Monday, 31 May 2010

Get targeted traffic, backlinks AND earn money.

I just joined this site: RedGage in an attempt to get more traffic to my blogs and online store. I was slightly confused about how it worked at first and had some niggles since I'm using Internet Explorer 8 (haven't gotten around to installing firefox on my new laptop) but have now managed to upload a few items and without adding any friends or doing anything else, my content got 11 views within an hour of uploading. To me that's pretty good, better than some of my blogs/squid lenses get in a week! I haven't managed to import my blog to RedGage yet - it says that it's linked but has never been updated (not sure if that's an I.E. problem or me being dumb). I will have to wait and see what Google Analytics has to say regarding my RedGage content generating hits to my sites but I'm hopeful.

In addition, you can earn money simply by people viewing your content:

"RedGage provides users with various opportunities to monetize content. RedGage members make money from unique page views to their original content. Each user has a customized rate for each 1000 views. To start making money, add your content to RedGage and check your Account Section. Once you receive the minimum amount, you can withdraw your earnings with a RedGage Debit Card."

Also, you can earn bonuses if your content is featured by RedGage on it's homepage - currently featured articles have bonuses of up to $4.40 which doesn't seem bad at all. There is also apparently a daily raffle with a prize of a $25 prepaid visa. It's worth a shot, costs you nothing and could do you a lot of good! I'll report back later in time to let you know how it's going for me.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Rednecks were Scottish, interesting huh?

I was looking up Redneck 'stuff' for another website and decided to find out about the origins of the term. I was surprised to find that the (or one of the) earliest references to the name as it's present definition in American culture was from 1893 (1): "...poorer inhabitants of the rural districts...", yet there is evidence of a much earlier usage of the term in both Scottish and American history.

The term refers to the Scottish Covenanters of the 1600's, those whom opposed taking the Church of England as the official state church (the political union of Scotland with England did not occur until 1707 when the United Kingdom of Great Britain was formed, prior to this Scotland was an independent sovereign state). The Covenanters held that Scotland desired a Presbyterian church government and signed documents to that effect in the mid 1600's, often using their own blood to sign. Many Covenanters wore a piece of red cloth around their necks as a sign of their position and so the term Red Neck became slang for 'Scottish Dissenter'.

As the union with England became inevitable and executions without trial reigned, many Covenanters fled to Ireland and North America setting up new Presbyterian Churches where they settled. The Dictionary of American Regional English (1) shows the earliest American citation of the term Redneck's used as a name for Presbyterians is from 1830: "...the Presbyterians of Fayetteville [North Carolina]".

There is also a Scottish origin for the term Hillbilly, which I may come back to later in time.

(1)Frederic Gomes Cassidy & Joan Houston Hall, Dictionary of American Regional English, 2002, pg 531

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Postcode Lottery Hook

I just received yet another 'invitiation' to join the People's Postcode Lottery. It's a regional lottery draw based upon your postcode and a 'personal' number, costs £2 per ticket per week and you have to pay by direct debit from your bank. The info they send out encourages you to purchase 3 tickets, that's £6 per week, as the more tickets you have, the bigger the share of the pizefund you will receive if your postcode is selected. The top prize for a street draw is £30,000, and the amount you receive is proportionate to how many tickets are held in that street. If you have one ticket and your neighbour has 2, no-one else in the street holds any tickets, you get £10,000 and your neighbour gets £20,000. Both decent sums of money in the current financial climate, but honestly, £10,000 is not a life-changing sum of money anymore.

With the regular lottery, if you don't play and you don't have numbers, you can't feel bad if you don't win. But with the postcode lottery, they are trying to 'hook' you - if your postcode is drawn and you don't have a ticket, you just have to sit back and feel lousey while your neighbours celebrate. I resent that BIG TIME. I'm currently trying to survive on £90/week and may soon be on even less than that, I don't get any rebates on council tax or rent (I pay a mortgage), I smoke (an addiction that is completely my own fault but none-the-less an addiction) and I cannot afford £6/week for a lottery. Would it be nice to be handed a cheque for £10,000 - oh yes! But I still cannot afford to enter the draw. So to the People's Postcode Lottery - stop ramming the thing down my throat and encouraging me to gamble money that I just don't have!!

