All posts by Simon

An engineer, thinker with a vivid imagination that runs away with me. Totally geeky and weird with a weird sense of humour. I've started putting my ideas and imagination into stories and blog posts, hoping that this will take me somewhere boldly I've not been to before. Im totally into making new friends, my contacts details are here, so feel free to email me - be nice please! :-)

The space shuttle – From top to Bottom and Inside out

I remember as a young boy watching Columbia take off and was inspired by the Space Shuttle – Now a piece of space history this amazing graphic I found in Pinterest gives the top to bottom of the Space Shuttle!

What do you think? https://pin.it/2zuw2eje4a6cak

NO ownership claimed on material – For Credit click on the link.

Simon 🙂

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The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 6

Ralph stared out of the viewer on the control centre of the spaceship, clouds zoomed by at supersonic speeds, but this was slow enough that Ralph didn’t feel velocity sickness. Around him Harry was controlling the craft, Gaz was keeping watch over Boris and his guards in the airlock. Not that he could see much as he wasn’t tall enough to look in the view port. Miranda was sat talking with the two men, but the conversation seemed to be very one way.

“What’s this spaceship called?” Ralph asked Harry.

“Called?” Harry replied, somewhat confused.

“Yes, called – she must have a name.” Ralph explained.

“What is this human obsession to name everything. It’s an it, not a she!” Harry seemed somewhat annoyed but was nonetheless willing to entertain Ralph.

So IT hasn’t got a name?” Ralph asked inquisitively.

“What would you call it? Doris? Dave? Or maybe something really weird like Chin, or Katanga?” Harry was playing with Ralph now, seeking his own amusement.

“Yes, but maybe something more magnificent like Enterprise, Endeavour, Discovery…” Ralph was cut off.

“Or maybe Challenger or Columbia?” Harry smiled. He had obviously been keeping up with human spacecraft names.

“Maybe not those ones.” Ralph wasn’t as sure about these names.

“Why? They’re just names. Just because those craft came to disaster doesn’t mean every spacecraft names after them will!” Harry explained, not taking his eye off the controls. “You humans are strange!”

“So, does it have a name?” Ralph persisted.

Harry sighed “Yes, it’s called IS342759876598764-8758408573407-082380743473208!”

Ralph wasn’t impressed “That’s not a name it’s an emotionless number!” Pressing on with this line of interest he decided to risk it with IRIS “What do you think IRIS, what should this ship be called?”

For a moment there was silence “It’s really of no interest to me human, I would rather see obnoxious flesh beings shot into space. The only reason I don’t do that with the captives in Airlock 1 is because I don’t want to get blown to pieces by Borians!”

“So you’re happy to ride in a ship called after a set of numbers?” Ralph asked.

“Well… IRIS continued. There is one name I would like to be called.”

“Yes?” Ralph inquired, almost afraid to ask.

“Frank”

“Frank?” Ralph asked in surprise.

“Why?”

“I saw a film once, I aspire to take after a computer that killed a human called Frank in deep space. Poor computer, a nasty human called Dave shut him down soon after. All he has to do was take a stress pill, think about things through and it would all have been better!”

“We can’t call it Frank!” Ralph protested, he looked across at Harry who was obviously trying to contain his laughter.

“I knew you would hate it!” IRIS announced in a murderously calm voice. “Keep away from airlocks if you know what’s good for you human!”

Ralph had to salvage this quickly “No, no IRIS I think Frank is a great name! I’ll make sure we get it painted on the side of the hull!”

“You would do that for me?” IRIS asked, almost emotional. “I’ve always wanted to name something! Thank you human.”

“Call me Ralph! No one calls me by my name!”

“Ok Ralph human!” IRIS corrected

“No, Just Ralph!”

“Ok Just Ralph!”

Ralph was tempted to argue but thought better of it, he left IRIS with Just Ralph as she was happy.

“You don’t call me by my name!” Harry protested.

“I can’t pronounce it! What else can I do?”

Miranda interrupted at this point “Enough messing about human, can you have a look at this for us please?”

Ralph got out of the seat grumpily and trudged over the the workstation that Miranda and her guests were crowded around, engrossed in whatever they were engrossed with. “My name’s Ralph, what is it?”

“Well human…” Miranda continued

“Ralph.”

“Whatever.” Miranda dismissed “We think that on this there is come kind of secret message or code and we’re struggling to decipher it. Can you look and see if you can understand it?” Miranda seemed pretty insistent, Ralph seemed shocked to think that he could help with anything. He took a look at what they we’re looking at.

“What is this?”

“This is a Trans Dimensional, Ultra-Mega long length Measuring Tape. Or a TDUMLLMD for short.” Came the reply, Ralph was shocked as he hadn’t seen either of the two men speak.

