Cry havoc…

.

…and let slip the dogs of walkies!

Ahh…

A new year.

Mini tourist season is over until the next big holiday.

*sigh of relief*

As I was picking up my groceries the other day, a rather fiercesome human barged past me and announced to his equally clueless family in an accent that was clearly anything but local: “Is this it? They’ve not got much here, have they?“ Well, bog off to Brighton if it’s shopping you’re after, mate!

How on earth did this man choose this as the perfect destination of his Christmas break? Stick a pin in the map?

(In case you’re wondering, I had a lovely Christmas, surrounded by family. We did everything from scratch and we planned everything meticulously a long while previously. It was our Christmas, we made it, nobody else had to)

 

And of course, with tourists comes that other delight. The tourists’ dog. You know the one that they’ve had since a puppy and in all that time they’ve not trained it to do anything more than sit, stay or possibly a cute “rollover “trick? You know the types. The dog that has never been trained to come back when it’s called… 

 

The dog that, when it runs off and starts picking fights with other dogs, promptly ignores its owner screaming its name repeatedly. Because, yeah, you scream my name like that, I’m gonna come back to you, I don’t think. I’m outta here, you two-legged sucker!

 

Free to roam.

Free to… well, do other stuff.

How many times have I heard the owner of a free-range pooch exclaim “I don’t know what’s wrong with Mister Woofles this morning; we’ve been out for over an hour and he still hasn’t done his business yet!

 

Oh yes, he has. Mister Woofles unloaded the minute you let him off the lead.

Mister Woofles has in fact left such a huge deposit that it has its own postcode. Whole generations of dung beetles have moved in and are celebrating with a ticker-tape parade. Their appeals to the dung beetle deity have been heard and answered. Mister Woofles’s contribution to the environment has ushered in a new Golden Age of beetle prosperity.

And then I saw this yesterday…

What sort of dog owner puts a sticker on the back of their 4×4 saying

Beware of the dog. It bites. You have been warned

 

and then lets them roam free – without muzzles – on a beach popular with dog walkers during doggy rush hour?!

If you’re going to do that, my dears, please make sure that the dogs are muzzled and please include yourself in that number.

 

So… you’re acknowledging liability for your animal being potentially dangerous, but if it bites me, it’s my fault?

 

Huh?

 

But you can’t say anything, can you? Nothing freaks out the passive-aggressive more…

 

Which reminds me…

 

Don’t you just love passive aggressive people calling other supposedly passive aggressive people out for being passive aggressive by using passive aggressive means to complain about the passive aggressive behaviour?

 

As with that now practically traditional Social Media post of “if u got a problem with me tell me 2 my face“ There are two problems with this…

 

Number one: tell you to your face? Which one?

Number two: could you be a little bit more identity-specific please?

 

And there’s always some sucker (who is probably completely innocent of any charges) who rises to the bait, bites and replies, asking if they are the target of this barblessly barbed comment. To which the reply is invariably “if the shoe fits, wear it.”

 

Well, that’s all fine and dandy, except…

 

Those kind of statements aren’t shoes, are they?

 

They’re flipping flipflops.

 

Designed to fit everybody. Guaranteed to make everyone uncomfortable.

 

Always remember, folks… Flip before you flop.

 

 

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Bah Humblog!

*TRIGGER WARNING *

This post contains unbridled cynicism which snowflakes, sorry, some folks might find offensive. Oh, Autocorrect will get you every time…

Ahem…

Sorry I’ve not posted anything in a while. Basically, I had nothing to say. I don’t want to be one of these people who write blog posts just for the sake of it. I’m not people, for a start!

I swear, some bloggers must look at their traffic, panic and say to themselves:

OMG! Nobody’s paying me any attention! Better write something inflammatory with a click-bait title to drive the paranoid masses to my blog site because that’s what all the courses tell you to do.”

So you end up with stupid titles like:

Mince pies will kill you!

Sage and onion stuffing is the only way to save the universe!

(I know I’ve talked about that kind of thing before…)

How many times have you read a blog that has one interesting sentence in it and the rest is just filler because you know they have to post something? It’s like these films you see they have one good idea,  stretched over two hours of painful nothingness usually disguised as art with perfect camera angles and humongous pauses between characters because they truly have nothing to say?!

