COVID-19: An Elaborate Plan To Shut Up Greta Thunberg…?

As the madness of the panic-demic of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 to the uninitiated) ebbs away – albeit far too slowly for my liking – and countries around the world (hurrying to bury the millions of bodies that were supposed to die from this new ‘plague’ but didn’t!) ease their lockdown strategies, one question has to be asked…

Cabbage Patch Thunberg
Greta Thunberg

Was this just an elaborate plan to shut up the ‘Cabbage Patch Doll Environmentalist’?

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Cabbage Patch Doll

I mean, even though global governments united to back her crazy ‘school strike’ plan by shutting all the schools and making children stay at home for months, we haven’t heard much from her during this lockdown, and governments (or the media propaganda machine!) haven’t really said much about ‘Climate Change’ – or anything else for that matter – which could actually influence the lives of BILLIONS of people on this planet, not just a handful.

As national economies crash around our ears – and let’s face it, that’s really all most people really care about – and we see governments open up their ‘tax-payer-backed’ cheque books and write blanks cheques for this panic-demic bail-out fiasco, another question has to be asked…

“Why couldn’t they spend TRILLIONS of dollars saving the planet and

SAVE billions of lives?”

I leave the discussion and possible answers up to you… I just think Greta does have a striking resemblance to a Cabbage Patch doll. You be the judge and jury: Continued COVID-19 Madness, dwindling human rights, and an on-going global recession, OR Cabbage Patch Environmentalism? Either way, it doesn’t really matter now, as global governments have spent all your money (IF you actually pay taxes – Amazon, a-hem!)  and don’t have anything left to save endangered animal species, the planet, only their careers, it would seem!

 

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Pattaya, Thailand

If you are visiting Thailand and looking for a reputable elephant experience, I can whole-heartedly recommend the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary just outside Pattaya (or any of their three other locations for that matter!) I promise you it will be something that will stay with you forever.

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If you’re in a rush, click on the image above to go to their website

Just before Christmas last year, I had the good fortune to visit an old friend in Thailand for the first time. One of the items on my ‘Must Do‘ list was to spend time with some elephants, as I’ve loved them since I was a kid – I mean, who doesn’t love elephants? A quick online search showed there were three choices in the Pattaya area, but which were ethical and not just tourist traps that exploited the creatures? It didn’t take long to discover the only one that didn’t mistreat the elephants was the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. The other two sites chained their elephants, let people ride them – which is a totally no-no as it’s not good for them – and their were even reports of the elephants at other sites being beaten in view of the visitors!!!

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary – My Experience in Words and Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll try and balance the two, and hopefully not bore you with either too many words or too many pictures, but I wish to capture my wonderful experience as best I can, not only for your benefit, but also in the hope that it will shed more light and support on this wonderful organisation and their great work

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The sanctuary offers a number of experiences dependent upon the amount of time you have and your budget, from a quick visit to see and pet them all the way up to a whole day trekking with them. I opted for something in the middle, which could either be a morning or afternoon experience. The price for this was 2500 Thai Baht, which worked out to be about sixty quid. Now, before you go screaming to the hills about the price, first remember the Baht is at an all-time high, but hear what you get for your money. This price included return transportation from my hotel (which would have cost at least 1000 Baht!) and a superb meal (which would have cost upwards of 500 Baht!) And that’s before I’ve told you what you get for the rest of your money (1000 Baht) which if you don’t think is terrific value for money, you probably can’t afford to travel to Thailand anyway, and should really think about buying a good book and a stay-cation instead!

What You Get For 1000 Baht

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I opted for the afternoon experience which began with the taxi picking me up from my hotel at 12.30. We stopped twice along the way to pick up two other elephant-lovers, and half an hour later we were out of the noisy city and in the countryside, bouncing up a dirt road towards the sanctuary. There was already a group of other eager elephant-lovers milling around the facility and interacting with the animals, and the guides told us to get to know the elephants while we waited for one more small group to arrive.

The Pattaya location had managed to rescue six elephants (other locations have more, especially the oldest site in Chang Mai to the north of Thailand) which ranged from the youngest, who was only three years old, all the way up to the Grandpa, who was over sixty! No matter what age, elephants are just so amazingly cute. Apart from on telly and in London zoo, I’ve never seen an elephant in the flesh, so to be in such close vicinity to these peaceful, majestic ‘land whales’ is almost beyond words to describe, but I’ll try.