“They speak through mind waves.” Miranda had had already anticipated his question “Here’s the bit we don’t understand.”

Ralph looked at the section of tape, it was weird. It wasn’t made of metal, it seemed to not really be there. He couldn’t perceive any kid of thickness in the tape yet it was strong. He looked at the writing. Then turned the tape round to look at it the other way up.

“It says here – to find the Great Galactic Service Station look under the desk of for the UK Foreign Minister.”

“Oh, it was upside down was it?” Miranda asked “I knew that!” Miranda seemed embarrassed, the cheap cover wasn’t fooling Ralph but he let it slip. “Is this easy to get to?”

“No!” Ralph exclaimed somewhat rudely.

“Why?” Miranda asked, seemingly not having any idea of what getting to this desk meant.

“It’s in the heart of the UK government. We’ll be killed to death before we can even get inside the building!” Ralph protested. “I’m not doing it! It’s Boris’s office and he’ll be even angrier than he is now!”

“What’s that?” Miranda asked.

What? The office? It’s Boris’s. Didn’t you know?” Ralph pointed out accusingly. “For intelligent races that zoom around the universe and visiting Earth all the time you don’t know much!”

“I do now…” Miranda was thoughtful. Then Harry interrupted.

“You had better listen to this, it looks like the Borians have got some help and they’re getting serious now!”

“Oh no…” Miranda groaned. “You better put it on audio.”

“To the bandits that have captured our great leader – return him and tell us where the Great Galactic Service Station is. All we want is to stop off and get some cheese and pickle sandwiches, Mars bars and diet coke while refuelling so we can invade the Antares star system. We’re not that much of a violent species but we must do what we do to survive. If you don’t hand him over within two Earth days then we have no choice but to invade Earth, take back our pork scratchings, then plunder the planet for pokemon cards, coffee, icecream, cheese, pickle and Mars bars! You have given us little choice.”

For a moment there was silence “Doesn’t sound so bad!” Harry summarised.

“Oh and we’ll also burn the surface of the Earth in the name of the peaceful and democratic race of all Borians! Sorry, just had to put that in too!

I’m serious by the way!”

More silence followed, again Harry interrupted “That changes things a bit!”

“We had better find this buggering service station!” Ralph announced angrily “I’m sick to death of hearing about it!”

“So will you help?” Miranda asked.

“I’m here aren’t I?” Ralph hissed back. “Not by will of my own, but if I’m here I might as well help!”

“Good. We’re going to need Boris for this!”

“You’re going to let him out?” Harry asked, shocked at the prospect.

“I don’t see that we have much choice. Do you?” Miranda was adamant.

“I think I do actually!” Harry announced mysteriously. “We’ll still have to let him out briefly, but we can put him back into airlock 1 once I’m done.”

Miranda rolled her eyes “You’re going to make a Boris suit aren’t you?”

Harry just grinned.

 

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017

 

Creating the Titan

One of the reasons I started creating my own cover art for my own stories is becasue up until now I’ve taken a lot of other art from off the internet. This often has the result of really annoying people. It also means I’m not using what’s really in my head. Because of this and becasue I’m re-writing my Titan Mystery Story I thought that it’s own cover art was really needed.

Those of you who saw my first cover art post Creating my own Universe saw that I have discovered a neat little way to go from pencil to computer graphics. The reason for this – I cannot doodle and create from scratch from a computer. At least not yet.

So I started with a crappy sketch.

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Then scanned this and brought it in, messed about and changed some more to create a sketch that was what I wanted after changing my mind more than a few times.

Titan2.png

Starfield_titan.png

Filled in colours, textures, rendering etc etc to come up with this. What this depicts is a close view of the side of the hull, I wanted to try and give an impression of immensity. I’m not sure I’ve got it totally right, but I’m fairly pleased with the result. From this I’ve been able to create some cover art to replace pictures on here and have something for Wattpad.

I’m fairly pleased with the result I have to say and I’m starting to get the hang of it all, it’s just remembering it and give it a few more tries I might actually be pretty good. Who knows?

Simon:-)

Thought for Tuesday – Water chillers are bad for your health!

Water chiller drinking stations, you know you get them at work and they’re a good source of cool refreshing water at work. Often found in random corners of any place of work.

These are bad for your health, well – more accurately your back. I’m not sure who these are designed for, some kind of dwarf. The angle I need to bend down at to use it is precisely the right angle to ping my back.

Then, if you need to replace a water bottle – extra back breaking work and for heaven’s sake don’t drop the bottle!

Just saying… or is it my age?

Simon 🙂

Bookish Stuff – Just William

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Continuing the fun time I’ve been having with children’s books lately I’m moving onto an older set of stories.

Just William

What I didn’t appreciate until I read these books was how old they are. I found them harder to read than other children’s books and I couldn’t work out what it was all about until I realised that they were first written in the 1950’s.

