Monday, 8 December 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Girl In The Tin Foil Wrapper

The Girl In The Tin Foil Wrapper felt cold.  She pulled in the tin foil wrapper to close any gaps.

"Why don't you just put a jumper on?" said The Man With Three Scarves.

"No," said The Girl In The Tin Foil Wrapper.  "If it's good enough for marathon runners then it's good enough for me."

"But you're not a marathon runner."

The Girl In The Tin Foil Wrapper said nothing.  It was true.  She wasn't a marathon runner.  But she had been, once.  At the finish line a man gave her the tin foil wrapper she was wearing now.

It felt good.

Though today it was a bit torn in places.

Maybe she should run another marathon.  She made a mental note to google it later.  See what came up.


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Link of the Day: Good News!

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Saturday, 6 December 2014

New Greetings Card, T-Shirt, etc: "Hosiery"



A new silly doodle.  When I thought of this idea initially, the brilliant Marc Johns came to mind, so its style is a little influenced by his.

You can buy 'Hosiery' greetings cards, prints, mugs, t-shirts etc on both my Redbubble and Spreadshirt shops.


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Link of the Day: Realistic Mario

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Monday, 1 December 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Man With Leaves On His Face

George shaved once, every year, towards the end of autumn, to remove the twiggy remains of his most unusual beard.

He didn't use any of the usual brands of razor, and instead carefully and expertly pruned his face with a pair of garden shears that had caused not a small number of nasty accidents in his younger days.

George had honed his technique since then, however, and now didn't even require the use of a mirror.

It was only now, as the Christmas season approached, that he would visit his family and friends, and allow photographs of himself to be taken.

He felt new.  Refreshed.  Ready to face the world.

Until the Spring.


***

Link of the Day: Some Things

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Day The Newspaper Rang

The train carriage was busy.  Not full - all of the seats were taken, but only two or three people were standing.

No one was surprised when the ringing started.  A couple of people checked their phones to see if it was them.  But it wasn't, of course.

There was one man, looking awkward in a suit and a hat, and reading a newspaper.  He knew the ringing was his.  Cautiously, he held the newspaper to his ear.

"Please listen carefully to the recorded message.  You are next.  You are next."


***

Link of the Day: Useful (well, interesting, anyway) Website List

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

New Greetings Card: Birthday Nuts


This was my birthday card to my Mum earlier this week.  She got the original pen drawing, and now I've coloured it in on Photoshop for sale in my Redbubble shop.  Quite pleased with how it turned out.


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Link of the Day: MegaCity

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Monday, 17 November 2014

Very Short Mondays: Big Head

I started writing this about a month ago.  There was going to be more of it but I can't for the life of me remember what was going to happen.  But it kind of leaves some nice question marks as it is.

***

Big Head

Nicholas went out for a walk.

He hadn't been out for a walk in three months.  Hadn't been out at all, in fact.  Nor had many other people.

Big Head hadn't been seen in two days.  The sky was empty, so Nicholas thought he'd risk it.

It wasn't to last.  Of course.  Just because It hadn't been seen didn't mean It wasn't there.

It was there alright, looking down on us all.  Looking and waiting for a fresh energy source.


***

Link of the Day: Upsetting Vintage Recipes

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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Video Blog Thursday: The Girl Who Collected Goats

Hello!

Not done one of these in ages, and I still haven't been back on a regular schedule on here, not least because I'm in a play at the moment.

But here we go.  I wrote this poem on the way to a spoken word gig at The Goat Inn in St Albans.  I'm not sure if it might have been subconscious, but it was totally unintentional that I wrote a poem about goats on the way to a pub called The Goat.  As much as I'd like to take credit for that.

As usual, it's very silly...





***


Link Of The Day: Dying For It - the play I'm in! It's in Brockley from 21st October to 8th November, so do come see.


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Monday, 25 August 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Coin-Operated Man

"Quick!" said the Coin-Operated Man as he burst through the door. "I bring terrible news!"

"What is it?" said the Professor.

"Hold on a moment," said the Coin-Operated Man. "Let me catch my breath."

"Bring his inhaler!" shouted the Professor to one of his assistants.

And the Coin-Operated Man wheezed and wheezed until they brought his inhaler.

"I'm okay now, I think," he said. "I bring terrible news. I've come to warn you of-"

Click.

"What? Come to warn us of what?" said the Professor. "Does anybody have any change?"

