Friday, 25 September 2009

"I'm your huckleberry, and this is Rob's Random 5!"

Questions questions questions! Which 90s movie provides the title for this week's post? What would a good last meal be? What's so interesting about a mug? Remember Sammy Jankis? What does a bookcase say about someone? Is Autumn as great a month as I think it is? And is this, the 16th Rob's Random 5, the last? All these questions and more will be answered!

1. Dinner at Eight: One of my favourite chefs, Keith Floyd, died last week. His were the first cooking shows I saw and remember watching. He had a great talent for cooking really good, hearty grub - especially big, 'one-pot' stews and casseroles - and doing it in an accessible fashion. The main reason I liked him though is because he was passionate about food without being pretentious about it (which is somewhat of a rarity on cooking shows these days), and he didn't care if things went wrong in the cooking process. And of course he was most famous for using wine, and sometimes cooking with it to. His old adage 'one glass for you and one for the pot' is one I stand by every time I cook using wine, although maybe not in such volumnous quantities (check out his interpretation of 'a dash of white wine' in the video below).

Apparently he died a happy man, after enjoying a delicious three course meal with his wife. There were oysters, pheasant (or partridge, I can't remember), and a cider jelly, all washed down with lashings of expensive, fine wines. A delicious sounding last meal, and it got me wondering what - if I could choose - my last meal would consist of. Would it include my mum's pea soup? A nice piece of sea bass? My own cheesecake? A bag of chip shop chips? They all sound good, but this is a last meal we're talking about here. The last thing you'll ingest and digest in this Universe. There are no rules: you can have anything and as much of it as you want. So what's it gonna be?
Eventually I brewed it down to the following: pizza (although I'm not sure what kind yet), two double cheeseburgers, a Melton Mowbray pork pie, some Heinz baked beans, my mum's sweetcorn pancakes, my own vanilla cheesecake, a tub of Ben & Jerry's chocolate brownie ice cream, all washed down with a bottle of '82 Margaux and a bottle of 35 year old Glenlivet. Yeah, I realise there's little that's good for you on this, but this is a LAST MEAL - there are no consequences.
So that would be my last meal. But what about yours? As I said before, what's it gonna be? Perhaps it'll be a chicken cooked by none other than Christopher Walken?

Yes, that's really him! It's not the only time he's been seen cooking chicken...

2. Book Look: The BBC ran this article about bookcases (and did you know 15 Ikea 'Billy' bookcases are made every minute?) and in it asked the intriguing question of why we display our books rather than store them away in a box or out of sight. I'd never thought about this before; that there really is no reason to put your books in a place you can't see them. I've always subscribed to the mantra that books decorate a room. If I didn't have my books on display there would be a big space on my wall. Granted, I could fill it with a cool suit of stormtrooper armour (WANT!), but it wouldn't be the same. There's something so aesthetically pleasing about a space crammed with such a variety of books; it's like a supremely personal piece of art because it looks good and is constructed from your life and tastes. What you have on display says a lot about who you are. A bookcase bursting with several editions of Proust and Mollieux probably means you're either brainy, boring or a lying show-off, a bookcase filled with a wide variety of genres and authors shows you're an well-read and well-rounded individual, whereas shelves with graphic novels squeezed on them probably means you're my kinda person! Looking at my bookcase it's easy to tell what kind of person I am: Jasper Fforde and Philip Pullman nut, lover of the Classics, and a two shelf-long fan of Batman comics. That makes me... well, I'll let you decide. What does your bookcase say about you? Are you a show-off? According to the BBC's article there's an element of this at play in all bookcases, shelves and biblio-oriented displays. Books have a "hallowed air" about them; a sense of prestige that comes from a time when books and manuscripts were for the very rich and privileged (see: every mansion/haunted house/period Regency home) and symbols of status and erudition: that you were not just rich in pocket but also rich in mind. Over time, as books have become cheaper, this notion of monetary status has waned but we still take pride in displaying our books, either because it may be a rare and sought-after first edition, a book lovingly kept since childhood or a gift from a friend. And like anything that is treasured, you want others to see it and share in your passion. This sense, not of 'showing-off' - because that words sounds too pejorative in this context - but of putting books on display to be admired by yourself and others, runs through every bookcase. For the collector there's the 'hoarder's thrill' of seeing an ever-expanding collection, and for the viewer the chance to nosey around, play detective, and learn a little about a person from what they do (and don't) read. It's like exploring the museum of an individual's life - their tastes and passions expressed through the texts they've accumulated.
Really it would be a shame to store books away in a box or out of sight. Everything about a book is designed to be looked at and touched and pored over. Putting them on display not only looks and feels great but means they're always there for you or a friend to pick up, flick through casually, and enjoy. But the best reason of all is that you spent your hard-earned cash on them, so why not enjoy them? Otherwise you may as well just bury your money in the ground and never buy another book again. I love my books, I know you love yours, and I'm always going to have mine on display. Plus, it's gonna be a while anyway before I save up for that stormtrooper armour...

