Let’s play a little game…


ba1969 tag

You’ve been tagged!

Carissa of ramblingsofabipolarwoman recently tagged me in a little game, the rules of which are as follows:

1. Post these rules. (check)
2. Post a photo of yourself (do I have to?) and eleven random facts about you. (check)
3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post. (check)
4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them. (check)
5. Go to their blog/Twitter and let them know they’ve been tagged. (done)

Okay; Here’s a picture of me.  It’s not particularly recent, but I rather like the chap who’s standing beside me…I hear he likes Robin Hobb’s dragon stories.


I’ve got plans for a better pic that ties in with the Angel of the North, but that’ll keep for later.

11 facts about me:

1. I have a large collection of silly T-Shirts at home.

2. I have just had to accept the fact that I am ageing – by buying reading glasses!

3. This year I will be 49…but in my mind, 50 is the new 30! 😀

4. If it wasn’t for my current job, I would probably never find the time to write.

5. I cannot concentrate on poetry…my eyes simply skip across it – but I am determined to change.

6. I have never lost the joy of watching falling snow.

7. I enjoy watching chick flicks.  Some of them, anyway.  My Best Friend’s Wedding was cool.

8. I enjoy making short YouTube videos [add a link?] by matching songs to modern movies.

9. If I was ever to visit the US, I would have absolutely no idea where to begin!

10. My MP3 is filled only with soundtracks and similar music.

11. I only recently discovered The Walking Dead and I am now a huge fan!

Now to answer the questions given to me by Carissa:

1. What is one of your fondest childhood memories?

Sitting beside a Scottish river whilst my parents fished for trout.  To this day, I can still find peace beside a river.

2. What town & country were you born in?

I was born in a town called Burnley in Northern England

3. What is something you HATE to eat?

Eggs – in almost any form.  It’s taken me years of determination to be able to touch an omlette or the yolk of an egg.

4. What is a talent you wish that you had or that you were better at?

I wish I could master a musical instrument – I love music, but learning the technicalities seems to take all the pleasure out of it.

5. Why did you join WordPress?

To journal my writing progress in 2010.  I didn’t post anything until July 2012.  Now I love it!

6. What is one of your most favorite dishes to make/eat?

Anything that has a cheese topping.  Lasagne and macaroni cheese is at the top of my list.

7. Where is somewhere you haven’t been that you’d like to travel to?

The US…

8. What animal do you think best suits your personality?

I’ve always felt an affinity towards bees.  They work from dawn till dusk without complaint, but always manage to stay under the radar.

9. Do you like sports, if so…what is your favorite to watch?

I used to watch motor racing – my favourite sport – but not since the UK’s TV coverage messed up.

10. Have you ever played a musical instrument, if so…what and if not, what you play if you could be taught?

See 4. above.  I think it’s best left to the professionals.  But if I was suddenly given the ability to play, I would like to be able to play either keyboard or a guitar.

11. What do you think your best qualities are?

Persistence and determination.  It’s served me well in my job and in my desire to be an Author.

11 questions that I will ask those I choose to tag…..

1. What was the last book that you read?

2. If you could retire within the next five years, to where would you like to retire?

3. What genre are you writing – and have you attempted any other genres in the past?

4. Fruit or chocolate?

5.  What stage is your current WIP at?

6. What colour is your hair – and your eyes?

7. Agent or self-publish?  And why?

8. What was the last movie you went to see?  With friends or alone?

9.  How long have you been with WordPress – and what was your first post about?

10. What can you see beyond your screen?  If it’s a wall, what’s immediately behind you?

11. Do you type head-down or head-up?

* * *

* *


ba1969 tag2

Tag along!

Now I’ve got to tag a few people and let them know that they’ve been tagged.

I hope that the following bloggers will join in the fun and pass the game along.  That way we can all learn a little more about each other!








To anyone else reading this, feel free to participate and keep this going!

Spam spam spam spam spam


Apologies for the Monty Python reference there.

Although there may be more.

Never can tell.

Entropy is defined as the descent of order into spam…or something like that.

Anyway, before I ramble on any more, I will get to the point, which is…

(What did I come in here for?)

Oh, yes.  Spam.  That dreaded filler of Inboxes, that waster of time, that general cause of wrinkled foreheads as we wonder ‘Why would a deposed Nigerian Prince have my email addy?’

Up until a month ago, I had patiently trawled Wordpress’s Askimet spam bin, cautiously sifting through the neatly-arranged missives, just in case a genuine comment or query had inadvertently been sidelined.  It wasn’t a problem.  With a daily count of around three…perhaps four spam emails, I could afford the few minutes that it took to check if any of my friends (or potential friends) had complimented my post, or queried my carefully-offered opinion and their precious words had accidentally been knocked into the ‘potential spam’ chute.

Chances were fifty-fifty that;

‘ I know this is off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? ‘ from ‘Heavy Weight Loss side effects’ was a genuine comment from a genuine blogger.

Or perhaps you’ve received this particular compliment;

‘I like this internet weblog pretty significantly so significantly excellent details. ‘ from Graphic Designer Website.

Should I take a chance on them?

Should I click ‘Approve’ and let them into that inner sanctum, that repository of comments and opinions that had already been sifted, filtered and pasted onto the bottom of my posts and pages?

And then, about five weeks ago, the Deluge struck.  Like an Indonesian tsunami it smashed against the Gates of Askimet, pounding the planking, straining the mighty hinges of those ancient (?) defences that protected this small huddle of innocent bloggers from the howling seas that comprised the Internet.

Spam burst over the tops of the gates, showering we poor few Bloggers of the Pressed Word with vitriol and temptation, sucking away our lives one second at a time.

Somehow we endured that first attack and maintained blogging speed, steadfastly sidelining the mounting waters of Spam that lapped around us.  But the game had changed for me – and it might have changed for you.  The waters of Spam rose quickly.  The steady drips that had leaked past the Gates of Askimet had grown into a stream, quickly widening into a rush.  Our careful baling was inadequate – we were in danger of being overwhelmed.  Delicate thimbles were discarded and we reached for large buckets and pails to counter the deluge.  Meanwhile the Gates of Askimet shuddered beneath the onslaught.

A change was upon us.  Like a zombie apocalypse, this new world changed me.  I had to adapt.  No longer could I consider the needs of the many if I was to survive.  The needs of the one were all I could consider – for now.  Spam was accumulating faster than I could filter it.  Something drastic had to be done.

Setting my jaw and solidifying my stance, I closed my eyes and selected the ‘Clear Spam’ option.

When I opened my eyes, I realised that I’d missed it completely (because I had my eyes closed…duh!), so I had to select it again – this time without the dramatic music, which had by now faded to a mournful aftermath.

As if I’d hurled an atomic grenade (they do exist, you know…they’re just very heavy) everything before me was obliterated.  I knew a brief moment of sorrow as I considered the random appeals for visitors to fashion blogs, foreign language dating sites and puppy dog picture blogs.

But I had to remain strong, steadfast, lest I became overwhelmed by the desperate voices of entropic internet users.  I knew that the world was different now, that the Gates of Askimet must prevail, but we also had to labour in order to protect that which was most precious – our writing time – and show no mercy to the Spam…

. . .

. .


So…that was my day.  What have you guys been up to?


Write on!

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