Monday, 13 May 2013
Tweeter ID XYZee twits publicly to eleventy billion twerps 'Can you gift a Kindle ebook to a person in Australia?'
I see it.
I answer. 'It would have to be somebody random - I don't know anyone in Australia.'
Back comes the reply from XYZee...
'No, I meant can a person in Aus. accept a gifted book? I've read that Aus. doesn't have access to the entire Kindle store'
Oh sheesh. Yes, I knew that, I was just... oh forget it. It was...
Now I feel awful. I've kicked a puppy. I've been rude to a little old lady. I've kicked an occupied pram over the kerb and into the road. I've deliberately directed a car-load of Belgian holiday-makers into the trout farm.
Honestly though, it's like shooting birds in a cage.
I keep forgetting that out of eleventy billion people ten billion nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand million nine-nine-nine-etcetera think I'm an idiot and have no access to the interior of my skull or knowledge of the mess in there.
Even if they had access, they'd have to take it in turns because my skull's not that big.
I've been caught, reeled in and had a Dymo label slapped on my forehead that reads "Idiot".
Not too far from the truth huh?
I've not tweeting any more today.
Monday, 6 May 2013
|Say "Vegan Brie"|
That, and stretched time-management, for which I apologise, again. I seem to be doing a lot of that recently.
Life. It's an odd sort of thing. I feel as though as humans we're ideally suited to something, but that this isn't it. It's a good match, but not a wholly comfortable one. Square peg, hexadecagonical hole. We're surrounded by vast processes that we hardly notice most of the time, don't understand well when we do.
A lot of a sad week in that the Sis (Pear Tree Log) had to say g'bye to her faithful hound and companion, Toby. Isn't it odd that we can make a wooden chair and catapult ourselves to the moon, but we have no idea what life is and can't fix it or change its course, only use it? I feel for you Sis (and for Toby too).
Heavy stuff. Not nice. I do so object to the way that time insists on trundling away without so much as a by-your-leave or an agreement as to direction and speed.
Not so heavy stuff was the realisation one five-thirty of the a.m. when I was chugging through Twitter-land, sorting out followers and tweeters and such. I realised with a dull thud that I had fallen into a pattern and had stopped thinking. The default was to follow back but subject to a few conditions.
The Twitter profile is a very short thing indeed - to judge folk all you get is a headline image, a tiny thumbnail photo and one hundred and forty characters of biography/declaration of intent. Still, you can pack an awful lot into that!
Sure-fire ways to get me to unfollow, ignore and block:
A. Declare your fecundity by opening your minuscule bio with something along the lines of "Father/Mother of twelve children all under the age of three"... I care about the planet even if you don't.
B. Use your tiny photo thumbnail to show me a picture of you desperately clinging to your boyfriend or girlfriend as though you're afraid they'll run away - a picture is worth a thousand words indeed. Please to take your insecurities elsewhere.
C. Open with a label such as "Jesus follower" or "Disciple of the lord" (and you'd be amazed how many Twitterati do so). I read all of those variations as "God botherer" and don't particularly want your "worship" flowing past my twit-stream. G'bye. For ever....
D. Use "Lolita" or "Romeo" as your userid and have a thumbnail of yourself in any state of disrobing or what I can only assume that you think of as "provactive" or "alluring". Block block block block block!
E. Fill your bio with "hashtags" - #businessguru #freemoney #onlineentrepreneur #snakeoilsalesman #ifollowbackandretweet
I've seen twitter profiles that include all of those things. How often do we (how often do I) fall into such patterns and what am we (are I) losing out on by being so lazy? Or maybe by being so wise...?
Which sets me to wondering what the heck my profile looks like to the not-me.
Later today, after my breakfast gin, I must fit Spare Head Number 3, clear the cache and have a look. I don't doubt that I give off a whole personal spectrum of red warning signals!
The hilarious thing about twitter is that it seems to be desperate for me to follow the twerps and tweeples of Lada Gaga, Justin Bieber and Simon Cowell. If only the twitter machinery knew just how very, very, very unlikely that scenario is this side of some notional "Hell" freezing over. You can tell when Twitter is running out of ideas when it starts to delve into the world of "celebriteee".
Other than that, writing a bit, entering writing competitions, producing more video, networking like a Mafia lawyer and generally climbing up the same old walls while gibbering into the wind like a lone penguin clapping with one hand (wing); nothing to report here on the western front.
Not even on the eastern front.
|Scorched-earth policy trials.|
Sunday, 28 April 2013
|Cats and Dogs - in reality. And don't you just know it.|
... but forthcoming micro-fiction does include a treatise on each of the following phenomena:
- Guide cats for the blind
- Sheep-cats on farms
- Sniffer-cats at airports
- Police cats chasing murderers
- Mountain Rescue cats locating avalanche survivors
- The team in the Iditarod that used cats instead of dogs...