3. A Mug's Game: Chances are that, whether you've got the builders in or the relatives round, you'll have to make a fair few cups of tea/coffee for thirsty guests. But isn't it awkward trying to carry more than two at once, especially if youcan't find/don't have a tea tray to put them on? Designer Jonathan Aspinall certainly thought so, and then came up with an idea so genius that it akes you smile just thinking about the simplicity of it: interlocking mugs. Brilliant! They each have a sticky-out bit and a sticky-in bit so you can link them together and carry up to six at a time. Haha! As someone who loves a good mug I can't help but love it (it still doesn't beat this mug though - I got one of these for a birthday and now drink out of little else). And if you don't pay a lot of attention to your beverage bucket of choice, you should: the mug you chug from says a lot about you. For instance, if your mug has a football on it then chances are you like football, if it if it's one of those Penguin Classic Books ones you're probably an avid book reader (the exception to that rule being my brother, who could not dislike books more), and if your mug says 'World No.1 Sex Machine' you're probably a massive ass-hat, because everyone knows official confirmation of 'World No.1 Sex Machine' can only be displayed on soup bowls and gratin dishes. Plus, science has actually proved that drinking tea or coffee out of your favourite mug makes it taste better - it's all to do with psychology and nothing to do with the hallucinogenic effects of toxic mug paint. So with so many mugs around there really is no excuse for a boring old white mug, unless you're indulging in post-postmodern irony or you break a lot of mugs. Yes people, we really are in the Golden Age of mug technology: blackboard mugs, global warming mugs, mugs that tell you how hot your tea is, freaky teeth mugs, mugs for the blind... Drink it up folks, it doesn't get any better than this.

4. Autumn: You could practically hear Summer finally snap and give way to Autumn this week. All of a sudden the humid mess of rainclouds and sporadic sunshine we vainly class as 'Summer' vanished and made way for distinctly cooler weather. The nights are growing uncannily shorter, the sunlight is weaker, and the air is crisper. The trees are on the cusp of dropping leaves and soon that sickly-sweet rotting plantlife smell will fill the air. I never used to like Autumn - it was always associated with going back to school, and being forced to play rugby on swampy pitches, or having to do Thursday CCF practice and stripping/assembling a rifle in the mud as a Sergeant bellowed at you. But now I'm no longer at school it's a season with better connotations. Autumn is all about walking through the woods kicking through piles leaves, sitting in front of the fire with a book and a wee dram o' whisky, getting your scarf and mittens out of the cupboard for the first time since March, standing on the station platform waiting for your train and making condensation clouds with your breath, coming out of work or uni or a bar and going 'Wow it gets dark early now doesn't it?', and knowing that Christmas isn't all that far off. Of course it's not all great. There are trillions of sticky leaves to clear up, colds and flus slither through the population (and oh boy won't this year be fun, what with everyone thinking they'll have the Pig Pox), and the dark mornings make getting up early a foreboding chore, but these are the prices you pay for that cosy feeling you get when you're sat in a warm house on a chilly Autumn night. Heck, at least it isn't winter.
I'm not sure what the point of this bit of this post is - maybe it's just that I like Autumn and enjoy rambling on about things and this is a collision of the two. Anyway, Autumn is a pretty good season. It won't fill you up with false promises of sunshine, blue skies and beach weather like Summer does, or with the never-appear fairytale snow scenes of Winter. It's a reliable old period of time. Leaves fall, the weather gets colder, we all catch cold, and your bed becomes an attractive hibernation unit. You know what to expect and there are never any surprises. And after the unpredictability of the British summer I like that a lot.