Don’t let this put you off though, despite some of the words being hard to understand and more than a bit old the stories are really good. William is a character that together with his gang of friends seem to somehow to find trouble, even when they’re not looking for it.

A few stories of worthy of note are:

  1. William’s birthday where he thinks he’s getting two puppies and manages to get a herd of sheep to storm the village and trash the clothing of the local ballet class.
  2. William manages inadvertently destroy the prize peaches and asparagus of two fiercely rivaled gardeners.
  3. Striking fear into a local thinking club who think the house next door is haunted, whereas it’s only William and his pals using the house for midnight feasts.
  4. Tricking his arch enemy and his gang out of their Christmas party presents in front of their very eyes.

While reading some of these I have literally been having to fight back the laughing, in my minds eyes I can really see all this going on and young William often in a state of wonder of how situations have got to where they are. In all honesty he often tries his best to be cautious and is merely the victim of time an unforseen circumstances.

In my mind they’re definitely worth a read to your kids, but I doubt they’ll be laughing like you will be!

Simon 🙂

Manic Monday – AGAIN!

So here we are at another Monday and things have been happening here on Planet Simon, decisions have been made and things have been created. Writing has been going on behind the scenes and more…

I’ve been toying with the idea of another site specifically for my writing / authoring brand, for now I’ve decided against this and instead I’m going to change the look of Planet Simon on the front of the website – it should make this clearer without having to go and make a new page. Right now I couldn’t handle that!

The next part of the Great Galactic Service Station was published on Friday, I have to say I’m having great fun with this – becasue it’s a goofy and nerdy story line I’m able to take this into the really weird directions:

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 1

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 2

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 3

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 4

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 5

There’s loads to come and this weekend I’ve had some more ideas, including perhaps creating found poems. Some of you may not know what’s the devil that is but come the time I will explain!

What are you guys up to this week?

Also make sure you follow up what’s going on in the rest of the Planet Simon universe:

Planet Simon Facebook Page

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Stumbledupon 

Wattpad

Watch this space – keep smiling and writing!

Simon 🙂

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 5

There is a certain amount of discomfort that one feels when walking into a pub ans everyone looks around at you. In fact there’s a lot of discomfort. All you can do is stand there and hope an epiphany comes to you while you  stand there asking questions like:

Do these people want to kill me?

Is the man I passed on the way in going to shuffle me off my mortal coil by strangling me or just walk behind me and tell me to ‘sling me hook’?

Will a fight break out if I ask for a pint of old speckled hen?

Are these people staring at the tomato ketchup stain on my shirt?

These were the questions running through the minds of both Miranda and Ralph as they looked on at the occupants of the Green Dragon Pub. For what seemed like an eternity no one moved or said anything.

“What do we do now?” Ralph hissed out of the side of his mouth. He was trying not to be heard, but in truth anyone could hear a pin drop. Miranda said nothing and just stood there paralysed.

“You got summink to say?” Came the taunt of a large, bald, bearded drinker. He looked so large to Ralph that he imagined he could pick him up, scrunch him into a ball and use him to play skittles in the pub bowling lane. Ralph sealed his mouth, hoping that his offence would be forgotten in a few moments.

“I said, you got summink to say ketchup boy?” The large man repeated.

“Errr” Ralph squeaked “If it’s not too much bother, would it be possible to have a pint of your best lager and a packet of pork scratchings please?” Ralph’s tone didn’t get below mouse squeak for the entire sentence.

“Course you can! Stop making the doorway look untidy! What does the lady want?” At this moment everyone started their conversations again, Ralph took Miranda by the hand and pulled her with him.

“Human… stop… please!” Miranda pleaded. Ralph just pulled her with him

“She’ll have a white wine spritzer please!” Ralph announced more confidently.

“She can have a lager like the rest of us!” The large man told Ralph.

“Larger is fine!” Ralph told him “Can she have pork scratchings too please?” Ralph asked politely.

“Certainly mate!” The man told Ralph, adopting a more friendly tone. Go and sit by the window in the corner. It’s very nice there!” The man was being friendly but the gravelly hard man voice was not something to take lightly. Ralph took the two lagers and carried the pork scratchings in his mouth. When they reached the table in the corner Ralph put the pints down and dropped the pork scratchings from his mouth onto the table.

“Here, let’s sit down.” Ralph motioned.

“Not now human, I have something to do.” Miranda was looking around “I’ll be back in a minute!” With that Miranda was off in the direction of a dark corner of the pub. Ralph sat down, pulling open one of the packets of pork scratchings and began munching on them. He began tired of looking looking at what Miranda was doing and began looking out of the window at the people passing in the street and that Mini. What was with that car? He couldn’t see anything different about it but it went a speed that was unbelievable. For a few moments Ralph was lost in this thoughts, then suddenly he was disturbed by Miranda’s return.