May I suggest that you begin with, er, um - nope, can't think of anything to start you off.
I'm sure that there's some mileage in imagining the County Hunt using cats instead of hounds though.
Scratch scratch, bite. Here, loving mistress - take this half-eaten rodent as a token of my love. It's robin and bluebird for tea!
Jus' sayin', that's all ...
p.s. - I do occasionally feed my sister's cats (Pear Tree Log) and let them in and out, tickle them and generally say hello, but the cats and I are well aware that this is a fruitless exercise.
p.p.s. Oh hang on - I forgot to mention that cat that saved its keepers from a house-fire by raising the alarm. Oh, my mistake - there wasn't one.
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
Peanut-Head rides again (they left the door to the infirmary unlocked and the ignition keys in a horse)
Generally I don't photograph well.
I have a face ideally suited to steam-powered radio.
This one, however, seems to have captured the essential me of me.
I have been sorely neglecting my position here as editor-in-therapy of The Owl Wood and the only excuse that I can offer is that I have been not neglecting my other duties. I have been writing articles and networking like crazeh and even making several short five-six minute videos in my alternative role. In one of my alternative roles. The lovely portrait above is a still from one that is as-yet unreleased (thank the Roman, Greek and Pagan gods).
I sniff. Not because I have a cold or anything, but simply as a dreadfully English form of communication. I don't even know that I am doing it. Grim Grimbarian-speak leaks through like used baby-food from an over-filled nappy and clips my vowels (a Grimbarian is someone who has been scarred by residency at some point in their lives in the ex-fishing town of Grimsby). It is very, very difficult to read and address the camera at t'same time while not also re-writing the bloody nonsense in my head.But I'm working hard on those things. Not sniffing when you don't know that you are sniffing is awfully difficult. My collection of hats is coming in very useful though.
The short - very short - videos I'm working on are for a couple of nonsense-fiction websites and also for my own. I need to make certain that when NGLND XPX flops onto Amazon like pigeon-poop people know what it is, and that I have a defence when they sue.
Actually, I haven't been entirely neglecting my Owl Wood duties - the folk from the Birdy-Owly-Feathery Society or whatever it is pitched up yesterday without warning. The Sis (Pear Tree Log) was out and I noticed two cars sweep into her car park and settle at very jaunty, highly unregulated angles. About ten people poured out who, to be perfectly honest, looked as though they might be on their way to court for vagrancy offences... They then compounded my initial impression by oiking ladders off the roof of one vehicle and all starting to waddle through sister's gates.
I hoofed around there and gave them my very best piggy-eyed stare and a stiff "excuse me - may I help you?". I thawed a little once they communicated that they were there to check on the owl nesting boxes in the wood. I only thawed a little mind you.
A more formalised arrival method - mayhap a little fore-warning - and some identification wouldn't go amiss. The sister has jackdaws where the owls should be. Three warm jackdaw eggs. This is apparently common this year, nothing, they said, is nesting where it used to or should. We hear owls of three different varieties around here overnight but where the little buggers are nesting is a mystery. It's not in the de-luxe boxes provided.
Now, you simply must excuse me again I am needed on Stage One - Mr DeMille is ready for my close up. Or I am, or something.
Friday, 12 April 2013
|The Flag of The Loose Confederation of Really Rather Polite English Super-Heroes|
Spot of busy, what? Apologies again for the absence. All quiet really on the western front but have been workin' on many, many splendid things, one of which is the concept of the thoroughly English super-hero. I have a dozen or so of these chaps at the ready, and once NGLND XPX is out of the door I'll be developing them into a "brat pack of the shires" and expanding them. Any and all super-hero suggestions welcomed.
The Hollywooden super-hero chaps all seem to wear lycra and capes and have big, bold letters on their chests but I rather fancy that the reason you hear so much less about English super-heroes is because they're more, well - more subtle. They also tend to dress in tweeds or cricket whites instead of lycra, and they frequently say "oh, do please excuse me".
We have Bakelite Man, he rushes into dire emergencies and insulates things. LBW Man is self-explanatory. Awkward Silence Man descends from the sky whenever important conversations fall into a lull and offers simply life-saving observations on weather, stamp-collecting and decent ball games. Cup-of-Tea Man has his work thoroughly cut out for him, as you might imagine.
I introduce here Dropped Ice-Cream Man as he appears in a necessarily brief item for a website (submissions to which are deliberately restricted to five hundred words or fewer, upon pain of non-publication).
English Super-Hero Number Seven: Dropped Ice-Cream Man.
