Not Sold Out…

I don’t know if this post is necessary or not but you may notice on my blog now a few advertisements surreptitiously trying to sell you something.

This is because I have just been approved for the WordAds Beta – a sort of WordPress rival to Google Ads. In terms of revenue generation I am anticipating cents with a whole dollar being a particularly good month!

However I am interested to see whether it will increase my traffic.

My blog has quite a reasonable footfall but in the same way that a flower-seller in an underpass has – a few stop and say hello but most catch me a fleeting glance before pretending not to have seen me and eyes down or fixedly ahead upon their eternal business. But perhaps these advertisements will lure some of them on to the magical emporiums of consumer goods and services being offered and I will catch a few pennies from it, thus making their indifference to me a little less chilling on my long-forlorn blogging-heart…

Though of course not you dear reader. You and me, we are the discerning few, advertising a futile gesture at best, its trance-like stupor wasted on us…

As an aside my attempted satire post Privatize the Pavements was accompanied earlier by an ad for a private paving company – the humuor here writing itself!

By way of this beta I have also had to change my blog theme – technically it did not meet with the Word Ads approval. This new one is called Sunspot and is rather spiffing I think. It has an eternally autumnal feel too which fits with me – the fall masquerading as the spring…

WordPress Spam – Gobble The Gook

Freshly SqueezedI had a quick gander at Freshly Pressed today – WordPress’s shop-window of what it considers the best in the WordPress blogging world on any given day. I am not sure how this is decided – if there are real people reading through all our blog posts each day ratifying and rating each one or if they do indeed employ helper monkeys detailed in their annual report they so kindly sent me on the new year or even if there is some software algorithm that as if by magic assesses the prosy wheat from the babbling chaff.

Anyway what caught my eye were its stats. Yes there are lies damned lies and then there are statistics but these statistics seemed innocent enough. And it advised that today there were 838,238 new blog posts and 487,313 comments – it is a wonder we have any readers at all given that it seems we are all at it – blogging that is. But the comments themselves though substantial the maths does suggest that about half of all posts go uncommented. Indeed my experience is that some blog posts hog all the comments to themselves so suspect that nearer two-thirds of all blog posts go uncommented. That certainly makes this blogger of many uncommented posts feel a bit better at least!

However what those Freshly pressed stats do not detail and what is the eventual purpose of this post is the amount of unsolicited comments generated each day – in short the extent of spam.

Wordpress DashboardThe WordPress spam filters do a good job in my own experience. The odd one gets through and I usually remove them. I say usually – I did receive one recently following a post I wrote about Twitter from James who thought my blog was awesome – clearly based on the philosophy that though we may suspect insincerity there comes a level of high-praise where we think okay maybe they have a point! – he then went on to say that though he hates reading I somehow got his attention – note James does not merely say that he does not enjoy reading but that he hates it. Yet for all his antipathy still finds the time to read obscure WordPress blogs. He then said while adding if I did not mind (because that is what I hate about spammers not their unwanted attention but their lack of politeness!) if I could visit his blog (even more remarkable, though he cannot tolerate reading he can somehow endure writing!) and we could add each other to our respective blogrolls. I did not do this but decided his comment should remain – its absurdity was entertaining. Although I have a nagging feeling that I am not the first or last to have experienced James’ silky praising prose – perhaps you reader have too, though James may have been going by the name of John or Jill…

Where are we?! Oh yes – the spam that does not make it through the WordPress filter into the twilight of day that is the blogosphere.

I am not going to spend any time dissecting spam – anyone who has ever ventured into the wilds of the world wide web will have encountered it – and daily – we know what is, we know its dark ulterior motives and I have nothing to add, I am quite sure, to what you yourself have thought on the subject.

But it has to be said that WordPress spam is a special sort of spam – as it attempts to kill us with kindness the only thing getting murdered is the English language.

Witness this example from Kenos commenting on a post of mine about the animated graphics used in the 1990’s British Television series version of PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster:-

Would it be possible of which not every aspects happen to be reviewed while they could have been.

You are perhaps now trying to make sense of Kenos’ enigmatic observation. Do not try to make sense of it or even to navigate its grammar – just marvel at its faultless spelling and move on.

Another post of mine about an episode of a young British comedy Him & Her The Sleepover received not one but two comparably enigmatic responses.

The first from Priya Rawat is as follows:

Could not thank you enough for the blogposts on your site. I know you set a lot of time and energy into these and really hope you know how deeply I appreciate it. I hope I could do a similar thing for someone else at some point.

Firstly Priya, and I do hope you don’t mind me calling you by your first name, thank you for your generous words, you are most welcome. Note too how he or she is not just praising this one post of mine but all of my posts. I am touched too that if Priya has a blog or decides later to set one up it is now in the hope of inspiring a similar deep appreciation in another spammer sorry reader in the not too distant future.

