Archive for the 'lorelle' Category


Things I’ve still not written

Another post about blogging. Sorry, Bruce.

I look at all I’ve written over the past year and a half and can’t complain about not being able to post regularly. Still there’s so much more I’ve wanted to post, but haven’t been able to get around to it.

I wanted to post:

  • At least one write-up of our trip to Mallorca last October, though I could write six. Yes, Mallorca, that German-package-tourist-hell-on-rollerblades. Know what? It was wonderful. Really, it was a great trip. Maybe photos and a few captions will have to do.
  • A supplementary page to A Month in South Africa and Lesotho, because we’ve actually done two months there, but three years apart. The page with photos and write-up is of our more recent trip. The first trip was very different, but still worth writing about.
  • An obituary, a eulogy, a letter I wish I’d written while he was alive to a special person and old friend from Quebec who died back in November, 2007. I got the news three weeks too late to even send something to be read out at his funeral.
  • Another one involving death, this time someone who interviewed and rejected me for a job as reporter at the South China Morning Post in 1994 when I first arrived in Hong Kong. I found out only a few months ago he’d died in 2000, an apparent suicide in London.
  • More on Paris. It was a very multi-layered, multi-textured encounter; a reunion, a look back, a look ahead, a language lesson, a mini second honeymoon.
  • A tragically hilarious account of a trip to Bucharest for work in early April, just before booking off sick for more than a week.
  • A follow-up to a post in January where I promised to later post some translated excerpts of a book I read in French and whose English translation won’t be out until September. A lot of readers said they were looking forward to it. I’ve read the book, but still have to deliver on the follow-up.

Those are just the ones I can name.

I have another two dozen drafts sitting in the queue, waiting for some more bone, blood and flesh. They’re like scraps of paper, really. Sometimes I wish they weren’t stacked up in such a straight, orderly line, because it takes away from the experimental feel to it.

Are two dozen drafts a lot or a few?  Blogging guru Lorelle says you should write your drafts and then publish right away so that your ideas don’t go stale. I think she has a point. The problem with letting things sit around in draft mode is there is no longer any urgency. I can write them anytime, so that’s when they get written: Whenever.

Or maybe I’m just lazy and have been taking the easy way out. Looking over that list, I know that each one of them would be a time-consuming challenge. The eulogy has to have just the right tone. The South Africa and Mallorca travel write-ups involve all that photo sorting and uploading. The Hong Kong/London suicide story might take a couple of telephone calls to sort out an unanswered question or two.

And besides, it’s summer.  Who wants to blog?


Blogging into the Guinness Book of World Records

Lorelle over at Lorelle onWordpress has challenged bloggers to come up with a list of world records bloggers could break.

I don’t often feel compelled to respond to these things, but this one might be fun.

Besides, it’s been one hell of a long time since I’ve set any records.

Nothing close to Guinness Book material, but back in high school I managed to overcome a chronic state of laziness and sloth to set school records in the 200- and 400-metre sprints, advancing to the BC provincial finals in the 400. The school had been around for a few decades by then, so I figure I’d done pretty well. That is, until the next year, when both records were shattered by twin brothers, coached by the same teacher who trained us so well the previous year. Thank you, Mr. Hotston.


I came in last in the provincial finals race down in Vancouver that year, but in true Canadian fashion, I can still claim some victory: I had to beat out several others in heats to qualify for the final, ran a personal best of just over 50 seconds, and the CBC broadcast it live, so everyone in my home town saw me on TV. That was fun.

But Blogging yourself into the Guinness Book of World Records? Let’s see.

  1. Deepest post. Submarines and oil platforms not permitted.
  2. Highest post. No hand-helds, must be on ground.
  3. Fastest post. Probably the space shuttle?
  4. Longest post in shortest length of time.
  5. Most posts in one 24-hour period. Minimum 500 words per post. Any language. No blogthings, no youtube, no plagiarism. One link minimum, one original photo per post.
  6. Most posts in one 24-hour period without using your fingers, toes or voice software.
  7. Greatest number of comments made in one 24-hour period.
  8. Blogging marathon. One five-minute break per hour. Last blogger to fall asleep wins. Tea and coffee permitted. No energy drinks.
  9. Greatest number of scrapers, sploggers and spammers kicked in the butt in one 24-hour period. That one I’d love to try.
  10. Longest time spent staring at a screen logged into WordPress with a milk bottle balanced on your head while enduring the psychotic warblings of Mr. Bungle.

Better stop there. Quite honestly, I’m sure this post won’t set any records either.

© 2008 lettershometoyou


What kind of cat blogger are you?

I think anyone who has read this space more than once or browsed the forums on WordPress knows that I absolutely detest have a very low opinion of cat blogs, chief among them Cheezburger.

But as a guest blogger on Lorelle on WordPress shows: there are cat blogs, and then there are cat blogs.

If I may add an unneutered view to that list:

I’ve always thought blogging was CAThartic in a way.  Get the hairballs out of your system and onto the page.  Hit publish.  Sigh with relief.   Go away.

Repeat when the dam fills up again.