The English seaside sun is always a generous golden paint splodge in a clear, powder-blue sky. Surf washes the beach like cool champagne kissing the crust on yesterday’s apple crumble. Beach huts in shades of faded peach and banana yellow neatly punctuate rows of strawberry and cream canvas deckchairs ranged along grey railings and cracked concrete sea-defences. Elderly Bedford vans flog ice-creams and the chocolate sauce flows like Sunday guest-house gravy. There are Rockets and Funny Feet and Orange Maids with damp wrappers, and cones of vanilla and strawberry stabbed through with Cadbury’s Flakes and all heavily laden with rainbow sprinkles - and all usually in the grasp of other people’s children.
Millicent was one such someone else’s child and she resembled a can of croissant-dough that had burst in the sun. Her chief charm lay in the economy of her features: devil-red piggy eyes; snotty nose purloined from a passing pug; a crimson slash gaping maw. Miniature grasping hands on stubby arms stuck out from her polka-dot toddler-kini and a pair of legs like last winter’s parsnips dangled over the edge of her weary-looking pushchair.
Like all fruit of the smoking gonads of the not quite we classes, Millicent was possessed of a very fine voice. Whenever Millicent found need for some cool fatty acids or frozen protein group or slushy omega-vitamins she could scream and scream and SCREAM until everyone else was sick. Millicent needed a lot of nutrients, and she always got what she needed.
Millicent was thus this fine day the proud first-registered keeper of a healthy triple-scoop avocado-fudge one of her five a day ensemble that tottered like three slightly seasick sea-urchins held high in a salute to childish triumph, like some Statue-of-Liberty’s torch. These soggy urchins jostled on the edge, looked the centre of gravity right in the eye, reached the point of no return and then plummeted to a squishy death like some partially-melted, cold-hearted, full-fat suicide pact.
In slow-motion Millicent took a deep, red-faced bawling-breath. Pedestrians paused, seagulls were sucked from the sky. The truncheon-twirling Constable Auden called for the surf to be silenced and the clocks to be stopped, for the G.P.O. to cut off the telephones and for the dog to be prevented from barking with a juicy, plastic bone. Mr Sunshine’s rather concerned hand flew to his mouth to stifle an awful “oh good gosh”.
This emergency would require the skills of an English Super-Hero.
This emergency would require the skills of an English Super-Hero.
Dropped Ice-Cream Man, resplendent in straw boater, flannel trousers, striped jacket and silk cravat (to hide his turkey-neck), levitated down from the sky in that irritating way that super-heroes often do and squatted on the hot pavement in front of the screaming, tearful, piggy-eyed Millicent. There he brandished his wholly intact, truly giant scoop of vanilla delight and uttered the soothing, comforting, super-hero words that every Millicent who’s just dropped an ice-cream needs to hear; ‘Ner ner ne ner ner’.
Then he flew off, stage left, his ice-cream still in hand, to much applause.
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Elsewhere and otherwhen, been tackling the knotty problem of how to get the English gentry out of bed and into the post-apocalyptic world if there's no-one there to dress them or to lay out breakfast. Still not sure about that one. There's a danger that Lord and Lady Bunting-Gusset will just lever themselves to the edges of their beds and sit there, helplessly waiting for servants who never come because they're too busy wandering the grounds with their arms outstretched.
Ralph, our intrepid love-lorn Martian explorer is still en-route but scored his first millenium while defending the ship's critical analytical machine from a ruddy meteor shower. Cricket racquets at the ready chaps. Ralph doesn't know it of course, but he's about to be tied to the mast while the Beagle crash-lands in the Sea of Prozac. The Sea of Prozac is bigger than the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon and twice as calm. You can only get there on prescription of course.
Otherwisely, we have made progress in England's defence of the planet when an "Extinction Level" comet rather rudely begins speeding towards Margate. Difficulty there has been in describing what a Labrador dog looks like when it brings its dinner back explosively while still wearing a goldfish-bowl space helmet. Not pleasant at all is the short answer. Still, the coal supplies are lasting longer than expected, even with the boiler running flat out. It has to be that way around since you can't expect a Labrador to run anywhere, let alone run flat-out.
There is an awful lot of truth in the rumours that several hundred thousand people have offered to assist in his experiments by living on nothing more than a government cabinet minister's salary for a month, just to provide a contrasting result set in the experiment.
Been playing around twixt me and some cover artiste numpty with ideas for the look of the cover of NGLND XPX. Something along the lines of this is proposed:
|NGLND XPX by Colonel IG Hutson (Retired, Calcutta XIV Light-Sleepers)|
Whatever comes out the end of the pipeline, I want summat old-fashioned and dog-eared looking. With any luck accrediting myself with an imaginary military rank (even a "retired" one) will amount to treason or sedition or something, and I'll get lots of publicity by being hunged and drawed and en-quarterated in a variety of tenses. If I end up as just a severed head on a pike on London Bridge I'll just have to hold a pe between my teeth to sign copies for passers by.