I had an email the other day from somebody who apparently sold 1 million books before breakfast. How had they done it? By creating themed books using ‘rediscovered’ chunks of classics from authors who were too dead, too long to care about copyright…

I’m on a roll here…

Or those emails to give you the ‘number one tip to being a successful writer’… “And I’m going to help you” which is nestled into a thousand words of utter blah?

And that tip?

“Keep writing”.

Wow. That’s a revelation.

Thanks.

Or those videos that promised to tell you the number one tip for (fill in the blank) which actually only needs to be a 10 second video but is somehow stretched out to (at least) 3/4 of an hour, thanks to various ‘cameos’, including some random bloke in a white coat who is obviously a scientist telling you about all this research that has been done in some university that probably doesn’t exist in some country that you never heard of.

But he says he’s a scientist and he is wearing a white coat, so it must be true, right? And why do those videos never have that little bar underneath it tells you how much you’ve watched?

Do you know how, when you watch these videos, you end up feeling quite drained?

Well, it’s not drained – it’s aged.

You have actually physically aged while watching the video. When you pressed that ‘play’ button, you were a young thing, full of life and hope and dreams.

But it only takes a couple of minutes after the video has finally ended for you to realise you’ve just moved up an age bracket in the inevitable survey that follows.

You may have started watching that video on “how to stay young looking longer” at the lovely age of 29, but you’re actually 48 by the time you finish watching it!

Cracking humbugs!

I’ll stop there.

I promise to behave next time…

Tumble crumbles

“Autumn falls, tumbling, crumbling down a dying hill of gold.”

…is a line that never made it into a book. I know. I read the manuscript. The original one. Funny how so much of what we plan ends up on the scrap heap. While this wasn’t the most eloquent piece of prose ever (probably why it never made the final cut), when I read the published book, I was quite surprised at how changed it was.

Life, eh?

If you hang around long enough, everything changes.

If you hang around a bit longer, everything changes back again.

So, autumn’s here. The clocks go back soon. Longer nights. Yippee!

And no, that wasn’t an ironic ‘yippee’ either.

Everything is quieter now.

Bliss.

Of course, it’ll get crazy at the end of the month (Halloween). And then next month everyone will be celebrating the ritual burning of a political scapegoat. I’ll be avoiding the firework fumes while dealing with a freaking-out furbaby. Bonfire night will no doubt be spent in the bathroom (her current hidey-hole) listening to Chopin. But as life goals go, that’s not such a bad one.

Ah. Life Goals.

You know how everyone does this whole ‘summer body’ obsession? Well, in our house we get ‘winter body‘ ready.

And no, that doesn’t mean we spend November eating celery so that Christmas Day can be spent repeatedly eating our own weight in mince pies and pigs-in-blankets. Who the heck came up with that name? Have you ever seen a pig, or indeed any farm animal, wrapped up in a blanket? Outside of a YouTube video, that is. I’m sure there must be some. Let me know if you find any.

And these days, why aren’t they called Heritage-breed-in-duvets..?

Stop rambling!

Right. Note to self, taken.

It’s all too easy to disappear in hibernation mode at this time of year. Vanish into the marshmallow-morass of duvet-days, hot chocolate, and comfort foods. The one episode of a favourite tv show becomes a binge-watch of the entire series.

You know what I mean.

It’s okay, I won’t tell.

So, the following plan has been put into play:

  • drink more water
  • go running more often
  • start eating more raw stuff
  • YOGA!!!!!
  • get more sleep

Okay, I had to stop after the last one. Combination of laughing too much to type, and the temptation to follow it up with ‘find where the unicorns live‘…

So, as it’s the 1st of October, I’ll close by saying:

White rabbits, everyone!

 

It’s Good To Be Back!

Well, hello there!

How was your summer? Did you know that uploading your holiday photos on your screensaver at work (if you’re allowed to) is a great way of dealing with those horrible down-in-the-dumps feelings you get when you have to go back to work?

And boom! Straight in there with some useful info. Ah, I’m glad to be back home. Since we last spoke, I’ve got myself a new office. Very light, very spacious.

Light? I hear you say… Light?

But you’re a vampire.

You don’t do light.

Bright light, I don’t do.

Glaring sunshine, I don’t do.

