Tag Archives: spam

Spam, Spam, Spam . . .

Sorry, I seem to have become an unreliable WordPresser recently – not much reading and some very erratic writing. I won’t promise to try harder because, believe it or not, I am trying harder. I’m just not very good at it.

It’s partly the fault of the Russians. They invaded Ukraine, gas supplies went up in price and we all decided to economise. That means I spend more time in the living room and less in the dining room. That is where I do my writing, on a junk covered table that has been used as a desk far longer than it was ever used as a dining table (and was actually a second-hand office table I was given about forty years ago). Conjure with that mental picture for a while, it’s hard to imagine why I’ve never been featured in a glossy magazine spread on elegant living, isn’t it?

We have, so far, only had the heating on for one day. It’s a mild autumn, which is lucky. The living room is a slightly warmer room than the dining room, which opens onto the kitchen and faces north. The living room has thicker carpets and is smaller and less draughty. We sit there with blankets on our knees talking about the good old days and saving money on gas so we can spend it on cake and my collection.

I could write in the living room, but I don’t write well when I balance a laptop on my knee, and it seems anti-social. I could use a pad and pen, but these days it’s harder to write when TV is on – I no longer have that youthful capacity to work and listen to TV. Sometimes I even find it hard to converse while TV is on.

So there you go – Russians, cold, WP and my mental decline, all in one post.

So, why the title? It’s because I was researching some South African medals on a family history website. Ancestry, my normal site, doesn’t cover South Africa, so I tried some others. One of them seems to have triggered an avalanche of spam. First of all I got adverts for anti-virus software and then threats about harmful viruses on my computer. I’ve had them before, but have ignored them and they have faded away.This time, though they came to nothing, they did leave me with an annoying number of pop-ups. I’ve downloaded a free pop-up blocker. So far this morning it has blocked 62 pop-ups – that’s about one every twenty seconds. It’s hard work using a computer when a third of the screen is constantly choked with spam. I am, to say the least, frustrated and annoyed, and wishing I’d not bothered with the South African family research.

The picture? Fund-raising flags for Serbia, from around 1914. We bought them in with some junk a few weeks ago. The problem with the Balkans are still with us, as are our problems with the Russian Bear and jingoism.

Feeling more like my old self

Since writing the word “covid” in the blog I seem to have attracted a number of people who want to make comments on the evils of vaccination. Covid made me tired, but it didn’t make me tolerant. I’m happy for you to have the freedom to express your views but I’d like you to express them where I don’t have to see them. I have found out where the Spam button is and have, to be honest, enjoyed using it.

My unscientific observations seem to show that people who have had two vaccinations (and this sample includes two 80 year olds and a man with a serious heart problem) tend to describe covid as like having a bad cold, and being very tired. They don’t, as unvaccinated people still do, tend to clog up hospital beds and die.

If I eventually find that covid was a government plot or a way to vaccinate me with mind control nanobots I will just have to accept that I was wrong. Considering that our government couldn’t organise a party in a brewery I find it unlikely that they have managed to orchestrate a massive vaccine-based attack on society.

I’m now searching for a witty and upbeat ending. I’ve tried a couple but they are all rather bleak. That’s what happens when you write about governments and death.

Instead, I will merely point you in the direction of this link. Encourage bio-diversity by helping a Hen Harrier.  I normally get annoyed when people give to animal charities when there are so many humans needing help, but I like birds and don’t mind giving a few quid to help, particularly as the wife of a well known blogger is involved in the project.

I searched for a picture of a harrier (though I only have pictures of Marsh Harriers) but kept seeing food pictures. I am still hungry . . .

It’s Afternoon Tea at Botham’s of Whitby in September 2019.

A Pleasant Surprise, a Haibun and another Senior Moment

Today, the 19th of September 2021, I had  pleasant surprise. I opened up Drifting Sands Haibun and found my haibun on the front page. I added the date because it will change over time. We are due for a new issue soon and it will change. But for a short while, I was there. Forgive my unseemly glee, but after being accepted a number of times it is difficult to set a new target, and getting to the front page of Drifting Sands was one that I had set myself.

For those of you reading this too late to see it on the front page, you can try here. Don’t get too excited, I think I posted the link before. It’s just the one about the crow and the ants.