A sea of blank faces looked back at him. Some turned their empty pockets inside out.

"Professor," said the assistant who brought the inhaler. "I've always wondered. Why did you create the perfect Coin-Operated Man, and then give him asthma?"

"I'm not sure," said the Professor. "To make him more human, I guess. Although in hindsight it probably wasn't the best idea."

"Ah well," said the assistant. "It was probably nothing. You know how melodramatic he can be."

"Yeah," chuckled the Professor.

And so, we never saw Them coming.


***

Link of the Day: Women Listening To Men

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Very Short Mondays: Scarecrow

Ingredients: two broom handles, lots of strong, a couple of nails, some old rags and a football.

And a childlike enthusiasm for adventure.

This would never make a convincing replica, but Alishia didn't care.  She was going exploring today.  And that was all that mattered.


***

Link of the Day: Obama's Other Terrible Secret

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Monday, 11 August 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Boy Who Ran Home With Dirty Knees

Must.  Keep.  Running.

Mustn't.  Stop.

He'd never been caught before.

Oh God, this was exhausting.

He was scratched from crawling under the fence.  He could feel its sting in the skin on his knees.

His knees were filthy.

How was he going to explain this to Mum?  She'd kill him.

More to the point, how was he supposed to smuggle this satchel past her eagle eyes?

He wasn't supposed to visit Grandad.

It was forbidden.


***

Link of the Day: Herikita

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Monday, 4 August 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Long Way Round The Coffee Table

Back on schedule!  Here we go...

***

The Long Way Round The Coffee Table

Jonas put the remote control down, slowly.  He took off his 3D glasses, but it made no difference.  He stood up and walked the long way round the coffee table, out of arm's reach of the television.  Never turning his back for a second.  He picked up the rifle he kept behind the door, and aimed it at the TV.  He fired, and kept firing, until they stopped reaching for him.

He always knew they'd come, but this...

This was a surprise.


***

Link of the Day: Thrift Store Paintings

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Friday, 25 July 2014

Happy Dinosaur: "FOR ME??"

Hello!  Sorry, I have been extremely busy with Other Things lately - not least moving house - and so haven't been posting here much.  That will all change soon, I promise.

Recently, my lovely friend Zena of West Art & Glass fame was asked by one of her customers, who needed cheering up, to include a picture of a happy dinosaur in with their order.  So Zena asked around to see who would like to draw some.  Several of us did, and this is my effort.


He's very jolly indeed.  I don't think he can believe his luck.


***

Link of the Day: Supermarket Waste

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Monday, 28 April 2014

Very Short Mondays: Armica Logistics

Another short story from the world of Armand Sland.  It's all slowly coming together...

***

Peter Stroud dropped his father's executive desktop toys unceremoniously into the bin.  He was going to make this office clean, uncluttered and efficient.  There were still competitors operating Government contracts, and presenting their own altered version of reality in the media, and this could not be tolerated.

His secretary, Anna, buzzed through.  His three o'clock had arrived.  Peter told her to let him in.  Then he told her to pack his things.

Yes, thought Peter.  If this business was to continue growing, some difficult decisions would have to be made.

He pulled out his file on the Minister, and prepared to welcome him into his office.



***

Link of the Day: Just in time for his Solo

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Monday, 21 April 2014

Very Short Mondays: Fingers and Toes

Felix hung onto the ledge, and hoped they wouldn't find him here.  This was only the second Manhunt under the Fugitive Act, and he wanted no part in it.

Ten people were caught refusing to participate in the first one, and Felix had watched the court case on live TV.  He knew he had no chance of a fair trial.

Even if those ten people ever walked free, they'd been branded unpatriotic.  No employer would give them an interview.  No shopkeeper would sell them a loaf of bread.  They'd given up all rights to the benefits system.  All rights to free healthcare.  Their only chance of nutrition and care would be an extremely long incarceration.

Felix's toes and fingertips were really beginning to hurt now.


***

Link of the Day: Prometheus' Punishment

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Monday, 14 April 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Charge

Leeson checked his phone.  It was low on charge already.  He wondered whether the battery was leaking an unusual amount of juice, and opened his IDSC app to check.

According to the app, his phone was behaving normally, but he wasn't receiving any power from his Partner.  He sighed.  He'd have to register for a new one.  Again.  Last time it took three days to find a match, and it seemed to be getting longer every time.

