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Protestors Could Learn from the French

27/11/2009

christchurch protest by new zealands public sector union

These guys just walked past my office, heading along the freshly laid tram track of Christchurch’s Cashel mall.

The rally was organised by New Zealand’s Public Sector Union and supported by the Green Party. Sue Kedgley, Green Party MP, said in a speech to the rally:

The disability support workers, who are on strike today; the hospital orderlies, cleaners and kitchen staff, also on strike today, who earn as little as $14.62 cents an hour; Parliamentary services workers, clerical workers, school support staff, teacher aides and librarians, who are also taking protest action today and marching up Queen street tomorrow. Many support workers are working with the most vulnerable children in our schools, doing God’s work, yet they earn as little as $12.94 cents an hour -barely above the minimum wage. It is obscene.

Now I hate politics with a passion but thought that this particular subject was worth mentioning. Sue’s after raising the minimum wage from $12.50 an hour to $15 and that sounds fine to me. Good to luck to you all.

I always wonder about the effectiveness of these protests though. The French protest absolutely everything. Better transport? Shorter working days? Better garlic presses? Bring on the flags.

New Zealand though … we could do with some work on our protests.

For one thing, their chant had a serious lack of rhythm. I think the first half of the procession were chanting one thing and the second half were chanting something completely different. Although most of the chanting consisted of just saying “hey hey, ho ho” over and over like it was off to work they go with a bucket and spade and a hand grenade.

About 3 minutes before these guys drew level with my window, an overly enthusiastic flag-waver “leading” the group pointed to a man to stand up and join them. The man pointed behind her and said “I think you’ve lost your supporters”.

At that, the flag-waver turned around, realised that she’d left the group a good 100 metres behind and sprinted back to join them. Talk about keen.

Within a couple of minutes, the whole group had walked the length of Cashel Mall, packed their flags away and left. Not a single picture of a parliamentary leader was burned. Not one car was tipped over.

I wonder if these guys will get any results or any media attention. I kept an eye out for John Campbell but couldn’t see him anywhere.

By the sound of things, The Chasers War On Everything agrees with me. Check out Craig Reucassel trying to “french-up” some Aussie protests:

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Spammers. At least make an effort.

26/11/2009
tags: ,
Spam Commenters. Make an effort.

Spammers. Who do you think you're fooling?

Dear Saurabh,

Thanks so much for your recent comment on my article, “Improving SEO with dodgy words and pictures of hot girls” . I am writing to inform you that for some reason, your comment has been blocked by my spam filter and is sitting in a queue of 147 comments that are very similar to yours.

For that reason, I would love to discuss the content of your comment to ascertain whether you are in fact a spammer or you’ve actually just been unfairly singled out by my spam filtering system.

Let’s start with the name and e-mail address that you supplied when writing the comment. You’ve said that your name is Sumit although in your e-mail address your name is apparently Saurabh Sumitrai. Did you spell your surname wrong in the “name” field? To check, I Googled your name.

I see that you’ve set up a profile here. I also note that you’ve posted the same comment on a variety of other posts. Now this makes me feel:

1. Cheated. Imagine if I told you I loved you then you found out I’d said that to 27 other people.

2. Concerned. Are you trying to find an answer to something? Are we all just mis-understanding your comment? I’m going to try and help you out.

So:

No need of English for hot girls pictures free games boys images all local news etc by (URL) Websites can take huge profit from it.

No need of English? I think you’re trying to say “I can’t speak English”. It certainly comes across that way. I’d hate for websites to be making profits from your misfortune though. Let me know who they are and I’ll have a word.

Hot Girls Picture Method: – Press in the address bar, any three keys twice, which are together on keyboard in [7] shape e.g. (URL) [Ctrl+Enter = www. . com]. This option is working from whole keyboard. Now non English world can surf internet by (URL) theory.

Ok so there’s some kind of magic trick built into our computers? Press three keys twice in a 7 shape on the keyboard … what … like … “K, L, <“? Ok … nothing’s happening. This is supposed to allow the whole non-English world to surf the internet? Yeah I don’t get it.

george bush mission accomplished fail

Can I perhaps suggest the theory that you are, in fact, a randomly generated load of bollocks? That you’re trying to get your website address posted on blogs and so encourage people to visit your website?

Can I also now suggest that you’re doing it wrong? Why exactly would someone read your message and feel inclined to click on your link? I think that you’re suffering from a mis-guided marketing message and you’re lacking an obvious call to action.

I sincerely hope you haven’t spent money on whatever program you’re using to generate this virtual verbal diarrhoea.

I think I’ll click the “delete permanently” button on this one. Please feel free to try again. I look forward to seeing some spam that shows a bit of effort.