Okay, rant over.

Monday, 24 May 2010

The Last of LOST, my feelings on it.

If you haven't seen the show yet, don't read any farther!!!

And so it ended. How do you feel about it? For my part, I guess that Damon and Carlton wound up their 6 season show in the best possible way they could, a true 'feel good' ending to be sure. So far, and it's only a few hours since the show aired, most people seem to agree that the ending whilst a little anti-climactic on-island, met their expectations. As for the parallel-reality storyline, for me, it was a let down. I'm an atheist, don't believe in any God or religion and whilst I respect other people's beliefs, I don't want to have it rammed down my throat. I'm a scientist and that's simply what I believe in.Up until those final moments, the Lost writers had always treated religion on the show as something objective; different characters had different beliefs or no beliefs at all, it wasn't forced upon viewers that any religion was true or correct. But to then be told after watching this incredible show for 6 seasons, that the characters all go to one non-denominational afterlife? I don't CARE that it's non-denominational, I'm peeved that all of my favourite characters ended up in a religious building, looking into a cliched white light. Having said that, yes I enjoyed seeing 'Suliet' reunited as well as Sayid and Shannon, Charlie and Claire, but I had accepted that Juliet, Shannon and Charlie were gone and NOT having those reunions might actually have been preferable to the 'afterlife' ending. I'm a bit miffed that Juliet's words from the grave ("it worked") were a red herring, really made me think that the finale would be something other than faith/religion/afterlife oriented. Seems strange for me to say that after watching a black smoke monster, time travel, moving islands and the likes for 6 years, that the most unbelievable part of the whole show for me was the faith ending. Of course Darlton knew that they couldn't please everyone and I'm one of those people I'm afraid. I'm happy that the guys tied up enough of the mysteries of the island, as in life, not everything can be explained at this time.

There were some great moments in the show: Vincent laying down beside Jack in his final moments; Hurley being the 'number one'; "...I do believe in duct tape" and; Jack closing his eye that one last time.

 I enjoyed the finale tremendously, and the ending was good despite the religious connotations; I'm just sad that it's all over and wondering what will come next .......

Friday, 21 May 2010

So LOST is coming closer to the end.....

... what will you do now?

Lost has been an incredible television phenomenon. Who would have know way back in 2004 just how much of a phenomenon? With spin off games and experiences online, 'books written by' flight 815 passengers and even it's own wiki site. Online forums are inundated with fans wanting to discuss every detail of every episode. Lost isn't just a tv show, it's an obsession. There really hasn't ever been a show like it, drawing from so many references: science fiction, literature, comic books, theology and ethnology. There is/was something for everyone in the show. It sparked so much discussion, spawned countless theories; Lost, to many, became both a pastime and hobby.

So now, it will all come to an end on 23rd May (USA) or 28th May (UK)  and what will the tens of millions of fans around the world do? Damon and Carlton, the show's producers promise . “….there’s still going to be plenty of room for debate when the show is over" so speculation and theorisation will no doubt contine for some time on the numerous online forums. But after May 2010, there will be no more answers, no more mysteries. New shows (and remakes) have come along and whilst the networks have been careful to deny rumours such as "... it's the new LOST...", fans have had high hopes of finding something that will capture their imaginations with the same intensity. But Lost has been done, it can't be done again and there won't ever be anything quite like it. There is after all only on Wizard of Oz.

I imagine that after the series comes to a close, and the discussion forums have quieted down, many people will find that they have a lot more time for other things in their life. Do we really want another tv show that will drive us as crazy as Lost has?????

