Tag Archives: technology

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

Frisby Mumph had just gained the museum roof when the missile passed high above…

Inside, members of his engineering team watched on their viewer…

Well most of them did: only Nobby Hollister looked away.

Frisby then dashed back inside to join his team as they too watched events unfold via TV cameras…

Lillie shuddered: it reminded, only too acutely, of her time aboard the K T Woo. Despite their situation, she preferred peril on the ground, to the relative safety of space.

Upon the stage in the main hall, Sir Dodger addressed the quaking crowd…

“Now please, ladies, gentlemen, and things,” he said in his best thespian voice – which was delightful in every nuance – “there really is no need for concern; our rocket engineers do this sort of thing all the time: it’s bread and butter to them. Nothing can possibly go wrong. I’m a movie actor: I know about these things.”

He then regretted his last words. A grumble passed through the crowd…

…and he thought of all the movie actors before him who thought they knew better than average Joe and had talked themselves into endless ridicule and suddenly non-existent film roles.

“Oh flip,” he added, “yes; Treacle Fagging assured me himself, personally.”

But, as Sir Dodger squirmed inwardly on-stage, the rocket had acquired it’s stealth mode. It now flew low and slow…

And in their emergency habitat…

…Tynan Ware, Doubry Furkins, and Gerhardt Snitzenfrudel had awoken to discover that they had an ice-sheet for a front garden. So leaving Jenson Prong and Rufus the plugmutt to sleep on in Jenson’s cosy cot, they all went outside to look…

But that wasn’t the only surprise. The glacier had brought with it the habitat containing Budlea Budgin and Crevice McNally.

“Hey,” Budlea could be heard shouting through one of the windows, “why don’t you come over here: the ice is taking us in the direction of the museum.”

“Beats the heck out of walking.” Crevice’s disembodied voice added as it wafted across the ice upon a chill breeze.

Doubry was just about to reply, when the rocket roared overhead…

So, instead, he yelled: “Dive for cover: It’s a bomb!”

And not far away, in their prehistoric Shepherd’s abode, Maverick Fossil-Hunter and Mulleon Cleets were enjoying the benefits of a recent up-grade, which included intelligent climate control, waste product reclamation, and subtle lighting, all provided in one machine, made by the Zloib manufacturing facility somewhere beneath them in the ancient Martian city. Unfortunately it did not include an entertainment system, so Maverick and Mulleon had fallen back on old ways – to produce a nice pair of wicker baskets…

…of which they were very proud. Then the rocket rocked their cosy world…

…and their baskets were forgotten instantly.  Moments later the rocket reached its destination…

…Kerboom!

Tynan and Gerhardt could only look on in stupefaction: Doubry had been right…

And Maverick and Mulleon could barely believe their eyes as they stared from the inverted heart-shaped window of their hut…

And viewed from the distance of the Future Museum of Mars, the whole sky lit up and silhouetted the intervening hills…

…and Nobby Hollister was heard to say: “Ooh that was a bit bigger than I expected.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

 

Tooty’s Techno-Mashup 2: And Tooty Shall Have Music Wherever He Goes!

Now Tooty’s never been at the forefront of technological change: he’s one of those who believe in the maxim “If it aint broke don’t fix it”. But once something new has been proven beneficial to him, he will embrace it like a long-lost legionnaire embraces a desert fort’s water butt. That is – he goes for it wholeheartedly. But, despite his adoption of technological advancement, he doesn’t abandon the old tech willy-nilly. No: it goes into his attic – collecting dust, cob-webs, spider shit, and (if he’s unlucky) moisture. And it is because of this reticence of his that recently, whilst searching his attic (for something entirely unrelated) he discovered a plastic box containing a bunch of these…

They are, of course, compact cassette audio tapes – still in their original cellophane wrappers and, consequently immaculate.

“Now what would Tooty want with those old slabs of plastic crap?” I hear you muse, “Why, they’re even older than video tapes – and they went out with the Ark!”