Talking of the state of England, I was chatting on-line this very morning to a mate who hitherto held a position working for a museum in the county - he's just been summarily sacked for 'lighting a candle on a display designed to be candle-lit... without performing the necessary written risk-analysis'. Add to that tents being erected outside Norfolk Royal Hospital to accommodate the three-hour queue of up to fifteen ambulances waiting to deliver emergency/999 patients and police officers suing crime victims because the officer in question tripped over a pavement kerb while investigating ... and all you have left to titter at is the latest trend in our peaceful shires of strapping LPG cannisters to cash machines on petrol station forecourts to blow up the machines and steal the money (yes, I did say "blowing up the cash machines on petrol station forecourts - petrol, that flammable stuff that Cook runs her little stove on).
I know that levels of gumption and common-dog savvy have fallen to an all-time low in this green and pleasant land in the population general, but ye gods and little fishes, the criminal element seems to have plummeted and plummeted eagerly. With luck no-one I care about will be innocently filling up when some light-fingered twit with an LPG bottle gets it all wrong.
Given that background I think that NGLND XPX may be received as a little bit too staid and sensible.
Should add more lunacy do you think?
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Hair lair chaps.
Spot of absence, apologies much, dashed elsewhere and otherwhen sort of thing eh?
Slightly enhectic-ated time. Rather amazingly and in no small part due to the endeavours of y'all, my very kind interwebbing site critiquers, been flashing emails back and forth in re vintage with of all places Annabel's of Berkeley Square. That most sober, shy and retiring little corner of London's celebrity world. Don't have a gig with them (yet) but do have one coming up in a couple of months around the corner (OK, around several corners) in Portman Square at Home House, for a Dogs Trust event. A "red carpet" awards ceremony for dogs that have shown bravery, saved their owners, that sort of thing. Should have me up to my elbows in vintage poop if nothing else.
What's the dog translation for "stand next to the canvas backdrop on your hind legs and do the walk like an Egyptian pose"? Wish me luck!
Betwixt and between - and aside from freezing my Brazils in England's gentle last fling of 50mph sub-zero winter wonderfulness - I have been a-workin' on my anti-heroes, dealing with meteor showers and sending telegrams from Mars to Venus via the sorting office in Catford.
Given myself a deadline to work to for finishing my Raj-punk steam/diesel-electric anthology - and incredibly, had an enquiry a few days ago from a slightly large America-based sci-fi radio station/website/magazine who quite fancy doing a write-up. Yee and - what's that other word? Oh yes - ha! Does make it rather important that I have something concrete to show them. Well, actually, it's more walnut, brass and buttoned velvet than concrete.
The important part is that I have written Ralph, an intrepid explorer, onto the deck of the Beagle during a meteor shower with no more equipment to save the day than his cricket bat. If Ralph ever makes it to Mars, and if he can stop Daphne breaking his heart then he's going to lead an expedition of native porters, Livingstone style, into the Martian wilds to look for life. Yup, terribly English idiot, native porters, looking for signs of life. Empire logic.
Once I get Ralph sorted, or possibly even boiled in some vast cooking pot, I have to tend to stories about what really happened when the first steam railway was switched on between Manchester and Liverpool, deal with the details of "first contact" with aliens (at Buck House with cucumber sandywiches; "The day the Earth took tea") and launch Mr Branson's new spacecraft for the masses, the Model-T Virgin (available in any colour so long as you like red, etcetera).
OK, OK - by rights it should be the "Austin 7 Virgin" but 99% of the potential readership wouldn't have a clue what an Austin 7 might be whereas the Model-T thingy is well known.
It's all really rather terrifying. As soon as I have Ralph sorted I must also urgently attend to the needs of the patients in my asylum for robots with mental health issues (a story that is the product of watching High Anxiety once too often).
My body may have been hunched over my laptop next to the roaring fire and the sparkling decanters of Ribena and Irn Bru but my mind has been rushing about like a vampire flea in a poodle parlour.
Oh bugger - I'd forgotten for a moment about the awfully English zombies (and how long it would take the upper crust and their servants to notice the change in one another - and to then pluck up the social courage to actually remark upon it).
I might call that one "28 years later". Unless you think twenty-eight years would be too soon to bring up the matter of a sudden unfavourable change in character and drop in standards of service?
Yikes. The whole thing is positively fraught with possibilities for giving offence.
I shall have to go for a long, hard ride across the wild and windy Owl Wood moor on my favourite water-polo elephant to settle my mind. Perkins? Have Cecilia saddled immediately and ask cook to wrap a couple of Marmite sandwiches in greaseproof ... I'm just popping out for a while.
Saturday, 16 March 2013
|The Owl Towers Dining Experience. A painting by some chap called Goya.|
Food. Yeah? Cooking on ice. Dale's Supermarket Food. Scrapheap Food. The Crystal Maize. Blanketty-Food with Terry Wogan. I'm sorry I haven't a food. Never mind the Food. MasterFood. Shooting Food. The Weakest Food with Anneka Robinson's wrinkled bum. I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Food.
