Tag Archives: Squidge

The art of the quote

A good quote can be so many things. When I was younger it could mean the difference between a grade in an English literacy test, a better percentage in my sociology course work and, most important of all, it could really make my friends laugh. I may not write coursework or do tests anymore but the art of the quote still lives on.
She's your queen to be
This weeks blog is inspired by a friend of mine who placed a quote from Coming to America on Facebook. The response was huge and I partook with a big smile on my face. “I was Joan of Arc in a former life.” This may not be the most famous quote from the film but those who know the film well (I used to watch it once every other day over one summer while my friend and I stole his parents Cointreau and filled up the bottle with squash, hoping they wouldn’t notice) know it. I still reckon I could say about half the lines before the Mr Murphy and Mr Hall.
mam name him clay, i'm a call him clay
Facebook though has changed the rules a bit. No longer do you have to rely on your brain for a quote, you can research it. Here’s my mini guide for quoting Facebook style.
1) Try and remember the quote and respond quickly. If it has a small flaw in the repeating of the line then it seems more organic.
2) If you do have to research it then add a small mistake. See second line of number 1.
3) Make sure the quote you use is from the same film. Nothing worse than being ridiculed in cyberspace.
4) Don’t include the character name at the start. If the quote is good then people should know.
5) Not too big. If the quote is too long then it is a dead giveaway. You may as well leave the hyperlinks in.
i assumed you had sex with your bathers
Quotes don’t need to be famous though. A friend of mine was exceeding drunk at a party. He decided to run for the door, presumably to throw up, whilst shouting, “abandon ship.” The quote was used more than once. Private quotes can be great fun but can also exclude many. If I were to write, “swinging from a tree!” Then it would mean a great deal to few people and nothing to most. The private club can be great fun but needs a have to be there pass.
I have never tried to pass a quite off as my own knowingly. I will always state my source (csi quote there) so people don’t think I’m smarter than I am. The problem I have is that there are times when I don’t even realise I’m quoting, times when I’ve said what I’m saying so many times that the origin of it is lost somewhere. This can be highly embarrassing when you get called on it. I do however have some favourite quotes. Some are funny, some witty and some odd. Here’s my top five.
Live forever or die in the attempt.
1) “Live forever or die in the attempt.”
-Yossarian – Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.
I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day
2) “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”
-Frank Sinatra
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
3) “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
-Oscar Wilde
My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
4) “My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.”
-Michael Corleone – The Godfather
every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.
5)”How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?”
-Homer – The Simpsons
There are so many that I could have done a top 50. I would love to hear any you think I have overlooked.
squidge andrew thomas
I hope that one day, when I am a famous author, I might find my own words quoted somewhere. Maybe.
Enjoy your weekend.
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The internet troll

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I started off with a different start to this blog. My intention was to have a foray into the world of Internet trolling and then damn it completely. I was gonna call those that do it sad, lonely and a bit pathetic. This I shall not do. I realised that it does have a useful place in the world. It’s a bit like those who write books and those who review them. If you have a good book then you get praise and you feel good about it, similar to those in the Internet world who put up websites and opinions that have a place in the world and are a force for good. If you write a stinker of a book, fill it with unchecked nonsense or insight any kind of hatred, violence, sexism or racism than you have every right to have it critiqued and challenged, just like idiots on the net. I believe that trolling can be a used as a mirror for those who don’t really know what they’re on about and as a gentle reminder that it’s ok to challenge opinions.

Anyway, here’s how it all started…

I have recently been watching the new Aaron Sorkin show The Newsroom. On it was a young and ambitious reporter who wanted to write a story on trolling. This really interested me as I had heard the term before but didn’t really know what it was. The idea behind it is to find a chat room, chat board or open forum on the Internet and play devils advocate until someone bites. Hopefully, if one person bites then more will follow. The ideal way is to write one or two comments and then let it run. The longer it runs, plus the more people get involved equals the indicator of success. This was my challenge. I decided that I would steer clear of anything overly political and stay instead in the areas I know.

First attempt. I suck at this. I’ve tried to elicit a response from a football forum of a team I don’t like. I was quite inflammatory but was very much ignored. My suspicion is that the fans of this club get it all the time and know what I am up to. Maybe I need a slightly more subtle approach.

