SPAM in my Blog – Status Update

Just had to share a status update.

The previous blog posting was a response to the daily prompt and a timely release of frustration at spammers knocking at my comments door.

I copied and pasted actual content from a nine page spam message caught in my comments filter. Since that posting, there have been 37 additional (and counting) attempted comment postings to that post from other spammers.

  • The addresses are clearly to sites trolling for sales or random hits.
  • The message text matches the phrasing and patterns of the original message. I suppose multiple spammers are using the same software to generate their messages.
  • The hits are snagging on that post like flies to honey.
  • I used no tags on the post, but there appears to have been so many keywords in it that bots are finding it with regularity.

Amazing.

 

Never met a food I didn’t like (almost)

Are you a picky eater? Share some of your favorite food quirks with us (the more exotic, the better!). Omnivores: what’s the one thing you won’t eat?


I confess. I’m Phil from yesterday’s post. (See Buffet Challenge).

Not that I’ve spent as many hours at a buffet as he did, or consumed as many plates in one sitting. I mean that I used to eat piles of food at the buffet to get my money’s worth. A friend of mine was a hungry college student who used to drink water all day to keep his stomach stretched and then eat at a buffet each night. I never went that far but I haven’t missed many meals in my life and it shows.

I’m in shape. Pear shaped.

I’m in shape. Round is a shape.

I’ve got a beach body. Whatever shape my body is in, that’s what you get at the beach. If my belly is shaped like a beach ball, grand.

I’ve got Dunlop disease. My belly “done lopped” over my belt.

Vegetables? Love them. Deep fried in butter and dipped in cheese.

Fruits? Fantastic. On top of waffles, in pies, and with ice cream.

Meat? Awesome! Animals are so tasty. All varieties. Young or old. White or red. Seared, blackened, smoked, fried, and sauteed are just fine.

My enjoyment of food could come from the competitive sibling environment of my childhood.

See also It Wasn’t Me from August 16 for an example.

This morning’s post is making me hungry. Time for breakfast.

Buffet Challenge

The sign on the door read “All you can eat 9.95, Crab Legs extra”

Phil sat in a stupor. He’d been there for three hours already. Fourteen plates had come and gone. Now he wondered if getting crab legs would be worth the extra charge.

Other restaurant patrons either glanced his way and shook their heads or openly stared at him in horror. The front of his shirt was stained with grease drippings, flecks of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, apple pie, ice cream, and several unidentifiable spots. The trend was generally downward. Bits of food left their marks or clung to his clothing if they escaped his mouth at all.

The hostess glared at him. She had asked him to leave after the first hour. Then again after 90 minutes, two hours, and each 15 minute interval after that. She was tired of arguing with him. Phil stubbornly refused to leave until he felt he’d gotten his full measure of the buffet.

By all reasonable standards, he’d achieved that in the first 35 minutes. Five trips to the food bar, each resulting in a mound of food as high as the plate was round. The cooks in the back restocked the steamy bins after each of his forays. They shot pathetic glances his way as they trundled hot containers to the line.

Phil stifled a belch and stood up. All eyes in the place watched him as he leaned on the table for a moment, steadying himself. He turned and slowly walked to the restroom, planning on making room for more.

 

There’s Spam in my Blog

You’ve been given the opportunity to send one message to one person you wouldn’t normally have access to (for example: the President. Kim Kardashian. A coffee grower in Ethiopia). Who’s the person you choose, and what’s the message? 


My message is to the spammers of the world. You know them. They’re the ones who stick random comments on your posts and try to ping back to their own sites for increased traffic.

Fellow WordPress bloggers, join me in dissecting some spam comments on my posts. Yesterday my filter caught a BIG ONE. Before deleting the spammer from my comments queue, I copied and pasted the text into MS Word. It goes on for 9 pages!

{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4} hours today, yet I
never found any interesting article like yours. {It’s|It is} pretty worth enough
for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good content
as you did, the {internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever before.|
I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting. {Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|
{I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch} your {rss|rss feed}
as I {can not|can’t} {in finding|find|to find} your {email|e-mail} subscription {link|hyperlink} or {newsletter|e-newsletter} service….

My guess is that a SEO newbie accidentally dumped the contents of their automated spam generator into their output message. Hilarious!

I’m entertained by the interchangeable terms embedded in the sentences. If you take them in the wrong combination, some results are really funny. Others are simply pathetic.

Woah! I’m really {loving|enjoying|digging} the template/theme of
this {site|website|blog}. It’s simple, yet effective.
A lot of times it’s {very hard|very difficult|challenging|tough|difficult|hard} to get that “perfect balance” between {superb usability|user friendliness|usability} and {visual appearance|visual appeal|appearance}.
I must say {that you’ve|you have|you’ve} done a {awesome|amazing|very good|superb|fantastic|excellent|great} job with this.