It's all out there, isn't it? Well, if you can't beat them you may as well have someone join them undercover and look for other weaknesses I say. So. Food. Mayhap a regular Owl Towers food spot eh?
Soups. Let's deal with the pressing matter of soups*.
[* Never include pressed matter in soups. That's for sandwiches. Hence the popular culinary enquiry "What's the matter?"]
Damned fond of soups at Owl Towers. Cook is rather good at them (she's shown above to the right, grovelling for my approval and asking for a new Kenwood Chefette). She boils everything for twenty-four hours anyway. Even has her own boils since the Black Death reached the village. I think she was promoted out of the laundry into the kitchens. "Colliniet cum petram; liquidise; bulliunt" is the motto on Cook's coat of arms. Hit it with a rock; liquidise; boil.
It's short and brief but to the point - you could never accuse her cooking of being a complete surprise*.
[* Except for that one Christmas when her Bombe Surprise du Semtex a la mode went off prematurely in the dumb-waiter.]
My dear late Mother's family crest bore the legend "Quondam vos have eliminari in inedible quidquid remanet autem improbabile, oportet prandendum est."[Once you have eliminated the inedible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be lunch.]
So. To soup. Soupings. To ensoupinate.
I've chosen as my first recipe to share my sister's favourite consommé - a light, chilled soup suitable for tiffin and for falling over on a warm day on the terrace.
- Ice, gently crushed in the gamekeeper's cheesecloth shirt
- Lemons from the garden or the exotics hot-houses dependin' on season
- Pull the cork from the Hendrick's bottle with either your own teeth or with a clean set of kitchen spares
- Empty the contents into a mixing bowl (or the dog's bowl if pressed for intact china)
- Add the Schweppes with a swishing motion in the proportion of one part Schweppes to thirty parts Hendrick's
- Arrange the crushed ice in a shallow dish and ladle the mixture over, lovingly
- Place thinly sliced lemons around the rim of the dish and serve immediately while intoning the holy verses from the Book of Lady Marmalade "Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Ta Ta - Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Here - Mocha choca lata Ya Ya - Creole Lady Marmalaaaaade ..." (and preferably with the butler accompanying you on the big Hammond organ in the hallway).
This is such a simple dish that almost any member of household staff can make it, and it is always a favourite at table. Sometimes, at banquets, ten or twelve courses may be served thus.
Cost per serving? B'gered if I know.
There are vitaminations in the lemons and the quinine in the tonic water is quite medicinal too.
- Bombay Sapphire
- Sans lemon
- Ice crushed between the lady-bosoms of a scullery maid
- Sans Schweppes
- Sans dish - may be served straight from the bottle for picnics or at the races
And there we have it. The first Owl Towers food spot.
Simples, dimples, what eh? Don't know what all the fuss is about.
Friday, 15 March 2013
|This was a Datsun when I drove it, not a "Nissan"|
My Aged Aunt has a history she'd rather forget.
When I was aged fourteen and onwards I remember that she used to place rather a lot of quite successful bets on the gee-gees. Not the Bee Gees, I said the gee-gees. So many in fact that she used to lay off the bets on a wide circuit of different bookies in different towns and courses.
Since one of my very favourite pastimes was skiving off school I quite often used to find myself driving her (and my mother) around in the Aged Aunt's burgundy Audi 80, calling at William Hills and wherever to collect her winnings and put new bets on. This was great for me - what fourteen year-old wouldn't be happy being thrown the keys to a nice new Audi-of-the-day and told to just drive and be quick about it? She just assumed (correctly) that I knew the mechanics of making a car move and let me get on with it. Only once did she ever even comment on my driving, and that was when I was at a busy junction and popped a wheelie accelerating to get into the traffic. She said "steady on" and resumed her conversation with my mother.
Aged One and my Mother used to sit in the back, I was chauffeur.
These days I'd have been on a million cctv cameras and we'd all be in high-security jails and re-hab units but then, in the nineteen-seventies? They had to catch you to do you! They never caught me.
After three years of regular driving thus I had to go through the motions of getting a driving licence and the swiftest way to do that was by booking a course of "lessons" with a Learner Driver School and taking the half-hour test. The Driving School car that I drove was very like those above - a dark brown Datsun 120Y.
They were gentle wee beasties - you could almost start them in gear and stalling them took a lot of effort. The "instructors" were quite fond of finding an empty car park or letting us drive out to the old disused airfield runways near Waltham. Once there they'd bung motorcycle helmets on, hang out of the window and use we students to "joust" with each other. We were ordered to drive towards the other cars so as to pass closely side by side so that the instructors could score points by banging on an opponents helmet...
Happy days, and no doubt a lot to do with my later driving habits.
