Tag Archives: digital photography

Tooty’s Rambling Art

Whilst out walking in the rain (with a water-proof camera, of course) I chanced upon a small gully that had been worn into the side of the road by Winter’s incessant rainfall. A steep hill meant that it flowed with sufficient pace to create a micro-waterfall; so, inspired by nature, I placed my camera into the water, facing up hill. I then left the resulting photo to fester in my computer for a few weeks. Eventually I decided to do something with it. I thought that perhaps I might bring into existence another world for my Earplug Adventures. So, without any plan, I started sodding about with a free photo manipulation program – Photoscape. The resulting cyber-doodle looks like this…

The Gravity Whelk arrives on the Ice World

Who knows, it might even appear in a story one day. Talking of which, so might this shot of Magnuss creeping into a missile launch facility…

Everyone knows that back doors are always left unguarded – don’t they?

The Garden Welcomes the Family

I don’t use it often, but I have one of those trail / hunter cameras that take pictures all by themselves. The other day I placed some bird food in a hanging basket thing and set the camera up upon my even-less-often-used tripod; then awaited developments. I wasn’t surprised when the first ‘guest’ was a resident Robin…

It took him/her about a half-second to make the decision to enter the store…

The camera took rather longer to react – which (for once) was a good thing…

…otherwise all we would have to view is the Robin’s arse hole. He/she was so impressed with the fare that he/she came back later to feast with his/her wife/husband and three kids. Here’s one of them…

All three have grown very tame, and I think it’s a shame that before long they will be driven off to find territories of their own by their parents. Guess I’ll have to content myself with Mr and Mrs Mouse who live in the shed…

…which my pet chug (chihuahua/pug cross) loves to chase all around the shrubbery – along with the lonesome vole…

And, of course, terrorise visiting squirells…

For a tiny postage stamp garden, it certainly is wildlife-friendly. Or at least it would be, if it wasn’t for this monster…

Tooty’s Fashion For Fogeys 2

In my first Fashion for Fogeys I displayed an uncanny ability to wear beige stylishly. On this occasion I take it a step further by dispensing with beige all together. What I must stress here is that it isn’t neccessary for old fogey’s to wear dull colours at all. This is never truer than when the sun is shining. Bright colours are not only for winter, young people or laplanders: anyone can wear them at any time of year in whatever weather. Take me for example: I like Spain. I like the Spanish flag too. Both are bright and cheerful. I cheer for their national football team and their riders in Moto GP and international motocross because they make me happy. Bright colours are happy colours. So I am not ashamed, in any way, to appear in public places dressed like this…

So I do. And you can do the same. It just doesn’t have to be red and yellow. Wear whatever colours you bloody like: South Africa’s are rather strident. Just make it bright and cheerful. And what’s more – as a bonus – you’re less likely to get knocked down by a bus too!

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.

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!

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!

 

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.

Spoiled Illusions: 2 Tooty the Shootist

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.

Here’s a shot of Tooty the Shootist in the early days of the Earplug Adventures…

I bet Kodak never figured on their basic little Easyshare M550 ever producing pictures  that would be forever immortilized, in pixel-form, in e-books such as Evil Empire. Here’s the shot from the same location, but using different characters…

I can’t remember if this is the ‘nice’ Charles and Wolfgang checking out the Nul-Space generator’s heat exchanger, or their evil twins: but, because I’ve been living in their silicon world for so many years and adventures, for me it’s strange to see the image of me creating the characters, who seem almost real now.

Here I am again, pointing out the discarded office sound attenuators…

…that became The Woven Expanse and The Wide Blue Yonder…

Here former zombies Vic and Bob, and female weight-lifters Mandy and Candy cross the Woven Expanse in the very early tale, Museum of Terror. And the Wide Blue Yonder immediately afterwards, where they find a door into the Arboretum…

This is my fridge at work. I had a lot of home comforts at my place of work…

At my most self-indulgent I had a coffee machine (which appeared in a  few shots, a record player (ditto), tape deck (ditto), radio (errr ditto), a TV, a DVD player, and a kettle. But the item that appeared more than the rest combined was the fridge. Here’s a couple of shots…

In this shot from Earplug Aftermath, two silver androids visit the lavatory (of course). And in the following shot from Haunted Mars we see it used for the very last time…

It’s odd, looking back on this shot, which I probably took in late 2019 or early 2020, none of these ‘actors’ had names or personalities then. Now I see them differently. I like the look of acceptance on the face of rocket scientist, Treacle Fagging – second from left. Sadly, when I quit my job, I left my fridge behind for the guy who would take over from me. And a lot of other props too. I wonder what he made from them. Nothing probably.

