Apr 04

April: Top five Easter eggs in Literature

Happy Easter, everyone.

I hope you are enjoying the long weekend. I don’t normally take much notice of Easter. I’m not religious and I don’t enjoy chocolate so I normally just enjoy the extra long weekend. There is one kind of Easter egg I do enjoy, Easter eggs in films and literature. I’ve spoken about these kinds of Easter eggs before, they are a joke or a secret that you have to search for. Arguably the most famous Easter egg in film is the number A113. The developers at Pixar Studios worked in a classroom called A113 and have hidden that code into most of their films.

A113 as seen in Toy Story 3, Cars, Monsters University, Finding Nemo, Wally, Bug’s Life and Car 2.

While Easter eggs hidden in films are more prolific that those in literature today we’ll be looking at the latter. There are hundreds of lists dedicated to Easter eggs in films and I wanted to do something a little different.

These are my top five Easter eggs in literature, I hope you enjoy.

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Mar 21

Five surprising origins of fictional mascots

Full disclaimer. I wrote this article while I was hungry.

We don’t generally consider mascots as characters in their own right and maybe that’s a shame.  These mascots, particularly if they are humanoid in appearance, often have a detailed backstory that is overlooked by general members of the public. Here are the surprising origins of five fictional mascots. I hope you enjoy.  Continue reading

Feb 28

Top 5 Fictional places that may have existed

The word Wanderlust is defined by the English Dictionary as a strong desire to travel. I think it is fair to say that many of us in the UK are experiencing Wanderlust at the moment, myself included.

In 2017 I published two website posts about fictional places you could visit in the real world. You can read those article here and here. This is a sequel to those posts, of sorts. This time we are looking at fictional places that may have existed. Their existence is neither proven nor unproven.

I hope you enjoy.

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Jan 31

Five science fiction gadgets that have become reality.

If you believe the adverts on TV, January is normally the most exciting month of the year. You can exchange unwanted Christmas presents in the January sales and make a bargain, you can plan out your goals throughout the year and if you don’t enjoy Christmas then you can celebrate the fact that things are returning to normal.

Actually, statistically speaking January is the most depressing month of the year. The weather is normally miserable, many families face financial hardship following Christmas and by 21st January a majority of people  have already broken their New Year’s Resolutions.

Bit of a downer. Let’s go back to how exciting the year is suppose to be. You know what I find adorable? How optimistic humans are for the future, in particular how optimistic historical authors were for our present. In Back to the Future Part Two, Marty McFly travels to the year 2015 where he encounters hover boards, flying cars and giant holograms. Do you want to know what the most sophisticated gadget of 2015 was? A remote control BB8 toy from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While it was a cool toy, it proves that we are a long way from flying cars.

Occasionally however, science fiction films will get something right. Here are five Sci-Fiction gadgets that have become reality.

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Jan 01

Goals for 2021

Happy New Year. I hope you welcome 2021 with open arms. It can’t be worse than last year…. can it? Needless to say, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic won’t magically disappear overnight. A wise old wizard won’t snap his fingers and end lockdown. Although a vaccine is now being circulated we will still be remote working for some time and I can not say when things will return to normal or if they ever will. Maybe supermarkets will ask you to wear masks now? Maybe office workers can choose to work from home? Who knows what the new year will bring? As you may have noticed  I have re-vamped the website slightly. We have a cleaner layout, the tabs at the top of your screen have been merged and updated and since WordPress was updated at the latter end of last year, I’m finding new tools to use in the body of the articles themselves. If you notice other small changes the next you log in, it will be be me working in the background. Last year I set three New Year’s Resolutions. They were- 1 – Edit two novel manuscripts  2 – Visit more of the world 3 – Consume more media I only achieved the third goal but there was a global pandemic going on. Because I am uncertain what will happen this year, I think making new year’s resolutions would be unwise. My only goal this year is to keep this website updated at least once a month. I may be quiet on social media but please be assured that I am still writing. I hope this year brings you all you want it to and more. Take care.

Dec 31

2020: A year in review.

Do you remember all the jokes we were making at the start of the year about having twenty twenty vision? Yeah, none of us could really see what 2020 was going to bring, could we?

Hello everyone and welcome to end of 2020. Thank god, eh? I think we can all agree 2020 was an atrocious year. To recap the year was started by the threat of World War Three when America bombed Iraq. This was followed by the Australian wild fires that left three billion animals dead and scorched over one billion acres of land and murder hornets were sighted in the US. The death of George Floyd sparked riots across the world and who can forget to Coronavirus pandemic which killed one and a half million people and sent most of the world into lockdown.

There is only one major positive of 2020 I can think of… We got rid of Trump!

Of course, when the year started none of us knew what was to come and I set some very optimistic goals in January.

1 – Have a decent draft of The Truth About Nicole and The White Wasteland.

While I was able to complete a redraft of both manuscripts, I found that after spending the day working from home I didn’t have the mental energy to focus on complex projects. This means that although both manuscripts have been improved upon, they are not in the condition I would like them to be in. 

This isn’t to say that I have not been writing. I have plotted out several TV show ideas, one book series and one stand alone novel in great detail. I also completed a manuscript from NaNoWriMo. I hope these projects do turn into something but if they don’t, if they forever reside on my laptop then that’s fine. They kept me sane.

 

2 – Visit more of the world/England.

Hahahahaha. No.

I have noticed that the locations of my writing projects have started to wander. I realised that a good majority of my writing (at least those set in the modern day) was based in the city I know best, London. This year the settings of my stories have strayed across the UK and beyond.