Mind you, what I do find scary is that the best part of four decades later we're not driving les Datsuns anymore, the yoof of today are driving this sort of futuristic thing:
|The Citroen Crosser - isn't it cute? Could be on Mars!|
I just wonder if they're having as much fun?
Everything seems to be so serious and regulated beyond belief these days!
BTW - if Her Majesty's Internet Fuzz are reading, I deny everything and there is zero evidence.
Thursday, 14 March 2013
|Somewhere Soon Creations|
Lady trains giant butterfly to live on her nose but RSPCA insists that stomach is the only safe habitat. Personally, if I saw a butterfly that large I'd been tugging the old tapestry bell-pull for my double-barrelled blunderbuss and a bucket of nature-lover's grapeshot.
The frosts have been waxing and waning here at Owl Towers. Sheets of crusty white devilry creeping across the lawns each evening, bunging up the fountains and shrivelling the gonads on my Greco-Roman statuary. The staff are working like spit-dogs of course, throwing hot coals and warmed substances from the battlements and casement windows. Yestereve I saw one of the gardeners throw himself onto an unexploded icicle that was threatening the orangery. Brave chap. I was moved sufficiently to give his orphaned family an extra week to move out of the tied cottage.
Each morning it seems that the battle is won as the English sun wades into the fight, and the enemy lines retreat into my woods and parklands, injured no doubt.
What, I hear you ask, has this got to do with giant butterflies?
Nothing much. Some folk love the things. Mobile flowers they gasp, with clasped hands and jaws dropped in awe at Father Nature's handiwork. Another chuffing insect replies I, just another chuffing flappy insect with antennae and vomit-inducing anatomy such as "a thorax" and "segmented eyes" and no blood and precious little brain. They say aah and I say ugh.
|Somewhere Soon Creations|
Bit of an artist, works under the guise of "Somewhere Soon Creations" (mayhap do one a favour and if you have this "The Facebook" nip along and click on the old "En-Liken" button for moral support). Might just be the fillip the lady may be looking out for.
|Somewhere Soon Creations|
Masks is the reasoning - Venetian-style masks are one of the most popular of smaller props when I'm running the ol' Electric Mobile Studio thing. Holly's come in fantastic bespoke and original designs of sets of one, and there's looks for the fox as well as for the vixen.
Pretty stunning eh? I'm thinking of asking if she'll accept a commission to make me a U-Boat Commander mask for me bath-time endeavours and possibly a couple of Zulu-inspired ones for the staff to use durin' me bed-time re-enactments of Rorke's Drift.
Sort of Steam-Punk Diesel-Punk Venetian Victoriana Fantasy Goth I suppose, if you have to narrow them down into standard industry classifications.
|A new English Super-Hero - Oh I Say man|
Anyway, just thought I'd share them with you since they are really rather splendid. Hand-crafted, made of leather [I have pragmatically temporarily suspended the sniffs of veganship in this cause] and most def not yer run of the mill. Plus I'm shamelessly desperate to increase Holly's "Like" numbers on FB so that I don't look like a complete doorknob.
Spot of a write-up on the partially revised vintage web pages too - and thank you again to all of those roped into my critique enbegginations of the past week. Splendid.
I've invited the local women's liberation movement along to Owl Towers this evening.
Not gone entirely mad - just hopin' that their blazing brassieres will help fend orf the frosts and give the household staff time to re-group.
Monday, 11 March 2013
Thank you to all of the folk who were kind enough to ogle my website over the past week and offer some great advice and suggestions! It has been much appreciated.
I've been working through them all, making changes to the website and as time goes on I'll be making more.
Meantime, the ambient environmental around here is sub-liquidity in re pure H2O at sea-level with a 40mph gust wind-chill factor of something like minus nine of the new-fangled European "Professor Anders Celsius Units". That's nothing to you chaps and lady-chaps from such climates as may prevail in the more northerly British territories and overseas dependencies, but it does rather take the flex out of one's cricket bat here in Blighty.
Vindaloo was the medical order of the day here for luncheon, basmati and such of course, and with the promise of Vindaloo sandwiches for supper. Splendid. I'm not like those damned toads that can freeze solid and then hop orf after two minutes warming in the dog's armpit you know, not at my age and well, if a chap has to start an internal chemical reaction in order to avoid frostbite then so be it. Probably Vinders for breakfast too, if the encookinator plays ball. Couldn't get a damned flame out of the thing this mornin'. Sub-standard foreign engineerin' I suppose. Chill factor rather gets to the gaseous pipeworkery when damp.
I'm often damp, these days.
It's weather like this when a chap appreciates the long gallery, and hobbies such as learning how to ride a unicycle in jodhpurs. Tried clay pigeon shootin' last time it was this inclement. Plays havoc indoors with the plasterwork. Ruddy impossible from a unicycle. Not so bad from my tricycle though, so long as one remembers to apply the hand-brake before loosing off both barrels. Recoil and so on, bodies in motion with equal and opposite reactions or something to do with mechanical physics.