Second attempt. Ditched the subtle approach idea in favour of aiming at a different group. On the advice of some of the kids at school I’m gonna troll 1 direction fans. Mean? Yes. Childish? You bet. Wanna see how it went? Course you do. I picked the best few but I had about 30 replies. My screen name was Jim Bond.

Jimbond- 14 hours ago – how come all one direction fans are either ugly, stupid or both?

1direction fan • 14 hours ago −
I absolutley love one direction. The first time i heard their song “what makes you beautiful” i cried because i want people( guys) to like me for my my personality not for looks and their song showed me that not all guys care about looks. I’m not ugly though.

Directioner•14 hours ago – my friends all love 1D and we are all HOT.

1Dsoinlove•14 hours ago – what u talking about. You dont know wot we r and you dont understand what 1D are and stand for. They are all about fun and music and having fun. I love Harry and he doesn’t care bout looks.

Although this was a success I felt very mean. I don’t think I’m cut out for this kinda stuff. Picking on poor girls with bad music taste, shame on me. I did notice that none of the comments took offense to being called stupid though.

Attempt 3. Couldn’t bring myself to do any today. Feel kinda guilty that some 1D fan might lose sleep over something I have written. It’s like one of those arguments when you go to bed and think back on what you should have said. Maybe a rethink.

Attempt 4. I’ve decided to play it from the other side. To look for people who have already expressed an opinion and be the devils advocate. Where better to look that Facebook! I had a few goes at commenting on people’s status and then managed to get myself in an argument. This is much more fun and a completely harmless way to waste a bit of time. Have a peak.

facebook troll

So I’ve decided that trolling is not for me. There are a couple of reasons for this.

1) My job (the planning, marking and management stuff), my son, my very pregnant wife and my blog leave me with precious little time.

2) Some people create and others critique. I find myself firmly in the first camp.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’m off to drop my son at my parents then take the wife out for dinner. If I can get all my work done that is!

Couldn’t resist the last picture! Maybe it will open a debate.

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Can you feel the Christmas presence?

It’s finally upon us, Christmas day. Food, Presents, food, drink, food, music, food, games and food. It’s the time of year to eat ‘til you want to burst, have a sleep then eat some more. I love it.

It’s strange for me to see the most wanted Christmas toy list that they seem to have every year. I like to think that, being a teacher, I am relatively up to date with kids TV, music and toys. Every now and then though I am reminded how wrong and old I am. So here is the top 10. Recognise any?

Doggie Doo, John Adams, RRP £22.99

Fijit Friends, Mattel, RRP £54.99

Fireman Sam Pontypandy Rescue Set, Character, RRP £29.99

Kidizoom Twist, VTech, RRP £49.99

LeapPad Explorer, Leapfrog Toys, RRP £79.99

Lets Rock Elmo, Hasbro, RRP £69.99

Milky the Bunny, Flair, RRP £59.99

Monster High Lagoona’s Hydration Station, Mattel, RRP £39.99

Moshling Tree House, Vivid, RRP £18.99

Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster, Hasbro, RRP £44.99

Me either!

So then, here are my top 5 Christmas gifts. Time for a festive list…

5) Kid size pool table. This was an unexpected present for both me and my sister. The problem with this gift was my curiosity, that coupled with the fact that I’d had an early night and was up way too early. Basically I’m making excuses for the fact that I peaked. The size of the thing meant that it couldn’t be wrapped so I saw it. Sorry Ma and Pa I had to do it.

4) Remote control car. I loved my car, it was awesome. It was red and fast, and that is all I remember. I do remember wanting one because my next door neighbour had one and I wanted my own. He was quite a bit older than me and infinitely more patient, so whereas mine was straight out of a box, he spent months building his. I do remember that when he finished it, he drove it straight down the drive, into the road and a car ran it over.

3) A Transformer. I never wanted Optimus prime, I was always after Megatron, something about turning into a gun I suppose. Looking back at the original transformers, and the new version I suppose, is how on Earth (or Cybertron for that matter) was it a good idea to turn into a car when you could be a plane. If I had to go to war I know which one I would prefer to be. Anyway, I was told not to let other kids play with it unless I knew them, I ignored this, it broke, I cried.