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It’s hard to see, but this lovely lady is almost due to give birth!

The most obvious thing about elephants are their size, but they are anything but scary, as they move very slowly and cautiously – apart from their trunks when there’s food around! They have a very calm, almost meditative aura about them, and my first reaction was to just go up to this ‘mummy-to-be’ elephant and give her a big hug and kiss on the nose. As you would expect, their skin is very thick and tough, and stroking them is like getting an exfoliation! By the time the last group arrived by taxi, I’d said hello to all six elephants, and had learnt a lot from the many guides and handlers that were on site.

Feeding Time!

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Our group was approximately 40 in total, and came from all corners of the world. After a brief introduction given in very good English by one of the guides, outlining the action plan for the afternoon, safety protocol, and the ‘do’s and don’ts’ around elephants, it was time for the first activity: feeding the elephants! There were many, many baskets of food (bananas, cucumbers, and other vegetation) which we could feed the elephants either by holding it out and letting them grab it with their trunks, or – if we were feeling brave – say the word, “Bonn” and they would open their mouths, stick out their tongues, and we could feed them directly!

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Naturally, I chose to feed them directly, and was amazed how easy it was (and how enormous their tongues are!) There was so much food, it was probably about half an hour before all the food had gone, and the whole time was filled will laughter, amazement, and pure child-like bliss for all participants (and even a few strange shrieks from some of the more timid participants who got ‘goosed’ by the odd trunk or two!) As we were feeding the elephants, the wonderful aroma of Thai cooking wafted through the air, as the cooks prepared our meal.

The Elephant Mud Spa!

Having been instructed to change into our swimming gear, next on the agenda was to grab more bananas and lead the elephant troop alone a dusty pathway to their muddy watering hole for a well-earned mud spa! Guess who lead the way…?

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Oh, I forgot to mention, as I add all these wonderful photographs to this post, additionally in the price, there was a photographer on hand snapping merrily away, so you didn’t have to worry about missing anything, and could just focus on fully enjoying the experience! That probably would have cost another 1000 Baht to arrange!

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I don’t know who’s muddier, me or the baby elelphant!

Time to strip off and get muddy! Since I was there during the dry season, their mud hole was particularly dry, but the staff had prepared for that and there were plenty of buckets and wheel barrows full of lovely, sloppy mud for us to play with. Being almost 50, this experience simply knocked the years off me, as I became a big kid again! Looking around at the others, I could tell I wasn’t alone in this experience, especially as the guides actively encouraged us to get muddy ourselves!

Rinse and Scrub Time!

Like any good spa treatment, at some point you have to get clean again, and this is where the REAL fun began…

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Armed with water bowls and scrubbing brushes, we and the elephants plodded to the other side of the path where their ‘swimming pool’ was, and actively began tossing water over the elephants and ourselves, scrubbing them clean. We were all upstaged by baby elephant to immediately lay on his side, completely submerged, with only the end of his trunk sticking out of the water like a snorkel, and began to thrash his legs about with glee!

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If you look VERY closely, you can just see baby elephant in the water in front of me.

Playtime over, it was time to lead the elephants back to camp, and have a proper shower and clean-up before dinner time. All of the facilities were clean, in great working order, and more than you would have expected for such a remote and basic location – trust me, I witnessed far worse facilities in some of the bars and restaurants in Pattaya!

Our Thai buffet was ready and waiting for us with food aplenty! They had even catered for all participants dietary requirements with vegetarian and vegan options, and fruit to finish off with. Between bites of food, the conversation was filled with expressions of how amazing the experience had been and, “Way more than I had expected…” and, “This is such great value for money…!”

And as if that wasn’t enough, they had even more surprises: each of us got a reusable, sustainable shopping bag as a keepsake and reminder of our experience, and there was one final activity before our taxi rides home, but I’ll let you search their website to find out what this one is! The only clue I’ll give you is that it sure surprised me…!

Find Out More About Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. I hope I’ve whet your appetite and you’re keen to know more, or have the experience yourself. If that’s the case, or you simply want to help spread the word about their great work, please share this post, use the links below to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and generally spread the word!

