Category Archives: Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

One man with a broken camera and a refusal to accept that this means the Weekly Photo Challenge no longer applies to him…


One of the oddest, and least challenged, things about science is that paleontologists can find one solitary bone and from it deduce what a dinosaur looked like.

The principle is as daft as finding one blonde hair and deducing the existence of Scarlet Johansson, and the fact that Scarlet Johansson does exist in no way weakens that argument.

These paleontologists would have us believe that all dinosaurs were ferocious, angry, million-toothed creatures, without having any evidence to back this theory up, such as for example a cave-drawing of one of them hanging out of a very tall building.

The human psyche disagrees, dredging up deep communal memories that none of us even know are there. So when someone was asked to design a dinosaur for TV, these memories forced their way into his subconscious mind and he invented Barney, because the T. Rex was in fact furry, gentle and friendly. And purple.

Other inventors have been unknowingly inspired by similarly harmless creatures. The child’s kite recalls the gentle Pterodactyl, dancing on the breeze. The mammoth sparked the idea of the 84 bus, slowly and meanderingly rambling about its unhurried business. The Velociraptor, a creature with a wide head and just one front leg, is evoked by a tricycle.

The friendliest of all was the Sabre-tooth Tigger.

All of these creatures frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee (now Boise, Idaho). Sadly many of them perished during our first attempt at inventing fire, a procedure involving a flint, some straw and some sticks of what turned out to be gelignite. The resulting crater was so large that to this day it is mistaken as a meteorite strike. The ice-age saw to the rest of them, as we sheared them to make coats for ourselves, there being no anti-fur campaigners about then.

Scientists will scoff at this, saying that humans were not around at the same time as the dinosaurs, to which I would reply well then who buried the bones. We were of course there, meddling with the balance of nature and causing havoc, just as we do today. The men were strong and carried a big club, which is why we now have the game of cricket. The women looked liked Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC.

The ancient memory of that is how someone created Barbie.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Another week in which a man whose camera-phone is no longer working refuses to accept that the Weekly Photo Challenge might not be for him…


pic via chefjeffjeff

Some of you will remember the comic the Beano, and will remember the Numskulls, a group of tiny boffins who ran the various Departments of someone’s head. We thought of them simply as a cartoon strip for the entertainment of children, but suppose they really exist? It’s no sillier than the idea that all of our thoughts, emotions and intelligence come from electrical impulses, and that our personality depends whether we are left-brained rather than right.

Perhaps they have been with you since the second you were born and gave that first cry, when the Mouth Department cranked open its double doors and blew loudly into a set of bagpipes.

Since then they have yanked out your first tooth, applied curlers to your first lock of hair, produced the dribble to smear over your first toy.

They have learned with you, the Brain Department trying to make sense of Periodic Tables, Venn diagrams and the plume of ma tante. A lesson on the facts of life filled with them with horror on behalf of the Numbits further down.

They clear specks of dust from your eyes by pouring buckets of water out of your pupils, washing the windows of your soul. They use laughing-gas to make you laugh, sleeping-gas to make you sleep, and marsh-gas to make you fart.

They make ear-wax, though heaven knows why, perhaps they have shares in the cotton-bud industry.

In other words they ensure the smooth running of your ears, your eyes, your brain.

They ensure the running of your nose, too, by trickling treacle down it. If they are feeling especially mischievous they will roll their floor-sweepings into a round ball, dust it with gunpowder, ram it into the torpedo-tube of your nostril, and ignite it.

When you are asleep the Forehead Department sneaks out to paint wrinkles on your forehead.

When you are hungover they get hungover too, so they take it out on you. The Mouth Department rolls out a carpet along your tongue, the Ear Department turns its controls up full so that every sound is as loud as thunder, while the Brain Department bangs on the inside of your skull with a large wooden mallet.

You often hear the expression “playing with someone‘s head“. Perhaps that’s what the Numskulls are doing with ours.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

My old computer and my old phone are refusing to speak to one another. The computer, in fact, refuses to acknowledge that the phone exists, even when the phone is, well, plugged into it. Now that’s just gotta hurt.

Anyway, the upshot is that I cannot upload any pictures. Which, for a photo challenge, does pose a challenge.

So you will just have to imagine the pinkish blur which was going to feature here today. Because although I could have gone for close friends, close relatives or, had there been any aliens about, close encounters of the third kind, I had simply taken a photo with my thumb over the lens.

You just can’t beat the classics.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today

The rules for this week’s challenge are simple. WordPress tell us that we can post any picture we like, so long as it is taken today.

Think of the possibilities. A butterfly on a leaf. A bee hovering over a flower. A vapour trail in the sky. A dog-turd on the street. There’s a whole world out there, just waiting to be captured forever on film.

It can keep waiting, though, because the weather is like this:

That picture was taken when the rain wasn’t blowing onto the window. This one was taken when it was:

You know you live in a wet country when (a) you keep a lifeboat in your back garden and (b) it’s full of water.

So I’ve had to look indoors, and have opted for this:

It’s what we use to wax our turtles, before we turn them upside down and play Curling with them, sweeping frantically in front of them as they slide across our wooden floor towards the jack, a reluctant Tinkid.

