A riproaring rollercoaster of a journey through time, space and that side road just over there...

Category: "The Written Word"

Read this fantastic article about b2evolution

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on August 18th, 2015 @ 22:48:00 , using 51 words,
I would say that wouldn't I. Well I did write it after all. Seriously, though, if you'd like to learn a little about the software that powers the blog you're reading right now, give this article at Sitepoint a read and let me know what you think - An Introduction to b2evolution.

Abby Lee is Back...

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on February 25th, 2010 @ 20:13:00 , using 383 words,
Posted in The Written Word

Last evening saw the return to print for Abby Lee a.k.a. Zoe Margolis as the 'Girl with a One Track Mind'. Her new book focuses on what happened after The Times chose to out her and destroy the anonymity she had sought to protect when her original book was released.

Choosing to reward her many Twitter, Facebook and blog followers with a semi-private event, around 100 people assembled in an upper room of Canal 125 in London N1. A varied mix of "real* readers", some sitting in a circle on the wooden floor, gathered to hear Zoe read selected passages from her new book 'Girl with a One Track Mind Exposed', following which she took questions and signed advance copies of the book for those present.

The Audience is Listening

As her debut effort had been intended to be a wholly incognito affair, it transpired that the evenings' event was to be Zoe's first time at reading her own work to an audience. She needn't have worried though, as spurred on by the presence of an audience that was clearly on her side, it flowed effortlessly. Taking first a piece recounting a conversation on gender politics, then a guided tour of London man, she warmed to the task with consummate ease. She then moved on to what she saw as the limitations of the Rampant Rabbit, before finishing up with a section from what is the crux of her book, being outed by The Times. At this point, the room was so silent, you could have heard the proverbial pin drop were it not for the sound of Zoe's voice itself, the mood around the room was almost reverential and the applause following the close was as warm as you are likely to encounter anywhere.

Given the opportunity to question Zoe in person, there was little reticence from those in the room and the possibility of a return to the film industry, the 'Zoe Margolis Seal of Approval' and many other topics were covered, before she settled down to a well earned single malt and the signing of many, many books.

As she later commented on Twitter, she returned home "drunk, happy and totally gobsmacked by how nice everyone was"; I would struggle to argue her point having been there. I'm looking forward to reading the book immensely.


Slightly Unexpected...

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on February 18th, 2010 @ 22:32:46 , using 56 words,
Posted in The Written Word

This could be interesting, I received an invitation this afternoon to attend a book launch down in London. It is convenient then, that this morning I arrived back in the UK and am therefore able to attend. This will I think make for an interesting piece of reportage some time during the middle of next week.

The Quiet Englishman

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on December 6th, 2009 @ 23:33:57 , using 284 words,
Posted in The Written Word

I went for the OGTT this morning which gave me the opportunity to finish reading Graham Greene's 'The Quiet American'. I'd not really considered too much about the pre-Vietnam War aspects of that country, though I knew the French had some involvement there as a colonial power, so this book gave me some insight into that part of history, albeit through the lens of a piece of fiction in the form of a novel. It's a fine book and well worth a read if you've not already.

I didn't read the introduction by Zadie Smith until I'd read the novel cover to cover, but I was struck by this snippet and wondered for a parallel in my life here in the Middle East and how that has impacted on AM.

The simultaneous we desire we all possess for both the liberty of our lovers and their submission to our will...

Zadie Smith, 2004

There is no doubt that AM would not be in this country were it not for me. It is not a place you'd necessarily select as your home, less still as a woman in a society that places so many restrictions (real and imagined) on their behaviour. There is though a freedom that comes from the financial considerations involved in working here and it is these that attracted me here and have kept me in this golden cage for so long. Whilst here, AM has been able to complete her law degree through the OU, thereby providing 'liberty for my lover', but in remaining here for so long, am I also 'controlling' her with the carrot of stability and security. I don't know for sure, but perhaps I ought to find out.

The Next Big Thing

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on December 2nd, 2009 @ 23:12:03 , using 583 words,

I got an email about 15 minutes ago. Nothing unusual you'd think in that, especially as it was from a company whose products I'm already something of a repeat customer for. It's a food product in case you're wondering, a food product that is very seasonal and has a wide variety of regional differences - something about the soil and climate and altitude and stuff. Whatever, this means their range is extensive, if identically packed to fit their purpose built appliance. This is niche stuff in their product area, and the customer is expected to buy into the whole lifestyle image that goes with it - very middle class and aspirational you know.