Aw! Thanks! Wait. This isn’t genuine praise. This person is using an a piece of software to churn out this false flattery.

Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Hey} would you mind {stating|sharing} which blog platform you’re {workingwith|using}? I’m {looking|planning|going} to start my own blog {in the near future|soon} but I’m having a {tough|difficult|hard} time {making a decision|selecting|choosing|deciding} between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your {design and style|design|layout} seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something {completely unique|unique}. P.S {My apologies|Apologies|Sorry} for {getting|being} off-topic but I had to ask!|

Duh! I’m on WordPress. If you scroll to the bottom of anybody’s page, you can see the theme they’re using (except custom ones).

I’m currently using The Misty Lake free theme. As a recently started blogger, I’m still tinkering with my site.

{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hello|Hey} just wanted to give
you a quick heads up. The {text|words} in your {content|post|article}
seem to be running off the screen in {Ie|Internet explorer|Chrome|Firefox|Safari|Opera}.
I’m not sure if this is a {format|formatting} issue or something to do with {web browser|internet browser|browser} compatibility but I
{thought|figured} I’d post to let you know. The {style and design|design and style|layout|design} look great though!

Hope you get the {problem|issue} {solved|resolved|fixed} soon. {Kudos|Cheers|Many thanks|Thanks}|

So, sometimes it’s not all praise or good news.

What do you mean there’s a problem with my blog? Have I been hacked? OMG! How do I fix my blog to work properly with EVERY BROWSER in the world? Can you help me if I send you piles of money?

 

All I can say in summary is thanks for the spam filters WordPress.

The Electric Snowflake (Part 1)

The council met with grim faces. They stared at one another with somber looks. The future of their kingdom was at stake. A wrong choice could destroy them all. A right one could save them but kill everything on the world below. All the possibilities had been considered. The council had debated for weeks.

All the potential candidates who might fill the vacancy and save them had been screened carefully: Only one met all the qualifications. But he was the leader’s only son. He could not be spared. The land would have no heir to the throne. The duties of the post required a lifetime to master. It was not a short-term commitment.

The king broke the silence. As he stated his decision, the council erupted in protest. All the old arguments began again. The appointment was too dangerous. Too many things could go wrong with the power transfer. If the boy should die, so would both worlds. Even if he lived, the world below might be saved but at the cost of their kingdom.

The king would not be swayed. He knew that this was the only possible hope for the world below. It was necessary to sacrifice his son for the good of all. He allowed the council to vent their opinions. He knew that they realized the truth. One by one, the members of the council fell silent. The king’s logic was obvious.

There was no other choice. No other candidate could fill the post. His son had originally been exempt from consideration because there was no other heir. Now they agreed that no other course could be taken. The king’s son would become the next Electric Snowflake.

What do you do?

Flash Talk: You’re about to enter a room full of strangers, where you will have exactly four minutes to tell a story that would convey who you really are. What’s your story?


The politician stood behind the bulletproof podium and gave a mediocre speech. His delivery ranged from a low mumble to blasting eruptions as he railed on about the record of his opponent compared to what he would do if he got elected. Tim and another man stood near the back of the room trying to stay awake.

The other man turned and asked, “What do you do?”

Tim stifled a yawn before replying, “I’m a husband to one, father to three, friend to some, sibling to others…”

The other man cut him off. “No, no. What do you DO?” he repeated. “Where do you work? What’s your job?”

“That doesn’t matter as much,” Tim replied. “In my day job, I help the company win contracts and keep other people employed. It’s good work, but there are other things more important in my life.”

“Like what?” the man asked.

“Well, it’s like this,” Tim explained, “My computer wallpaper is a series of images that fall into two categories. The first is scenery. You know, landscapes, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, prairies and so forth. Places I’ve been, pictures I’ve taken, and where I’d like to go again. The other category is pictures of my family. I’ve got them cycling through behind my work all day long as a reminder.”

“Of what?” the man inquired curiously.

“Of what’s important. The scenery images are where I’d like to be. The family pictures remind me why I work.”

Fall Activities

Changing colors, dropping temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes: do these mainstays of Fall fill your heart with warmth — or with dread? 


Rake those leaves!
Mow the lawn for the last time this summer!
Stare at the bare branches out the window the next few months.

Hunt for crisp apples. Make pies, tarts, and cobbler.
Repeat as necessary.

Core the apples, fill with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Bake thoroughly until the apple flesh is soft.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Repeat as necessary.

What do I most enjoy about this season?
Ripened apples and the many recipes for them.