 

 

Christchurch > Hollywood

24/11/2009
Christchurch Hollywood Sign - Mark Lincoln

Christchurch Hollywood Sign

After playing around with the Hollywood sign for the WordPress logo competition, I decided to make our own version of the Hollywood sign in Christchurch. Seeing as New Zealand is such a great place for major films these days.

This is basically the view from my window every day (minus a power pole or too). I took this a couple of hours ago at 7pm. The sun is setting behind the Southern Alps of New Zealand and shadows are creeping across the Port Hills.

As the sun goes down they begin to look more and more yellow and can be quite surreal at times. I actually reduced the yellow to make this photo look more realistic than reality!

I had to remove the powerlines from the hills and get rid of the light-post and telegraph lines before I could play around with this. The un-cropped, original colour image is below, followed by the absolute original photo.

Christchurch Hollywood Sign on the Port Hills - Un-cropped

Christchurch Hollywood Sign - Un-cropped and at full saturation

Christchurch Port Hills Original by Mark Lincoln

Christchurch Port Hills Original Photo

Christchurch. City of Tyre Smoke.

22/11/2009
Christchurch Boy Racers Burnouts

New road markings don't fit with with council regulations

What Makes Christchurch Famous?

Check the video below. Yup, there’s a car in there somewhere. These are the people that I have the unfortunate pleasure of living next to. Is it a coincidence that we also tell them to turn their music down at least once a week? (And we’re no old crones – I’m 27 and my wife’s 24. We just do our clubbing in town).

You may think this looks like fun – when I was 17 I used to do the occasional wheel-spin from a junction. I once got pulled over by the police for going round a round about with my two right wheels actually on the roundabout. But We never did anything that would annoy residents. We had too much respect for our cars for one thing.

You really get over it when this happens about 4 times a week, and usually at 3am. We have to close our windows to stop the house filling up with tyre smoke and we both have to get up early for work. Remember the last time you got no sleep and felt bad all day at work? That’s us most of the time.

Just after this video, a car came up and had to stop in the middle of the crossroads while the smoke cleared. If a car had been crossing the intersection it would have been another statistic pretty quickly.

It’s hard to tell from the smoke filled video but this is a dangerous crossroads. I’ve seen three car accidents here in one year (plus there’ll be others I haven’t seen) and worst of all is the double-trailer petrol tankers that fly around this corner without stopping to get to the petrol depot down the road.

Christchurch Boy Racers in Woolston

Our street a few months ago (click for previous article)

The petrol tanker drivers are almost more dangerous than these guys. Combine the two together and you’ve got one mighty fireball!

If you knew the area, you’d wonder why they didn’t go 1km down the road to a really industrial area with no residential houses at all. I really wouldn’t care if these guys do it somewhere else but at this intersection, they’re right in front of people’s houses. In the first photo you can see the swings in the garden of a family with young kids.

Results That Didn’t Involve the Cops

Today I posted this video on Vimeo (but couldn’t embed it from Vimeo here as WordPress has problems with the code). I then mentioned it on Twitter.

In one hour I had about 12 conversations going involving other Twitter users that were offering me all sorts of support and some of them were even really angry! Most of them were all for calling the cops right then and there (as well as a few suggestions of sabotaging the road!).

As soon as I mentioned the suburb that this was in, another Twitter user sent me a private message mentioning that she knew the guy who was doing it! She got in touch to give them the heads up that they weren’t making the neighbours too happy (although it’s sad that they couldn’t figure this out themselves).

This is a great result. By getting news out there (and I didn’t give the guy’s name or address) to people who can offer help and assistance without having to bring in the authorities. Not in a violent vigilante sort of way but in a “Hey, we know people who can do something about this” sort of way. In this case, it just took one person to send a message to guys doing it.

Of course my first reaction was to go round there but again, we’ve been round there plenty of times about their music and I’ve had enough.

I’d rather I risk the backlash rather than the families with young kids in the area. Everyone has a right to live in their own home in peace.

Dog-napping 101

12/11/2009
dognapped basset hound

Please don't take me

My friend has just found a puppy dog and is wondering what to do with it as he can’t find the owner. So this reminded me of something that I’ve been wanting to get off my chest for a while.

One day back when I was young in the UK, we’re driving off to my Gran’s for Sunday lunch. About 100m from our place, we see this basset hound wandering around on some grass at the corner of two roads.

Earlier, I’d seen a poster advertising a reward for a missing dog with a photo of a basset hound. We pull-over, put this dog in the car, drive back to our place, shut the dog in a room and then leave again to find this poster.

We grab the poster and I call the number while mum drives us to my gran’s half an hour away. There’s an answer machine message so I leave a message saying we’ve found their dog.

5 or 6 hours later, we head home and I get a phone call. It’s the dog people and they say they found their dog ages ago.