And finally, moving from shootist to shootee…

Wonderful acting, I think you’ll agree. This is how I appeared as the Museum fo Future Technology’s A.I (in Winning Numbers) making an important announcement – probably of doom. I was very good at that…

 

 

 

Spoiled Illusions:1 Mars

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.

Recognise this?

Yup, it’s the interior of a street light. Several years ago a street light rusted through and fell down at my place of work; so, as a precaution, a small number of them were replaced. Naturally I grabbed a couple. And what a treasure trove they were. The outsides became obsolete space tugs – seen here in Return of the Prodigal Earplug – or other hulks in another story, the title of which eludes me right now, but it featured the creation of the starship Chi-Z-Sox *

And the inner parts became the exterior of The Future Museum of Mars in Martian Interlude and several others…

…AND the interior of the same edifice in several more, including Haunted Mars...

Unfortunately I was forced to leave my larger sets behind at the old building when the company moved to new premises. But I was smart enough to shoot a whole library of pictures before we departed to pastures new. The main Future Museum of Mars prop amongst them.

*I’ve written so many stories they begin to blur. Is there an earplug fan out there who can tell me which story it was?

Tooty The Chef Gets Photo-Bombed By Tootette.

Tooty the Chef has been quiet of late, due to this and that, but he couldn’t allow his culinery fandom fear the worst; so it’s back to the kitchen counter for our resident gastronomic genius. Before he’d even really thought about the subject of din-dins, the minced pork that had been sitting at the back of the fridge for days volunteered itself. But what to do with it?

Well what Tooty should have done was dig the multi-chef (or whatever they’re called) out of the cupboard: but he couldn’t be arsed. So he chopped an onion instead of obliterating it – which, as you’ve probably guessed, was an error…

Right then, that’s meatballs off the menu: have to think of something else to do with minced pork and chopped onion. Well there’s chilli flakes: that’s always a good standby…

Add a good old sprinkling of black pepper…

…and start stirring. Oh, but Tooty the Chef had miscalculated the viscosity of the mix: it was too stiff for his weedy arms. But ever one to re-adjust to changing circumstances, he took to treating the mix as though it was dough, and before you could say…ah…a really long word, he’d kneeded it into this ball of goo…

It was at this stage that Tootette reminded Tooty that he’d intended to use eggs. Cue eggs…

…to which he ingeniously added a slice of white bread – in pieces obviously – to help bind it all together…

He was then cheered in his efforts to stir the even more gooey mass into a sort of meatloaf thing…

Then it was a matter of what to cook beside the meatloaf thing. Well obviously some duck fat-coated frozen potatoes and parsnips were the only logical choice…

So they were nicely coaxed into the tray beside the gooey mass…

…and shoved into the oven (as usual set to max power) and left for fifty minutes…

In between times Tooty the Chef selected some sliced green beans to boil as a side dish to the roasted stuff…

The finished result was too good to photograph. Instead Tooty served it up instantaneously and got stuck into his own plate…

And all done without botty-baring once!

Hah – you didn’t think he’d cook a meal without showing his bum at least once, did you? No way!