Rather wonderfully been "tentatively, provisionally and without legal prejudice" asked to contribute a touch of sci-fi for an anthology some cove is publishin' at the beginnin' of next year. Warned 'em of course, sci certainly I said but you'll also get the spirit of Kenny Everett meets blathering ex-Raj meets logorrhoea. Fine, they said, fine. Oh well, a certain temporal displacement (time) will tell.
This task presents another dastardly problem, this time with Venus and Mars. Rather need to locate an Edwardian lady in a life of ease and comfort on Venus. Chap's easy enough of course, since in this offering he will be tramping about Mars with native porters, looking for life and civilisation. Airtight socks and a decent tweed suit with mica faceplate will see him through his days, extra-tight lacings on the flaps to his tent to keep the air in, that sort of thing.
No, no - the trouble is, as ever, with the lady. Venus you see - rather hot, eight-eighths sulfuric acid cloud cover and pressure on the surface over ninety times that on Father Earth. Tends to put a spoke in a world of civilised grassy parks with cool shade from the willow trees, tinkling fountains and an army of nannies rolling their charges about in prams. Some sort of dastardly mechanical habitat rather required. Can't have the bustles singed or the Battenburg cake gettin' too warm.
Lots of thinkin' to do. Put 'em in a cast-iron sphere I suppose, with a few steam-engine air-conditionin' units.
Problems with the Royal Mail too - rather need three deliveries a day between Mars and Venus for the story to work, but what with the planets and the sun all orbiting madly around England, well ... you see the problem of logistics.
More ruddy problems in a short story than there are in a long one.
Oh well, time for one last gin before dinner I suppose, then back to the typewriting machine.
Thanks again for the webbery suggestions! [That wasn't faux-Japanese btw!]
|Venus and Mars, circling Earth - if you look really, really closely you can just see the little red Post Office Morris Minor space-van rushing between them, carrying the letters and parcels.|
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
|Exposure for the clouds - yesterday at dawn, on my first walk with the elephants, along the Lincolnshire lanes.|
We are indeed a disparate species of manifold parts, none of them new or fitting together terribly well.
I gathered unto mineself a temporary coterie of fellow professionals and asked unto them, why, why I said, I asked, why ever thus is it than mine well-targeted web traffic wot doth verily find me via keywordings such as "vintage" and "photographer" and "event" nay never but for 70% doth look past the firsting page?
Yonder website et al is doing very nicely indeed, thank you and such, but business is never good enough until you own an island big enough to build a runway for your Bombardier Global 8000 to land on and with a harbour of sufficient size to cuddle a 400' motor yacht - all in sight of the cunningly modernised castle.
Analysising the statisticals does rather show that people finding me for all the right reasons just, in the main, do not click through the rest of the website. That doth puzzle me much, Malvolio, for tis all but one and the same service and the details thereto.
I explained this in suitably dumbed down language to my coterie of fellow professionals. I am not, in this guise, a photographer I said, but a performer, an appearance artist with photographs thrown in. Events companies book me because of my cunning vintage cameras I said, thus repeating my key keywords. Look thou for me I requested at mine site and tell me mine goofs, dear fellows, do tell.
Responses so far to the vintage photographer event service website:
- Far too much text [there's about 150 words on the front page]
- Far too little text
- It looks like you're offering people the chance to be photographed in an old-fashioned way - I just don't get it. Why?
- Ooh - have you thought of putting young models in modern clothing on the site?
- I'd like to see more children and happy people
- Why have you got a photo of a vintage camera there? No-one cares what camera you use so long as they get the prints
- I couldn't tell if your images were digital or not. I think they were digital. If you put modern electronics inside vintage cameras they're going to look digital. Are they digital?
- Verbage! [SIC] Repetitive verbage!
- Yes, I think this could work - give it a go!
- You should process your images through Photoshop filters to make them look old. People like old photographs.
- All of the links on your website take me away from it [those are the links to companies I've worked for such as ASDA and New Era etc ...]
- I have no idea what you do.
- There's too much of you on the website
- There's too little of you on the website - why don't you use your name? Are you afraid of making yourself known to your customers?
And these are professionals in much similar trades.
My target audience is not actually photographers but commercial event organisers - is there the slightest chance that my website and its intentions will be faring any better there?
Now - how do I go about assembling a temporary coterie of event organisers ... and asking them a similar, simple question?
The results of the mini-survey are actually very useful, but not in the way that the contributors (bitch-sharks and piranha) think. Trouble is, how much further can it be dumbed down and simplified without simply becoming an image of Twiggy with the caption 'Can do fotos 4U2'.
Friday, 1 March 2013
|Pulp fiction. Splendid. Apologies for the "Clare Balding".|
Had to trundle into the local market town yesterday in me damned capacity as Circuit Judge.