5. Doggy Style: File this under 'O', for 'Oh So Very Very Wrong'. A French design firm has launched a sex doll for dogs. Yes you read that right: a sex doll. For dogs. Apparently it's meant as a replacement for the usual victims of canine carnality such as cushions and neighbour's legs. The dog romances this instead of your granny's ottoman. Terr-ific. And people wonder why I don't like animals. Apparently it's easy to teach your hound to hump it and, I quote, "To clean it you just have to pull the hole out and wash it with soap and water". Charming. I think they were talking about the doll there and not your dog.
I'm not a dog owner so I don't know what people who possess pooches think of this. To me it just sounds wrong. Maybe that's just me though. I always thought there was a 'snippier and snappier' solution to such a problem as an...'over-excited' dog. But what do you think? You can read the article and see a picture of the item here at Digital Spy. I think it looks like a balloon animal hound of the Baskervilles. Plus it costs £360. Couldn't you just nail some planks of wood together into a vaguely dog-shape for much less than that? Actually, best not; you don't want your dog getting splinters...or catching fire from the friction.
Anyway, I hereby submit this as evidence in the case that 'Life is Getting Weirder'. Good job I've got this blog to cope with it all...

Well m'dears, that's all for this week's Random 5, and for the next few months as my job as 'Robert Smedley: Action Accountant!' commences next week. There'll probably be one more cartoon up before next Friday but then that'll be it for a little while. Once I get into the routine of early mornings, accountancy homework, wearing shoes that aren't made by Converse, and audit stuff I'll be back posting the Random 5 and cartoons on a more regular basis and the oddness will continue. And don't worry, I won't be yakking on about the heady world of business. It will not be mentioned at all. This blog is a work free zone (plus I'd get fired for breaking ethics codes and client confidentiality and I don't want that) and it's just pure cartoons and craziness here. And many thanks as always to you fine people out there who regularly read my random rantings and put up with me. I do very much appreciate it.

So until next time, take care, and keep watching the skies... unless you're driving and then you should probably keep your eyes on the road.

Good night!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Wilde Thing

'A JPEG of Dorian Gray'

It's a rare opportunity, getting to fuse basic IT knowledge with Oscar Wilde to make a joke, which makes it all the more satisfying when one comes along. Oh Dorian, why did you have to open that email attachment!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Grandpa T-Rex #2



Friday, 18 September 2009

Introducing Grandpa T-Rex...



Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Running Man

The Great North Run - the World's most famous and popular half marathon - is this very Sunday, and as you might well know Christopher Jackson is putting on his racing galoshes, streamlined woollen jodhpurs, and wind-resistant straw-boater to run it. I know what you're thinking: won't he still be too full from eating all that evil Stephen King birthday cake last week? No! This man has been in training for months; through heat and hail and rain and raging wind to take part in this race. Why, not even the attempted-but-foiled theft of his shins by the evil and inscrutable leg-thief, Doktor Mikhael Limmsnikker, could set this man back!

In all seriousness, I wish Chris all the best for Sunday. He's running for a really great cause, to fight Motor Neurone Disease, and you can donate money here. I hope to be on the sidelines on Sunday to support him and the thousands of dedicated runners who'll be out there.

Besides, if I'm not there who'll make sure that cheeky Hare doesn't cheat against the Tortoise? No jetpacks allowed!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

"Report back to me when it makes sense..." it's Rob's Random 5!

