Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Walk Like an Egyptian

First of all, gentle readers, allow me to introduce a new member of the Tuttle writing team.

Bear Kingsley, seated center, says hello.
Now, long-time fans already know Mr Bones (seated, skeleton right) and Mr. Skull (resting left). Please say hello to new bear Kingsley, who came to me all the way from the UK courtesy of my friend Sue Sadler.

Sue, please know that Kingsley is quite happy in his new home. Mr. Skull and Mr. Bones are thrilled to have someone new to talk to, and it turns out even British stuffed bears have remarkably melodious accents. So thanks! I need all the inspiration I can get!

Speaking of Egypt (yeah, we weren't, but clever transitions are the first to go when I've got a headache), there is disturbing news out about the place. No, I don't mean political unrest -- I mean the old gods awake from slumber, plagues of locusts, a hundred days of darkness kind of disturbing. 

I refer to this news item, which reports that a 4,000 year old Egyptian statue has been observed turning in circles inside its sealed glass case.

That's right, people. The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb is awake! It will not rest until it has VENGEANCE!

Or until they slip some rubber vibration dampers under the case. Or VENGEANCE! You've got to admit that's more dramatic than simple motion transfer. I suppose if one wanted one could combine the two, and assert that the angered statue is seeking vengeance by turning in slow circles inside its case when heavy traffic passes by, but that lacks a certain Old Testament flair.

Anyway, here's a link to the story of the moving statue, and since the source is The Sun, you know it's the unvarnished truth.... 


Many claim Nature is filled with multitudinous wonders.

I say Nature is full of bugs.

Think I'm wrong? Turn over a rock. Look under a log. Leave a pristine fried egg sandwich out on a clean white plate for 30 seconds. I don't care if your plate rests on a table inside a sealed nuclear confinement chamber deep inside a super-secret Shadow Government Doomsday project, a fly will land on that sandwich even if it has to crawl through sixteen miles of hot glowing magma to get there.

Because that's what bugs do.

I was out with my camera earlier when I spied a white fuzzy crawling thing making its way up the trunk of the massive silver birch tree in the backyard. I watched the white fuzzy crawling thing for a moment, because MY LIFE IS TRULY THAT BORING, and maybe some bug sixth sense warned the caterpillar it was being observed because it ducked beneath a piece of bark.

I set my trusty Fuji for near-field and took the following shots:

Bloody paparazzi, can't crawl anywhere these days...

It seems Mr. White Hairy Bug has friends! They watched me watching them, waving their antenna in what I can only assume was a friendly greeting.

Despite my expert wilderness tracking skills (I once found an open Wendy's burger joint without using a GPS, in a light misting rain), I couldn't name these creepy-crawlies. So I went to the net, and found that we are viewing a cluster of common caterpillars called F. Horriblis Terriblis, which will spend 120 days in the caterpillar stage before entering a cocoon and ultimately emerging as:

Yeah, a can of Raid isn't going to work here...
On the upside of having a monster gestating in the backyard, that really should end our mole problem once and for all.


Nature isn't all about deadly bugs who seek to consume our tender, tasty flesh.

It's also filled with enormous celestial bodies careening towards our fair planet, intent on smashing it into molten, lifeless bits.

Even the Moon gets in on the act, now and then. You see, the Lunar orbit is, despite what you've been told, wildly variable. Sometimes the Moon comes within sixteen miles of the Earth's surface. Sometimes it veers off course and threatens to hurl us screaming into the sun. It has even been known to hit your eye like a big pizza pie (what astronomers call 'an amore').

That's all according to the History Channel, at least. Which should be re-named the 'Aliens Are Here to Kill Us All' Channel, and should be put next to 'Dim-Witted Rednecks With Too Many Regressive Genes' channel (formerly TLC) in the lineup.

The truth is that this weekend's so-called 'supermoon' was basically indistinguishable from your run-of-the-mill Joe Six-pack workaday moon. Yes, it was at its orbital near point to us, but we're talking a truly small measure of near.

But hey, it was a clear night, so I stepped outside with 35 billion biting, stinging, gnawing bugs and had a look.

I even took photos, as seen below, in the stunning image NASA DOESN'T WANT YOU TO SEE!

Bonus points to anyone who can correctly explain the significance of this genuine, un-retouched image! Heck I'll send a signed copy of THE BROKEN BELL to the first one to email me with the name of the pipe-smoking man in the image. 

Maybe the next supermoon, I'll remember to adjust for the Moon's inherent brightness, so I won't wind up with 62 pics of a featureless white disc. Nice going there, Frank!


A few of you may recall mention of a local 'best of' contest here in my hometown of Oxford, last week.

Here's a link back to the blog entry concerning that.

But that's not the end of the story! It seems that a number of Oxonians, upon reading my name in the local paper as winning the Best Local Writer title, called and emailed the local paper's editor asking just who the heck this Frank Tuttle character is.

There was, it seems, suspicion that I am not even real.

Face it, there's something fishy about this Tuttle character...
That suspicion stems from an old episode of the TV show MASH. In that episode, Hawkeye and Trapper created a fictitious captain named Frank Tuttle and diverted all his pay to the local orphanage. 

All was well until the Army press caught wind of the selfless and heroic Captain Tuttle. Hawkeye and crew then faked the Captain's death to get out of the mess they created.

So naturally, forty years after that episode aired, a few of my fellow citizens decided I was nothing more than the long-planned realization of that TV trope.

The editor of the paper (The Oxford Eagle) called me and we had a good laugh verifying my existence. You can see the start of the story that ran last week here.

So that mystery, at least, is solved. I am me, and I have the paperwork to prove it. 

Unless I forged all that too....bwahahahahaha.

In writing news, well, I have plenty. The first draft of the new Markhat is out with my fearless beta-reader, who is even now probably trying to think of a gentle way to tell me I jumped the shark on Book Number Eight.

The new Meralda and Mug, which is entitled All the Turns of Light, is officially underway! So I beg just a little more patience from fans of that series. I promise it won't be long!

That's all for this week. Be sure to tune in next Sunday for more awe-inspiring pictures of things I find crawling around and inexcusably overexposed images of Earth's closet neighbor, the planet Krypton.

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