Me capacity's not been made publicly official for various reasons mostly to do with Her Majesty's social standin' but every once in a while I wander in and preside over a few cases, hand out lashings, pass general judgement, that sort of thing. Pass a lot of wind too, sometimes, but that's all par for the usual and anyone who fails to ignore it is immediately in contempt.
Nothin' worthy of note yesterday. Two "Witchcraft", one "literally floggin' a dead horse" and an "Offensively ugly; likely to breach the peace". Gave 'em all 28 days. I give everyone 28 days, even the Court staff.
Ruddy sun actually shone as I left - hardly recognised the damned thing. Splendid.
Tripped over an interestin' legal and moral conundrum in the [Insert particular breed] Doggy Rescue Charity shop when I called in on the way back to the Bat-mobile.
I was on my hands and knees examinin' the lower shelves in the book section and thus out of sight of all and sundry when I overheard a conversation twixt one of the lady volunteers and another.
Aforesaid lady volunteer in this charity shop was explaining to her friend how she "... gets loads of great stock for her brother-in-law's shop from what's handed in ..."
I then coughed, as English gentlemen often do in order to signify that they are present in the room and within earshot, at which point I suspect that the lady in question's knickers began to follow that dreary path towards needin' a boil wash. She looked sheepish and guilty, and hurriedly added - somewhat unconvincingly - mention of the "staff" discount and payment.
Given that the price for my ten-book haul above was a crisp five pounds note or some new-fangled "fifty pees per book" in youngster-money, what room is there for discount? The clothing and household items are hardly priced through the roof at the ticket level, even if I believed the nonsense about payment being made for these "loads of great stock" for the brother-in-law's outlets.
Given that I don't believe payment is made at all, should I set the hounds on her? It's them she's doing out of Bonios. Although she's apparently givin' generously of her time she's also, apparently, takin' generously of the cream of the donations ...
I am sure that it goes on everywhere but, well - this went on right in front of me. Right under my beak, so to speak. Should have called the Constables there and then I suppose, there were two of them guardin' me car on the double yellows, makin' sure I didn't get a ticket, so they were close enough if I'd called.
That said, where the hell else would I source enough pulp readin' matter to keep me awake while the ruddy defence drones on about "not enough hugs as a child" and "out of work since age three and the decline of the chimney sweep trade"?
Do you think that 28 days might do the trick?
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Damnably busy week. A chap's hardly had time to get down to the stables and cuddle an elephant.
Spot of B2B debt collectin' (see - I'm hip, hop, trendy and up with the "it". B2B eh? Whatever next?). Anyway, all accomplished in just under two months without recourse to either cricket rackets, football bats or the court system. Splendid. Fortunately for me this fiscal discourteousness took place when there is a glut of horse's heads available in the UK and all that was needed was to add the kiss on the cheek (just face cheek, of course - it wasn't a regular supplier). We did though do the full spectrum of
- I'll get it sorted today
- I thought I got it sorted yesterday - check again
- Not answering mobile phone
- My internets have been down
- Not answering any phone
- I thought I had replied to your email - just found it
- Something must have gone wrong at the bank
- I thought I saw a Puddy Tat, as plain as he could be
- Partner has the chequebook
- Oh - I have the chequebook but I'm not an official signutury (SIC)
- I don't know how to work the Internet Bank
- Partner's on an oil rig but he'll be home mid-February
- Partner's on another oil rig but he'll be home in early March
Still, suddenly the sun shone and the Internetting Banker Gentlemens worked (soon after I made the conversations very public in front of B's other customers). I've been down enough slippery slopes on my own aah's-bones to recognise a slippery slope covered in aah's-bones when I see it.
So that was fun. Yeah?
At least I didn't have to paddle out to BP Rig "Bigbugger" in Cook's half-inflated old fishing-Zodiac and a fifty-foot North Sea swell with my tin megaphone and a final demand, but it was most assuredly on the list of gradual escalations.
Now takin' part in some damnable five-week exercise with a couple of million other
Got more accounts at Disqus and Tumblr and LookAtMeLookAtMe.com than is probably safe without some sort of lead shielding. Password's the same on all of them of course, I left it at "password" so that I wouldn't have too many to remember.
Social media eh? Once upon a time that was a club chair and a G&T in the readin' room followed by a poke in the ribs with a small jockey at Ascot.
Now apparently the place to be seen is "on Line".
Anyone with any idea where "Line" is please get in touch as soon as possible.
You can find me on tumblr, disqus, pinterest, google+, google-, blogger, squidoo, reddit, crumpleditup, threwitaway, LinkedIn, HungOn, ButtBarely, DriedOut, RussianDatingDotCom and the interwebnet.
What exactly is "an blog" and why might I need one?
Answers on an "e-card" please with a QRCode ...
Nanny? Nanny? My brain pills please, and another cushion for my gout-foot.