So the new email arrives, black background, pale typography, image centralised and fading into a tastefully lit set containing the new seasonal range; it's Christmas after all. All looks cool and I was forced to hit Twitter instantly and record the moment for posterity. There was one shortfall I noticed instantly though, clearly missing was the link to an artfully directed video of their prominent endorsing celebrity - a Thespian of some note if you like medical drama series. Not quite my bag I'd say, as once you've seen one case of necrotising fasciitis cured, you've seen them all right?

Post Tweet, I went back for another look to get the low down gory on it all. I was shocked and stunned I'll tell you at what I saw. Could this be the same brand that had got me hooked a couple of years back? I've even transported their design icon status appliance across borders - no longer do I need to dream of trips back to my native abode for a fix of their elixir like comestible, then cold turkey on 3 or more months in the Middle East to be cured a la Priory [you're never really cured, you're only ever in remission] of my addiction. The cause of my anguish was a flavour mash-up the like of which has not seen since King Alfred landed baking duties on the chore roster.

Now my product is a staple good. Markets rise and fall on news of the annual harvest, so you can assume that 'The Product', if I may call it that, is a well known quantity, not something to lightly toy with a customer's affection over, certainly not mine. One may then wonder what it is they've done that has so shaken my faith in their ability to deliver into their carefully targeted niche. New flavours is what it is they've done, but we are talking about no ordinary flavours here. No they have gone for an especially seasonal slant with their 'new' flavours, redolent of Santa and his merry elves no doubt, just the things to liven up an evening affront the log fire. Here though is where the brand and I part company in our view over the latest incarnation of The Product. I just don't think they mix... well... at all... frankly. AM had the bright idea of some form of dessert based on the combination - I think she's just hit the copious recipe books about the villa, focused on the idea that the combination of flavours could just work - I remain sceptical, if hugely impressed by the unusual display of optimism that is currently bouncing around the kitchen.

For me, I'll pass. Maybe just go with a robust and smooth espresso next time - you may just have a winner on your hands

Putting It All Out There

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on November 28th, 2009 @ 23:39:32 , using 669 words,

Were you a regular follower of this small but perfectly formed corner of BlogEstate, you may have had cause to notice that there has been a little more going on of late, and you may come to wonder whether there is any purpose behind it. Well you would be right to wonder, for purpose there is, not that it is a great purpose, or at least not on the scale of say a climate change treaty, or whatever they write around such things. No, quite simply it has been an attempt to see if I could post something every day for a full month, that month being November 2009, the month that's drawing very rapidly towards a close. I did say it wasn't a great purpose didn't I?

Looking back over the month, I can see that I did rather better than one a day, the photo archive mining has been of great help as I've gone along the way. Total posts so far, excluding this one, has reached 49, though I think that includes a few that have not seen light of day for a variety of reasons. In that time, I've also made some changes to the blog skin and this has, to my eyes, cleared out a fair bit of clutter and made the whole thing look a lot cleaner - still not too sure about the overall colour scheme, but it does in many ways reflect the place I'm sitting in.

The other thing I've been looking at closely along the way is the visitor stats. The way they were being captured at the start of the month means that I cannot see back to Day 1 now, but I can at least see that number of visitors have increased as a general trend - a testament to the concept that 'Content is King', or 'Build it and they will come' whichever is your preference. It is though with some irritation, that I can see that not only the genuine visitors have been dropping by, but also the spambots. These I can happily lose even though they contribute to overall visitor numbers. It is a little galling to see that over 23% of the visitor figures are made up of the little buggers. At best they just mask the real activity here and at worst they are consuming bandwidth I'm paying for with no good purpose.

One of the other things that I've done over the month is to spend a little more time reading the blogs of others and commenting on the same. I've read some interesting stuff along the way, not least ways, finding someone else who has made reference to that fine measurement device, the Bristol Stool Scale over here at FormerlyFun's emporium. The other thing I've noticed is how often certain blogs can be found cross-linking to each other and then commenting on happenings as they are reported. After a while you do begin to become convinced that the idea of a virtual village and neighbours I've commented on previously, perhaps has more substance to it than I thought. Not only that, the 'community' doesn't necessarily remain virtual and actual physical (non-biblical (that I know of)) interaction is taking place out there. Quite why this should come as a surprise, to someone who has been involved in something like half a dozen forum related meet-ups, I'm not quite sure. Seems people really do like meeting new people with a common interest.

So it's been an interesting month, even if not quite complete. I'm now wondering whether I can keep this going for more than a month. Would that be good, or would you prefer me to STFU now and leave the airwaves alone? What if I were to attempt a Blog365? What if I had to include a photo a day alongside it all? What if I wake up tomorrow and think "What the hell did I just write?". Oh, and you at the back there, stop trying to sneak out, I haven't finished yet...

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