A wonderful prezzie in the mailbox.


Staying in the spirit of a A Web-less Life, all I want to say is, I love the Internet. I really do. You meet such awesome people online that you think it a cruel irony that none of them live as close to you as you would like. Or if you’re an optimist you would thank the Web for bringing you in touch with such wonderful people.

This is a gratitude post to say thanks to one such person, and perhaps gloat a bit 😛

My friend Martin over at LikeTheSunShone and Through The Magic Door sent me a wonderful present last week, a package chock-full of Sherlockian heaven! So I just wanted to say, Martin, thank you! What a wonderful soul you are, I really will treasure these. 🙂

Jealous, the rest of you? Well good news is, Martin is selling a library of books online at Ebay-just checked them out myself, an excellent selection of writing books and other non-fiction. So if you want to go take a look, his user name is bragglebone. You’ll find some real gems there!

Enjoy the rest of your week y’all!

NM  🙂

A Web-less life.


Due to my lack of urgency (and common sense of course) I did not renew my annual Internet subscription on time and due to other circumstances I was left web-less for nearly two weeks.

I survived, surprisingly, but being connected on my phone helped somewhat in this regard. Still it was debilitating, I won’t lie. Unable to read my emails, blog, read other blogs, do research, browse – it really made me wonder about the days before the existence of the Internet. Or most technology in fact.

A cellphone/mobile seems a mandatory accessory to have nowadays but I never had one in school (like most kids do now). We, back in the days, relied on landlines and payphones. We set specific times for our parents to pick us up at the cinema or friends’ house and stuck to those arrangements without hassle. There was no “I’ll call you when I’m done” sort of thing.
An avid young researcher I recall spending my afternoons in the library, lurking like a predatory beast amongst the archives and reference shelves for information on my assignments. Today, Cyberspace is home to Google, Wikipedia, JSTOR and other reference sites where a click of a button will give you all the info you need in the comfort of your own home.

It’s become easy. It’s become a normal part of life, so much so, we can’t do without it now. As a young girl I was considered cool (by some only! (coughs)) for having pen-pals ( I still have in my possession a box of old letters from former pen-friends). Now, it’s probably considered unusual if you DON’T have friends internationally whom you’ve never met.

Reminiscing can be fun, so how about you? Ever wonder about the days before the existence of Cyberspace or cellphones?(If you’re old enough to, that is 😉 )
And if you happen to be a young ‘un, can you imagine your life Internet and phone-free? Thoughts in general are always welcomed…

NM 🙂

All these Blog Awards – great idea or great nuisance?


It just seems like every week more and more blog awards are being created. If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you’ve probably received one yourself. And as pleased as some people are when they are presented with one, there are some who are not so grateful and find it a complete nuisance.

I recently read a blog post (I won’t mention the site for obvious reasons-it was not from a blogger I follow or who follows me if you must know) which gave me a good giggle. The blogger ranted about how much she hated these awards with its spam-like quality and made a direct appeal to her followers never to present her with any.

I can’t imagine how hurtful that might have been to some of her followers who had presented her with some of these awards in the past. On closer inspection however I tasted a hint of sour grapes. I’m paraphrasing her here but she moaned about how annoying it was to read an entire (long) post, only to find in the end, her name not mentioned on the list of awardees! Oh gasp.
Hence the good giggle. 😀

I did not agree with her reaction to the whole thing but I can understand why some might be annoyed. Having to pass an ‘award’ on to 10-15 bloggers and for them to pass it on to a further 10+ people and so forth, is reminiscent of the days when chainmail was trending over the internet and if you did not forward that email to X-amount of people within seven days, you were either going to die, be abducted by aliens or get peed on by a poodle.

But there is a difference here and that is: intention.

Bloggers, who create these ‘Awards,’ are only thinking of others and trying to spread the love. They are well-meaning and I guess good intentions can sometimes be misplaced. What’s also different is that there is no obligation with these blog awards, there is no ultimatum. You don’t HAVE to pass it on if you don’t want to. So to all those who whinge about these awards, instead of moaning, if you receive one, accept the award graciously, thank the blogger for thinking of you in the first place (which I think is a nice gesture in itself) and then move on.

Personally I quite like Blog Awards even though I don’t always pass it on. I like receiving them because it’s proof that this blog of mine is not a complete waste of cyber space and I also like to be introduced to other bloggers. You see, since my TAG Surfer has dropped off the face of the earth (that’s a hint WordPress!) I’m finding it hard to discover new blogs. So these Blog Award Posts actually help me in a sense.

In hindsight, I also realised that I discovered some of you guys via these Awards. So it can’t be all bad now, can it?

NM 🙂

Welcome to Spam-alot!


Last week my WordPress Dashboard kindly informed me that Akismet has protected my site from 100 spam comments. Woo Hoo! No matter what the occasion, one hundred always seems like a great milestone that calls for a celebratory punch in the air with shouts of ‘Woo Hoo!’

After my so-called “celebration” I became quite concerned as I thought that 100 spam messages was quite a lot considering that I only had 52 posts to my name at the time. That’s an average of almost 2 spammies per post. And I didn’t even consider those that got away and really did find their way to my Pending Inbox, hoping (stupidly) that I wouldn’t notice.