Actually that comment was not that enigmatic – just flat out flattery – but this next one more that compensates. This commenter goes by just one name, Habilash – perhaps you are familiar with their work? If not, brace yourself:

tn pas cher.tall shelf nutcracker bricklayer shirtwaist linger palette frill laxative pakistani banger line esquire revolting diversity exhort. scurrilous bushel vainglory clarion midships tollgate northwestern underline unkind screenplay fever jailbird uncoloured? strolling blabber…

They go on for many many oh so very many more words but I thought the word ‘blabber’ was a suitable point to end it – I think you have the flavour of it by then.

To those of you perhaps lacking poetry in your soul you will have read the above as a dictionary-soup but for the rest of you I am sure you are as deeply affected by it as I was – and indeed I still remain. You have to imagine Habilash reciting this word-epic on stage each of the above words a declaration and a challenge punctuated by seconds of silence before the next revelation and perhaps accompanied by some music – free-jazz certainly works but industrial techno does not lose its meter either.

All I can say is Habilash I thank you, and I could not have said it any better myself.

Not all of the comments are as profound as those from the hallowed Habilash. One commenter told me that they definitely found something useful in my review of the BBC’s Evolution Series The Origins of Us but that its usefulness was impaired for them due to the web-page itself being reluctant to load and would I be interested in a new hosting provider. But since they were going by the name of Wireless Door Bell I just could not take them seriously.

Finally – well not finally but I feel I have to end this somewhere as I fear for the sanity of me and you adrift in the spam filtered netherworld – a comment from Kadry Place who had this to say

Very intreresting blog. It was very useful. I was looking exaxtly for this. Thank you for your effort. I hope you will write more such useful posts.

Kadry is to spelling what Kenos is to grammar.

But not only was the post I wrote what Kadry was looking for but it was exactly what they were looking for. Dear reader a teardrop has fallen upon my keyboard. The post they were commenting on though was The Cannibalistic Councillor – and reader there is no poetic license at play in my title here, it really is about a Councillor with an interest in Cannibalism. So then read again Kadry’s comment – ‘I was looking exactly for this’. So Kadry thank you but if you don’t mind I need to be going, I’ve got places to go to, people to see…

Oh censorious WordPress surely you must know by now that there really is an audience for everything!

Liebster Blog Award Nomination

Being Sixteen Blog - Home Page photoI’ve just been nominated for a blog award – yay! Thank you Daniel, the nominating blogger, at Being Sixteen blog.

The blog award is designed to promote up-and-coming blogs (those with less than 200 followers) to the wider blogging community. Those nominated are then encouraged to do the same by recommending and nominating five blogs that they enjoy – a bit like a chain letter. As Daniel says it seems a bit like a pyramid scheme but at least what is being pyramided is some loving not some solicitation for cash!

I cannot find out anything about the Liebster Blog Award on Google – all the hits I see are posts by other bloggers who have equally unexpectedly received such a nomination. I presume someone somewhere originated this award, and wonder if, like a Chinese Whisper, the original intention has survived intact and if anything has been lost in translation of the translation etc!

Is there the equivalent of an annual Oscar ceremony – I just do not know!

But anyhow in the spirit in which it was received I list my five blog nominations.

Girl in the hat – strap line – ‘musings, short-stories, excerpts from novels-in-progress and various bits of auto-biography’. This is a relatively new blog to me and I am enjoying reading the blogger’s various literary posts.

Words fall from my eyes – strap-line ‘The EBB & Flow of one HEART pumping’. This blog is an autobiographical novel in progress. We tend to read books from the oldest entry (first chapter) and if the book engages us we will move forward reading to the end. Whereas we tend to read blogs from the newest entry (latest chapter) and so if a piece of ongoing fiction/non-fiction will be joining the story later on in its proceedings. No matter – it engaged me from the first words of it I read (wherever they were in the tale!) and I have been hooked ever since.

Power of H Blog – strap-line ‘I wish I’d been born 7 hours earlier’ – the blogger comments that he started it to offset his muttering in public places! I enjoy his posts about paintings and sculptures and his succinct insightful descriptions of his subjects. Particularly as quite a verbose blogger myself!

A Talent for Design – strap-line ‘Drawing from the far side of the ocean – she comments that ‘Sometimes inspiration comes to us in waves… In my case, I’m happiest when I’m creating and sharing my love for all things beautiful. If along the way I inspire you to find ways to express your own creative voice, we’ll both be enriched.’ I enjoy her drawings, photographs and quotations.

The Flood – strap-line Creative Arts and Culture Zine. And describes itself as a visual adventure by artists for artists (or art-lovers). This art-lover enjoys the art on this blog.