 

3 – Consume more media

I think this is the only goal I achieved, I think everyone across the world consumed more media this year. I’ve been watching shows and reading books that are outside of my comfort zone. While I have enjoyed most of these, all of them have proved educational.

I don’t feel too disappointed in myself as the world is in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic. 

 

If I was asked to describe the year 2020 in a single word I would say… ‘clusterfuck’ but I would like to end the year with a story of love and kindness. I hope you enjoy.

In 2001 five skeletons were discovered in Georgia. These skeletons were transported to a lab and subjected to a variety of tests and from these, archaeologists were able to deduce several things. Firstly the skeletons were Homo Erectus Georgicus, a very early form of Homo sapiens. They were over one and a half million years old and they lived of a diet of nuts and berries.

The third skeleton in particular was the most interesting. The third skeleton was a male who died in his forties and at the time of his death was missing all but one of his teeth. Archaeologists concluded that the man had lived a long period of time with one tooth and that during this time he had presumably been fed by the four other cavemen. This raises a new question. Why? Why would four cavemen make a conscious effort to keep this man alive? They would not have had anything to gain from this, it would have been a drain on their resources, another mouth the feed.

Archaeologists concluded that the cavemen kept their friend alive for no other reason other than compassion and love. They were being kind. Isn’t that brilliant? These five cavemen didn’t have the concept of a government or currency or war, like we do, but they shared one essential trait with us. If we were able to reanimate their corpses and show them our world there would be only one thing they would recognise. Our ability to love and to be kind.

I’ll see you all next year. Take care, stay safe and be kind. 

Nov 01

NaNoWriMo 2020

Hello everyone,

As the title of this post suggests, I am taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. If you are unaware NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and the purpose is to motivate writers to set and reach a target before the month ends, normally 50,000 words. If that sounds herculean, it might help if I said that you could cut that target down to 1600 words a day. If that still sounds outlandish you could divide that by three and write 533 words in three different sittings.

I’ve completed NaNoWriMo in both 2018 and 2019 but this year, like every other aspect of our daily lives, things will be different. Due to the pandemic there will be no physical events. Normally we would go to a cafe in London, I particularly favoured the Pret on Hanover Square and spend a good afternoon writing. We would also visit a famous city close to London (last year, we had a day trip to Oxford in which I managed 9000 words) and have an all night write in. All of these events have, understandably, been cancelled. Instead all physical sessions have been moved online and will vary across different platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Discord. I’ve downloaded everything I needed to, I’ve created my manuscript, mucked about with the formatting I’m penned my first two thousand words.

My manuscript’s working title is Gridlock. A father and son become trapped in gridlock on the Dartford Crossing (also known as the QE2 bridge) and realise there is a killer amongst them.

I plan to post a mid month update and second post at the end of my month evaluating my progress.

If anyone else is taking part, let me know and we can buddy up.

Until next time.

Oct 31

Five conspiracy theories that were proven true

There is little scarier in the world than a harsh truth…

We live in a world full of misinformation. You may have seen the conspiracy theory floating around online that claims 5G is responsible for the Coronavirus. I will admit that I don’t understand the difference between 3G or 4G on my phone or how it works but I do know that 5G is not linked to the pandemic. I know this because I watch the news. I’m sure if there was a link it would have been discovered by now and been plastered on front pages across the globe. What surprised me, and greatly worried me, was how many people were blindly sharing this theory online, including one of my old teachers! However, if you pardon the cliche, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Occasionally one conspiracy theory will be proven correct and send shockwaves across the globe.

I thought for halloween we could touch subjects that are truly horrifying. Here is a general trigger warning for this article.

Here are five examples of conspiracy theories that were proven true:

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Sep 20

How can you bring a dead actor back to life?

In 2013 the Walt Disney company produced a short film titled Get a Horse which was shown before Frozen in cinemas. In Get a Horse, Mickey Mouse attempts to save Minnie by traveling between the 2D 1940’s cartoon world and the modern day cinema. If you want to watch the film in question there is a recording below but the quality isn’t perfect. It’s about eight minutes long.

While Frozen was a runaway success, Get A Horse is notable in it’s own right. It was the first time Mickey Mouse was seen in a film of his own on the big screen since 1995, the film also featured Oswald the Lucky Rabbit the original Disney mascot and finally the film marks the first time that Walt Disney supplied fresh lines of dialogue for the iconic character since his death.

That final fact may seem wrong at first glance. Walt Disney died in 1966 and Get a Horse was released in 2013, forty seven years after his death. While most of Mickey’s dialogue was re-used lines from his original cartoons the producers were unable to find a recording of Walt Disney saying the word “red” in Mickey’s voice. Mickey comments that his clothes are red when he transcends from the cartoon world to the real world for the first time and without this comment, producers felt this plot-beat would lose some of its impact.

This situation raises the question: How can you bring actors back from the dead… and should you?

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Sep 06

Top five most expensive versions of books

I have worked in many libraries and as such I have organised the books in my house into the duodecimal system. I have four drawers of books. The first drawers holds books between A-G, the second H-P, the third P-Z and the fourth holds stationery. I’m very happy (and can I say proud?) of this system. The only downside is that when I can’t find a book I know that it is because I no longer have it.

The other week I searched my collection for a book about ghost stories in Kent. Although I’d read the book once, and if I’m honest I didn’t enjoy it that much, I’d seen on Facebook that first editions of this book were now worth several hundred pounds. I pulled open the drawer, searched through my books only to find the it missing. Then I dimly remembered putting it in the pile for the charity shop several years ago. D’oh!

This got me thinking. What are some of the most expensive books out there? Here are those answers.

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