2) A pack of tampons. OK so not you traditional gift for a man or boy. To be fair, not really a gift for anyone. Could you imagine on Christmas morning ‘here you are dear, I hope you like them’. Anyway, I digress. We had a secret Santa with the lads many years ago, the remit was under £5 and pointless. I couldn’t have chosen better myself.

1) A speeder bike (the one that works in the forest of Endor). This is a star wars based present and it rocked. Not only was it able to fit neatly in my hand, not only did it come with a full size Luke Skywalker (in full camo gear) but it also exploded when you pressed a button on the back. I still enjoy watching the video of that Christmas as everyone is sitting, eating and being merry and every now and again I would run past shouting (not singing) the Star Wars theme tune.

It’s a strange thing growing up as Christmas doesn’t hold the same appeal it once did. If I really want something now then I can just buy it. If I wanted something then I would have to wait months and weeks to get it. What it does have though is the joy of being able to buy presents. I do love choosing stuff for other people in a way my younger self just wouldn’t understand. May the force be with you this festive season. Merry Christmas y’all.

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The best and worst Trilogy

What makes a good trilogy? Is it a good idea? is it something that gets better as you watch or read each one? Is it something that is well thought through? I am unsure what makes this magical thing of 3 great things, I can however tell you what makes a bad trilogy. Here are my top 3 bad trilogies.

1) The Godfather. This may surprise some, especially those that know me, but the Godfather trilogy is guilty of committing a terrible, terrible crime. The first Godfather film was amazing, made even more so by the fact I hadn’t seen it until the age of 25. I loved the interwoven story line, the effortless violence and completeness of it all. I loved it. Then came number 2. It was even better than the first and added another great Italian actor into the mix. The dual story lines went extremely well together and the whole ‘how times of changed’ angle was great. Number 3 was s**t. End of story. From such high expectations came a less than mediocre film. Why oh why!

2) Back to the Future (although the illustrator of the Squidge series disagrees). The first 2 films were interwoven so well that you couldn’t just stop at the first, although it dies stand alone very well. The ideas behind it, the great acting, and the fact that it makes you feel smarter than you are by being able to follow it. It hits all the right notes. Number 3 though, oh dear. It is all the things a western shouldn’t be and it really feels tacked on to the end as a money spinner. A flying steam-powered train? Really?

3) The Matrix. What a concept. seriously, what a concept. The real world isn’t the real world, the real world is a desolate waste land. Only one (the one) can save man kind. WOW. I walked out of the matrix thinking ‘how will they ever follow that up?’ The answer? Badly. I think that the idea of Zion was a very bad one, as did many other people. So much so that you can watch the Matrix de-zionised. check out U-tube. 

So then, to the best 3. Trilogies that I love.

1) Star Wars. It’s Star Wars, what else do you need? And yes, I am ignoring the prequels. Mr Lucas was given the green light on one film, even though he had 6 (or 9 if you believe certain quarters) he chose to start at number 4. He basically went for the best one for commercial viability. It gets better with both Empire and Jedi.

2) Lord of the Rings. Either the books or the films, I’m not fussy which. All films and books are wonderful, clever, linked and, as with all great stories, a tale of good versus evil. Now some people think they are a bit long and others liked them enough to buy the extended version. Guess which one I was! I would quite happily spend an entire day of my life watching back to back extended films. I have already done it with the 7 star wars films (I included the clone wars animated film).

3) Squidge: Little elf, Little bear. Ok, Ok, I admit it may not be the greatest of trilogies but it is close to my heart. It’s the story of an elf, a bear, some lemmings and a wolf pack. It was really fun to write, lets hope it is as fun to read.

Squidge: little elf, little bear.

That’s it from me. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Bestselling Author?

Strange as it may seem, and odd as it may feel, I am charting in both IBooks and Amazon Kindle and actually selling my books.

Let explain the oddness of this. Last year I had 1 book out, a publisher, an editor and an illustrator. This to me was odd. How could I, a hyperactive teacher, have all of these things? The book did really well, but that, I told myself, was because we were giving it away. Still, it did 50,000 or so and I felt a real pride of accomplishment.