But I also don’t do trying to write in the pitch black. I’m not an earthworm. Have you ever tried typing in the dark? Admittedly it’d be doable on a tablet or smartphone…

So here I am, dealing with a digital mountain of work that has built up in my absence. Where I was staying is infamous for having no phone signal, and wifi that couldn’t be accessed, even with multiple sacrifices to the gods of technology. Not that we bothered. It was actually really nice to shut off from the world… You know what I mean.

And here I am. Home. The furbaby’s gaze is boring into the back of my head. She wants to play. Oh, yes, she has a sofa in here with me. We got a new sofa, you see, so this one got moved in here. She thinks it’s hers anyway, so it made sense.

And here comes autumn. The evenings are that little bit cooler, the sea that little bit wilder, the atmosphere that little bit easier. I’m looking forward to getting back to these chats with you.

And… relax.

Part 3 – Dumb and Dumber, Twit and Twitter

And no, I’m not referring to the wonderful gold nugget of Number Fiveness that I was talking about last time. That would just be rude, however funny I think it is. I just wanted a different title to this third and final part. I thought if I used the previous ‘5 People…’ title and simply added ‘part 3’ to it, there’s a danger some people (not you!) might think it’s just the same post again.

In fact, before I get to number five, I want to share a story with you that happened to a friend of mine.

Yes, I do have friends. Like I said previously, although my social skills aren’t amazing, I do have some!

Actually it was the suggestion of one of those friends that I’m using this title.

But let’s call this one…

Trolls: trip trap, trip trap…

My friend left a comment on a bird-influenced network. Out of the blue, she gets a vitriolic attack (from someone who doesn’t even follow her!) telling how she didn’t know anything because she’s female and that her place is in the.. well, the food prep room of a house…

My first thought was… Flipping heck! How long were you talking to this… person?!

Cue her trying to defend herself aka throwing fuel on the fire. She was convinced that possibly his knowledge of one half of the human race may be limited to (oh, there’s so many things I could say) the animated variety.  She tried to placate him. He came right back at her with even more insults. I’m sure she’s not the only one.

I bet this has happened to you too?

Like I said, I think his experience of women may be a tad limited. Even with comebacks from others, he may not even have been burned at all – trolls just spew whatever vitriol will guarantee them the biggest reaction. They cold read. They just take the category and an adjective and flip the adjective. For instance, you’re an intelligent woman. So categorywomen. Adjectiveintelligent. Flip it and reverse – all women are stupid.

So… here’s an analogy and a possible way around it…

(All of the below is not my opinion on anything!)

Say he finds a discussion where a man is talking about cars. The man says how the Brandname Whatsacar is the most practical, smart-looking, easy to run car he’s come across…

Here’s the troll’s take…

“That’s the most stupid car ever.  You’re stupid if you think that. It’s totally useless. It’s ugly (add a ‘like you, mate’ if you’re feeling bored). It’s well known for having problems with its wondoozle. (because troll wants to show off knowledge he doesn’t have) And if you don’t know what a wondoozle is, you clearly know nothing about cars. Or anything (question the self-worth of the opponent and hope that they don’t actually know something about the topic). So you should shut up.”

(Ouch. Not nice.)

Continue by reinforcing your power by throwing in loads of made-up statistics.

Is your assumed authority being questioned? Confuse your opponent by throwing in loads of made up statistics. It’s 1 in the morning, who’s going to check? 95% hate that car. Which leaves only 13% who would ever buy it

This is a tried and tested formula! Hahaha!

Does he get his jollies?

Oh yeah! He’s following the formula. Calling you stupid was simply to egg you on!

You apologise, and he flips that too!

(Because, yes, it clearly is about one person’s experience – the person at the centre of the universe – HIM! Hahaha!)

So all women are idiots, eh? Like “wow! So you’ve met every woman in the world? I’m impressed. Ive only come across a few thousand myself. Your travel expenses must be extortionate. As for me,  I’m planning a trip to the Trobriand Islands next month to prove all men leave the toilet seat up but I’m afraid I’ve still got a lot of the world to work my way through yet. You must let me know what strategies you have…”

Here’s a dare – next time you come across a troll, try watching him to see if he’s using the formula – it will make them very predictable and you can really have some fun with that!

Chances are people like that don’t believe half of what they post. They’re simply saying whatever will get a rise out of you. Once thing they can’t stand is not having attention.

