Akismet – Or the Secret Infiltration Of Our Blogs

A few weeks back I was going through my comments, since I had to approve a few of them, and was informed that I had something like 70 spam comments. You can see the spam file here, just when you’re in your comments:

Once again curiosity-driven I went through the spam file and scrolled through the different attempts. And I realized something: while a few months ago, these ‘cyber-impostors” were simply commenting on our blog posts, they had found out they might be more successful replying to one of the comments on our posts.

While a year ago, sales companies for mattresses, online drug stores, and internet Viagra were trying to use our blogs as a sales platform, this time I found that Russian sex sites tried the same thing.

I saw the statistics and realized that the number of spam comments was almost as high as my regular blog comments. Can you imagine if Akismet didn’t exist? We would be drowned in mattresses, bad internet Viagra and Russian whores.

 

I admit at this point I’m grateful for Akismet and WordPress protecting us from the worst. Some trigger words might make them turn a regular comment into a spam comment, but by going through our spam file regularly, we can still catch them.

Without Akismet our blogs were unreadable, and we would have to give them up.
I recommend you keep track of your spam folder to help them improve their service.

Happy blogging!

picture courtesy of http://www.twitter.com

 

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Why I’m Unable To Write My Autobiography

I heard from three writer friends so far that they’re currently writing their autobiography – or memoirs… I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t consider writing my own after getting the idea. But I had to see that this won’t work.

We all know the saying when a writer has the idea for a story in his/her head, it needs to get out and be written. It is a true saying. And that’s why after I got the idea of writing my memoirs two minutes later the idea had been disappeared out of my head again. I figured this meant that this story doesn’t want to be written.

There are many reasons for not writing my autobiography: I always considered great minds, great personalities, famous and respected people do have an autobiography or biography… but me? Who would want to read about my life? It has been normal! In fact, it was extremely normal I think it would be boring to read about it. Yes, there were struggles, so many that it wasn’t an easy life – but these struggles are only important to me! Compared to other people’s problems and challenges mine were so minor.

I understand there are people traumatized as children or young adults and writing down their story might help. I heard about an actress who wrote her memoirs when she was 18 years old. Come on! 18? At that age, you discover that you are legally an adult. Was your life so freaking bad as a teenager? If yes, fine; if no, would I have to read about 15 years of overly dramatic boredom? With me, it’s different!

And I won’t write about a life that is so full of happiness, greatness, adventures and fantastic pictures, which would paint a completely wrong person. Like people who live their life on Instagram. Their lives are full of fantasy, greatness, fun, happiness and impressive pics. How many times do I see some friends of friends posting pics of their vacation in Australia! All people with Koalas on their backs! They all are happily beaming into the camera (except the Koala, whose 400th pic it is that day). One could almost think Australia was only built for Koala vacation. And yes, I’m just kidding.

But I refuse to write about a colorful life that I never had. I don’t need to impress anyone; I don’t need to publish my mistakes and wrong decisions in my life. I only need to make sure one person is going to be good with my life – and that’s my former child-self.

I want that little AJ looking into the future and saying: “Okay, this is the AJ I want to become later. She might not always do what society tells her to. She might not always have decided for the best, and sometimes she’s clumsy and a bit helpless; she trusts people too easily and when she was younger. occasionally she was blind when it came to guys. But hey – she is herself. She’s always been herself. She still has jokes in her head and has incomparable humor. And even though when she’s on the ground, flat on her belly, she gets back up and fights. With pride in her heart and her chin high.”

 

*******************************

And then there’s another reason: Writing my autobiography or memoirs, wouldn’t that mean, I never want to be forgotten? I want people to remember me. I figure, to the ones who have me in their heart, they’re going to keep me there. And I doubt I would ever find the impertinence to expect the entire world to keep me for eternity.

What IS eternity? – Yes, I know. The definition of eternity can be read in every dictionary, right? But that’s not what I mean.