Are You Lost? shirt Are You Lost? by TravelAddict Many more shirts on zazzle

Thursday, 20 May 2010


I am miles out in the ocean, treading water.  Looking one way I see a man on a raft, calling me to swim to him. I turn and look in the other direction. I see in the distance a shoreline. I'm becoming weary yet am uncertain as to which way to swim. If I don't make a decision I will eventually tire and drown. Land is so far away and I may not have the energy required to reach it. The raft is so much nearer; yet I am unsure of the man on the raft as he could easily paddle towards me, helping me, and I wonder what his motives are that he will not. And so I continue to tread water; knowing that the longer I do, the less likely I will be to survive.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Are you serious???

The internet is a wonderful place: convenient, educational, informative, entertaining, and somewhere to make a total fool of yourself. Browsing through Yahoo Answers reveals plenty of peple willing to risk appearing foolish. Are they serious? Ok, a lot of them aren't, but here are some of the funniest/weirdest questions that I have come across recently:

  1. How do you become a witch and also how do you control your powers? Hey im trying to find out what it takes to become a witch and also tell me how do you control the powers that will come with it. Please explain your answer. (really?)
  2. What are some tips on Making a strong mermaid spell? I want to make up a very strong mermaid spell. It is kind-of hard. That's why I need positive answers and positive help. All answers are acceptable but, negative answers. (and again, really??)
  3. Will the rich and poor experience the same amount of happiness in Heaven? Will the rich and the poor experience the same amount of peace, joy, love and happiness when they all enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Also will both the rich and the poor have an equal amount of privilidges while they're in Heaven?
  4. How would you go about fakeing a broken arm at hosp? well my friend has done it twice i am now wanting to know haw i do it. (make sure when you go to the hospital that they use the FAKE x-ray machine, that's how I do it.)
  5. How do you tell your own shoe size at home? I want to buy shoes over the internet but not sure my exact size. Is there any way to use household items to measure my shoe size? (erm, may I suggest looking at a pair of shoes you already own??). However, an answer WAS provided:  Most internet sites have a shoe size guide. All you have to do it put your foot up to the monitor and measure your foot. (Just be careful not to kick the monitor over when you do!)
  6. Is it okay to make farting noises during an informal business meeting, to indicate your opinion of an idiot? You know, when the idiot makes an asinine proposal such as having the curbs in the parking lot painted a golden color to "spiff it up". Or, is this too disgusting and unprofessional? What about rolling your eyes and puffing spitwads at him through a straw? (I think that both options are totally fine if you want to take a VERY long vacation!)
  8. Ozone.......? do you think if everyone in the world held their breath for 10 seconds it would help change the ozone????
  9. Is it normal for chicken to smell odd after the best by date? Everytime I buy chicken and it has a best by date and I consume it a day or two later, it smells odd. I never got sick but why does it smell odd? (hmmm, dunno, maybe you can keep on sxperimenting with it; leave it longer and onger each time and see what happens.)
  10. Walmart...? help.....? Where can I get a Wal-mart application? (erm, did you try AT Walmart???)

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Ever wondered???

Have you ever wondered...........

Why London's Metropolitan Police headquarters is called 'Scotland Yard'? As a kid, I used to assume 'Scotland Yard' was in, well, Scotland. I think I believed this until I was a teenager - doh! The answer to the conundrum is pretty simple though; the street where the first headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Force was situated was named Great Scotland Yard. So now you know!

Boys In Blue - UK mousepad

Why we put money in piggy banks? I mean really, why a pig? Why not a hippo or a dog? Well, back around the middle ages, people used to put their money into clay jars to keep it safe. The type of clay used back then was called pygg. Later in time, the word pygg dropped from common usage and other types of clay were used for pottery, however people continued to call their money jars 'piggy banks' and pig shaped money jars were created.

Pig Mandala mousepad mousepad

Barr's Irn Bru - Latest Ad

Ever since I can remember Barr's Irn Bru has been my favourite soft drink. I remember as a kid the Barr's factory was in the town of Wishaw, not far from where I lived, and you could go along and buy directly from the factory. To those of you not in the UK (or more precisely Scotland), irn bru is a bright orange coloured soda described as 'mixed fruit' flavour.