Fast forward to this year. I was out with the lads yesterday (a very stereotypical gathering of men whose wives, girlfriends etc… had gone to a baby shower) and they asked me how the book was doing. A very simple question, but I froze in answering. What I should have done is go on a 10 minute sales pitch about the http://www.squidgeelf.com, or this website with all the links to the books, the kind of ‘tell all your friends and tell them all to tell their friends’ thing, but I didn’t. I told them that it was doing well, asked if they had read it, answered any questions, and left it there.

I think that because the book is selling, because it seems to be doing well, and because they are my mates from way back when, I was worried about sounding a little up my own backside!

I am very proud of what I and the proving house team have done but I do find it difficult to see myself as an author.

Andrew Thomas

Author?

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A double whammy today of poems and a pic. This is the poem from the second book, Little Elf, Big Problem.

Some issues arose with the name as it has, just as Big Trouble did, some negative connotations. I think though, Squidge being a cute fellow who gets in the kind of trouble that a child who was left with a jar of opened chocolate spread would, can pull it off.

 

 Squidge – Little Elf, Big Problem.

If you eat lots of chocolate and you’re not very tall,

If you can’t go on rides ‘cos you’re ever so small,

If you just cannot reach that jar on the shelf,

You’re either a very small child or an elf.

In our story today it’s an elf who’s the star,

Squidge, the littlest elf by far,

But before we meet Squidge and join in his fun,

Before we find out why our friend has to run,

We need to make sure that some other stuff’s done

And so our adventure starts: three… two…

 

“One more and then we can get out of here,” shouted the chief elf as he put the last of the covers on the big machines. “Right oh,” came the reply from his assistant.

 

Hope you like it. The full book is available here

Squidge IBooks

And here

Squidge amazon

Ands lots of free stuff here

Squidge Elf website

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Tis the season

1st of December already.

The kids in class have been asking for Christmas music, the Christmas displays are already up, the Christmas staff do is booked. More important by far though… The Christmas jumper is on.

Hello mince pies, hello Nat, Bing and Frank, hello mulled wine. Most important by far though… Hello Santa, long time no see.

I can’t wait!

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Climbing the charts

My book seems to be climbing the charts! Number 12 out of nearly 44,000.

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Elf poems

As promised, here is the poem for my first book. It’s available on IBooks and amazon. Just type in squidge and look for the little elf on the front cover.

I also included the first paragraph so it all makes sense.

 

There once was a time, long, long ago,
When toys were simple, and making them slow,
The elves would carve and chop and sew,
But that was a long, long, long, time ago.
And now, every year, as we get the first snow,
Santa opens his letters, but he does not know
What the children have asked for. He says: ‘Ho, ho, ho!
‘Such new fangled things, with screens all aglow!’
And so our story starts: ready, steady …

 
‘Go and fetch me the laptop!’ shouted an elf. Santa’s workshop had changed a lot. So much so that Santa was still trying to catch up with all these new-fangled hoojamaflips and wotsits. The workshop was still run by the elves,
but instead of toy soldiers and dolls, children now wanted all manner of things. Santa had tried to get most of the stuff made abroad and delivered to his workshop (like MP3 players, Plasma TVs and handheld games consoles) but
he still had lots of things that he made right there in Lapland. Santa still remembered the days when his workshop was full of elves hammering and sewing, but now they all worked on big machines and it looked more like a factory than a tidy little workshop. Santa had moved with the times and updated, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

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All hands on deck

As my title suggests, a very busy week this week. We are striving to release the next 3 Squidge books plus a new education pack. The education packs are based on the books and are aimed at primary school with a focus on literacy and writing.

The great thing about them is that the publisher proving house and I are in agreement that they should all be free.

It’s a mammoth task putting together all the resources, plans and flipcharts but I believe it is well worth it.

The Squidge books themselves all start with a poem (will try put some up when am back at my computer, iPhone at the mo) which leads into the story of a little elf with a nose for trouble. The next 3 books are a trilogy, with Squidge meeting a new friend.

I hope you enjoy reading them.

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