It was ten years since the discovery that, as batteries get older, they leak their charge more quickly across inter-dimensional space.  It was three years since the first pairing schemes were trialled to link phones in different dimensions and recover as much of this lost power as possible.

Leeson wondered how long it would be before they developed the technology to the point where it reliably worked.



***

Link of the Day: My Heart Almost Stood Still

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Friday, 11 April 2014

Slightly Less Short Fridays: Paper Man

A continuation of this idea about a train journey that may or may not feature in my idea for a novel set in the near future...

***

Armand found a double seat to himself, and sat down.  He looked out of the window and watched the station platform move slowly off into the distance.

He looked at his fellow passengers.  None of them seemed concerned that there were enough seats for everyone.  Not the businessmen talking about the meeting they were heading to.  Not the young woman listening to music and sharing the tinny bass sound with the rest of the carriage.  Not the man on his phone, being nagged by his mother about his lack of career progression.

And not the man on the opposite seat, tearing up official documents, and placing the scraps into the top of his rucksack.  Maybe he just never had the time at home, but this seemed an odd place to be disposing of unwanted correspondence.

It mostly seemed to be letters from AFS Bank, the local council, and some organisation Armand didn't recognise.  In fact, looking at the names and addresses on each of the letters, it seemed to be a conversation between three people at those organisations.  One of whom was Anna Seacheck, Armand's ex-wife.


***

Link of the Day: Dad's Illustrations Of The Things He Says To His Kids
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Monday, 7 April 2014

Very Short Mondays: Then You Whispered In My Ear

There I was, minding my own business.  And then you whispered in my ear.

I never took much notice of you, before you whispered in my ear.

Now you have control of me, because you whispered in my ear.

I can never break this spell.

You know this.

And you love it.


***

Link of the Day: The Art of Clean-Up

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Friday, 4 April 2014

Slightly Less Short Fridays: Static

The woman hadn't moved in twenty minutes, the whole time Alison had been there.  No one else seemed to have noticed.  Not even the two women sat either side of her, whose hair was drawn to her as if she was a balloon that had been rubbed on a pullover.

It wasn't like she was a woman who was just sat very still either.  Her lips were slightly open, ready to receive the plastic coffee cup that was tantalisingly close to her mouth.  Her eyes were wide open, her intense gaze fixed directly upon Alison.

Alison was nervous enough, even before this unsettling vision.  Waiting for test results in a doctors' waiting room was already in her bottom three Fun Things To Do, sandwiched between 'Maths' and 'Death'.  This, she did not need.

She walked over to the receptionist.

"Excuse me, do you know how much longer it'll be?"

"I think you're next Miss Cartwright.  Shouldn't be long now."

"Thanks ... I'm sorry, could I just ask who that woman is, with the coffee cup?  And what's wrong with her."

The receptionist didn't even look over.  "I'm sorry, no.  Patient confidentiality."

"Yes.  Of course."

Alison went and sat in a different seat, in a row behind the woman, away from her glare.

"Mrs Jocanti to room 3, please," came the announcement over the tannoy.

One of the other women stood up, put her sculpture of the woman drinking coffee under her arm, and carried it with her into Consulting Room 3.



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Link of the Day: Exotic Animals, Based On Hearsay

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Monday, 31 March 2014

Very Short Mondays: Rhombus

Sophie looked at the triangle on her hand.  She wondered if she could pay someone to turn it into a convincing rhombus.  And how she would find that someone without the Executive knowing about it.

She just wanted to be close to him.  She thought of her mother, who said "people like that" are not to be trusted.  "Don't believe their lies," she said.

And now Sophie wanted to be one of them.  She just didn't quite know if she wanted it enough to break Protocol.

A Square was checking licences in her carriage.  He scanned her palm and moved on.

This was impossible.


***

Link of the Day: "Try Sarah's tops!"

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Monday, 24 March 2014

Very Short Mondays: Oversized Spectacles

He had a thing for girls with oversized spectacles.  He saw her on the train.  They caught each other's eye.  (He did nothing.)  She looked in control.  Confident.  Bold, strong plastic frames.  Her friend said something to her.  She placed her fingers behind her ears and waggled her spectacles up and down.  A kind of deadpan slapstick.  Her friend laughed.  (Still he did nothing.)  He got off the train.

Epilogue
In another universe he did something.  It didn't last.