I’ve made a troll give up before now. That was also very satisfying. Yeah, I tried not answering one once, but he just kept posting things like ‘why aren’t you answering me?’ And ‘are u so stupid u cant think of anything 2 say?’. Actually, I think he was the one I put off in the end. He backed right off and left me alone. He just gave up.

Or it might have been the one that kept insulting me so I kept replying with lols and how I thought what he was saying was hilarious. He got cheesed off pretty quickly too…

One thing to do is just to type in “Searching for IP address”

Then

“IP address acquired”

And then (if they’re whatever enough to put their location on their profile)…

“IP address located in….”

I’ve never done this! But I’ve heard a few people saying stuff like that works for them – just don’t use it with trolls that appear to be tech savvy.

And even if you said ‘Hey, I think you’re an amazingly cool person’, I guarantee Troll would come back at you with some vitriolic nonsense.

And there’s always those people that follow you to get a followback, and as soon as you do follow them back, they unfollow you, making their numbers look better, Don’t let that get you down – it says more about them than it does about you. You’re obviously a genuine type – hence why you’re still reading!

Which brings us to number 5...

FANFARE, PLEASE!

The Real McCoy

That’s you, that is.

These are the people who are genuine. who follow and stay following. They don’t care about the numbers. Or if they do, they don’t use you as a pawn in their numerical manipulations. They react (politely) to what you post. They don’t mind if you reciprocate. They don’t mind if you don’t. They don’t play games. They are friendly. And all of that…

Thank you!

And now… It’s that time of the year.

Got my summer survival kit at the ready.

Time for me to disappear for a little while.

See you in September!

Part 2 – The 5 people who un/follow you on Social Media

Right, so last time I was ranting on about the fickleness of you humans (present company excepted, naturally!), and how it seems to be magnified exponentially by the use of social media.

Well, even if I didn’t say exactly that, that’s kind of where I was going with it.

Anyway, I’d started talking about the follow-for-follow types…

And isn’t it funny that the people who are quickest to follow/unfollow you are those in your own field? And no, I’m not referring in my own case to other vampires (or an actual field)! I wish I was! It’d be nice to know there are others out there… somewhere… No, I mean, in your field of work… Are they expecting some kind of solidarity? From a total stranger? That sounds harsh, we’re all in it (whatever this ‘it’ is) together. I know that. I have some social awareness!

What I’m referring to are those individuals who seem to think ‘Aha! A fellow blogger/writer/actor/musician etc; I’ll follow them! Surely they’ll reciprocate and help me increase my numbers!’ which is a little bit cheeky, but that’s not the issue. The issue is, they give you a window of about half an hour in which to follow them back before they strop off and take their precious follow with them. Sorry, I exaggerate (I do that – you’re used to it by now). It’s more like 35 minutes, possibly an hour.

Which leads me to…

2. I’m Following EVERYONE!

These seem to range from the ‘I’m a 12-year-old that’s just got an account‘ to the ‘please to follow me, click on link for fun‘ type. They’re like a hailstorm. They come, they annoy the hell out of you, they go. No-one is safe from their scattergun approach to following. And they rarely have a genuine photo. It’s either of someone older (Oi! Kid! Stop twooting and get your homework done!), someone younger, a celebrity or some random foliage plant. Or a very wobbly looking stock photo.

And that brings us to this one…

3. Creepy McCreep-creep

Face of an angel, hashtags of a serial killer. Okay, a bit extreme. But something is telling you that this person just isn’t the fresh-faced ingenue (or animé character) they claim to be in their profile photo. They like your every post (even the angry rants), and they reply to e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. within seconds of you posting.

How does someone manage to compose a 300-word reply post in 10 seconds?

These ones probably will never, ever unfollow you. Ever.

Ever.

But after a while, they will go very quiet. Probably they’ve found someone else to repost/like about.

And then of course, there’s…

4. Ooh! A Single Post That I Like

You know how it is… You go out somewhere. You have what turns out to be a life-changing slice of chocolate cake (but aren’t they all life-changers?). You can’t resist sharing a picture of this revelatory piece of confectionery, Then this happens:

@ILoveCake222: Omigosh! someone who shares my passion for Black Forest Gateau *FOLLOW*

@CakesAreLife2301: This person just posted a picture of chocolate cake! Soulmate! *FOLLOW*

@GimmeCakes21: At last! Someone who gets me! I wonder what other cake they like..? *FOLLOW*

You get the idea.