Website: https://elephantjunglesanctuary.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ejspattaya/

Twitter: @ejspattaya

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Charlie One Thumbnail

Anthony Donnelly is a British author, actor, and life coach, more recently known for his charity, children’s book series, “Charlie, the Migrating Snail”, which is available to buy on Amazon by clicking the book cover to the right.

Super-discounted Amazon Price Only £2.43 – Limited Time Offer!!!

For reasons that totally baffle me, Amazon has discounted the paperback copy of my book by over 75% from £9.99 down to only £2.43. I don’t know why they’ve done this and I don’t know how long this special offer will last, but if you’ve not bought a copy of Charlie, The Migrating Snail yet, now is a perfect time to make that purchase!

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Stay tuned for exciting news to come soon about Charlie’s Causes Painting Competition, and follow us on our new Facebook Page.

Video: When The Trees Held Their Breath

After the successful publication of the ebook version of When The Trees Held Their Breath, the environmental fable I wrote back when I was Greta Thunberg’s age, I’m happy to have now finished the video version with me reading the prose as the haunting, real life black and white photographs cross fade on the screen. I hope you enjoy it, and it has an impact on you. If it does, please feel free to share it far and wide on social media.

Please consider sharing this, make a comment on YouTube, or purchase an ebook via the link below. Proceeds from book sales go towards my efforts to help global reforestation programs.

BUY THE EBOOK HERE

Can A Snail Change The World?

I HAVE A DREAM…! To many, a laughable dream. To some, an unachievable dream. To others, perhaps, a dream worth dreaming and thinking about:

World Peace.

Isn’t it time?

With all the wealth, with all the people, with all the technology, the social media, and all the resources we have, surely, wouldn’t you think we would have achieved World Peace by now?

It’s been decades since Dr. Martin Luther King jr. gave his iconic speech, Mahatma Gandhi has long since passed into the annuls of time, Nelson Mandela is no longer imprisoned on this plane, and the lyrics to John Lennon’s amazing song are mere ‘Imagine-ation’… So where are our new Peace-leaders going to come from?

I hate to use the ‘B-word’, but if we are relying on our Governments to sort out the REAL issues in the world, we’ll be waiting a really, really, really, really, no, really long time! It is, and always has been in my mind, down to us – The People – to take action and be the change we want to see in the world!

#BeTheChange has that been taken yet? What would the great Peace-Leaders of old have made of the Internet? Would they have made a bigger impact, or would they have been easier targets for trolls, lobbyists, and nay-sayers? We can only speculate… So, who is brave enough to pick up the baton of peace and start running with it now?

Enter “Charlie, The Migrating Snail”

Peace Charlie

He may not be the smartest contender, but look at who he’s up against…? More to the point, let’s look at what he is achieving with very limited resources compared to our World Leaders. He’s already on a campaign to raise 10,000 Euros to help homelessness in Dublin! That might not sound like much, but he’s only a month old and has raised over 500 Euro already! Just imagine what he could do given the chance…?

And this little charity snail isn’t stopping with homelessness, through Charlie’s Causes he’ll be making a massive impact in all sorts of other areas too!

Please check out his website and check out his story.

World Peace may be a few years off yet, but just imagine what we can achieve as we journey towards that goal…? If not now, when?

#CharlieTheWorldPeaceSnail

HIGH ON LOVE – A New Novel, Input Needed.

CHAPTER ONE – STONED-BAKED PIZZA

 

There wasn’t anything particularly special about Daniel Jones. He was just your average, twenty-something kid trying to find love and happiness in a world he was desperately trying to understand. He wasn’t good looking, there was nothing striking about him, and his personality matched his physical appearance. He had no real ambitions to speak of, and spent most of his time trying to work out what it was he was going to do with the rest of his life. If you met him – not that you’d probably even notice him – you’d probably say he was a geek. He’d agree with that statement, he was a geek. He liked StarWars, and SciFi in general, computer games, the Internet, and weed. Oh, yes, he really liked weed.

In fact, weed was a very big part of his life. He’d discovered weed when he was a teenager, and it just ‘fit’ his lifestyle. He loved everything about it: the smell, the buzz, the culture, the fact that all his problems melted away when he was stoned, everything. He was stoned most of the time, which wasn’t a problem, it helped him cope with life. Although they didn’t notice at first (it took a year for them to actually realise) his weed habit was of great concern to his parents at the time, as his weed-induced cloud of apathy meant his grades were slipping and he didn’t really engage with anyone or anything.