Now, I know you are all wondering what I have done in the matter of Senior Moments. Well, some months ago, I had trouble with my emails, and nearly missed some emails from an editor. We managed to sort that out, but didn’t actually find the cause. Last week I finally started looking at my submission diary (remember I have been ill/lazy for a month) and realised that I should have had some contact from editors. I checked up and found that I had a haiku in a magazine. This was a surprise, but more evidence of the fact that I wasn’t getting emails, or I would have known it was being published.

This set up a panic reaction, because I don’t want to miss the chance of publication, or have editors think that I am rude or inefficient. I am both, but I don’t want people to think it . . .

I have just spent my afternoon writing to the editors who may have emailed me, explaining what happened. It’s a tricky email to write (three times) because there is always the chance that they may not have thought me worth responding to.

Earlier in the week I started to realise what I had done but, prodding around with my email controls in an unstructured and ill-informed way, managed to make it worse. Anyway, I have finally found the answer and corrected it.

I had reset my spam controls a couple of months ago to block a particularly irritating advertiser. In doing so, I had also added gmail to my list of blocked domains. This was clearly a bad move. However, it is unblocked now, explanations have been sent and I am a wiser man.

 

 

Mystery

There are certain things in life that will always be a mystery, such as why things I put down in one room appear, after months of looking, in a completely different room. I haven’t moved them, and Julia hasn’t moved them, so how does this happen?

If I suggest that Julia might be being inaccurate in her recollection, I end up in trouble. If I nod wisely and suggest that we must have a ghost that likes moving my stuff about, I also get into trouble. If I suggest that we must have a stranger living in the attic, the one who never replaces the toilet rolls and empty toothpaste tubes, I also…well, you get the picture.

A similar mystery is why WordPress suddenly decides to send comments to my Spam folder. So, welcome back Lavinia and Malkie.  Not every recent comment had been filtered out, just some, which makes it all very strange. And that, readers, is why there might be multiple comments on the same subject from these two. They haven’t become unusually verbose, they have just posted multiple times to register a comment. There is probably some cosmic plot afoot to prevent us all commenting at the same time and tearing a hole in the space-time continuum with our fearsome combined intelligence.

I’ve just, by coincidence, been reading an article on traits of highly intelligent people and Lavinia qualifies because she has cats. I didn’t realise that, but of you think about it, the decision to buy something that needs long walks in bad weather and holds the fate of your soft furnishings in its dribbling mouth, is not as intelligent as the decision to get a cat.  Malkie, of course, is famous for his top hat. I don’t think I need to say more. This is not the headgear of an idiot. As for me, I have an untidy workspace. That is a sign of genius, as I just told Julia. She seems unconvinced. However, bearing in mind the vocabulary she exhibited in telling me this, and the fact that bad language is also, it seems, a sign of high intelligence, it would appear that I married a genius. .

I won’t post a link as I made the msutake of not noting it down when I found it – now I can’t find it again. There are plenty of them about if you just google it. I may be tall, have blue-eyes, be the the oldest sibling etc,, but I’m still not smart enough to remember to make notes.

 

Just a Quick Note

This isn’t the main post of the day but I just wanted to let people know while I thought about it.

I’ve just been looking at comments and managed to put one into trash by ill-disciplined use of my bunch of banana-like fingers. When I went to retrieve it, I thought I’d have a quick look at Spam and found eight comments, made over the last two days, had ended up in Spam. I took them out of there but now can’t find them.

So, if you have commented in the last few days and have not had an answer please accept my apologies. If I find them I will reply, if I don’t please don’t think you are being ignored – you have merely been WordPressed.

The featured image is plums again. That’s because after Plum Tart for two nights we are moving on to plum pie tonight. This is on top of several other plum confections and  a large number of loose plums,. We have also given a lot away. Yes, it’s been a good plum year this year. Next year will probably be a bad one. However, at the moment I even see plums when I close my eyes to sleep.

The Back of the Cupboard

It is five days since I last went shopping, and we are planning a new expedition. I’m not looking forwards to it – I don’t really want to queue around the outside of the shop as they allow us to enter one at a time for a tour of the empty shelves. We have tried ordering home delivery, but can’t find a delivery slot – they are all booked up for weeks to come.