 

Tooty the Chef: Still Down, But Not Out

I explained in an earlier post why Tooty the Chef appears to have disappeared, if you follow me. Well this is a sort of up-date. Food continues to be cooked in the kitchen of Tooty the Chef – but perfunctorily. Or at least that was the case – until today. After a thrash down some gravelly ice-strewn English back lanes at rather silly speeds upon his motorcycle, Tooty felt mentally invigorated enough to get equally silly in the kitchen. Witness this…

He intended to use up last weeks’ cabbage by simply boiling it; but then his eyes began to scan the shelves – and he added some bulgur wheat – followed by chopped onion and two tubs of out-of-date fish stock, which he boiled until the water was entirely absorbed by the wheat. He might have taken it a step further by utilising a tub of Moroccan sauce; but he noticed – in the nick of time – that the Best Before date had expired….in 2013! So, instead he threw in some microwaved Brussels sprouts – before donning his hat and presenting it thus…

He may not be back just yet – but surely it’s just a matter of time. And who knows – he might even keep his underpants on!

Horror on an Earplug Adventure Shoot!

Yes, frightful news has just been released from the makers of The Earplug Adventures. Apparently star of A tale of Three Museums, actor Folie Krimp, had just completed a scene in which he kick-started a snow skimmer aboard the Gravity Whelk

…when, inexplicably, the show’s creator and principal writer, Tooty Nolan, dropped a laptop on his head. Sources inform us that the little yellow earplug was crushed utterly, and that no amount of tugging and pulling would make him “puff up again”. Tooty tried rolling him between his slender, artistic hands, and even attempted to blow him up again with his divine breath. But to no avail. Fortunately his alter-ego – The Supreme Being was on hand, who, in desperation, placed Mister Krimp in  a 900watt microwave oven for five seconds. Good news is that a complete recovery is expected, but shooting for the day has been cancelled because Mister Krimp had a nasty headache and is really pissed off…

Mister Nolan is reported to have said: “Folie sure was mad at me: I’m just hoping he doesn’t come into the studio tomorrow and kick me in the bollocks!”

Aesthetics: The Art of Considerate Parking 4

I’d just dropped into the driver’s seat of my car, and was about to press the Start button, when my eyes alighted upon a trio of cars parked in the next aisle of the underground carpark. “What’s this,” I cried, “have people taken on board my pleas for aesthetic parking?” It certainly looked that way. In an ocean of dull grey, silver, black, white, and turgid cars (mine included – you can just see my car’s paintwork through the windscreen), these three shone like a beacon of colour, elan, and parking verve. Aesthetic Parking X 3…

Tooty the Chef: Where’s He At?

You may have noticed a dearth of Tooty the Chef posts in recent times. Millions have. Well there is an explanation. Of course the good cook would have liked nothing more than to blame the month of January and its scrotum-puckering chill that rises through the concrete floor of his kitchen and freezes his ass off. But, annoyingly he can’t. Not because it isn’t cold: it is. In fact he has been hard at work. Regard the following four pictures…

Nice, eh? Unfortunately poor old Tooty’s head isn’t in a good place right now. At the time of this report, it has been four months since he lost his wife to cancer, and, quite frankly, he’s having a hard time being funny. To use a colloquial term: he just can’t be arsed – which is quite ironic really, because  it’s his arse that he usually reveals at some point during the cooking of his meals. What little mirth he possesses is kept in reserve for the Earplug Adventure story. But he will be back: I’m sure of it. You can’t keep a good chef down – unlike his pants. And just as a reminder of  how brilliant he can be: here’s a picture of his trim buttocks as he selects a bottle of wine to mix with his sugar-free Sprite…

 

Now The Real Work Begins

The opening episode of Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars used re-worked stock-shots. Today I began shooting originals and generic stock-shots with serious intent. It’s slow and sometimes frustrating. And, as you can see, a little cramped too…

It has been four months since my wife, Linzi died, and (as you can probably imagine) I haven’t really been in the mood (Tooty the Chef aside); but the bug is finally biting again. And, for the first time in my life, I don’t have to create the time to do it. If I feel like it, I just clamber up into that attic and get going. Here’s a shot from today’s work – as seen in the making-of shot (above). It features an (as yet un-named) engineering robot that has  been discovered by Folie just staring out at space from a view port set into the side of the Gravity Whelk…

As regards the Gravity Whelk: I can’t wait to start telling tales featuring that old tub again…

So hopefully you won’t need to wait too long for Episode Two!