© 2007 lettershometoyou


Google Adsense ads pulled from blogging thief

It looks like our efforts to get Google to take action against that thieving “blogger” in China have paid off. I was going to set up a fax to Google HQ with all the legalese necessary as outlined in Lorelle’s very helpful comment here, but as I see on the site, the Adsense ads are already gone.


I’d break out champagne, but it doesn’t go well with morning coffee, and besides: the stolen writing and photos from dozens of bloggers are still there.

I’m going to bookmark that comment for quick and easy reference for the next time this happens. Thank you Lorelle!

Next question: what to do about scrapers and slimers who steal your stuff but don’t use Google Adsense? My previous post asking for help in the fight against the Chinese thief was stolen by another thief called Buy it or DIE who uses something called Bliggo.

How stupid can these thieves be, anyway? They obviously don’t care whether anyone reads the site or not. My comment asking Steal it and DIE to take down my material is still there.

© 2007 lettershometoyou
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Please help me get Google to pull their ads from a blogging thief

The theft of my material and that of others at by a thief in China continues.

If you are coming to this blog for the first time because you have received an email from me or seen my blog comment telling you that your work has been stolen, once again: I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I have been contacting two or three people a day for the past week telling them the same thing.

He’s trying to make money off YOUR material, but with your help we can get Google to pull his ads.

Your first step if this is the first time it’s happened to you is to read What to do when someone steals your content at Lorelle on WordPress. Follow the instructions, which include telling the thief that the content is yours and that he should take it down immediately.

Next is to click on the Google Adsense logo at the bottom of his Adsense ads on his so-called blog – NOT the ads themselves! – and fill out a violation form on the feedback page which comes up.

This only takes a few seconds and will add to the growing number of people who are sick and tired of seeing their work published by thieves hoping to make money off it.

I’m thinking about going back in and sticking a note at the end of every post, something like: This post first appeared in Lettershometoyou, with a link back to my blog. The copyright thingy isn’t having much effect.

I notice he didn’t steal this post. Wonder why.

© 2007 lettershometoyou
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I’ll have a Mayfly and Tamagotchi Cheezburger to go, please

I still have so much to learn about blogging, so I decided one day to go beyond my daily fix at Lorelle on WordPress to see what others could teach me.

Boy, did I learn a lot.

Did you know that one-quarter of all blogs are Mayflies in disguise? That’s right. Hatched overnight, they fly around for a few hours, then die by the tens of thousands on your front porch. So if about 120,000 new blogs are coming online every day – down from a peak of about 175,000 per day a few months ago – that means that 40,000 are created, then left to die of neglect after one post.

The 90’s-crazed Tamagotchi used to get more love and respect, but then again, you actually had to pay for one of them.

I also learned that something momentous happened to this blog about two weeks ago. Did you notice? Neither did I. Apparently it managed to slip through the six-month barrier, an invisible wall which many new bloggers hit but never go beyond. They start out with high hopes and dreams, get bogged down when expectations fail to meet reality or they simply run out of things to say, then chuck it for something else. Do they get tired of playing with their Tamagotchi blog?

Another thing impossible to miss when you go searching for info about blogging is that YOU TOO CAN MAKE $$$ from YOUR BLAWG!!!

If I had a euro for every time I stumbled upon a blog which had that message, I wouldn’t even have to consider blogging for money.

I got the feeling while slogging through the wasteland which is marketing blogs about how to market your blog, that if everyone is telling everyone else how to sell their blog, they’re basically trying to make money by doing each other’s laundry. It ain’t gonna happen, unless of course you get some sucker to come in from the outside who plunks down hard-earned PayPal for their ideas, which I have a sneaking hunch will all boil down to this:

1. Set up a blog called How to Make Money From Your Blog.

2. Get suckers to pay for the information.

On the content side, one thing that everyone hammers away at is: keep your blog focused. But what does focused mean? If it means always talking about the same subject, or talking about the same branch of knowledge, forget it. Some pull it off beautifully, but I’d have to split this into a dozen different blogs to do that. A left-wing loony political opinion blog, a sorely neglected advice column blog, a fake newspaper reporter’s blog, a journalism and media blog, a 70’s nostalgia blog, a pissy rant blog… If you feel so passionately about so many things, how can you just say OK, online I’m going to do one thing and one thing only? This is me, fuzziness and bad habits and all.

Another thing is SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Do everything you can to make sure that Google, Yahoo and Co. are spitting out your blog when the masses type in keywords you’ve tagged on your posts or put in your headline.

I must be doing something right then, because anyone looking to spank naked, screaming personality-disordered 9-year-old grannies in a German sauna while holding a copy of Monocle Magazine turned to pictures of totally shaved buggy-eyed zoo animals copulating, they always land at the right place.

I think that if everyone managed to optimize her blog for search engine,s we’d all be back at square one, where content rules and only the most interesting blogs would stand out.

Or would they?