Well I’ll tell you. Tooty normally drives a very pleasant modern 21st century car, featuring a turbo-charged, three cylinder petrol engine that is frugal, reasonably clean, bloody quick, and sounds really nice when he floors the accelerator in any of the six gears available to him. But in his garden he keeps one of these…

Yes, it’s an old car. It goes (rather well), is taxed and insured, and can be driven any time he wants. He doesn’t need it: it’s a drain on resources: and it takes up room that could be better used. But he likes it. He likes the slow, lazy steering: the even slower, even lazier automatic gearbox; and the smooth quiet four-cylinder engine that originated in Japan and couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding. It also comes equipped with one of these…

For those of you born on or near the time of the millennium, that is an FM/AM radio with compact cassette player. Once big news. Groovy even. Something that (if Tooty wants to listen to music of his choice, and not some noise selected by a ‘right-on’ self-important ‘presenter’ who wouldn’t know good music if it chewed on his/her privates) requires compact cassettes. Cue the recent discoveries.

“Ah,” I hear your finger raised questioningly, “but how does he get his preferred digitised music from his laptop/MP3 player onto the cassette?”

Well it wasn’t just the cassettes he found up there on the top floor: he also found this…

Yes, it’s an ancient twin-deck ‘boom box’ – designed and fabricated decades before the very idea of DAB radio. But here’s the thing: Panasonic inadvertently future-proofed this delightfully analogue device. They saw that people might want to record from their Compact Discs, (Hah – remember them?) which of course they did because their cars weren’t fitted with CD players (also which his modern car isn’t either: it’s all multi-media and Bluetooth stuff). But what they couldn’t have imagined is that their ‘CD In Line’ sockets could carry the yet to be developed digital information that comes from the Internet.

“Great,” you could be excused for uttering in a doubtful tone, “but how does Tooty get the aforementioned digital information to the boom box?”

Every single electrical item that Tooty has bought over the years came equipped with connecting cables. He didn’t throw them away either. So, after a half-hour’s rummage he surfaced with this…

One end into his laptop’s headphone socket: the other two into the stereo CD In Line sockets on the boom box…

Then it’s simply a matter of pressing RECORD on the Panasonic, and PLAY on the Toshiba laptop. Of course he has to listen to every song: but if you’re doing the ironing, or knocking up dinner, where’s the pain in that? And now he can listen to modern songs in his old car, without having to listen to a load of over-exuberant drivel. Did I hear the word ‘genius’ mentioned?

Tooty’s Techno Mash-Up 1: And The Word Is…

It might appear, from his fabulously fluid writing style, characterful grammar, and flawless spelling, that Tooty enjoys a vast literary talent. He has, after all, mentioned it many times before on this blog. But that isn’t actually the case. Okay he can throw a few words at you with a cunning turn of phrase that gives the impression of genius; but most of the time he’s scratching his head – trying to think up (not just the right word, but any) words. And then, after he’s thought of one, he has to remember how to spell it. Is it ‘i’ before the ‘e’? And how can the word Porridge also be spelled ‘Porrige’? He doesn’t know. So he is always delving into his 1956 edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary. That, in itself wouldn’t necessarily be a ‘bad thing’; but a lot of words have come into use since the year of his birth. So, recently he had the wonderful idea of combining word searching with a fitness regime. Instead of walking from the kitchen (where he does most of his writing) into the hall (where he keeps his dictionary on a book shelf), he thought he would go the extra two steps into the TV room, in which his Echo Dot resides upon an antique chest of drawers just inside the door. It seemed like a fabulous idea – especially when Alexa reminded him that ‘custard’ in Spanish is ‘natillas’.  But this early success quickly soured – as seen in this re-enactment…

…when Alexa informed him that the word ‘reign’ is spelt RAIN. No amount of explanation from him helped. Rain it was; and rain it would remain. So it was back to the dictionary for Tooty. But then, following a long arduous day of Earplug Adventure creating, his addled mind couldn’t think of a decent synonym for ‘problem’. Alexa suggested ‘trouble’. And that’s all she would suggest – even after Tooty asked her to give him three synonyms of ‘problem’. So he sneakily asked her for a synonym of ‘problem’ AND ‘trouble’. Alexa’s answer? “Oh, I don’t know that one.”

But then Tooty’s genius re-surfaced: he remembered that (in a drawer somewhere) he had one of these…

It’s an electronic pocket thesaurus. Smarter than a sixty-five year old collection of out-dated words: less stupid than a small box that sits in the corner of the room and listens to your every word. Happy again and able to continue the pretence.