And now, being that this is your own social media account, and you have a brain that you’re rather fond of using, something else catches your eye. Like your friend’s cute kitten that does something adorable (well, adorable for a cat – I’m more of a dog lover myself). You go ‘Awww!’. You take a picture. You post it. Probably with some cute pun like  ‘Friends fur-ever’.

And this happens…

@ILoveCake222@CakesAreLife2301@GimmeCakes21: A CAT?! TRAITOR! This person clearly hates cakes! Oh, what have I been doing, following them?! She tricked me. I feel dirty now. Gah. Cake-hater.

*UNFOLLOW*

*UNFOLLOW*

*UNFOLLOW*

And then…

@ILoveCats68: Aww! Cute picture! Someone else who obviously loves cats as much as I do! *FOLLOW*

And so on.

But occasionally, just occasionally, in amongst the rabid keyboard warriors and clickbait, there’s that little golden nugget that gives you hope for online humanity.

What is it?

I’ll tell you next time. (This post will be too long otherwise).

The answer will amaze you!

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Follow me on Twitter @EverydayVampire

You know it makes sense.

And while you’re at it, check out @PictPublishing

www.pictpublishing.com

The 5 people who un/follow you on Social Media: er… part 1

I’ve been making a study of this thing you humans call ‘social media’.

Ha!

Got you thinking I’d gone all Mr Spock there for a moment…

No.

That’s not it at all, obviously.

But I have been spending time on Ye Olde Sociale Media… e

Anti-social media, more like.

I’ve stuck the part 1 bit on there, because I know what’ll happen. I’ll get started and before long the post will be so lengthy your grandchildren will have to finish off reading it.

As it’s coming up to the time of year that I usually head for un-sunnier climes, I’ve been spending more time on the internet. All these platforms (that is the right word, yes?) are great ways of self-advertising, screaming out for attention and generally alienating the rest of the world.

I’ve read that they’re actually great tools for communication, sharing and building a brand, but frankly, I’ve seen more of my definition. I’m sure the general intent is probably meant to be more in line with the official stand, though.

Anyway, I’ve been watching and learning, and definite patterns emerge very quickly. And you know how I love my patterns. And my bright colours. And shiny things. Don’t forget the shiny things.

Why am I doing this?

Well, I guess we’ve all had moments where we’re feeling a bit low, vulnerable, and what doesn’t help is you’ve put so much energy in building an online following, only to check it and find your numbers have plummeted. So, this is to let you know you’re not alone in that feeling of disappointment. There’s a lot of others out there who know exactly what you’re dealing with. Because it can actually affect you humans more than you realise.

So… those five.

Well, there’s more, but these few will do for now. So let’s get started.

  1. Follow for follow

I’ve seen any number of these. Like the flu, they seem to come in waves, subtly changing with each fresh batch.

And by subtle, I mean as subtle as a smack in the face with a wet cod. Because that’s the level we’re at now, since everyone has routinely started uploading their every sneeze for all the world to see. But you have to admire their tenacity.

The tagline is always the same – follow me and I’ll follow you back. Here, here’s a list of 30,000 people to follow. And they’ll all follow you back.

Er… No they won’t.

Dude (is that still a word?), you’re following about 60,000 people! Are you really saying that you went to that entire list to find me just so you could unfollow me?! I guess I should be touched.

It’s more annoying when you only followed them back out of politeness. Because oh yes, I actually do have a deep and abiding interest in a company that manufactures those funny angled staples that hold cardboard boxes together. Where have you been all my life?!

You have about ten minutes to like/follow them back. But don’t worry if you can’t – they’ll be gone within a few hours anyway.

I heard someone once say that a following on social media is like your weight when you’re middle-aged – tending to fluctuate.

Oh, if only.

I’d say it’s more like an investment – ‘the value of your investment may go down as well as up.’

Usually down.

So, let’s say, a following is more like the sea when the tide is changing. There. Poetic, and it works both ways.

May your tide be always be coming in…

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Follow me on Twitter @EverydayVampire

You know you want to.

And while you’re at it, check out @PictPublishing

www.pictpublishing.com