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Link of the Day: Moleskine Doodles

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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Saturday Gallery: Home Shriek Home



I met someone very lovely not so long ago and, shortly after, she moved into a new place.  So I thought I'd make her a present.  She likes her horror so I thought I'd do her a nice haunted house.  Then I remembered she had recently bought something with Moomins on it, so decided to make a Moomintroll the subject.

This is probably by far the quickest painting I've ever done - it took an afternoon and evening.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Slightly Less Short Fridays: The Price Of Ham

"I'm sorry?" said Loretta.  "It's how much?"

"Three ninety nine, love."

"Three ninety nine?  For three slices of ham?"

"That's the price."

"Well I'm paying one pound sixty."

"And how do you come to that conclusion?"

"Well, it's only forty percent ham, so I'm only paying forty percent of the price."

"You can't do that, love."

"Look, it says in the ingredients: 'Powdered ham (40%)'.  And water.  One of the ingredients is water!  I'm not paying for the water.  I pay enough already to get it out of the tap at home."

"The water comes with the ham.  You wouldn't want dry ham, would you?"

"Well, maybe I would.  Take it out."

"I'm sorry?"

"The water.  I want you to take it out."

"Are you soft in the head?"

"No, but you will be by the time my fiancé's finished with you.  He's waiting in the car, and all it takes is one phone call..."

"Get out of my shop."

"Okay.  Sorry.  Can I take the ham?"

"No."

"Okay.  Bye Stan."

"Bye Loretta.  See you tomorrow."


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Link of the Day: Newton's Cradle

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Monday, 17 March 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Tree

The tree sat between two railway bridges, above the High Street.

A protective non-contact hug on two sides, by painted steel girders.

The girders, the most riveting thing the tree had ever seen (even without that awful pun).

Not even a view of the early sunset could lift the tree out of its malaise.  A sunset that gave the gathering clouds their glowing golden heart.

The tree knew something was happening, down on the High Street.  Could hear the buzz building as the evening folk swung into action.

But there was nothing to see between the bridges.  Just the tarmac of the road below.  And the tree wasn't even tall enough to see over the top.

Always missing out.


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Link of the Day: What does the Monopoly man do all day?

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Planet Bogo


I bought some story cubes for my nephews (aged 4 and 6) as a joint birthday present, and gave it to them a couple of weeks ago. One of the stories the six-year old came up with, I drew as his birthday card when his actual birthday came around last week.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Slightly Less Short Fridays: Aluminium Heart

"Welcome back, Gordon.  We lost you for a minute there."

"What happened?"

"You stopped breathing.  Much longer and you'd have been brain dead."

"Thank you, Doctor.  But, I mean ... what happened?"

"You had a nasty accident.  I'm afraid we had to remove your heart."

"My heart?"

"Yes.  We've replaced it with an aluminium replica."

"You mean, like a transplant?"

"Like a transplant, yes.  We couldn't find a tissue match at such short notice, so we've put you on an experimental new programme.  You're at the cutting edge of modern medicine, Gordon."

"So how does it work?"

"We call it a non-functioning cardiac substitute."

"Non-functioning?"

"Yes.  It's only a model.  It shouldn't do anything at all.  And yet here you are, awake and talking to me.  That's what makes it all the more exciting."

"How many other people are on this ... programme?"

"Oh, just you.  Sadly the Government has just pulled our funding, so it will only ever be you.  That's why we're going to have to keep you here, indefinitely."


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Link of the Day: Hit In The Face

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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Narwhals With Ears, #1: Sharing



I'm a bit late posting today's comic, because I only just drew it.  It's a new series, based on a picture of whales with ears the lovely Laura and I saw on a recent visit to the Natural History Museum, and the sheer awesomeness of narwhals.  Some of the facts in these cartoons are more based in truth than others.  (This one's true.  I think.)

I'll probably try to keep posting these on Wednesdays, alternately with Movies They Never Made.


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Link of the Day: End Of The World

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Monday, 10 March 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Bridge

"I love you."

"Yeah."

James looked away.  He made a show of looking into the crowd for his escorts.  It wouldn't be long now.

"What number are you?"  Hasra reached out, let her fingers rest on his coat sleeve.

"Can't remember."

"Sorry.  I want to say it.  It's just confusing."

"I know."

And then he saw them.  Armbands with '83' printed on them.  And they were coming for him.