After the Debacle

Following the gastronomic catastrophe of his Omeletty Thing, Tooty the Chef took a day off cooking to lick his wounds. When he did dare re-enter the kitchen he chose to step upon safer culinery ground. A Dolphin Nose with Pork. You know how he did it; so here’s the result…

Yep, he’s back on all three cylinders, and with the turbo kicking in too.

P.S as a footnote, the omeletty thing didn’t taste half as bad as it looked. In fact, he was assured, it tasted rather nice – just as long as you kept your eyes shut. One hat eaten in vain.

Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat (part 2)

And now for the concluding episode…

Although daringly bare-buttocked, our favourite chef quickly re-stocked the frying pan with oil, heated it, and tipped in the shaved potato…

At this point he was so sure of success that he moved aside to allow the camera to witness the cooking of the shaved potato…

…which actually proved far more difficult than he had imagined. Being thin and starchy, the spud shavings stuck to each other like procreating foxes: they just didn’t seem able to let go. So some were barely cooked, whilst others were browned to within microns of destruction.

It was at this juncture that doubts began to make themselves unwelcome. Especially so when he added the ingredients to the egg mix – which needed the addition of a further two eggs…

So it was with waning confidence that Tooty the Chef took up his flipping tool…

Gonna need another frying pan, Chef. I think he realised that. But, not entirely blind to the inevitable, he carried on…

And for a few minutes all appeared well. But that omelette looked awfully thick and disturbingly runny. In such a tiny frying pan his flipping tool was utterly useless. So, being an adaptive kinda guy, Tooty the Chef decided to up-end the omelette into a second frying pan – thereby cooking both sides equally. Genius – or what? But…

…he wasn’t desperately good at it, and when the sloppy mess fell from one pan into the other, it folded and broke in the middle. So he had to beat it reasonably flat with his flipping tool…

This enraged him greatly…

Following a further two attempts, the omelette was sufficiently cooked to remain in one piece and to flip correctly. This brought him great joy…

…and demonstrated his remarkable acting skills. But despite this, the centre  remained uncooked. The omelette looked fine until it was pressed, when, disturbingly ghastly coloured goo and lumps of half-cooked vegetable leaked out in various directions in a most emetic manner… 

It was beginning to look a lot like shit…

And it didn’t smell too clever either. So Tooty the Chef did what any self-respecting cook would do. No, he didn’t chuck in the bin: he’d promised his Son ‘something omeletty’ and ‘something omeletty’ he would get. So, in a desperate effort to cook the centre, he re-used the second frying pan and chopped the omelette in two – then, ultimately, four…

But still the centre-goo refused to play ball. So Chef cast off his apron; put aside his regular sugar-free Sprite; and took to the Moscato…

When he’d recovered his decorum, the omelette looked like this…

Here you see it placed beside his dog’s dinner. Can you tell which is which. Also, it transpired, there was insufficient to feed three people. So poor Tooty the Chef was reduced to eating his hat…

So he never got to find out what it tasted like. But, 24 hours later, neither off-spring had been admitted to hospital, so perhaps it wasn’t quite as bad as it looked.

 

 

Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat (part 1)

Recipes don’t always go to plan. We all know that. Of course Tooty the Chef doesn’t even have a plan, so it’s odds-on that eventually he will crash and burn – at least in a culinery sense. This is the story of his first total gastronomic cock-up. And it all started so promisingly – when his Son suggested something ‘omeletty’ – to use up the eggs. Unfortunately he also suggested using potatoes. But even then, had the wonder chef possessed a wide-enough frying pan, maybe it could have worked. Let’s see how it went, huh?