From what I hear a priest has described eternity like this: “You see a dove picking up a sand grain at the beach, taking it into its beak, flying up to the moon, letting the sand grain fall. Then the dove flies back to the beach for centuries, picks up the next sand grain, flies up to the moon for centuries, lets the sand grain fall. And again it flies back to the beach, picks up the next sand grain, flies up to the moon, and so on; until it has transported the last sand grain of that beach up to the moon. By then – eternity has just started!”

Would I ever want to be remembered by people – in all eternity? (Or until the Earth explodes, but that’s another story). No, I don’t. I’m going to be at a place, where heaven is surrounding me. I wasn’t great; I wasn’t the best thing humankind has ever seen. Shoot the damned bird. LOL

I think you know what I mean.

Yes, my loved ones, my friends, and my family. Keep me in your hearts. But don’t expect me to write down all my life for people to read it. I keep secrets. At one point, let me go.

Do you write your autobiography or memoirs right now? What is your reason to write it down?

Picture courtesy of: https://www.wildgratitude.com/what-does-dove-mean/

A Productive Writer’s Night

Picture courtesy of: http://www.poesiagt.com/2013/01/tipos-de-versos.html

I would say, the majority of us writer’s cannot financially afford to lean back and spend their life writing, no matter how much we dream of becoming full-time writers. And believe me, I’m one of these dreamers, I know what I’m talking about.

I’m happiest when I write. I’m relaxed and in a good mood, smiling, sometimes chatty, and I felt alive and focused on my task when I see my pen gliding across the paper and build a fantasy world, with fantasy characters and fantasy creatures… you get the point.

I have read so many articles about the power of wishful thinking, the power of positive thinking, informing the reader that only someone who strongly believes in her/his talent, is going to be successful at the end. And to believe in ourselves means to not only “hope” to one day become a full-time author, but know that we will become a full-time author. And that’s why we should resign from our job and become a writer who spends his/her time writing.

I try to be a positive person and believe in myself – I dream of being a full-time writer, but I also have to be realistic. My wishful positive thinking won’t pay my bills.

To permit myself to write, to travel, to meet new people and ‘old’ friends, to see my family and to write, yes… to pay my editor, my copyright lawyer, my cover designer, I need to make money. And that’s why I have a fulltime job.

My job is demanding, as is any other writer’s job. Some days we work many more hours than the ones we should because the workload is enormous. So, when do I write?

I am a night owl. Very often I’m most productive between 11 pm and the early morning hours. Of course, I cannot use the entire night to write and then go to work with nearly no sleep. I need to be able to concentrate during the day.

When I come home, I permit myself a break to calm down, get my work out of my head, wash the day off in a shower, eat, feed the kitties and relax. After that, I get up, turn my computer on and go to work. Depending on how tired I am I might decide to type my draft into the computer or continue to draft the new story that’s in my head, waiting to be written.

I work for about four or five hours (which doesn’t mean I have never extended that time frame). Then I go to bed and get some sleep. Three days of the five I work I sleep for about 5 to 6 hours before getting up and driving to my job. Two days a week I sleep an hour longer. The weekends I catch up on sleep before continuing to write either book or blog posts, for example.

From what I found out, many writers are night owls; I’m not the only one. Danielle Steele and Honoré de Balzac wrote in night shifts as well, only to name two famous writers.

I think the time doesn’t matter. An author writes when he/she is most creative. Currently, my workload only permits me to write nights and weekends, but I got a vacation too, and often then I’m more creative than during the entire work year. My biggest writing progress usually takes part on vacation. Also, I guess, it depends on the writer’s preference and creativity. Some people are larks; some are owls. I am the owl.

And then there are the times when I’m unhappy. During a spiritual low like this, I’m mostly unable to write anything useful and keep on typing in what I drafted before.

Right now, writing this blog post, it is 1 am. And yes, according to my plan I should have gone to bed more than one hour ago. But I couldn’t resist finishing the post before permitting myself to go to bed.

I figure there are as many writing routines as there are writers. And this happens to be mine.

Would you like to share your writing routine with us in the comments below? Thank you!

3-Year-Anniversary Of ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’

March 5, 2018 I found a new achievement on WordPress:

 

 

I’m very excited to be a blogger of 3 years this month.

