Two characters very nearly exploded; but Captain Perp managed to finagle a small piece of his anatomy between them, and stopped them from touching. It was very exciting. And more than a little moving too.”

“Indeed.” Darkwood nodded, “This small piece of his anatomy that you mentioned: It wasn’t his willy, was it? I rather think I’d have liked to have seen that!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

There, are you pleased beyond measure? I thought so.

Spoiled Illusions 4: Cardboard is My Chum

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

If you’re an Earplug Adventures photographer, one of your best friends is the humble material known as cardboard. With a little imagination and a bit of jiggery-pokery, it can become anything you bloody well want it to. Take, for example this empty insulation pile reel…

Hmmm, lots of potential there. Now let me see; what can I turn THAT into? Well there’s this very nice dungeon/kitchen…

…which appeared in Return of the Prodigal Earplug. It looks like a dungeon – especially with those flaming torches (burning matches) set into the wall. But the story said it was a kitchen: so I guess it must have been a medieval themed kitchen. It appeared again in Return to the Museum of Future Technology as Wilton Carpetti and Vinkie Vinkleton’s test facility – only dressed more futuristically…

And again as Ballington Cork’s temple in Return of the Prodigal Earplug…

Oh look, it’s those flaming torches again. In fact these reels have appeared in so many stories that I’m spoiled for choice. But I’ll make the last example this one…

Yes, it even featured as the K T Woo’s engine room in Stepladder to the Stars. Very versatile, cardboard reels.

But cardboard comes in many guises. Like these strips – wot I cut…

These utilise that old perspective trick that was taught to us in school art lessons, all those millions of years ago. This is how this particular duo of strips looked in the story, Cometh the Earplug

Hair-Tigger wasn’t sure if the building was small and quite nearby, or huge, but a long way off. So she altered her focus, and…

…the latter proved to be the case. Silly, but I like it.

The following picture has been used over and over – almost every time that I need to show the city of Scroton Prime. It was a semi-perminant set at my old ‘studio’ despite the fact that I constructed it in the main warehouse of the factory where I worked. Everyone knew what it was, so left it alone – even the management. I was blessed to work there…

But I often re-dressed it – either physically – or later (when it was history, and all I had were some pictures of it), electronically for different stories.  Here’s how it appeared the first time, in Plunging Into Peril...

It was then re-used a hideous number of times, culminating in (at present) the most recent tale – Haunted Mars...

Will there ever come a time when this shot doesn’t appear ad infinitum? Hope not.

Those cardboard inserts you find in, say, vacuum cleaner or microwave oven boxes are a God-send as well…

If used as interiors, they make excellent caves – as seen here in Stepladder to the Stars, where Sheriff (later Captain) Sinclair Brooch makes an astonishing discovery…

And as exteriors, all you need do is cut a couple of openings…

… and they make perfect mud villages…

…as seen here in The Grand Tour. All in all, a jolly useful commodity for a creative genius, like wot I is.

Of course there are many other cardboard items which are extremely useful for a Earplug Adventure shooter: but I’ll leave them for another time.

 

 

The Art of Aesthetic Laundry

You may have noticed that I’m prone to banging on about aesthetic parking – for example HERE – and about colour co-ordination in general. Well I think I may have over-stepped the mark. Taken it to excess, even. Check out my Art of Aesthetic Laundry…

Well if you have to hang your hanky and socks out to dry, you might as well try to make them look nice – don’t you think?

 

Spoiled Illusions 3: Potential Noticed

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

Sometimes Earplug Adventure props/sets appear to me in a flash of…um…let’s call it artistic inspiration. Take, for example, this sheet of melamine-coated chip board. Clearly someone has used it as a base for spraying something – and it was the over-spray that caught my attention…

“Yeah,” thought I, “I can do something with that.” So I took a picture of it. So much easier than storing the original. Well, almost five years later, I did. It appeared in A Tale of Three Museums…

…as emergency habitations for the survivors of the ruined world that featured in that tale. And there’s this too…

Sometimes, when things were quiet at work, I would use a rotary saw to slice thin sections from blocks of artistically interesting timber. Here are a couple of examples that, for some reason, I chose to photograph. I remember turning the top one into a desert scene; but I’ve never had reason to use it. The other has sat quiescent for two-or-so years – until I required a scene to depict a newly-formed rift in a landscape. Thank you, slice of wood, for supplying the surface torrent in Haunted Mars...

To put it into perspective, here it is with two characters inserted…

And then there was my daughter’s cast off light shade. That came straight out of the bin, and into my old (and still lamented) ‘studio’…

Does anyone recall what it was used for? Well, more recently, it was what the false Supreme Being turned into after it’s underpants had been blown off in The Grand Tour

And here he is, sans human appearance…

But previously it had appeared as a hot-air balloon. Here it is in Those Magnificent Earplugs

But I think it looked better in Return to the Museum of Future Technology

…complete with its Christmas bauble gondola.

For the final example, this time, regard this…

I wanted a port hole set for a story that took place aboard Ship Number 15. Remember that old bucket? Ship Number 15 was a miserable green – the only colour paint available to me at the time. So I did this to one of the office box files (don’t tell the boss. Oh, it’s okay: he retired a couple of years ago – and he probably knew anyway. He had eyes everywhere). But I digress. Here is that box file in action…

…where it played the role of the Scout Ship hangar in Worstworld. In the end the circular hole wasn’t used as a port hole, but instead played a very nice interior window…

…for Vanilla Redbush to look through, and a lovely shooting embrasure…

…which worked very well, I think…

Pity I destroyed Ship Number 15 during the Battle of The Museum of Future Technology in Liberation. How short-sighted of me.