And why, out of all of the items (and there are millions of them, believe me) in our house have I chosen this one?

I just reckon it’s my only chance. I can’t see them ever having a “Weekly Photo Challenge: Kitchen Supplies”.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

Polar air has been flowing down over Ireland since March 30th.

I know this because Smiley Evelyn said so. Evelyn Cusack is the sweetest of all the weather forecasters on RTE (all actual people from the Met Office, so they know what they’re talking about, or at any rate their guesswork is more educated than others). She will stand in front of a map on which Ireland is not visible at all under the bands of rain, will forecast horrendous weather for the following day, and then will finish with the happiest smile you have ever seen.

On the Penultimate Day, when it comes, Evelyn will say something like “Tomorrow should see Horsemen, perhaps as many as Four, sweeping across the country. There will be waves of weeping and torrents of teeth-gnashing. Expect bolts of lightning, especially any of you who might have written a post lately slagging some story from the Bible. The outlook for the following day is that there won’t be one. Well, goodnight,” and her face will have a beam as big as a lighthouse.

I mention all of this to explain why I’m so excited by the fact that today was warm and sunny, it’s not something we’ve had a lot of lately. So, I worked through lunch (boo) so that I could leave work at 3.15 (hooray) and be in my back garden at half-past four. I then took out this:

and  this:

(ignore the weird twig thing on the table, I’ve no idea what it is, Mrs Tin’s gardening is a closed book to me).

Which reminds me, I brought out a book, so that I could ignore it.

Finally I prepared myself a drink. I poured some of this:

then I added this:

No, I don’t know what it is either, I found it in the cupboard behind the Tonic Water. The picture on the label would seem to suggest that it is made from some sort of berries. Or intestines.

Finally I added a soupçon big lump of this:

and ended up with this:

Ok, it looked more impressive at the time, now it just looks like rusty Alka-Seltzer.

Anyway, it tasted lovely and I could get used to living like this.

But this is Ireland, so I don’t think I’m going to.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

Our blogmate Speccy has already pointed out that this is not the best week to have “Sun” as a topic here in Ireland (thanks to a strong wind it was actually raining inside our bus-shelter yesterday morning).

(By the way, in her post that I’ve linked to above she has a link to a post of mine, so it is possible that I’ve now created some sort of blog black-hole that will swallow the whole world, but to be honest the weather’s so shite that I don’t care).

I do have this picture

which I took for the topic “Through” last month, and then couldn’t think up anything to say about it. It’s the sun setting as seen through the plant which GoldenEyes and I bought the day we moved into our new office.

And I had reckoned that it would have to do (not that it’s bad, I’m very proud of it, it’s just that it wasn’t actually taken for this particular challenge) until this morning while I was having breakfast in the kitchen, and I saw this:

It’s the sun reflecting off the back window of our neighbour’s house.

So there you go, a picture of the sun without the sun actually in it.

Just like Speccy’s picture, in fact.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

This magnifying glass

belongs to Mrs Tin. I have no idea why she owns it, perhaps she’s a consulting detective in her spare time, it would certainly explain why she keeps telling me that the game is afoot, and why she knows the times of all the trains to Devon.

Anyway, yesterday I had a rant at our former leader, calling him, among other things, an odious little toad.

I don’t regret the post in any way, and in fact here, through Mrs  Tin’s magnifying glass (and it’s far harder to do than I thought it would be), is a photo of the post again, my ode to my contempt and loathing for this dreadful man:

It’s malice, through a looking-glass.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

For the last couple of weeks as I’ve been walking up the hill to my house on the way home from work I have noticed two bright lights in the sky. Thanks to a great astronomy website called StarDate (which I would love even if it was crap, simply because of its name) I know that they are Venus and Jupiter.

At their closest they are respectively 41 million and 628 million kms from Earth in two totally different directions, if Space actually has directions. Yet they are visible, one just a couple of inches above the other, from my front garden.

I think that’s pretty unusual (after all, they can only have been in conjunction with one another a few hundred million times since the universe was formed), though sadly what is not unusual is my photographic ability with my mobile phone.

This is my attempt at taking a picture of them:

The tiny dot in the centre of the screen is Venus. Before you get too impressed, though, Jupiter is not visible at all, and that second light at the bottom of the picture is my neighbours’ burglar alarm.

I had my camera on zoom. Perhaps there is a limit to the distance over which this makes any difference.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Distorted

There is a lot of glass in our house. This is the front door:

These are the doors into the sitting room from the hallway:

This is the window that separates the sitting room from the kitchen:

I am thinking of entering that one for the Turner prize.

You will notice a theme here. The original occupants of this house obviously had a thing (though one shudders to think what shape that thing might have been) for distorted glass.

Perhaps they were junkies who could no longer afford mind-bending drugs and decided to get their house to do it for them.

We have grown used to it over the years (though you do occasionally find yourself talking to someone in the next room and then finding that they are not in fact in there).

And we have actually added to it with this:

It’s called a glass brick, on the side of the kitchen that has no windows (because if there were we’d be able to see into next door’s back garden). It was Mrs Tin’s idea, the builder who put it in had never heard of it, and it shines light into a dark corner.

And this is distorted sunlight shining through it early this morning:

I think it’s beautiful.