Writer’s Treasure Chest has grown significantly in the past year.

970 posts

over 5,500 comments

1,015 followers

and

almost 80 guests

I’m so lucky to be part of the blogging world with all your help. Without guests, friends, followers, supporters and people encouraging me again and again this blogging adventure would not have been progressing at this pace and wouldn’t have been as successful as it is.

To all of you:

A Blog Post Dedicated To A Very Furry Friend

I know you might ask yourself – a “furry friend”? And I’ll reply: Yes… VERY furry. The ones of you who read my blog regularly will probably know by now who I am talking about. For the clueless ones: Here he is:

 

The Story Reading Ape

 

Of course, we know him as TSRA, but as most of us know, behind this pseudonym a real man hides. His name: Chris Graham.

Chris is a writer supporter, an excellent blogger, an avid reader – and an amazing personality – a friend!

What is the purpose of “The Story Reading Ape’s’ blog? He writes on his “About” page:

What is the purpose of my blog?

1. To introduce YOU to new (to me) authors I’ve come across in my wanderings through books and the cyber forest.

2. To provide a platform (battered old homemade soapbox) for authors to introduce themselves to you. (See my Contact Me Section for Guest Author article Guidelines)

3. As an informal information service to authors, poets, or anyone else who is thinking of becoming a published person of that ilk.

4. To promote FUN and an OASIS OF CALM and Font of useful Knowledge and tips for Indies (please do NOT feed my naughty chimps or they may follow you home) from the woes and stresses of the real world.

But Chris does more than that. He supports, entertains, helps, consults, suggests and answers.

Whenever I have a question and don’t know where to go with it, I know I can ask The Story Reading Ape. If he can’t help, I know he’ll find a way or a person who can.

How often have I been crying on his shoulder (not literally though!) – and he comforted me. And he was there for me when I didn’t get anywhere with my book blurb – and again when I needed a cover designer.

Not to forget he was the one who spread the word about ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ to his thousands of followers, re-blogged my posts, published guest posts, accepted me into his author’s hall of fame and supported not only my writing but also my blogging significantly.

The Story Reading Ape has a soft spot for his readers, followers, authors – and fans.

To me, Chris is one of the cornerstones during the last few years of my writing and blogging progress and a valuable and appreciated companion on my path to publishing my book. It will take another while, but I know, whenever I need help, he’ll be there.

Even though I never met Chris Graham personally, I consider him a friend, and today I wanted to say:

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

In Memoriam – A Fantastic Helpful And Wonderful Woman – Kelley Lynn Crandall

This post was written and prepared to be published March 1, 2018. But due to the news I got on this very sad day I was editing and publishing it today.


A few years back I had an extremely hard time in my life. It was a phase where nothing turned out the way it was supposed to be according to my plan.

During this time there were so many of my friends standing by my side; not only my friends and family who had been with me for a long time, nearly all my life but also FB friends. Friends I’ve never met in my life, but only met on FB, on other social media, people I could count on and who became real trustworthy connections in the meantime. (I will get back to them in another post!)

One of these people was Katie Jenkins of Magical Designs. Through Katie, I met another amazing woman: Kelley L. Crandall, a writer, and Marketing Specialist.

They both helped me significantly through this time, were in contact with me nearly daily, supported me and gave me advice, suggestions, help, and encouragement.

Since then, Katie became the Mom of beautiful twins, congratulations, Katie! Of course, she concentrates on her family now. But whenever we’re in contact again, I’m still grateful to know her. She’s such a wonderful person!

When I started feeling better, I had been talking on the phone to Kelley, and we talked and talked like women do sometimes. At one point I told her: “I wish I had an editor for my stories, and I wish so much it could be you.” And wonderful, amazing, gold-hearted Kelley said: “I wish that too!”

That is now how I got my editor. Kelley understood the problems I was fighting with – and she understood me. She searched her way through my work, and she even liked my books, which is, in my opinion, a very important thing. (I mean, how can a person edit something if the story isn’t liked?)

Kelley was patient, encouraging and supportive; she was helpful, humorous and an amazing friend! She became a part of my heart!