Initially Tooty the Chef was pleased as punch to find a use for his ageing eggs…

But he wasn ‘t quite so sure about wasting some nice fresh bacon on an experimental meal…

And when he was presented with tubs of strange stuff intended for North African style meals his uncertainty increased to alarming levels…

But never one to stand around pissing about, he set to work on some spuds – shaving them into…ah…potato shavings…

Other veggies would be required, so he tried on this charming comedy nose…

…but decided to dice the pepper instead, and added it to the pile that included some onion…

Then, of course, we had the inevitable rigmarole of removing the ‘nasty fatty bits’ from the bacon…

I don’t know why he can’t get a grip: a little fat isn’t going to cause instantaneous rigor mortis. Anyway, on with the cookery. In order to make the eggs nice, Tooty the Chef added some black pepper and oregano. See how he carefully measures it into the palm of his slender artiste’s hands. Ever the professional – even when he doesn’t really know what he’s doing…

Then it was time to tip it into the eggs…

…and annihilate it with this wonderfully tactile whisk…

What – you thought he’s use a rotary whisk? Or perhaps an electric one? Shame on you: this is Tooty the Chef we’re talking about here!

Well having done the deed, it was time for the usual…

Yep, extra virgin olive oil. Only the best for Tooty the Chef. Then the moment came to hurl in the pre-chopped bacon. Oh yes, did I mention that? When he sliced off all the nasty fatty bits, he also chopped the bacon up into smaller (but not very small) bits…

Then, having given it a very quick fry, he separately did likewise with the onion and the peppers…

Attention to detail: that’s the thing. Talking of which: please note that the good chef isn’t slacking in the apparel department either. It may be January; but he’s still cooking sans lingerie

Which is where we must leave the great chef for now – wearing yet another Waitrose apron (that he found in the attic) and with his bum showing. Come back later for part two of Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat. You won’t be disappointed. Well you might; but your level of disappointment will fall well short of Tooty the Chef’s!

Tooty the Shame-Faced Chef

Oh dear, look at Tooty the Chef…

Doesn’t he look sorry for himself? What could he have done to cause such shame-faceness? Shame-faceness? Is that a real word? It doesn’t look right. But then that’s the beauty of the English language: you can say or write something that’s completely wrong, but people still know exactly what you mean. But I digress: back to the shame-faced chef. Look what he created recently…

Doesn’t it look yummy? It even featured red cabbage and lemon sauce. I mean, by God, it must have been some wonder recipe! But there’s the point of his misery. He was so busy in the Attic Studio (fabricating some interiors of the re-fitted Gravity Whelk for the ‘Haunted Mars‘ photo-novel) that he didn’t realise how late it was. So he had no time or inclination to pause for photos of his wondrous gastronomic delight. Instead he could only spare enough time to actually snap this single shot of the finished product. And he’s so ever so ever so sorry about it. But, looking on the bright side; he did actually get something done on the third floor: look…

…a green deck,  sparkly gold wall, blue inter-compartmental air-lock, and a very nice lavatory with a pink light to show that someone is inside having a poop! Clearly it was worth all the misery.

 

Another Earplug Smart Phone Wallpaper?

Months ago – I don’t recall how many, a lot of things have happened since then – I posted an experimental Earplug Adventure wallpaper for  smart phones. I’d rather hoped that someone would download it and give it a try – just to see if I had the specs right. So now that I’ve been reminded of that chronologically distant event, I’d like to try it again – if that’s alright with you. If it works, just leave a comment in the ‘comments’ box. The same if it doesn’t, obviously. Thank you. Here’s a wallpaper featuring the scary version of Folie Krimp…

Tooty the Chef Makes ‘Rattatuti!’

Before we begin, let me bring you up-to-date with some of Tooty the Chef’s latest brilliant ideas. Well one anyway. Autumn has been wet and mild in Tooty the Chef’s portion of reality; so mosquitos have been rather prevalent in his kitchen. Unwilling to use ozone-depleting sprays (and having actually caught one of the little bastards as it attempted to finagle it’s pointy bits through the tough hide of his hairy knuckles), the great chef decided to tackle the problem head on. Literally. With a Sainsbury’s reusable cotton vegetable bag…

Voila! Not just a pretty face, I think you’ll agree.  Anyway, enough of that load of old bollocks: on with the cooking. Now Tooty the Chef has never been one to turn his nose up at a bargain: so when his local M&S Food Hall offered him three packs of four breaded chicken breast steaks for only £10 he snatched their metaphorical hands off. The downside of this was the need to devour them before the use-by date expired; which meant that whatever he was about to create, it must compliment breaded chicken breast steaks. Four of them to be exact…