Long time slogans of the drink were "Made in Scotland from girders" and "Scotland's other national drink". In recent years their ad campaigns have become funnier and perhaps more controversial. The parody of the children's animation "the Snowman" (a beautiful adaptation of the Raymond Briggs book set to the song "Walking in the Air) was hilarious. The animation tells the tale of a young boy building a snowman and the snowman later coming to life, very sweet and worth a look if by some chance you have never seen it. The Irn Bru admen cheekily adapted the animation to have the snowman try and get a drink of the young boy's irn bru, when the boy continually refuses, the snowman lets go of his and and sends him crashing back down to earth. It was definately on of the more memorable ad campaigns I've seen, very funny in a somewhat understated way. This clip isn't "The Snowman" though, it's Barr's latest offering; some find it hilarious, others find it offensive but at the end of the day, it's only a bit of fun. Enjoy.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Misquoted Mix-ups

Some commonly misquoted phrases, that if you think about them, are kind of amusing.

"I could care less."
It's actually supposed to be "I could not care less". If a person says the former then they are implying that they DO care, not the point of the phrase at all.

"A damp squid."
Squid are aquatic animals (cephalopds) and yes they would be damp or wet, kinda the point because if they were dry they would be dead. The saying is meant to be "a damp squib" meaning something unuseful or disappointing. A squib is an explosive that resembles a small stick of dynamite so it makes sense that a damp one wouldn't be much use.

"You've got another thing coming."
Great, what is it? I love presents! Actually I'm guilty saying of this one myself  more often than not. It really should be "you've got another THINK coming" along the same lines as "if you think that then you had better think again."

So here's a 'misquoted' design to finish:

A random funny video

Funny video, of course a lot of them are 'acting' but it's worth it for the genuine ones. The real scary thing is how many times it appears to be parents setting up their young kids for this, lol.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

So the World Cup Starts on the 11th June......

Although I'm not really into football (soccer) anymore, there seems absolutely no way that I can avoid the World Cup. It's going to be all over tv, newspapers and the internet for pretty much 2 months. So with that in mind, and considering that my home Country of Scotland did NOT qualify (big surprise huh?) I wondered who I should support. "Easy," say some of you, "support England." I could well support England but am I being unfaithful to Scotland if I support England? For years I've failed to understand why in some endeavours we compete as the UK, whilst in others we are still separated into Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales. I could support Brazil, the favourites to win (at least then I'd know I was backing a good team - not that England aren't a good team, just my knowledge on the subject is so poor). Or I could support my fiance's team, USA, though he is as much of a football (soccer) fan as I am. Maybe I should pick the team with the prettiest flag? That may be as good a selection criteria as any. If your National team didn't make it to the World Cup, who will you support and why?

England shirt
England by ArtformTheHeart
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Monday, 10 May 2010

Derren Brown Investigates - Joe Powers, psychic medium

So I just watched the Show "Derren Brown Investigates", for those of you who don't know, Derren Brown is a British illusionist and mentalist. Unlike a lot of illusionists/magicians, Derren usually reveals exactly how he does his tricks. In this show he followed Joe Powers, a self proclaimed psychic medium working in Liverpool, UK.

Firstly they went to the house of a woman named Vonda and Derren watched as Joe gave a very accurate reading concerning the woman's deceased mother and a 93 year old man whom she used to buy eggs from. Both Joe and Vonda confirmed that they had never met before the reading and it all seemed very convincing if a bit superficial - I shall paraphrase "she's telling me pea and ham soup, she's bringing that to me now", yet when Derren asked Vonda afterwards how she thought the reading went, she told him that her mother was a terrible cook. At the end of the show, Derren revealed that investigations had shown that Joe Power's sister lived in the house next door to Vonda, remember, the reading was given in Vonda's house, yet Derren implied that Joe was surprised by this information. He also at that point admitted that he had done many reading in that same street.