Today I got the Information that Kelley has passed away. To say I’m sad would be too mild… I’m heartbroken.

Only last week we chatted and today she is no more.

I am thinking of Kelley’s husband David and her children. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

I know, this blog post isn’t particularly long – but today I wanted to thank my friend from the bottom of my heart:

THANK YOU, KELLEY L. CRANDALL!

For everything you did, for your work, your heart, your understanding, and your friendship! You mean a lot to me!

I will never ever forget you, Kelley. You left your love in my Soul. I don’t want to say Goodbye… I want to say: SEE YOU!! You will be sorely missed!!

Me, My Cellphone And A Gas Station

It’s been a surprisingly warm day early February when I realized I needed gas. My car was gasping for fuel, and I stopped at the gas station, doing what I always do. Stuffing my cell phone into my pocket, getting out of the car and getting ready to pump gas.

I got a bit of water and that really ugly ragged thing that’s parked at gas stations for people to clean their windshields and ran around my car to make sure I would have a clear vision as soon as I was back in my car. And I tried to be careful since that day we had important guests at the office, and I was dressed in a business suit and high heels.

That moment I realized two senior women leaning on a car two gas pumps further away, whispering and provocatively looking at me. There was no doubt; they were talking about me.

I knew I was looking quite decent, my car wasn’t as dirty as it normally is and I was doing good, so what was there to whisper about?

That moment my phone rang. I was waiting for a call and pulled my cell out of my pocket to answer the call.

While I started talking, smiling, talking some more, the gas pump ‘told me’ my tank was full. I removed the nozzle from my car, closed everything up and finished when the two ladies ran over to me, screaming and crying, their hair standing up.

My call was only short, and I smiled, said goodbye and hung up. Then I turned to the ladies. “Don’t you think it would be appropriate to keep your volume down when you see other people being on the phone? They were breathless in shock and pointed to that famous sign on the pillar next to the gas pump:

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

 

“How DARE you?” one of the ladies panted, only to burst out into visible indignation when I had a laughing fit. After recovering halfway, I finally managed to ask the ladies: “You aren’t dumb enough to still believe that fairy tale, are you?”

They could barely believe what they heard, and I finally told them: “I’m sorry, ladies. I don’t have time for the long version. But believe me: That’s crap. It’s a myth, and nobody knows where it came from. No smoking while pumping gas makes sense. But not using a cell phone? It’s a myth. I wish you a wonderful day.”

Then I took off.

And really, it IS a myth.

I’ve done my research. Years ago already the “Mythbusters” have proven that cell phones cannot produce sparks strong enough to cause a fire, not even if one was holding a cell phone right into the gas vapor.

AMTA, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, launched a study by the Oklahoma EMC Center about this subject. The study was sponsored by the London Institue of Petroleum which published the results at a seminar:

 

(Source: http://www.amta.org.au/articles/amta/Cellphones.do.not.cause.petrol.station.fires)

 

There was another study, carried out between 1994 and 2005 at gas stations around the world which confirmed the myth:

(Source: https://www.scienceabc.com/humans/can-using-a-cellphone-at-a-gas-station-petrol-pump-cause-an-explosion.html)

 

Many more studies around the world show the same result:

(Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/cell-phones-don-pump-fires-experts-article-1.1123228)

 

But make no mistake! Using cell phones on gas stations is NOT completely harmless!

Further studies and expertise have clearly stated, it’s most likely the static electricity that’s the danger!

It’s not the cellphone, but static sparks created when drivers rub themselves on the car that cause most of these fires. A lot of times, the drivers talk on their phones when the spark happens, so it just looks as if the cellphone is the cause of the fire, when it’s actually irrelevant.
When you’re moving in and out of your car, you’re generating static electricity. If you feel a spark, that’s usually between 10 and 20,000 volts of static electricity—and that’s plenty strong enough to make gas fume. (Source: http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2014/10/03/cellphones_at_gas_stations_mythbusters_debunk_one_of_the_biggest_myths_in.html)

And now you might ask: What in the world does that have to do with writing? And I’ll reply: The call I got was from my new copyright lawyer. 😀