We get home and the dog’s wandering around our house looking sad … although that could just be a basset hound thing. I walk back down to where we picked it up and have a look around. I’m standing next to this long driveway so I walk up it and knock on the door.

This lady answers and I realise that she’s a substitute teacher at my high school. I tell her I’ve found a basset hound. She breaks down into tears of happiness and I walk her back to my house. She comes in and is like “Yup. That’s my dog. Where did you find him?” I said “Oh er like about a kilometre from your house, way down the road” and she says “That’s weird. He always wanders down the driveway to that grassy patch and never goes any further. My two little girls will be so happy. They’ve been bawling their eyes out all day.”

She leaves with the dog and my mum’s just standing there looking at me and trying not to laugh. I wander outside and start mowing the lawn.

15 minutes later I see her coming back up our driveway. “Crap” I think. I wander over and say “Everything ok?” and she says “We’re just so happy and I wanted to give you this” and hands me 20 quid ($50NZ). I’m like “Er … no … no don’t worry about it” but she insists and I keep the 20.

Possible business idea anyone?

Improve SEO With Dodgy Words & Hot Girls.

11/11/2009

Hot Secy Apple GirlThis has been mentioned a few times before but we’re going to pretend you’re not cool enough to have read the rest of this blog and so you may not know that this whole site is hosted on WordPress.

Although you may be too cool to know that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Now you know. You’re a little bit less cool. Ha.

Anyway, as well as an awesome amount of functionality for little-to-no cost, WordPress provides a heap of statistics along the lines of:

– How many people have visited your site
– What articles they read
– What search terms they used to find your site in the first place

Now if you’re thinking “OMG! I’m being watched!” then fear not, you’re absolutely right. But hey, we don’t get your personal details and if you’re thinking in acronyms and you actually use “OMG” in conversational language then to be honest we don’t want your details anyway.

What the stats DO show are, like I said, words people have put into popular search engines like Google (let’s face it, that’s the ONLY popular search engine) to find this here blog that you’re reading now.

All of this goes on behind the scenes but I’m actually going to give you a sneak peak at the stats behind this blog. Why? Because you should all be ashamed! Take a look:

Search Terms for all days ending 2009-11-11 (Summarized)

Search Views
loser sign 31
scary washing machine 22
short skirts 20
blogspot vs wordpress 11
not for girls chocolate 7
christchurch 6
yorkie not for girls 6
garrett holborn 4
blackpool 4
very short skirts 4
shortest skirt ever 3
blackpool postcards 3
yorkie nestle 3
largest glitter ball 3
“scary washing machine” 3
giant glitter ball 3
flashing girls blackpool 3
boy racers 3
wife short skirt 3

The most common search term people have used to find this site is “loser sign” as mentioned in our post about Christchurch violence.

However, if we add up all the references to short skirts and flashing girls, you get a total of 33 hits from these terms. All this traffic because of a post about Blackpool tourism that included a photo of a girl with a ridiculously short skirt.

We also found that the most commonly clicked on image was that same short-skirt-girl photo. Try going to that post and clicking on the image now.

It’s great to know that we’re attracting quality readers to our incredibly influential blog on political current affairs and breaking news stories (Ed: what blog would that be then??).

Oh and yeah this blog post had a point didn’t it? Let me get onto that:

How to improve your SEO (that’s “search engine optimisation” for all our readers that don’t wear transparent plastic sandals and bicycle clips around their bell-bottom trousers) by using dodgy references in your text:

Next time you write a blog post or add a new page to your website, why not start the text with a dodgy reference of your choosing? Got an “Meet Our Team” page? Try starting it with:

Porn. We have a great team of quality professionals at our company.

Or do you want it to blend in with your blog post about your dog washing business? How about:

Soapy car-wash-girls are not employed by us as the dogs don’t know the difference.

Do that and watch your stats soar. You won’t get the type of readers you really want but hey you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy with all this new attention.

wordpress-stats

Tagged. Are you kidding me?

05/11/2009

In my job (as head of the resistance in a bunker deep under Christchurch, New Zealand), I need to be knowledgeable about social media. For this reason, I try to keep ahead of the social wave (I don’t know if it’s called that. I just made it up) and so when I saw “Tagged” mentioned as a social media tool, I signed up for an account.

I added the usual profile stuff then forgot about it (I’m great at my job). Today I check my e-mails and I get this message.

tagged

What the for-goodness-sake is this? I’m now sold? To Beverley S who could do with a new lens for her camera to fit herself in the frame? And I only get $28 for it? Where does the rest of the $605 go? My keepers? I’m really not sure I signed up for this.

And what’s this “Go to pets” link? Is that what this is? Am I now Beverley S’s PET?? I’m too scared to click on it.

This really goes to show you should read the terms and conditions before you sign up for these things.