10 Minutes to Show Off

Today’s prompt took me back to the opening of my college freshman class, English 101: Composition Writing. The professor wanted to assess the skills of the students and wrote six topics on the board as writing prompts.

  1. Tattoos
  2. Teenagers
  3. Body Piercings
  4. Public Transportation
  5. Small Pets
  6. Old People

The instructions were to take 10 minutes to write two pages of text, by hand. There were no computers in the classroom. You could tell a story, debate a topic, share a memory, and so on. It was a creative writing exercise with a short time limit.

I chose to blend all six and submitted:

“Tattooed teenagers with multiple body piercings should avoid riding public transportation where they may encounter old people with small pets…”

*ding

Time’s up.

Love Creates Beauty

Absolute Beauty

We’ve all heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do you agree? is all beauty contingent on a subjective point of view?


They met on New Year’s Day 1986. Tim was a young US Navy sailor on holiday leave and visiting his hometown. His older brother, Jim, invited Tim, and younger brother Dave to go over to his college girlfriend’s home for board games. They agreed.

Jim led Tim around the house and made quick introductions to the parents and Claire’s younger sisters. Tim just smiled and nodded to each one in turn before moving in to the living room for the games. He figured he was meeting his future in-laws since it looked like Jim and Claire were headed for marriage after they finished college. The right thing to do was make a positive impression.

Three pairs played Trivial Pursuit that evening.

  • Jim and Claire were too distracted with each other to concentrate on the game for more than fifteen seconds at a time.
  • Claire’s parents were not trivia buffs but politely played along.
  • Tim and Dave were two bachelors with voracious reading habits and minds that retained enormous quantities of useless data. They dominated the board.

At some point in the game, there was an interruption from Claire’s younger sister as she roughhoused with another visitor. The commotion spilled into the room almost upsetting the board pieces before ranging back into the kitchen. The living room group finished the game as Dave named the only native North American marsupial (Opossum) for the win.

Shortly thereafter, Tim and Dave made their exit and headed home for the night. It had been a pleasant enough evening with laughter and giggling (mostly from Jim and Claire), light snacks, and getting to know the future in-laws a little. Good people, nice family, becoming related would be okay.

Fast forward five months and Tim asked her after the movie, “Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“What?” he said, “Are you serious?”

“Are you?” she asked.

“Yes,” he answered more confidently.

“Me too,” she declared.

It was the younger sister. What began so casually had grown through letters and phone calls. They shared hopes, dreams, and plans. Distance was irrelevant. Their hearts knitted together.

He was fascinated with her. She was so different from everyone else; so joyful, creative, and beautiful. The way she looked at him emboldened him. He could tackle the future with her strength and support.

She made him more confident. He had always been cocky, this was better. She believed in him and his purpose became to live up to that faith, to be worthy of it and never fail.

27 years of marriage so far. People ask how we’ve made it.

“It’s easy when you’re married to your best friend.”

Social Media – What’s the Point?

Overload Alert

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein
Do you agree?


Social media, I don’t get it.

Make a phone call, hang up, and get back to work.
Receive email, answer email, and get back to work.

The opinion of Hollywood stars or the hordes of comments on a political topic are useless distractions to actual personal interactions hindered by the false environment of social media.

I attended a speaking event where the presenter pushed for the need to be on a specific media outlet. I joined out of curiosity. Two years later, I’m still not convinced.

Tweet, chirp, #burp, post updates to the world with glib platitudes for all to see.
“Like” your own posts to falsely increase the ranking–whatever.

Emails or comments posted like this annoy me:

Hi, I’m so-and-so from LMNOPQ Corporation,

Do you need….? blah, blah, blah…

We can do it! 

You can reach me on Facebook, Linkedin, Skype, Twitter, Reddit, Google+, or (least preferred) old fashioned email. 

Sincerely,

Generic Internet Marketer

My response to contacts like this would be “No, thank you” no matter how many friend requests you send.

Social media sites encourage us to update our profiles, recommend others, continually add more people to our network, or otherwise click links and show how actively we use their portal. In the main, it’s meaningless chatter, an endless stream of useless snippets of drivel.

How does this connect us to one another?
How does this lead to fostering trust strong enough to entertain doing business with each other?

So what if I voted on a two-column versus one-column blog layout survey and you “liked” my post?
Is that going to translate into commerce between us? Probably not.

I’m no Luddite or technophobe but after putting in a full workday at the office computer, I unplug.
The computer gets shut down, the cell phone gets turned off for recharge, and genuine human face-to-face interaction begins with family and friends.

Later, I log on at home to blog and read other’s postings. 🙂

P.S. I’m so glad I have this blog to vent such things to the world.

Oops! Does that mean I’m part of the problem now?