"Remember," said Hasra, "it's a gift.  It's a wonderful opportunity.  You'll be happy there."

"Yeah."  James faked a smile.  "And you can't be too far down the list."

"Don't be silly.  Look at this face.  I'm not even on the list."

And then the hands slid under James' arms, and slowly guided him away.  There was no struggle (there was never any struggle) but James' and Hasra's eyes stayed locked until the crowd swelled into the space between them.

And he was taken across The Bridge.


***

What's across The Bridge, I wonder...

Link of the Day: Stockholm Library

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Friday, 7 March 2014

Slightly Less Short Fridays: The Stripes Of Springbank Bridge

Springbank Bridge straddled the River Carper, and connected the twin towns of Johnford and Longminster.

But these were twins that did not get along.  Twins that bickered and fought over the minutae of everyday life.  And every day, they had to maintain the bridge, because it was old and decrepit.

Once, there was a plan to replace the bridge, because it was coming to the end of its useful life.  But they could not agree on how much each should pay for it.  Longminster insisted that they should go halves, but Johnford argued that as they had just over half the population of Longminster, they should pay less.

So the new bridge was never built and, each town blaming the other for the deal's collapse, they became increasingly petty over paying for the maintenance of the existing bridge.  Longminster insisted that they would only pay for repairing damage to their end of the bridge, knowing full well that it was Johnford's end of the bridge that was most exposed to the elements, and so suffered more from rust and woodrot.

And so it was that, one night, the Mayor of Johnford snuck out onto the bridge and painted one metre wide stripes in red (Longminster's town colour) all along its length.  He declared that Johnford would expect Longminster to pay for repairs to any part of the bridge that had been painted red.

The following night, angry at his counterpart from Johnford, the Mayor of Longminster also snuck out onto the bridge and painted the rest of it blue (Johnford's town colour).  He insisted that his town would never be forced to pay for any damage painted in that colour.

Of course, neither town wanted to pay for any repairs at all, and instead they simply painted over any damage in their own town colours.  So if you visit Johnford, or Longminster, and admire their pbeautiful, brightly coloured bridge, you might want to wear a lifejacket before choosing to cross it.  It's sometimes said that the blue and red paint is the only thing holding it up and, nearly every day, another expert predicts its imminent collapse into the river.


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Link of the Day: Kitten & Mirror

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Monday, 3 March 2014

Very Short Mondays: The First Page

The first story I've written in my new notebook.  I thought I'd give it an appropriate title.

***

The First Page

Clarissa sat down with a fresh pot of coffee, a blanket, and her new book.  She turned to the first page.

It was blank.

She flicked to the second, then the third, then all the pages right the way through the book.  Blank.  All of them blank.

She began to panic.  This wasn't a book she'd ordered blind on the Internet.  She'd taken a special trip to her local independent bookseller for this.  Her local independent bookseller on the very last day of their closing down sale.

And when she'd been in the bookshop, when she'd paid for the book, when she'd handed over her money, there had been words on the page.

She didn't know what to do.  Except, maybe, contact the author.


***

What could possibly have happened to all the words?  Spooky...

Link of the Day: Even though you didn't ask for it...

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Monday, 24 February 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Scarf That Refused To Be Pink

"I can't understand it," said Jeremy.  "I've put it through three times now.  Why won't the dye stick?"

"Leave it, darling," said Emily.  "Let's go home."

"It doesn't make any sense."

"Did it work on all the other scarves?"

"Well, yes, but -"

"Well then it doesn't matter.  Let's go."

"But there has to be a reason."

"Which you don't have to know.  I'll leave your dinner in the oven."

And that was where Jeremy's dinner stayed, until the following morning, when Emily realised he never made it home from work that night.


***

Ooh, what happened to Jeremy?  Answers on a postcard.  Good luck finding the postcard, I've hidden it well.

Link of the Day: There Wolf

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Movies They Never Made, #95: Goutbreak


It's back!  It's been dormant since Christmas Day 2009, but now I've dug out my list of unmade Movies They Never Made, and I'm resurrecting the series.  Assuming I get on it, you can expect one every Wednesday at 10am.  Long live the non-movie stickmen!


Link of the Day: Vodka Face

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Monday, 17 February 2014

Very Short Mondays: The Cancellation

Today's very short story is a snippet of an idea for a novel that I'd already started to write.  It started off as its own independent story, and then I realised that this would suit the world of Armand Sland, my novel's character.  Inspired of course, by the total lack of information you often get with train cancellations.