In stark contrast to their son, Daniel’s parents were over-achievers. His Dad had charm and wit, and had made a name (and an awful lot of money!) for himself in sales. He had ‘the gift of the gab’, as they say. Likewise his Mum was attractive and popular, which helped in her role as a medical consultant for a large pharmaceutical corporation. They both worked a lot, an awful lot, and growing up they weren’t really very active in his life. That was all immaterial now, as they had both died tragically a couple of years back in a hit-and-run car accident. To many people that would have been a hard event to overcome, but because he was stoned when his uncle told him the news, and the fact that he’d just inherited a ‘small fortune’, all he could say was, “Cool…”

The small fortune turned out to be a very large windfall: two life insurance policies, investment portfolios, the house and other assets almost amounted to 8-figures. As an only child, it was all his. His uncle, being a financial consultant, packaged everything in such a way that Daniel would never have to work a day in his life, if he didn’t want to. An allowance check was deposited into his account every month from the interest of the collective portfolio, a check larger than most people’s salaries. This was very handy for a geeky stoner like Daniel, as it meant he could indulge his passion for pot without distraction.

That is exactly what he was currently doing, and had been for a good few hours. He was lying outstretched upon his couch, staring up at the ceiling. The ashtray – or ‘hashtry’ as he liked to call it – balanced on his chest, where he occasionally tapped the ash from his joint. He blew smoke rings up to the ceiling as he watched a very large spider crawl along upside-down.

‘I wonder if the blood ever rushes to its head?’ he mused, wondering if the spider was as high as he was. As if sensing his thoughts, the spider stopped directly over him, and very slowly started to abseil towards him on a tiny spidey-thread.

“Cool…” he said, exhaling a plume of smoke.

The spider stopped about two feet from his face and just dangled there, as if doing some David Blane trick.

“Totally cool…”

Daniel toked the remains of the joint and stubbed it out, as the spider climbed all the way back up the thread and continued its upside-down walk upon the ceiling.

“So, what are you going to do today, Dan?” He often talked to himself when he was alone. A little more worrying was that he often answered himself.

“What time is it anyway?”

He moved the ashtray to the table as he slowly sat up and looked around the room. He’d sold the family house shortly after the funeral and bought a smaller property not far from the beach. It wasn’t grand, but it was large enough: a few bedrooms, a great deck to the back, an adequate kitchen, and a huge living room. The couch was in the middle of the room, a large plasma TV on one wall, a coffee table, beanbag seats scattered around the room, and his pride and joy: a classic pinball machine. He rummaged in his pocket and retrieved his phone: 16:02.

“Fuck! No wonder I’m hungry.”

He stood, felt totally stoned, and collapsed backwards onto the couch.

“Fuck!”

He burst into uncontrollable laughter.

“Let’s try that again, shall we…”

This time the head-rush wasn’t so intense and he maintained his balance. He shuffled towards the curtains and slowly pulled them open. A brilliance of Californian sunshine exploded in his face. Like a paranoid vampire, he immediately drew them shut again.

“Oh, fuck!”

“Not a good idea, Dan…”

He blinked and felt rather confused. Like an amnesiac searching for a memory, he wondered what the fuck he was doing standing in front of the curtains.

“Oh yeah, food…”

As he turned in the direction of the kitchen, he caught a glimpse of his weed paraphernalia upon the coffee table, but thought better of skinning up again, and shuffled towards the back of the room. Because he didn’t like shopping, and he certainly didn’t like cleaning – and he could afford it – he had a cleaning lady that came twice a week, and he had a part-time house keeper that stocked the kitchen with food, so there was always stuff to eat.

The refrigerator doors were wide open still from that morning – the last time he’d remembered he was hungry. It was packed full of food: meats, cheeses, milk, juice, yoghurts, and beer – a lot of beer.

“So, what do you fancy for…” he paused, thinking, “is it too late to say breakfast? Is there even a specific time for breakfast…?”

He caught sight of the beer bottles and decided he really should have a beer while he pondered the question. He popped the lid and took a refreshingly long drink.