No probs: let’s see what’s in the cupboard…

And, oh look, there’s some ancient eggs (that can easily recall high Summer) in the fridge…

Naturally the fridge had other gifts to give…

…those being soft and floppy courgettes; a pair of measly spuds; a couple of almost-rotten toms; three skanky carrots; an old onion; and a withered pepper that couldn’t decide if it was red or yellow. All grist to Tooty the Chef’s mill, I assure you. But what kind of sauce should he use? All the regular stuff was just too boring for words; so he stuck his fingers up at them…

But, after getting down upon his hands and knees, he discovered just what he needed…

…a can of Waitrose Cream of Petit Pois and Bacon Soup. Inspired choice. This was all the impetus he required: for the next half-hour he would transform in Le Chef Tuti!

Having turned on the oven to get warm, it was  dice-dice-dice-and- dice-again time…

Preperations complete, it was the correct moment to slide the chicken into the hot oven…

Now the race was on. Would the chicken cook before Le Chef Tuti was ready for it? Or would it be another of his fantastically unlikely dead-heats? Only…um…time would tell. Don’t fret Tuti; get those eggs broken…

…and lobbed into a bowl with black pepper, Himalayan salt, and paprika…

Come on Chef, pour out that olive oil with all your might…

Once heated upon the hob, the oil was joined by the slowest-cooking ingredients – those being the  potato, carrot, and onion…

Having given it a few minutes to get it’s head start, he added the courgette and pepper…

Look how delighted he was to do so. Actually he was acting.  He’s very good at that you know. He’d give Tom Conte a run for his money, I can tell you. And Pauline Collins. But I digress. After a while, when there was about ten minutes to go, he tossed the tomato in…

And, after fielding several gastronomic questions from his offspring, he tipped in the Waitrose soup and set it simmering on a low heat…

Yes, Le Chef Tuti has heard of ‘low’ you know. He doesn’t use it often, but (as a remarkable chef) he is aware that you should never boil soup: it makes it nasty or something. Then it was a simple matter of pouring the egg mix into a frying pan with hot olive oil at the bottom: blasting it for a while; then flipping it over;  blasting it a bit more; and chopping it into pieces with the edge of the flipping tool…

…before serving it proudly and displaying it to the camera with a stupid face…

Not bad,  eh?

Then, naturally, it was time to uncork a bottle of Muscat de Rivesaltes. On this occasion he decided to aschew the usual complimentary Sprite, and instead selected some vaguely uninteresting Schweppes Slimline Lemonade…

Unfortunately someone forgot to hide the key to the wine cellar; and when that one ran out, Le Chef Tuti found another, which could, inevitably, only end in one way…

Oh, if only we’d stocked it with shandy and ginger beer!

Tooty the Chef in ‘The Dog’s Dinner’

Now there’s a strange thing about the colloquial English language spoken in Tooty the Chef’s neck of the woods: If something is described as being ‘the dog’s bollocks’ it usually means that it is very good indeed. To use a motorcycling metaphor: a Yamaha Tracer 700 is considered ‘the dog’s bollocks’, whereas a Linfan 125 is  a ‘dog’s dinner’.  That is – not well put together. And so thought Tooty the Chef of the dinner he was about to produce. It was an end-of-the-week-use-up-whatever-is-left kinda meal. He was certain that the result would be a dog’s dinner, so he didn’t bother to take any photos of the preparation or the cooking. In fact, so certain was he of miserable failure, that he put aside some of the ingredients to actually produce a dinner for his dogs. Yes, a genuine dogs dinner. So he didn’t feel particularly inclined to place his chef’s hat upon his shapely head. In fact he wore this instead…

Oh yes, I forgot to mention: he was also really busy doing the weekly wash at the same time. And yes those are his underpants, freshly laundered and smelling sweet. But then, as the meal progressed he began to have doubts concerning the ineffectualness of his cheffing: the dog’s dinner was actually looking rather appetising…

So appetising that he decided to fire up his Canon Ixus and present the mixture to it…