Next we were shown a psychic evening where Joe had an audience of 250 people. The footage showed some general 'reading' information put forward by Joe, such as the name Jean - out of a room of 250 people, only one could make a connection - her living sister JOAN who was also in the audience, yet, many of the audience seemed convinced. Joe got a few details wrong here and there but kept insisting that the audience member go and think about it rather than admit he was wrong. After the show, some of the audience members gave interviews to camera, they were all believers and had received 'accurate' readings, however, 3 groups of people admitted to having had private readings with Joe in the past.

Finally, Derren took Joe to give a private reading for another woman named Roz. He had previously asked Roz to give a false name and to have the reading in a home other than her own. She was hoping to hear from her sister whom had lost her battle with cancer and whom had promised before dying to find a way to contact her living sisters if it were at all possible. Joe never mentioned the sister, got his details about the deceased mother wrong and mentioned a James or Jimmy on the grandfather's side whom according to Roz did not exist. Joe's explanation for the poor reading? That Derren had corrupted it.

You can probably guess that I'm a sceptic, but I'm a sceptic who would love to be proven wrong. Derren posed the question, does it matter if it is real or not when people take comfort from the messages they receive from/though a medium? As for Joe Powers, I'm not saying that he's a fraud but he did fail to convince me. What's your take on it?

Must Be Psychic card
Must Be Psychic by joekohl
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"Blood is thicker than water" vs "You can choose your friends but not your family"

"Blood is thicker than water" is an old German proverb meaning that the ties and loyalties of family are stronger than those of non-family. I'm not sure of the origins of "You can choose your friends but not your family" but this saying is in contrast to the former. Which is true in your life?

For me, it would have to be "Blood is thicker than water", 100%. I've been messed around and betrayed by so many people in my life whom I thought that I could trust - it's a harsh blow when you find out that you CAN'T trust them, but only when it's too late. On the other hand, my family have never let me down, not even once. No matter what I say or do, they are always there for me, always support me. It's harsh when a friend betrays yor trust, treats you like dirt, and then manages to put a 'spin' onto things in such a way that YOU become excluded from a circle of friends. It really makes it difficult to trust people and take them at face value. BUT, I am a trusting person by nature and I do continue to get burned, I'm just no longer surprised when people hurt me.

In contrast to my situation, I know of someone who's blood family has let them down at every opportunity, turned on them and yes, even betrayed them - something that I would never do - so in this case "You can choose your friends but not your family" would be far more appropriate. When family turn their back on you, is that harder to accept than if it were an acquaintance? If a 'friend' lets you down, you can sever ties and walk away, not so easy to do when it is family and there will always be a connection somewhere, somehow.

I certainly feel very lucky to have the family that I have, if I COULD choose my family, I'd choose the one I've got!

Serene print
Serene by Maureen_Oliver
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Sunday, 9 May 2010

Chris Keys - Singer/Songwriter

I came across this fab musician on myspace. He's an Irish singer/songwriter/musician. His stuff is all acoustic, quite mellow too. I can't really say he's 'like' anyone else but have a listen and see what you think. This song is one of my favourites:

Chris Keys Youtube Channel

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Retro Memories - Part 1

I grew up in the UK in the 1970's-1980's, these are a few of the things (good and bad) I remember from the 'old days'.


1. Chelsea Whoppers. A delicious chocolately fudge-type confectionary dusted with cocoa powder. They came in 'sheets' that you could tear into strips of 10 and cost a penny a strip. I was addicted to them, but sadly they disappeared. A couple of years ago though I went to my local corner shop and there were Chelsea Whoppers!!! Apparently someone had re-discovered the old recipe and was producing them again, and travelling around selling them to small retail stores. Chelsea Whoppers can now be found on a number of online retro sweets stores but sadly they are no longer 1p, infact, I have read several forum posts of people having to pay £12.20 (inc. postage) for 60 whoppers!! They were good, but not THAT good. If you remember Chelsea Whoppers, you may also remember Cremola Foam, a frothy sherberty type drink mix that may also be making a comeback soon after an original can of product was discovered and the recipe recreated.