“Breakfast of champions!”

He closed the refrigerator doors, and stared aimlessly out of the kitchen window at the deck and yard. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d actually gone outside. He was sure he’d had a deck party not long ago, but it could have been weeks past. That was the problem when you spent every day smoking weed and just chilling out: life just blurred into one long foggy memory. Most of his bills were paid automatically through the trust, and about the only thing he had to worry about was that he had enough weed to smoke.

“Oh, shit…!”

The thought of running out of weed terrified him for an instant, and he forgot about food, and rushed as fast as he could (which wasn’t that fast) back to the living room. In a paranoid daze he surveyed the coffee table and took inventory: there was his pipe, his papers, a number of lighters, half a pack of smokes, and – thankfully – half a bag of weed.

He flopped back down on to the couch and took another swig of beer. His heart was racing. Pulling out his phone, he checked the time again: 16:32. There were no messages, which was a little odd, as he usually got a call or a text from one of his stoner buddies asking if they could come round and hang. Finishing the beer, he realised the buzz from earlier was wearing off, and he probably should skin up again.

He took a long, hard drag on the joint, held it for as long as he could, then exhaled a huge plume of smoke, and watched it merge with the semi-darkness of the room. The more he smoked, the more he drifted into the ether. He leant back into the couch, and connected with the extreme relaxation that flowed through his body.

“Have you ever wondered… if we really are spiritual beings having a physical experience, how come we don’t have super powers…?”

When Daniel finally woke up and came back to Earth, his living room was filled with ambient music mixing with the aroma of weed and incense, and three of his stoner buddies had materialised.

Nick the Hippy, so called because he looked like Nick Nolte and was an aging hippy, was posing his usual questions about existence. None of them were sure how old he was, as he knew so much about life and the world, but didn’t look old enough to know what he knew. He was a cool dude, and always had some amazing shit to smoke.

“We do,” replied Paul, “well, I do… I’m Blow Boy… I become invincible when I’m high…”

Paul was the youngest of the group, and a polar opposite to Nick the Hippy. He still lived with his parents, worked at the local coffee shop, and knew a lot about nothing. He was always good for a laugh, because you could guarantee he’d say something so ridiculous at some point and have the room in stitches of laughter.

“Blow Boy?” said Mike, chuckling, “You sound like some character in a gay porno!”

The room filled with snickers and laughter as the rest of them joined in the joke. Mike was probably the most ambitious of the group. He’d been a young entrepreneur and had created some really cool app that made him a lot of money at the time, but had since become obsolete. He’d never quite regained his former glory, but still believed his next best idea was just around the corner.

As Daniel slowly came to, he glanced around the room. Cartoons played on the huge TV screen, with the sound off, casting strange shadows across the walls. The two lava lamps ‘glooped’ like alien jelly fish in their tanks. Two large pizza boxes lay on the floor.

“What time is it?” he asked foggily.

“Hey dude!” said Mike, offering his lit joint, “Hit…?”

“Sure.”

“Welcome back to Earth…” Nick the Hippy always said that when someone came back from a trip.

“I thought Blow Boy was a good name,” said Paul, trying to regain some credibility and rekindle the conversation. Instead it just brought more giggles, which Dan joined in with this time, as the weed took root.

“Is it a bird…? Is it a plane…? No, it’s Blow Boy!” Dan’s comment sent them all over the edge, and laughter echoed around the cavernous room once more.

“Faster than a speeding blowjob!” added Mike, which stirred up even more laughter.

“It’s not that funny!” said Paul, the only one not joining in the laughter. “I’m getting a beer… anyone want anything?”

As he left the room Dan reached over and grabbed a slice of pizza, remembering he’d not eaten all day. He checked the time: 21:12.

“Fuck! No wonder I’m so hungry.”

“That’s the munchies, dude,” said Nick the Hippy, packing some weed into his pipe. “Try this. It’s some new shit I’ve been cultivating…”

Dan took a good, long drag. “Wow! That’s really smooth…”

“Wait until it kicks in…” said Nick the Hippy, a new moon smile beaming across his rugged face.

Ripples of serenity washed over Dan’s body, and he closed his eyes, it was like floating, like being a warm wave, like being vibration, like nothing he’d felt before.