I challenge any so-called blog expert to claim they could have predicted the phenomenon which is I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?, a collection of photoshopped cat pics and mindless comments in pseudo-English which also happens to have been in the top three of the 1.2 million blogs on WordPress for months now. Yes, it’s funny to millions, which is a huge plus. Yes, it’s focused. Yes, it has perfected SEO, but can you really call it a blog when you have almost no original content? It’s hugely popular, but it’s like comparing battleships to canoes. They both float on water, but that’s about it.

Who knows whether in five years blogs will be just another thing which came and went, taken over by Second Life or micro-blogging like Twitter… but that’s a whole new post’s worth, and according to the experts this one is already too long and has failed to stick to one subject…

© 2007 lettershometoyou
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The 20 Blogging Commandments

And so it came to pass that in the realm of blogging, its participants paused for five nanoseconds five short months ago to contemplate the arrival of Letters Home to You. Its author has now unexpectedly unearthed a long-lost fragment of the WordPress Blogging Bible, which he now realises would have been a great help to a first-time blogger undertaking this most difficult of tasks. He now passes it on to you, in the hope it will be of some use.

  1. Yea as you walk in the Shadow of the Valley of Ideas which come not, post ye not for its own Sake, for it is better to have a Week with no Posts than an array of seven Posts about Naught.
  2. Compare ye not with other Bloggers; just as their Truth is not your Truth, their Format is not your Format.
  3. Be ye not afraid should it come to pass the Feeling thy Blog has no Direction, for thereby miss ye the Point: for to express freely in good Spirit and gain Amusement thereby.
  4. Read the Scriptures contained in the Forum at, a veritable Font of Assistance in Matters technical and otherwise.
  5. Therein will ye uncover this simple Truth should ye search for it: it matters not the Size of thy Flock, nor how often they attend thy Sermons; it is in the Care ye show for them, and they for you, that is foremost.
  6. Therefore I verily say unto thee, focus ye not on the Number of those reading your Blog, but on the Content to be written therein.
  7. Be that as it may, verify ye not your Blog Stats upon the rising Sun, for the plunging Contours of this Chart can be an especially discouraging Way to start your Day.
  8. Be ye vigilant in consulting Lorelle on WordPress. Inasmuch as her Blog be full of wise Teachings, take ye not her entire Word for Gospel Truth.
  9. Seek out the Company of other Bloggers, for it is in placing your Comment on theirs that they will be led back to you.
  10. Fret ye not should said Bloggers not comment on thine, for they may liken your Blog to the worm-filled Droppings of a diseased Camel, and be repulsed thereby.
  11. Though ye may be of the Opinion that certain Ideas and Posts of other Bloggers be the product of a deranged Mind, be ye kind: lead yourself not into the Temptation of entering the Realm of flame Warfare, for what is written on their Blog in Rage and Fury can return to bite thee in the nether regions.
  12. Make no Haste in your Scribblings. It is better to await the Passage of time to re-write from the Beginning, than to post Thoughts unformed.
  13. Scribbleth ye a few Drafts should it come to pass your World be temporarily a peaceful Place, and Inspiration cometh naught. Be that as it may, see number one.
  14. Be ye aware that in this World lurketh they who would leave Shit and Abuse Unpleasantries in the Space ye kindly reserve for Comments from good People. Thy Task is therefore to place the Comment Settings so that ye may first moderate them. Though this be a major Bummer, it is better to make Things more difficult for All, than to permit Trolls – who have the attention-craving Mindset of little Children – to gain Access.
  15. And though ye may enjoy great Amusement and Merrymaking in crafting your favourite Post, be ye not crestfallen should ye discover it quickly lost in the Mists of Time. Just as the News printed yesterday be used today for lining the Cages of Birds and carrying home from Market the Fishes of the Sea, so too will these Posts dwell in the Realm of the Forgotten Blog Posts forever.
  16. Less is often more. Though ye may be blessed with the photographic Talents to rival that of a Gaggle of Tourists from Kansas, go sparingly with the posting thereof, unless your Blog be for the Display of such Images primarily. Just as too much Salt will render the Ground infertile, so too should Photographs like a Salad your Blog enhance, not overbear.
  17. It is easier for Rupert Murdoch to pass through the Eye of a Needle than a Myspace User to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, avoid this Pit of Iniquity as you would the Plague, and be content thereby, though scorn ye not the Befallen.
  18. Though ye may tag some Posts as Humour, it is Madness to believe that All will consider it so.
  19. These Truths are not set in Stone, but pixelated Dust, and will change as surely as the Tide will ebb and flow and the Multitudes will swoon over another Fit of Hissy by the Paris Hilton of Babylon.
  20. Though it is a Place only whispered about, it is not Blasphemy to proclaim unto you: from Time to Time it is necessary to enter that Purgatory known as Off-line. Just as ye would not remain in the Basement and play with your Choo-choo Trains for Weeks on end, so too must ye leave your Laptop closed and venture forth into the wider World in search of Sustenance.

And so it must come to pass that this blog remain unchanged and in a fixed state for about three weeks, though its author may not.

© 2007 lettershometoyou

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The banner photograph shows the town of Britannia Beach, BC, Canada, where I grew up. It's home. But I don't live there anymore.

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