This week the Random 5 is Looking at Books, In praise of ice cream, and Fontastic Fun. It's all brought to you by the letter 'H', the number '9', and the advice 'Never go dancing on a frozen lake'. And for film fans who want to know, this week's title quote was provided by the excellent 'Burn After Reading'. Speaking of reading, that leads us nicely onto Random No.1...

1. Book Trailers: Movies have trailers. TV shows have trailers. Videogames have trailers. Caravan parks have trailers. Books do not. Well, they don't usually. But sometimes the Lion will lie down with the Lamb, the Cat will dance with the Dog, jaffa cakes will rain from the skies, and a book will be given a trailer. I don't know if you've ever seen a trailer for a book - they're incredibly rare (unless you've seen a Harry Potter film, in which case you've seen one enormous trailer for a book). But once in a blue moon one will appear on TV, or in the case of this particularly well-produced one, online...

That's a finely crafted, funny, trailer. It looks lovely and the costumes look great and the 'sea monster' (can it be a sea monster if it lives in a lake? Maybe it's just on vacation) looks impressive for a short ad. And that's the problem. It's all about the 'look'. Let me explain.

Trailers for books are so rare because trailers for books NEVER work, and that's because the medium they're using to sell that product doesn't fit the way the product is used. Trailers and advertisements sell things through a visual medium and that works great on things you can see like cars or movies or breakfast cereals, but not on books. Because the thing you buy a book for; the story - and this is going to sound rather metaphysical - doesn't really exist: it's all in the mind. And there's no way to advertise something that's all in the mind. A book is just words and you assimilate those words and process them and conjour up your own images and sounds and smells and voices for each character, and the images and voices you come up with in your head will be different to the ones someone else comes up with in their head. The 'product's' (and by product I mean book) meaning and value and thus worth differs from person to person. It's like whenever a book is turned into a movie and half the people go 'That's exactly how I imagine 'X' looking' and the other half go 'That's not how I imagined 'X' looking'. A book is such a personal experience that it's impossible to sum up a definitive experience and definitve interpretations of the characters and market it as such in a visual form without alienating part of your intended audience. The success of a book lies not in how it's characters are portrayed on a screen, but in the interpretation by the reader and you can't advertise interpretation. A movie is a visual medium so advertising it in a visual medium works. A book is a textual medium so you have to advertise in text: show quotes of what other people thought of the book, or come up with a snappy tag-line for it, or have an interesting jacket cover. And you don't need trailers for that, just a poster.
So that's why it's so weird and jarring when you see a television advert for a book - it's a friction between two very different mediums of entertainment. No advert for a book will ever match the feeling you get from reading those first words and the excitement you get at plunging deeper into the text. No advert will ever be as personal as your take on a book. So you get ads like this and this that tell you about the book but can come nowhere near to the emotional response or imagination the actual product will elicit. I have to admit, that this one, for Neil Gaiman's brilliant 'The Graveyard Book' is the closest thing to a good book trailer, thanks in part to some illustrations from the book and Neil Gaiman's excellent narration, but even as you watch this trailer doesn't it feel like a second hand experience of a first-hand medium?

2. In Praise of Ice Cream: Sometimes I lose all hope in Humanity. I look around and see the cruelty and ignorance and the suffering and the hatred that are very worst, indellible hallmarks of our species, and I just despair. But then I remember that the Human race invented ice cream, and the world seems just that little bit more habitable. Let's face it, ice cream is great. There's something comforting and fun about it. Maybe it's nostalgia for the childhood and the infinite summer. Maybe it's a reminder of a fabulous holiday in a warmer climate. Maybe it's just that it's delicious. It could be any of a thousand reasons. In fact there are very few reasons for people not to like ice cream. It comes in every flavour imaginable, from the classics (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry etc), to the imaginatively indulgent (chocolate brownie, strawberry cheesecake, rocky road), to the gourmet (salted caramel, lavendar custard, ginger and rhubarb), to the weird (I've eaten bacon and egg ice cream, [and even a sardine sorbet but we're not talking about sorbets here] and there is a place in the Lake District that makes a Baked Beans ice cream, which I wish I could have tried), so there's bound to be a flavour for everyone. Lactose intolerant? There are milk-free ice creams out there for you. Fat man? There's a low-fat option for you my good sir. Diabetic? There are sugar-free ice creams for your delectation. And how do you want to eat that ice cream? On a cone? In a bowl? In a float? In a Sundae? Maybe blended up in a milkshake? Maybe you want sprinkles or chocolate shavings on it? Or caramel sauce, or chocolate sauce, or strawberry sauce (we called it Monkey Blood when we were little)? Oh the variety! Ice cream is the great all-rounder. It's a dessert on its own, can be served with other flavours, or can be effotelssly paired with another dessert (apple pie and ice cream? hells yeah! treacle sponge and ice cream? double hells yeah!). Ice cream doesn't take itself too seriously either. It's the dessert of fairgrounds and beach holidays; of birthday parties and pick-me up treats. It's associated with sticky smiles and good times*. No one has ice cream at a funeral, although they should because then it would soften the blow of a sad day and go great with that really dry mysterious cake that always gets served. I've just decided I'm going to have ice cream at the service where my ashes will be shot up in that giant firework. Ice cream and booze. What a great time everyone will have then. Really is there nothing ice cream can't do?! Well, stay solid on a hot day, but I believe I read somewhere that Willy Wonka had been working on that...
Seriously, if you can think of a better dessert than ice cream then let me know because I haven't tried it yet. Young & old, rich & poor, fat & thin, dog-person & cat-person, ice cream's great for anyone. Go get yourself a couple of scoops now. The world will instantly look a better place.

*Well, mostly good times. There is that tired Hollywood cliche of a jilted woman sitting in her dressing gown eating the stuff right out of the tub as she weeps and watches Bridget Jones' bloody Diary. But I prefer to think of it as a tool of consolation for the lady in that event, so even then ice cream is great as it's cheering her up. I won't let you turn my favourite dessert into sad, 'break-up' medicine, Hollyweird!

3. Hope you haven't just eaten!: Sometimes ol' Ma Nature will flat out surprise you. And then she'll disgust you. But either way Nature is so much more interesting and freaky than the Attenborough-narrated killing of a gazelle (I didn't mean David Attenborough was killing a gazelle and narrating as he did it) we think it is, and at times can show us the sort of things that are confined to our imagination and cheap sci-fi. There's more to our natural world than lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) and here's a round-up of all the fun, scary, weird stuff that teachers never tell you about.

Take for example the famous 'Carolina Sewer Creature', which looks like the vanguard of a gross alien invasion force. It's actually made up of thousands and thousands of annelid worms all coiling around one another, with an individual worm's movement stimulating the whole mass to look like it's one enormous pulsating mass of wrong. It freaks people out when they see it and that's unsurprising because it looks entirely foreign to this planet.

If you thought that was bad, check this thing out. That cute critter's called an Isopod and it's a parasite. It gets into fishes mouths, eats their tongues, and then replaces the tongue with itself. That's right, it takes the place of the tongue. Aaagh! Kill it! Kill it with fire! Seriously doesn't that sound like something from a space-horror movie? And yet it's frighteningly real (well, it's only frightening if you're a fish). Why weren't we told about this Mr. Attenborough, why?! Staying on the theme of fish, how about this fella here, called a barreleye fish, who has a transparent head. A transparent head! Frea-ky.

Out of the water it's no safer. There are giant carnivorous pitcher plants in the Philippines capable of eating rats. It's only a matter of time before they discover a Triffid and then we'll all be done for.

But I've saved the best for last in this list of weird Nature. How about a parasitic fungus that infects ants and turns them into mind-controlled zombies? Oh yes my friends, it exists! The fungus spores enter the ants' brains and force them to do their bidding, making them walk along the ground until they reach a desirable location. The spores then kill them before the fungus explodes out of the ants' heads and grows, using the dead ants as a source of nutrition. Cripes! Just imagine if that fungus evolves to use that trick on humans... 'shudder'.