“Good, right?” said Nick the Hippy.

“Oh yeah…” sighed Dan, as he drifted deeper into bliss.

Paul appeared in the kitchen doorway, an unopened beer bottle in his hand. “Has anyone seen the bottle opener?”

“Why don’t you use your super powers Blow Boy!”

As Nick and Mike fell into laughter, Paul turned back to the kitchen, irritated, and continued his quest for the allusive bottle opener. Dan opened his eyes again and looked admiringly at Nick the Hippy.

“That’s some seriously good shit, man!”

“Right?”

“And you recon that’s gonna be even better in a couple of weeks?” Mike had tried some about an hour earlier, and was still buzzing.

Nick the Hippy had barely moved from his Buddha-like stance upon one of the beanbags, legs crossed, his distended belly exaggerating the colourful tie-die t-shirt he was wearing, a bead headband holding back his slightly-greying long mop of blonde hair.

“These are just some leaves I pulled off and dried, just to try it. In about two weeks I’ll try some again and probably harvest the whole plant…”

“Cool…” said Mike and Dan in unison.

Paul stormed back into the room still holding the unopened beer bottle.

“I give up!”

“Not much of a super hero Blow Boy if you can’t even open a beer.”

Finally joining the conversation, Dan said, “Oh, you need the beer opener…? I’ve got it here in my pocket…”

“Thanks!”

He took a long swig of beer and sat back down on his beanbag.

“Can we please stop with the Blow Boy shit now? It’s not that funny!”

Dan looked around the room again, and realised someone was missing, “Where’s Tram tonight?”

“Oh, didn’t you hear, he got a new job,” said Mike. “He’ll be by later with more pizza… that’s where the pizza came from… he’s delivering for Pronto Pizza now…”

“Cool…”

“What happened to his last job?” inquired Nick the Hippy, loading up his pipe again.

“He failed the whizz-quiz…”

“Bummer!”

“Yeah! Who knew you had to take a piss-test as a delivery boy, eh?”

“This world’s fucked up!”

“Amen to that, brother…”

Realising he was still very hungry, Dan asked, “Speaking of pizza… is there any left?”

“You took the last piece, dude.”

“Shall I order us some more…?”

“Your kitchen is full of food, mate…” said Paul, glad to finally get back into the conversation without the mention of Blow Boy.

“I went there this morning… and this afternoon… I didn’t fancy any of that…”

Taking a huge hit off his pipe, Nick the Hippy said, “Food, food everywhere, but not  a bite to eat…”

“I’ve got the latest StarTrek DVD! Anyone want to watch it?” Paul wasn’t sure why he’d changed the subject from food to StarTrek, but he brandished the DVD like he’d won an Olympic medal.

“This really is great shit…” exhaled Nick the Hippy.

“What time did Tram say he’d swing by?”

“After his shift…”

“What time’s that?”

“I don’t know, it’s his first day… Probably after eleven…?” Mike said, questioningly.

“What time is it now?”

“I’ve not watched it yet, but it got really good reviews…”

Everyone was ignoring Paul, the failing Olympian.

“Time is an illusion…” plumed Nick the Hippy.

“It’s almost eleven…”

“I’ll just pop it in, shall I…?”

“Time is as real as you and I… the ancients knew that…”

If the spider on the ceiling was still around, and had the ability to understand, it would have been completely disoriented by the disjointed conversations happening in that room. It might even have fallen off the ceiling in confusion, or it might have realised that it didn’t exist and disappear completely. But it wasn’t, so it didn’t. Instead, the door bell rang, bringing them all back to ‘reality’.

“Oh, fuck!”

“It’s the door,” said Paul, “shall I answer it?”

Before Dan had a chance to respond, Paul was on his feet, DVD in hand, and had opened the door wide to reveal their nocturnal visitor. In the darkness of the porch all that was visible were two overly large white eyeballs and an enormous toothy grin. The gunshot laughter immediately revealed who it was.

“Anybody order pizza?” said Tram, stepping into the room. “Oh, cool, the new StarTrek DVD, I’ve been meaning to get me a copy of that…”

Tram was a hybrid of Cedric the Entertainer and Chris Rock, all teeth and eyes, and an infectious laugh, very loud, until he got stoned, then he’d mellow out.