2. Why Don't You...? A kids television show who's full title was: "Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Out And Do Something Less Boring Instead?" I loved it, my sister hated it. The show started in the early 1970's and actually ran up until the 1990's. It featured groups of kids from different UK regions giving suggestions on hobbies and crafts, jokes etc and initially ran during school summer holidays. It was always kind of ironic that a tv show was telling us to switch off our tv, lol. Along the same lines, I used to love 'Rainy Day Cards', a box of cards of different colours with craft and games suggestions on them, but, I always seemed to find that there was something required for a particular project that we just didn't have in the house, ah well.


1. 'Tartan' denim. I remember around about 1980 or so having a pair of jeans that were a pale, pastel tartan colour. Pinks and yellows and faded denim blue. I guess that I liked them at the time because I sure wore them a lot with a pair of pastel pink shoes, but I cringe at the memory of them now. As if the naff 'tartan' wasn't bad enough, my particular pair of jeans had tapering legs with zippers at the bottom and were about an inch above my ankle (by design). Thankfully, no photographs survive of me this horrendous fashion faux pas :)

2. Deputy Dawg. Although it ended in 1972 (the year I was born) it was shown for many years after in the UK at least and it's one of the shows I grew up with. I guess it wasnt all that bad since I watched it, but it sure wasn't Hong Kong Phooey!

Friday, 7 May 2010

A 'new' invention.

A friend and I were talking once about how great it would be to be able to invent something. Something really new and unique that everyone would want or need so that we could "make our million". He started telling me about an idea he had; saying how awkward he found it trying to use chopsticks in chinese or japanese restaurants. He said that he could just about manage to pick up a piece of food but that by the time he'd gotten the chopsticks anywhere close to his mouth, he's dropped the food, plop back onto his plate. He said that he had an idea how to make chopsticks that were easier to use. Never having been able to remotely use chopsticks myself I told him it sounded like something that could be really popular and told him to continue. He explained that if the chopsticks were sharp at the end, pointed, you could stab the food and that way it wouldn't fall off of the chopstick. I agreed wholeheartedly and encouraged him to tell me more. He went on to add that he'd then thought how having more than one point would make it even easier still. Again I agreed with him. Then he said, dead pan, "That's when I realised I had just re-invented the fork." Doh - I'm such a sucker!!

Sushi! Poster print
Sushi! Poster by Nashiil
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Thursday, 6 May 2010

When things seem tough, think of this....

One day a donkey fell into a deep well. The animal brayed for hours hoping someone would hear him and help him out of the well. Passers by stopped and looked down into the well, pondering what to do, but without ropes and tools and machinery, no-one could figure out how to save the donkey.

Eventually, one old man crouched down to the ground and scooped up some dirt in his hands. Slowly he stood and then threw the dirt into the well on top of the donkey. The onlookers at first thought he was crazy, some thought that he was trying to bury the donkey to quiet it. For hours the bystanders watched the old man, silently mocking him as his efforts were clearly futile - after all the donkey was still braying. As the light began to fade and darkness fall, one onlooker finally told the old man that his task was pointless. Without saying a word, the old man leant on the edge of the well and looked in. He extended his arm and smiled. The angry onlooker thought the old man was crazy, but himself went to the well and looked in. To his amazementhe saw the donkey with his head barely a foot from the opening of the well. With every handful of dirt that hit his back, the donkey had doing something incredible. He had shaken the dirt from his back and taken a step up. As more and more dirt was thrown upon him, so he rose up the height of the well. The angry onlooker shook his head in amazement, a smile spread across his face and he began to help the old man throw more dirt into the well. Soon the dirt was so high that the donkey could jump out of the well all on his own.

Life is going to throw dirt at you, the trick is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a handful of dirt. We can get out of the deepest wells by not giving up, shake it off and rise above it.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

A Funny T-shirt I just had to share.

Just in case you ever wondered where rainbows come from, here's the answer: