Anyone But England

ABE-AnyoneButEngland“Come on Australia! You can’t lose this one.” My work colleague’s face was a picture of hope and despair. She desperately wanted the Aussies to beat England in the Ashes cricket, but she was clearly worried at their capitulation. It looked as though they were about to completely fall apart. And they did. However, I was surprised at her attitude. Because she is South African, not Australian. So why should she care?

Apparently, she has a soft spot for Aussies. Despite living and working in England, it seems as though she has yet to develop affectionate feelings for my country folk. Charmed, I’m sure.

Another workmate had the same favouritism for the Aussies. And he is a Kiwi! Aren’t they meant to be bitter rivals? Apparently, he was showing Southern Hemisphere solidarity. I see.

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Someone Leaves His Card in the ATM. What Would You Do?

downloadThe ATM was beeping when I approached it. DO YOU NEED MORE TIME? Er, well no, I haven’t even taken my card from my wallet. Then I realised that there was already a card inside the machine, even though there was no-one around. Someone must have checked his/her balance and rushed off in a hurry, absent-mindedly leaving the card in the machine. I had full access to someone’s bank account! What would you do in this situation?

For me it was simple. I pressed the ‘no’ option and the card ejected. I went straight into the bank to hand it in to the clerk. I’m not a thief. I then went back outside and took my own money, out of my own account. It’s not as though I didn’t need the money; I wasn’t exactly flush.

When I arrived at work, I told my colleagues about what had happened, expecting nods of approval and pats on the back for doing the right thing. It’s not as though I did it to gain approval, but I know that there are people in this world who would take advantage of such a situation.

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Hello. Is There Anybody Out There?

rsz_1rsz_flower-under-night-sky-wallpaperJust recently I wondered exactly how many of my subscribers did read my posts. Whilst it seems as though I’ve been building a loyal reader base over the last few years, how true is that? Clearly I have no realistic way of finding out if my email subscribers are still opening emails and clicking through to read. Unless I sent them a rather pathetic, lonely message, asking if they still loved me.

What I could do (and did), is check if my WordPress subscribers still exist. That is, whether they still use their blogs or not. If they don’t, then they are unlikely to be checking back here to see if I’m still alive. I also left a few comments, to see if any reciprocate.

What I found is that 22% of subscriber blogs no longer exist and 46% have no posts within the last month, with many showing much longer breaks in publishing posts. I guess that this is hardly surprising, given the expected rate of attrition for new blogs. Most last less than a few months. Continue reading

I Get A Psychic Reading


Recently I challenged an online psychic to give me a reading. Here it is, and remember, this woman was recommended on an online forum, so surely she should be accurate, right? Hmm… let’s see.


Firstly, I would say that I feel you spending a lot of time at the computer [No shit, who doesn’t these days?]. Very much as if it is your own world. I would like to see you interacting face-to-face with people as this will definitely benefit you and also balance you. I feel that this time at the computer is a form of escapism [It’s mostly for work] which is good, but only in small doses.

We briefly discussed your flatmate, I feel he has a lot of negativity [No he doesn’t] but also suppressed rage [He’s a laid-back Norwegian] to do with his parents and his relationship with his father seems to be very complicated [He is on good terms with his Dad]. I almost have the sense they did not know each other very well [Your ‘sense’ is wrong]. Continue reading

Crap Jobs I’ve Had #2: Selling Insurance to Dead People

olddriverAfter bumming around in commission-only jobs since leaving university, I decided that it was about time for me to get a ‘proper’ job. The type with benefits and my own desk… And an uncomfortable headset connected to an automatic dialler.

I applied for a job with Retirement Insurance Advisory Services (RIAS), a company that specialises in insurance products for those who’ve lived life and have the wrinkles to prove it. That’s not their company slogan, by the way. I made the grade and started my training…

Three bloody weeks of it! Quite why they thought it necessary to take quite so long to bring the new recruits up to speed is beyond me. Especially when we were told in no uncertain terms that we had a tried-and-tested script to stick to. No deviation. In between never ending role play scenarios, I wondered if life really had to be quite so dull. Continue reading

Crap Jobs I’ve Had #1: Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

filterqueenLooking back to my formative years, it’s fair to say that I’ve had a few crap jobs in my time. So it feels right to share my hideous experiences. One that instantly springs to mind was when I left university and, in my desperation to find work, I took a position as a vacuum cleaner salesman… Commission only.

This was not any old vacuum cleaner, oh no. It was a Filter Queen. Despite having a name that makes it sound like an overly camp man who insists on only drinking percolated coffee, it was actually a very good product. And it still exists. Quoted from the website (formatted to 1990s style 4:3 screen ratio):

The future of clean is now. The FilterQueen® Indoor Air Quality System uses its proven technology to create a cleaner, healthier home environment that is protected from harmful pollutants such as dust mites, allergens, viruses, mold spores and bacteria. Continue reading

Going Viral

viralThis month I experienced my first viral experience. But don’t worry, I haven’t been exposed to sickly toddlers or infested air conditioning. I have in fact witnessed a sudden surge in the popularity of This Little Thing Called Life, attributed to search traffic directed to my Life Changing Decisions post. And I’m talking about a jump from 100 or so daily views to a whopping 5,861 views over two days.

Whilst this may seem like a welcome boost and a testament to impressive ‘organic’ search marketing, I wonder if all is what it seems? Whilst I am delighted that most of my older posts continue to attract readers via natural search traffic, such sudden spikes for no obvious reason, do seem rather odd. Especially when they come via an image search term!

How many of these impressions were simple click on-click off users who didn’t read more than a line or two? Alas, I fear that most of them were. Continue reading