Strutting into the room, brandishing the insulated pizza case, he repeated, “I said, any of you niggas order pizza?”

“Perfect timing, Tram,” said Dan.

“Fer yo masser, I bringin yer favorit: Quatro Staggione…” he said, feigning a black slave, and handing one of the pizza boxes to him.

“Awesome!”

“An which one of you animal eating motherfuckers wants the meat lovers…? Fuck it, you’all can help yerself… I needs me some canna-bliss…”

He dumped the pizza case in the middle of the floor and started skinning up a massive joint. Toking strongly on the huge doob, he said, “Now that’s what I’m fucking talking about…” Flopping down on one of the beanbags, he added, “So, what you sad motherfuckers up to…?”

Tram was a new addition to the group. They’d met under very similar conditions as that night. He’d been delivering pizza for another company about a year ago, and rang on Dan’s door in much the same way as tonight. As Dan swung the front door open, Tram was hit with a cloud of weed smoke and an extremely high Dan.

“Damn motherfucker! No wonder you’all ordered so many pizzas! You must have the munchies of a motherfucker!”

Dan just smiled at him, holding the door for support. Tram stepped into the living room and looked at the motley group of stoners: Mike, Paul, and Nick the Hippy, who offered up his pipe.

“Would you care to join us…?”

“My kinda niggas!” he said, putting the pizza case down and sparking up the pipe. “Oh… now that’s some real smooth shit, man!”

The other four just nodded knowingly, and started tucking into the pizza.

“Yo having some kinda party or something…? Where the girls at…? Oh, this really is good shit…”

“It’s just us, it’s pizza night!” said Paul, which wasn’t particularly funny, but the rest were so stoned it set them into convulsions of laughter all the same. As soon as Tram started laughing with them, he had them rolling on the floor.

“You wanna hang?” inquired Dan, “Or do you have more deliveries to make?”

He didn’t, and the rest, as they say, is history. Tram became their delivery boy of choice, and a regular nocturnal visitor and toker.

“It’s pizza night!” said Paul.

Nobody laughed.

“Shall I put the DVD in?”

“I thought you’d done that ages ago, Blow Boy,” said Mike.

“Blow Boy…?” asked Tram, pulling the last remnants of the pipe.

“Yeah, it’s his super hero name…”

“Blow Boy? Sounds like some gay porno or something!”

“That’s what we said!”

Laughter filled the room once more.

Trying to ignore them, Paul put in the DVD, mumbling, “Alright, I’ll put it in now…”

“Nah! That’s the other guy’s line!” Tram snorted, sending them all into more fits of laughter.

The movie started, but nobody was really interested except Paul, who tried desperately to engross himself in the film and ignore the comments and laughter of the others.

The Blow Boy comments dried up, and finally Tram remembered, “Didn’t you say you were buying a gravity bong the last time I came round?”

“A gravity bong? Serious shit man…” said Mike, curiously.

“Yeah, I ordered it today… I would have ordered it sooner, but I got stoned and forgot.”

***

It’s just Chapter One… there’s more to come, but I’d really like to know:

  1. Did you enjoy it? Why? What?
  2. Would you read more? Likewise.
  3. Which character(s) do you like most? Why?
  4. Can you see this as a film?

I’d very much like to hear your comments below, and everyone that comments will get a signed copy of the final book.

I thank you all in advance for your help!

 

 

my_first_goalsettin_cover_for_kindle

Anthony James Donnelly is an author, motivational and business coach, and life guide. He has spent over 20 years working directly with individuals and corporations to adjust their perspectives on life. In his latest book, “My First Goal-Setting Book: How To Effectively Set & Achieve Your Life Goals”, he concisely explains how to get whatever you want out of life.

Thoughts Behind the Making of “One”, a Short Film by Anthony James Donnelly

I AM truly amazed – and humbled – by the great, early response to my debut short film, “One”. Thank you all…! Since it has been so well received, I thought I’d share some of the concept and thinking behind the project, just in case any fellow actors and film makers are interested.

Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve wanted to make films: I’m fascinated by the whole process behind film making, and I feel very fortunate that I am able to act in the industry for a living. A little over a week ago, I invested in a video camera, and whilst playing around with it, I got the idea in my head to make a short film – how difficult can it possibly be, right?