So what have we learned from this brief trip into weirdness? Basically Nature is terrifying and you should just stay well away from it. Or at least pack a flamethrower.

4. Little Lord Font-leroy: There are lots of good 'create your own' font websites, but FontCapture has the merits of being free and dead simple to use, allowing you to turn your own handwriting into a fine font. You can even make up symbols to represent different letters and numbers. All you need is a printer and a scanner and you're good to go, with the site giving you step by step instructions in 4 easy steps. Even for a technofool like me it only took fifteen minutes and then I was typing in my own messy script, making all my documents look like they'd been written by a drunken chimp in an earthquake. It's a great way to personalise your work and if you're fortunate to have neat handwriting then you're all the better off. Give it a go whynot.

5. Colouring-In: Apparently I have mild synesthesia, which is where the stimulation of one of the senses stimulates another as well, or maybe more than one. It's the kind of thing where you see colours when you hear music, or taste things when you hear a word. Mine is the common one - colours and letters. So basically, the letter 'A' is red, Thursdays are Indigo, and the word 'Cameroonian', which was featured in the last blog post, is brown. You might have it too, or in a different form, and not know it, and you only have to take a simple test to find out. It's not even a medical condition really, as it has no effect on your life. It's just sort of a...thing. And not even a thing you can use to win a bet or impress women. What's the point in it all!
From a young age I always pictured the days of the week in different colours when I said them or thought about them. In my head they look like this: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. And the alpahabet always looks like this to me: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z. That's as far as it goes though, so really it's of no use whatsoever. I wish I had the type where you saw colours when you heard notes. Now that would be cool - like having your very own light-show at a concert. Might even make Lady Gaga bearable. Some people have the same thing except wth numbers rather than letters (which would make maths more fun). Other folk have much more profound symptoms, like smelling grass or toast when they hear a particular word. Apparently there are a ton of different ways it manifests through the five senses. So if 'M' is blue, or 6 is green, you may have synesthesia too. Weird, huh? What an odd tool the brain is.

Anyway, that about rounds it up for this week. So as the sun sets on another blog post, and the autumn nights creep in, it's time to say goodbye and leave a completely random blog post with a completely random thought: 'An apple a day is good business for the apple industry'.


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A Happy Birthday Post

It's Mister Christopher Jackson's birthday today, and I happen to know he's a big Stephen King fan. So I gave Mr. King a call and asked if he would like to send a gift to the birthday boy. I thought he might send a signed book or something, but instead he sent this evil haunted birthday cake (pictured below), which he claims to have been made my history's most villainous bakers and forged in the fires of Hell's Kitchen. Essentially it's the Buick 8 of birthday cakes...

'Stephen King's Birthday Cake'

A threatening cake?! That's the last thing you want to see/hear on your special day! Why would he send such a wicked enchanted sponge? Apparently the candles are made entirely from the earwax of Genghis Khan and the plate it sits on was owned by John Wilkes Booth. You get the gist. It's evil. He also sent me the recipe for it:

I don't know where you'd get most of those ingredients. They did have bear blood in Lidl though. In the end I threw the wicked cake in the bin and got a lovely caterpillar one from Marks & Sparks. Much better. Now, I should probably get around to cancelling that Pennywise the Clown he said he'd ordered...

I also just realised the date: 09/09/09 - I love it when all the numbers match up like that. There's a name for it but I can't remember what it is. It was always a good day at school when you came to put the date on a piece of work and realised it was 03/03/03 or 04/04/04, and then you'd hear everyone in the class give a collective murmur of 'oh yeah!'. It was also entertaining when the date was in numerical order like 02/03/04, or palindromic like 10/11/01. Another good, but nerdy, one is when the constituent numbers in a person's birthdate add up and match the person's actual age, like being 9 on 02/05/02. Of course, it only works once in your life, and somehow I doubt I'll get to see mine: I'd have to be 108.