Monty Python-inspired spam

Speaking of those messages that managed to escape Akismet, I have to confess that even though 99 per cent of the time these comments don’t make any sense, I sometimes approve a few of them because they seem quite encouraging and sincere. And when your self-esteem is a bit lacking like mine, every bit of praise helps, like a booster shot of confidence to help you get through the day. Or in my case a couple of hours.But like I said, these ‘spam-like’ comments really don’t make any sense and I wonder if they are meant for me at all.

On one of my posts I got called a genius for no apparent reason – the commenter gave no explanation as to why he/she thought this and did not allude to the post at all! I kept the comment anyway because I quite like the idea that I might actually be a genius.

There is also another type of comment that leaves me confused. I say ‘type’ because I get quite a few messages with very similar phrases. The responder will state how much they loved the post and that it ‘saved them much time.’
Really? Wow, imagine that. If the reader had not stumbled upon my humble blog, think of all the hours they might have wasted, doing God-knows-what.

Not all responses are this harmless though. A few months back I wrote a poem-it’s probably somewhere there in my archives. I was pissed off at the time, so the poem was actually a rant but I got the following response:

so tell me how you really feel

What is it about a non-punctuated sentence with no Capital letters that’s so creepy?
Thankfully I never got a comment from this spammer again. That’s the good thing about spammers. They get you once and then they leave. They are like bees. Except they don’t die after they sting you but just disappear. Unfortunately, also like bees, when you trash one spam comment, there are millions more in the Internet hive waiting to take its place.
Comments like these I have no trouble sending to the Trash. It’s the non-creepy ones I have a problem with.
On this blog of mine, I try to approve and reply to every single response I get (That off course is standard blog etiquette) and I sometimes feel awful to delete these ‘spam-like’ comments, in the off chance that one of them might actually be a genuine response from an internet-user but non-blogger.

So my blogger homies, how do you react to your spam comments? Do you trash them quickly or do you consider each one? And what is the funniest/strangest/creepiest response you ever got?
And just for kicks, if I receive any spam for this particular post, I will not only approve it but I will leave an equally strange response in return. That should show those spammers…

NM 

Addendum:
I got the idea and drafted this post last week and it seems that the Spam Gods, on foreseeing my actions, have hatched an evil plan to thwart me. Since planning this post, an alarming amount of spam has escaped Akismet. On Thursday I received a whopping 8 messages….all spam. Plus I’ve been getting quite a few very day since then. As of today, Akismet has protected my site from 172 comments. That’s 72 in one week! From 100 spam comments in seven months of blogging to over 70 in one week, may I kindly ask, what the f*ck is going on?

Muses, Vampires And Just Plain Boredom


I’ve been offline for almost 2 weeks now due to my Internet contract expiring. I had to wait to get connected again, hence my long absence. Believe it or not there is one good thing about not having the Internet at home: you get loads more done than you would have normally, even if you didn’t mean to.
Dancing around to J-Lo’s Papi like a crazy clubber high on E might not be considered productive in any way, but I did start a new short story. And what a start it was.

In between the hectic dance moves and the dreary ennui (otherwise known as no internet) an idea struck me; or rather it pervaded my thoughts and inspired me long after the fact.
Most writers refer to this sort of thing as the ‘awakening of the Muse’ or whatever. But as far as I’m concerned this was no Muse. The Muse is like sudden divine inspiration, a remnant of some arcane piece of Hermetic wisdom that’s being passed down from higher powers, vertically filtering itself through a light tube into the top of your head.
This idea of mine was not the result of the Muse. It was more the result of a daydream gone astray. The Muses call for action. Daydreams call for…well just that, daydreaming.

Hours had passed. Hours that most would have been considered a waste. I brought myself back to consciousness just before the daydream turned farcical and nonsensical, and instead of just pondering about it, I decided to turn it into a story.
Usually for me an idea comes in a flash, in a moment of minute clarity. In this case, the spark came not in the form an idea but in the actual thought that this might make a cool story; the idea seemed to be there already, stewing.
As a result the story was easy to write. Within 2 days I outlined, drafted and began writing it and now with only a week having passed, I’m two-thirds of the way to completing it. For those couple of days I was working at such a frenzied pace I was convinced that my brain was high on… (okay, now I’m convinced our local municipality is adding Ecstacy tablets into our drinking water!)
Anyway I thought it was fun to reflect on how moments of sheer boredom can actually result in some thing creative.

Carmilla likes getting to know her lady-friends. Illustration by DH Friston, 1872

By the way, did I mention that this new story is about vampires? I made a promise a long time ago that I would avoid writing about vampires (Bride of Corinth doesn’t count as I had rehashed an already established legend). Not because I have no interest in them, on the absolute contrary. They are the stars of the horror genre and it’s purely out of respect that I refuse to write a vampire tale. The days of Le Fanu and Stoker are over.

But here I sit eating my words, disgusted at my own audacity to think that I can pull off a brilliant piece of work like Carmilla.
Well I’m here to tell you that it ain’t no Carmilla (sorry about the double negative, I’m trying to make a grand statement here). And while Peter Haining will never consider it for any of his anthologies, I’ve enjoyed writing it and that I suppose is what really matters.

And if nobody likes it, I’ll just blame it on the drinking water.

NM 🙂