***


The Cancellation

There was no announcement.  Those waiting on the platform were never told what happened to the train.  Or its passengers.

Only one person noticed when the next train was no busier than usual.

Armand.

And it caused him some disquiet.



***

Link of the Day: Could have been a love story (click on this, it's gorgeous)

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Sunday, 9 February 2014

A Week Of Death, #1: Death By Chocolate


It's been too long since putting any serious effort into pun cartooning.  So this week, I'm uploading a week of Death.  Death, and his gammy eye.

Link of the Day: 30 Incredible Views

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Saturday, 8 February 2014

Saturday Gallery: 1, 2, 3, 4!


Another painting job from a few months ago.  This time, it was for my friend Chris & Kate's new baby.  I thought I'd put to good use some small canvases that had been sitting around in my drawer for a while, and make a set of paintings with numbers and farm animals.


Again, this one was unfinished for quite a while!  Pretty pleased with the results though.


Link of the Day: Alphabet Blocks

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Monday, 3 February 2014

Very Short Mondays: Perpetual Motion

When news broke that Dr Jakob Henriksson had perfected his perpetual motion machine, none was more pleased than the man himself.  Carefully selecting links to those he considered the best reports, he composed a tweet to accompany them:
'This story is going to run and run.'
Within an hour he had 12,637 retweets.

He sat through all of dinner with a huge satisfied grin on his face.  Mrs Henriksson rolled her eyes at him.

"You know," she said, "when I married you I thought you were a scientist.  A man of higher purpose.  All that effort.  What a waste."

"Not a waste, no.  I'm sure someone will find some actual use for the thing.  I'm just pleased to have beaten Georg's record."

"He'll never cough up the hundred euros, you know."

"I know.  But it's not about the money.  I just like to win, is all."


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Link of the Day: Physicists To Test If The Universe Is A Computer Simulation

Related Link of the Day: I don't know, Timmy, being God is a big responsibility

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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Saturday Gallery: Space Narwhals!


I realised a couple of months ago when trying to show it to a friend, that I never posted this on here.  It's my nephews' Christmas present from last year (ie Christmas 2012).  Brilliantly, my older nephew's response (he was nearly 5), when asked about it, was "It's a pirate riding a narwhal spaceship!"  Not exactly the words I would have chosen, but just as good.  Apparently they both knew about narwhals because of Octonauts.





It took me a while to paint, as well as post on here.  There was a long period when it just sat in the corner of my room, half finished.  All worked out well in the end though.



Link of the Day: Rats with their Teddy Bears

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Friday, 31 January 2014

Slightly Less Short Fridays: The Stone That Told A Story

Julie admired the ring on her hand.  She'd dreamt of this all her life.  She'd been led to believe that it would somehow feel magical.

But it didn't.  It made her feel ordinary.  It made her feel that she was marrying beneath her.

"What am I going to do with you?" said Julie to the ring.

"Well, whatever you do," said the ring, "don't throw me back at him like the last one."

"What do you mean," said Julie, as if talking to a talking jewel was the most ordinary thing in the world, "'like the last one'?"

"Oh, have I said the wrong thing?" said the ring.  "I'm so sorry."

"No, " said Julie, "I think you may have said exactly the right thing.  Do go on, please."

"Well," said the ring, "it may interest you to know that you ain't the first little lady he's got engaged to.  In fact, you ain't even the tenth."

"Oh?" said Julie, willing the ring to continue.

"You're the ninth."

"The ninth?"

"Yeah."

"But you said I wasn't the tenth."

"I know, cos you're the ninth."

"Nine's less than ten."

"Well, yeah, that's kinda my point."

Suddenly Julie's husband-to-be seemed a much more interesting prospect.  She resolved to wait a little longer before deciding whether to go through with it.  That, and to give herself some time to figure out a plan that would end with her keeping the talking ring.


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Link of the Day: Dumb Ways To Die

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Monday, 27 January 2014

Very Short Mondays: The House At The Bottom Of The Hill

The House At The Bottom Of The Hill wished that it was at the top of the hill instead.

It wasn't that it was ungrateful.  It was very pleased to have been built at all.  It sat in a beautiful secluded spot, sheltered from the wind by, but not overshadowed by, a large copse of trees.