Anyway, while we're on the subject of dates, let's see who else shares a birthday with Mr. Jackson: actors Adam Sandler and Hugh Grant, Cameroonian basketball player Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the Batman Michael Keaton, ace Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, Cameroonian footballer Alexandre Song, and the hilarioulsy named Dutch admiral Cornelis Tromp. Why did I include two Cameroonians in there? I just love the word 'Cameroonian'.

And what else has happened on this day in history? Anything to do with a Cameroonian? No, sadly. But the first computer bug was discovered at Harvard University in 1947- it was a moth lodged in a relay of the Harvard Mk 2. Also, in 1839 the first glass-plate photo was taken, in 1991 Tajikistan gained independence, in 1997 Burgess Meredith (best known for playing The Penguin in the 60s Batman show - Batman again! There's a trend here!) died, and in 1863 the Union Army invaded the fabulously named Chattanooga, Tennessee - home of the eponymous choo-choo. (There's another good word: 'Chattanooga'). September the 9th has been very busy indeed over the past few decades.

Well that about wraps things up here. Unfortunately I couldn't find the clip from Frasier where Eddie wears a birthday hat and voicebox to wish Frasier 'Rrrappy Birthday!', but I do have the next best thing to play us out of this particular post. So from the Too Close For Comfort blog...


Take it away, fiddle-playing cat!

Monday, 7 September 2009

'Oomph' #2

After the successful first series of sentences designed to give a lagging tale some 'oomph', here's another batch of story inspiring sentences to jump-start a sluggish story. And if you think of any, don't be shy, share them with the class!

-He/she/I picked up the newspaper next to me. The headline read, 'Escaped Cannibal Sheep Still On The Lam'.

-(Insert character name) lit a cigarette and cruelly blew smoke into the face of a passing cat.


-There was a pause, but it wasn't long enough to warrant writing a longer sentence about it.

-"Do you smell gas?" (insert character name) sniffed.

-All at once the lights went out, and when they came back on a second later an enormous wheel of cheese had appeared on the table.

-"What's that?" he/she said as he/she held the phone tighter in their hand, "A band of rabid monkeys is heading this way?!"

-"(Insert character name), I have a secret to tell you," he/she said, "I have a condition. Whenever I talk I put weird pronunciations on words that don't need them. It's called Shatner Syndrome."

-Her coat fell off and all of a sudden (insert character name) realised that his date wasn't a woman, but actually three chimps standing on one another's shoulders.

-Minutes later the scotch tape came unstuck and his leg fell clean off.

-The plot thickened. Then it thinned a little.

-Suddenly there was a sound of smashing glass. Everyone turned to look. Standing in the window was Steven Seagal, dressed as a seagull and bleeding profusely.

-"Stop!" he/she/I shouted, "Hammer-time!"

-Then, just as a lull in the plot had crept in, a furious debate over who was better, Batman or Superman, began.

-(Insert character name) interrupted their conversation. "Did I leave the iron on?"

Sunday, 6 September 2009

'Sorry I Mist You...'

An Illustration from Mr. Stephen King Esq.'s latest literary work of horror,
'The Pea-Souper' (Pub. 1889)
I watched Stephen King's 'The Mist' last night and quite enjoyed it. Really though, it's not so much of a mist as a dense fog or maybe a low cloud, or, as the Victorians would have called it, 'a real pea-souper'. Hence this cartoon. I'm particularly proud of the portly gent pressed against the glass of the general store - he doesn't seem to be doing too well. But what foul creature in the supernatural pea-soup could he have run afoul of? A ravenous Omnibus? A flesh-eating horse? A haunted steam-engine? A carniverous Spinning Jenny? Or maybe even a Cotton Gin with a grudge? We just don't know.
Gentlemen will die! Bonnets will be undone! Uptight Victorian rules will be challenged! The mysteries of the pea-souper will be revealed! Seriously Stephen King, write this book...