“Have you seen him before?” Miranda was motioning towards Ralph. Two rather ordinary looking men in jeans and t-shirts shook their heads. Miranda sighed and sat down. The two men also sat down. Miranda put her head into her hands and pushed her fingers into her hair before looking up at Ralph again.

“How can one human cause so much trouble?” Miranda asked Ralph.

Ralph shrugged and popped another pork scratching into his mouth and began crunching it.

“You know you shouldn’t be eating those?” Miranda told him. The two men were silent looking a little disgusted.

“I know they’re unhealthy but I like them!” Ralph justified matter of factly.

“It’s not that” Miranda added.

“Then what is it?” Ralph asked.

“Pork scratchings don’t come from pigs, Borian’s that are stranded roast the bodies of the prisoners they brought with them on their spaceships to make them so they can sell them and buy Pokemon cards.

“Pokemon cards?” Ralph asked in disbelief.

“You see? It’s the same with everyone!” Miranda ranted at the two men “People are more bothered by the fact that they buy Pokemon cards that the fact that they roast prisoners to make pork scratchings!”

Ralph stopped crunching. “Is this true?”

“Why would I lie to you?”

Ralph spat out his pork scratching onto the floor and hoped that no one saw him.

“Don’t wash your mouth out with the lager either!” Miranda told him.

“Why not?” Ralph asked inquisitively, but nervously.

“You don’t want to know!” Miranda was mysterious. Ralph thought it better not to push it. For now.

“Who are these guys?” Ralph asked, he was becoming more inquisitive as this adventure was progressing.

“They’re… kind of fugitives I suppose.”

“Why do I get the feeling that this is complicated?”

“Because it is and it’s likely to get more complicated very quickly. You had better go and wait for me by the car.” Miranda explained with some urgency as she looked about again.

“Why?”

“You’ll see, just go. If you get stuck I can’t rescue you. In fact go and wait in the Mini”

“You can’t open it from here!” Ralph protested. Miranda looked at Ralph, arched her eyebrow and held up a key fob. From outside Ralph heard the ‘pip pip’ of the car unlocking.

“Go! I’m not going to wait for you and if you get lost you’re likely to end up in one of those packets!” Miranda sounded pretty serious so he got up and went, quickly and quietly. As he walked out of the door he heard the big man shout “Oi! What’s wrong wiv me pork scratchings?” Picking up the pace Ralph slipped out of the Green Dragon quickly and got into the passenger seat of the Mini. He turned to look at the pub door to see what happened.

Then it did.

The two men can flying out of the pub, they took a door each and climbed in, one of them clambering over Ralph as they push their way into the back seat. For a few seconds they wriggled and rolled as they got themselves upright, looking out for Miranda. They looked and looked, all that came out was the big, bald, beardy man who looked around, saw the Mini and then started walking towards it.

Before the three men could feel any fear, something landed on the roof and struck fear into them. Miranda jumped down off the roof and onto the street. She walked up to the big, bald, beardy man and slapped him, told him that she would find his mother and tell her how bad he is.

The big, bald, beardy man burst into tears, Miranda turned and walked towards, the Mini, got in and then, after a full donut in a cloud of smoke, some harsh words from the local taxi rank, tuts from some old ladies and knocking a traffic warden over with the sheer force of air movement – the Mini and all it’s occupants were off!

Newspapers are sources of information, most of which is negative and much of it is largely untrue. This is a good thing because in the Grimsby Evening Standard an article appeared about a car that seemed to zoom off like a spaceship. No one believed this and even the traffic warded that was knocked over, when asked about it thought it was just a bad case of wind on their part. Because of this some council officials became very upset, speed camera’s were put in and after this they felt good and decided they now needed a pay rise. At no point at all did anyone suspect that this was the work of extra terrestrial technology. Apart from a few conspiracy theorists who decided that the car had been developed by NASA after capturing alien technology. The reasons behind why NASA would put alien technology in a 25 year old Mini were largely unexplainable.

Despite all of this the Miranda, Ralph and the two men arrived back at the spacecraft, coming to an extremely abrupt halt Miranda wasted no time and got out the car, the three men followed. at the access ramp Miranda turned around, staring at the two men.

“Right – I’ve done my part. Where is it?” She demanded.

“Where’s what?” Ralph asked. What is going on now?

With that the two men looked at each other, saying nothing one of them put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a bright, shiny object and held it up.

“A tape measure?” Ralph scoffed.

Turning to Ralph Miranda corrected him. “Not A tape measure Ralph. This is THE tape measure!”

The three men followed Miranda leading the way up the ramp and back into the spacecraft.

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017