The owners of The House At The Bottom Of The Hill were warm and welcoming and The House was never short of visitors.  They even advertised outside The House to walkers that they could pick fruit from the garden and come inside for a cup of tea.

Most of the walkers were either about to climb, or had just finished climbing, the hill.  And all of them, even the ones who hadn't climbed the hill yet, would talk at great length about how good a hill it was, and how beautiful the views from the top (on a good day).  And The House heard every word.


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Link of the Day: How To Be Healthy And Happy

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Monday, 20 January 2014

Very Short Mondays: No Room On The Bus For The Rest Of Us

Paula and Steven watched as the dust cloud followed the bus into the distance.

"Our turn to walk then," said Paula, half to Steven, half to no one in particular.

"Yeah," said Steven.

Just then, the man stood behind them started singing to himself again, and began to walk in the direction in which the bus had left moments before.

Steven sighed, and picked up his bag.  "At least we packed for it," he said, and set off in the same direction as the singing man.

"Yeah," said Paula, and in her mind added: but if we hadn't packed for it, would we have been so far back in the queue in the first place?

This was going to be a long week.

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Monday, 13 January 2014

Monday, 6 January 2014

Very Short Mondays: Things You Put On The Internet

"Things you put on the Internet," said Camran sagely, taking another puff on his pipe, "are on the Internet."

No one could say for sure whether it was the wisdom of his words that captivated them, or whether it was because he was smoking a pipe whilst saying them.  But no one present in that room ever again missed out on a job interview because of prospective employers routinely googling applicants' names.


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Link of the Day: Back to the Future (I'm sure I've linked to things like this before, but these ones are particularly well posed)

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Friday, 3 January 2014

Slightly Less Short Fridays: Trayvon Jones And The Damp Dishcloth Of Despair

Trayvon Jones had long blue hair.  This is not particularly relevant to any part of the story that follows.

Trayvon Jones did not like living in a houseshare.  Mostly he was a clean and tidy person but sometimes he wanted to live like a slob.  He knew, however, that this would be rude and inconsiderate.  So he took exception when one of his housemates did live like a slob, all of the time.

One morning Trayvon Jones came upstairs into the kitchen (the kitchen was, unusually, at the top of the house).  He had a towel wrapped around his long blue hair, because it was still wet.  He couldn't remember when he learnt to do this.

On arriving in the kitchen, he found the dishcloth was on the floor, in front of the sink, in a small grey puddle.  Trayvon Jones sighed, picked up the cold wet dishcloth by pinching it disdainfully between his thumb and forefinger, and took it over to the pedal bin.  Then he dropped it inside.  He let the lid fall shut with a satisfying snap, and picked up the mop.

The mop was bone dry.  It was a little too long since it had last been used.  The dry mop soaked up the soapy grey puddle easily.  Trayvon Jones put the mop away, and adjusted the towel on his head, which had begun to work its way loose.

He opened the cupboard, where the packet of new dishcloths was kept.  To his horror, there were none inside.

Trayvon Jones was left with two choices.

The first choice was not to make breakfast today.

The second choice was to have breakfast, and then to fish the dishcloth from inside of the bin, so that he could attempt to clean his dishes after using them.

A third choice would have been to eat his breakfast and then not to clean his dishes.  But this choice did not count as a choice, because Trayvon Jones did not for a moment consider choosing it.

Trayvon Jones took the first choice.  He went back downstairs to find his hairdryer, and hoped that he had enough change to buy something to eat at the station.



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Link of the Day: The 60 Funniest Webcomics Of 2013

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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

12:15 On New Year's Day

The night is still, the sky is clear.  Over the houses and down the hill, the town square fireworks can be seen.

People begin to make their way from friends' and relatives' houses to their own.

Revellers start to drift away from the town centre.  First come the ones who are staggering drunkenly, the ones who peaked too soon and spent the last two hours waiting for midnight before allowing themselves to leave.

Taxis begin to fill the roads.

A car approaches a roundabout, stops and pulls back into reverse.  A woman shouts across the road to the driver.  "Did you just dump me?"

He winds his window down, attempts to reason with her.

"Did you just dump me?!"

"Get in the car," he says, quietly.

"Did you just fucking dump me?!"

I suspect that if he hasn't already, then it is only a matter of time.


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Happy New Year!  Hope you enjoyed this true story, from a certain seaside town in East Devon.  And that you have a marvellous year.

Link Of The Day: How To Name A Baby

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