Then to one of the recipients…

…which, because it contained minced turkey, minced beef, minced pork, sea bass, steamed carrot, sweet potato, and parsnip, with sweetcorn and peas, sent the little guy into a frenzy…

…and only too keen to get stuck in…

…unlike his pal, who wasn’t sure about something in the bowl…

…but because she’d been told to eat it by Tooty the Chef, complied anyway…

Meanwhile the human meal had finished cooking, and Tooty the Chef began to believe that (once more) victory was his…

A look through the transparent roasting thing confirmed this hypothesis…

And when he shoved the big spoon in, he became elated…

Sea bass, bream, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, peas, sweetcorn, and prawns – immersed in a parsely and onion sauce and topped with grilled mashed potato. Shit it was nice…

But then the celebration was ruined utterly  when he discovered that (whilst in his negative mental state) he’d swigged back the remaining wine, leaving nothing behind…

Bollocks! And not the dog’s ones either!

Tooty the Chef: Kitchen Commando

Welcome to the kitchen of Tooty the Chef: the only chef in Britain who cooks whilst going commando – at least publicly. The same chef who only cooks for people who don’t want to cook, but (through no fault of their own) have to…

Well  on this particular day, Tooty the Chef had been out of the kitchen doing other fascinating and often thrilling stuff – like walking the dogs, riding his motorcycle, or raking leaves from the lawn. Unfortunately not only had he forgotten to turn the heating on (December after all), but he’d also left the kitchen door open to the elements. But, true to his credo ‘the bum must always be bared’, he began as he always does. Only this time he turned on the oven early so that he could defrost his buttocks…

Then it was on to a grub hunt. Quickly he found some soft cauliflower. But before it had a chance to decompose in his hands he chopped it up…

Then he discovered a packet of bacon that still had a couple of days life in it…

It was smoked, which Tooty the Chef abhors almost as much as an astronaut abhors a vacuum, but the label said Great Taste 2020, so he went with it. But first he placed the cauliflower in his plastic microwave cooking thing; added some boiling water…

…and set it to cook in the microwave for nine minutes. Then he did what any chef worth his or her silver collander award would do; he trimmed the nasty fatty bits off the bacon…

…then splashed a whole bunch of olive oil (Spanish naturally) into the oval roasting thing…

…and laid the bacon in it. To this he added some frozen peppers…

…before returning to the freezer for a handful of peas and sweetcorn. After all you gotta have colour in your meal: otherwise it’s just oatmeal…

On cue the microwave went ‘Ding’, so it was a tentative tipping of the scalding cauliflower into a sieve…

…before slopping it on top of the other stuff in the roasting thing, and covering it with a jar of white wine sauce…

Tooty the Chef selected a white wine sauce by Morrisons. He reasoned that if the label was accurate, and that the company had been established in 1899, it was fair to assume that they knew a thing or two about sauce…

Anyway, then it was into the (already hot) oven…

Did you notice the tray on the lower shelf? Tooty the Chef didn’t. This would come back to bite him on the ass later – at least metaphorically. So, with the grub in the oven, it was time for some meditation…

A quarter of an hour later the roasting thing was removed from the oven and coated with the last of Tooty’s grated cheese…

Then back into the propane furnace, which released the great chef to watch a bit of TV and make himself a nice cafe au lait…

A further quarter of hour passed, and Tooty the Chef judged that the meal was cooked…

But when he poked around in the bottom of the roasting thing, he found – to his professional horror – that the bacon wasn’t quite done. He also discovered the hitherto unnoticed baking tray that had absorbed much of the oven’s heat. So it was out with the tray, and in with the meal. Then, as the oven door closed, he realised that his nether regions were once again chilled mightily. Fortunately he had the wit to plug in a fan heater with which he brought the general area back to life…

Ten minutes on and, not only were his comfort levels returned to factory specifications, but  the meal was cooked…

…to perfection…

So it was off with the jumper and hat; and time to select a complimentary drink. Naturally he chose a 2016 Muscat de Rivesaltes and 2020 sugar-free Sprite. A perfect combination, I think you’ll agree…