Having so nominated we then need to let those bloggers know via a comment on their blog.

Finally to make a copy of the award and place it somewhere conspicuous on your own blog – or even inconspicuous if you are a modest sort!

Omar Ortiz – Hyper Realism – more seeing is disbelieving

Omar Ortiz Enfoque 1 Jun 2011

Enfoque 1 June 2011

From the pictures in this post you may think that the man behind them, Omar Ortiz, is a photographer – and you would be forgiven but you would be wrong.

These pictures are in fact oil-paintings. Yes really!

I came upon, well Stumbled Upon, his works from the My Modern Metropolisart website. They, also known as My Modern Met, describe themselves as a place where art enthusiasts and trend-spotters connect over creative ideas. They are USA based and have been going just over three years.

Omar Ortiz - La Espera (Waiting)

La Espera (Waiting)

If you are looking for a website that collects and curates current art from around the globe then this site is well worth a visit. I plan to spend more time on this site and blogging about some of the art on it. This site also encourages you to register so that you can then not only browse its content but be a contributor of content whether of your own photography, video or blog posts.

Omar Ortiz’s work was posted as part of a contributor named Pinar’s blog-post titled Hyper-Realistic Paintings of the Female Form. If you like the pictures featured in my post you should check out Pinar’s post which includes many many more pictures.

Omar Ortiz also has his own WordPress blog. It is written in his native Spanish language but if you do not speak Spanish that is no barrier to understanding and engaging with this site which is predominantly pictorial with many more examples of his hyper-realist art.

Omar Ortiz at work

Photograph of the artist painting a photograph!

Omar Ortiz is Mexican and a relatively young artist born in Guadalajara in 1977. He studied as a Graphic Designer before becoming a full-time painter in the early 2000’s. His main teacher of Art is fellow Mexican Carmen Alarcon who he considers as a mentor. Further biography can be found on his blog-site along with a photograph of him – well at least I think it is a photograph!

Hyper-realism is a very recent genre of art more modern indeed than Modern Art (itself not literally modern covering as it does the period from the 1860’s to 1970’s!) having began in the early 2000’s. Its art resembles high resolution photography – and not just paintings but sculpture too. Omar Ortiz seems to have been there at its start with art posts on his blog dating back to 2001.

Like Pinar I am staggered at his representation of the human hand. Likewise his representation of bones and veins beneath the skin and of hair.

Despite the ‘Wow-factor’ I have some reservations too – is his work as much high-craft as art?

The technical aspects are expert but in trying to recreate so closely a photographic rendering of the human form is the warmth and art compromised?

Omar Ortiz - El Coloso

El Coloso – The Colossus

X-Men: First Class – Hit me baby one more time

"Canada is on our northern borders - who knew?' - Obligatory Google Image Hits Photo

“Canada is on our northern borders – who knew?’ – Obligatory Google Image Hits Photo

X-Men First Class – did you think so? I don’t care – as the saying goes ‘I made you look’ and that is all that matters to me, granted not to you.

I hope you don’t feel cheated that I lured you here in under false pretences? You were searching for this current big-grossing US box-office draw and I have peppered this post with such phrases to drive up the hit count on my blog whilst not providing you any new information on what you are looking for or indeed any information at all outside the words you Googled. You will pass on perhaps irked perhaps even cursing me but no matter whether you stayed with this post to its bitter end or no more than a nanosecond before clicking back to the Google page you came from it is all one hit for me.

At this juncture I will throw in the words Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and sex but be careful enough that their sequence is ambivalent enough to see me not sued for libel in the process of getting that hit. Sweet Lady Gaga Madonna how foolish that would be.

Pippa Middleton’s sister – obligatory Google Image Hits Photo Two

Like stating Cheryl Cole secretly wishes to marry Simon Cowell. Thankfully it is not a claim I am making just a string of words with search engine on its mind.

I now want to share a dream with you, a nightmare indeed. I am still a little shaken by it involving as it did US Representative Anthony Wiener doing unspeakable – so grateful to implicit not explicit speech – acts over images of Newt Gingrich’s spouse – I would say Callista but her husband is even more hit-worthy – more than compensating for any stray Calista Flockhart hits I pay pick up along the way.

The trick to be rolling in the deep is not to sledge-hammer in these phrases so that they seem like a contrived web-bot generated collection of random nonsense but that they read as if written by a human if with no more enthusiasm for the subject than a monkey typing away the proverbial thousand typewriters – sorry Apple iPads.

Before I go this just in on the Gossip Wire, Cloud Cuckoo Land, I can reveal that Kate Middleton, future UK Queen no less,  indulges in extreme couponing. A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace commented ‘We really are all in it together’. Okay now I am just being silly.

Yes everything in this post was a big fat lie.