The brief was quite simple: “With no budget and no other people involved, could I film and produce a short film that told a compelling story and hopefully evoke an emotional response, all in only one week?”

To stack things in my favour, I decided to shoot without dialogue to save the challenges of dubbing and syncing up the sound in the editing process – and I’d never edited anything before! The theme of ‘one’ became the focal point initially, then as I began shooting rough footage, the story of this lonely man emerged. I love playing with words, and I saw that in the word ‘lonely’ you have the words ‘one’ and ‘only’, so I started to evolve concepts of mundanity and how we overlook the ordinary, yet essential things we use in life – including people! Additionally, there is an interconnectedness between things: a toothbrush needs toothpaste, gloves come in pairs, etc.

I was fortunate enough to discover some royalty-free music by the talented composer, Kevin MacLeod, which gave the footage a very sombre feel, yet had a lot of diversity in the melody, which I hoped to utilize in the editing phase. Adding to the bleak feel of the film, it was a very early decision to shoot the whole thing in black and white.

Utilizing the ‘Bollywood’ shooting method (minimal number of takes, no complicated scenes, just shoot and move on) I was able to get an awful lot of footage in a very short period of time, often doing only one take. My biggest concern was shooting footage of myself – as I was also the cameraman! – I wondered, if I set up my camera on its tripod and then walked away to go acting, would somebody run off with my equipment? Thankfully, the opposite was true, almost as if passers-by couldn’t believe there could only be one person involved, they all steered well clear of the equipment!

All in all, it was an incredible experience, and I believe my little experiment has worked. It’s already inspired some fellow actors to follow suit and try to produce their own shorts. Hopefully you have found this inspiring as well, why not give it a go. I had a lot of fun shooting this in between working and daily life. It IS possible, if you have the will and the motivation. I’m looking forward to shooting my next short film soon.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t give too much of the plot away, but I’d love to hear any constructive comments and feedback, either on here or on the youtube page.

Many, many thanks, I hope you enjoy it…

Book Reviews: When The Rainbow Smiled by Anthony James Donnelly

Rainbows New Cover

I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas. I hope many of you managed to take advantage of my free books over the holiday season. My best presents this year are these two early reviews that have come in for my latest publication When The Rainbow Smiled.

A big thank you to both of these reviewers, what lovely words! Thank you both for taking the time to rate and write a review.

Beautifully written and illustrated short story for all ages.

A perfect accompanyment to ‘When the Trees Held Thier Breath’. This thought provoking story seems to have the ability to speak to you on many levels when considering what is happening around the world today and the society we live in. It’s a book that you can read and read again and reflect on the message of kindness, sharing and freedom of choice and what can happen when we do none of those things. If you are wanting something a little different to share with your children then buy this book!

Five Stars

Such a beautiful book. Thoughtful, thought-provoking and wonderfully illustrated. Warmth on a page.

 A beautiful book, with the charm

A beautiful book, with the charm, delight and unexpected discovery of childhood innocence. The way Anthony Donnelly has unfolded the parable, we are taken on a journey that makes not only the rainbow smile, but our hearts too. A book to read to be inspired, to be lifted and to share.

How lovely to have one of my books referred to as, ‘warmth on a page’. Here’s hoping your year ends well and the New Year begins well and continues to bring you love, success and happiness.

Bullshit London Tours

Bullshit London CollageWhat an exciting weekend that was!

Whether you’re new to London or have lived here for centuries, Bullshit London Tours are sure to entertain and surprise you! I managed to piggy-back off a group of six Australian tourists that had booked an off-peak tour (main season is April – October) with our host, guide, and comic entertainer, Reuben Williams (if that name is to be believed!)

Learn who stole the clock from St Pauls… where God lives… the world’s smallest children’s prison… and much, much more…!

My favorite part had to be the guided tour of the famous Swedish soap opera film set…

As said, if you thought you knew London, think again!!!

For more details and bookings, check out their website: http://www.bullshitlondon.com/

“A tenner! This tour’s worth more than a tenner…”

“Oh, okay, here’s twenty!”

“Twenty! Twenty? Nah, nah, you have to haggle…”

If Monty Python did London tours… this might well be it.

 

SPECIAL TIP: Ask them about their special pub crawl…