I won’t carry on with this complaint as I’ve said it all before, but I am confused as to why the shelves are still empty despite the restrictions on buying.

I feel a bit guilty about buying more food while we still have plenty, but it’s a question of quality rather than quantity. We have food, in the sense of having things to eat, but in terms of having a proper balanced diet we are nearly out of a number of staples.

To manage our food more efficiently I have been checking the backs of the cupboards. I didn’t find Narnia but I did find some mango chutney to go with my previous discoveries. I even found a tin of rice pudding whilst I was shuffling packets and counting tins.

We have, I think, enough food for three weeks, if I really push it. Unfortunately, this is only one week of balanced meals, as we are running out of fresh vegetables. It won’t include bread, as we are about to run out. Nor, soon, will it include milk, eggs, or salad. Our vegetable stew will be served without dumplings due to a lack of flour.

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Happier Days…

Week Two will see us running out of fresh fruit and relying on tinned vegetables – beans, mushy peas and sweetcorn. Sadly, the fish fingers and tinned mushy peas will be served without potatoes, which are in short supply. The cheese will have gone by the end of the week. On a brighter note, we will have plenty of marmalade, though without toast to put it on this is a mixed blessing. If we have any surplus cheese biscuits I will try them with marmalade.

Week Three will see some real culinary horrors as the tinned haggis comes into play, teamed up with chick peas and lentils. I bought two tins of haggis when I was worried about Brexit but haven’t been able to face actually eating them.

Julia told me that there is a spoof email doing the rounds, and taking advantage of the fear of food shortages. It promises tins of pork, but people are advised not to open it as it’s just spam.

Sorry about that – when Julia told me I couldn’t stop laughing. We have a tin of spam on the shelf next to the haggis. We will have to see if I’m still laughing when we are reduced to eating it.

Haggis and root vegetables

Haggis and root vegetables

 

 

 

I am vexed…

That’s a line from The Lion and Albert, a venerable old monologue from the days of pierrots and end of the pier shows.

It has no bearing on the events of the day, but after the computer-based problems of yesterday it sums up my mood nicely.

After finally getting the computer to start yesterday I noticed quite a few things had disappeared. I then noticed that WordPress was informing me about all comments on the blog. That’s a lot of emails to go through. I assume that they have previously gone to the email account that I set up when I started. After changing email accounts I am now snowed under, and will be changing it again quite soon.

Then I noticed that my avatar has disappeared…

Vexed is probably an understatement.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), spam and me

I thought about using the title “What Hemingway taught me about Blogging” but it probably wouldn’t do my Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) much good. (Note how I managed to slip the bulk of the title into the first line. Get used to it, you’ll be seeing it several more times before you get to the end of the page. That’s SEO for you.)

On top of that, he didn’t actually teach me anything about blogging. He taught me lessons about writing, bullfighting and firearms safety, but he’s useless on blogging. Not his fault of course, as it didn’t exist in his day. Even Nostradamus is strangely silent on SEO, despite his claims to see into the future.

My spell-checker just picked up Nostradamus and suggested Stradivarius. I can’t help thinking that the world of violins would be a different place if spell-checkers ran the world.

So, in my customary bumbling way I will now shelve the Hemingway reference for later use (it was going to be a post about land ownership) and move on to SEO.

It’s a rare day when I turn on the computer at work, read the spam, and don’t find at least one offer to improve my place in Google’s rankings by someone claiming to be (a) highly effective and (b) reasonably priced.  I’d take them more seriously if most of them could actually write grammatical English. Call me old-fashioned and curmudgeonly if you want, but if someone is asking for money to improve my written work (albeit by merely inserting key words and links) I’d like to think that they are reasonably competent.

While I’m struggling to work out whether “optimisation” or “optimization” is going to bring better results they are serving up gems of jargon and sentences that look like they’ve used a translation service.

Kindly revert back if you are interested, then we can send you more detail about package/action with special Offer. I look forward to your positive mail.

Still, they write better than the representative of the Libyan Government who got in touch this morning to offer me…

…I suppose he really was from the Libyan Government, and not just spam, I mean he said he was, but the fact he used a gmail account makes me slightly suspicious that he might not be telling the truth.