Friday, October 31, 2008

Scraping the barrel base

Just something to post that I don't have to think too much about. I have been assured by an esteemed blogger that this is a spam site. It may well be, but it also has legitimate writing. I would be less than honest if I said I had anymore than had a quick peruse. I decided to respond to the auto generated request because I thought I might educate some Pakistani people in the ways of the wicked west, and of course fly the gay flag. (there's your chance to bite Robert). Be aware that if you make a comment here, you may well get an invitation. Treat it as you would any other spam, but there are no ongoing repercussions. The gay Aussie interview generated zero responses.

Interview with Blogger Andrew

By The Pakistani Spectator • Aug 16th, 2008 • Category: Interviews • (3,534 views) • No Responses

Would you please tell us something about you and your site?

My blog heading: My public diary, not my private one. Take it as fact at your risk. I am gay and I live with my long time partner in a highrise apartment in inner Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

I am almost middle age, I work full time shift work, we have a few close friends and reasonably close to family both here in Australia and back in England.

I have always been a letter writer and I can probably express myself better with the written word, rather than the spoken. I started reading other peoples blogs and found I was making long comments, so I started my own blog. What I write about is very varied and sometimes personal. It is my public diary.

Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?

I think my writing has improved since I started writing a blog, others may not agree. Comments by others on what I have written often cause me to look at a matter from a different angle. It almost goes without saying that to improve oneself must be a positive thing.

I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?

I once wrote about about some girls who I saw having difficulty when canoeing. I was on a bridge above them and snapped some pics with my phone and of course wrote about it. Sometime later I received an email from India from a person who was friend of one of the girls and she had come across the post. Another time I realised that the owner of a blog I had been reading for quite some time had served me in a shop when she was a teenager some fifteen or twenty years ealier. Co-incidences seem to happen quite often.

What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?

Mostly by commenting on their blogs. While it is not intentional and I have had opportunities, I have not personally met anyone new via my blog, but no doubt one day I will. Odd working hours prevents me going to some social events, including get togethers by blog writers. I am in direct touch via email or sms with a few of who I call my blog mates.

What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?
Direct email lists by political parties. I am on a political party’s direct email list and the information and news can be overwhelming. It could never be done by conventional mail.

Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?

Undoubtedly. It is a brave politician or bureaucrat who tries to indulge in overt deception and corruption in my country. If an official does something I don’t approve of or agree with, I might not take the trouble to sit down and write a letter, but it is very easy to type and send an email. Leaders can pick up the mood of people by what is said in emails, even if only their advisors read them

What do you think sets Your site apart from others?

I would like to say its brilliance, but really not very much, although sometimes I think I make too many posts and perhaps overwhelm people, but when something is half written in my head, it is better to get it out there. So if anything, volume but that is sporadic. One day four posts, the next day none.

If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?

I am not sure that I am particularly successful. I survive which is I suppose is a success. I guess I try to look for what is the motive behind a person when they do something wrong, rather than instantly judging them. I then feel better about things if I can see a motive. For example, if an acquaintance was nasty to me for no apparent reason, I ask myself have I unintentionally offended them in some way?

What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

I am pretty emotionally even, so I really can’t recall being delirious happy or terribly sad. Cruelty to animals or to humans in no position to defend themselves depresses me.

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for - what would your top 3 choices be?

If the bills are paid, anywhere will do. I would like to see more of England. Brazil appeals to me, as does Sri Lanka because it would be an easier taste of the subcontinent than India or Pakistan.

What is your favorite book and why?

I think it would be The Cousin from Fiji by Australian author, Norman Lindsay. It is not at all intellectual, just a great read and it tells of earlier times in Australia.

What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?

Their clothes at first, but I quickly focus on the way someone walks. That is, do they carry themselves well? Big or tiny, tall or short, I like people to move and act gracefully.

Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn’t write?

Not that I can recall. I would hope people would encourage others to write and improve, rather than focus on how good or bad they may be.

How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?

They can sell their souls to the devil and have paid advertising on their site. For me a blog is pleasure only, untainted by any commercial interest. I hope that doesn’t sound too smug.

Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?

Clearly they don’t have a lot of time on their hands if they have a successful blog. A successful blog does not fall from the sky. It takes time and commitment. To write about things, you need to experience them or to learn about them. From my observations, bloggers are very busy people. As an old saying goes, if you want something done in a hurry, then ask a busy person to do it.

What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?

I don’t think personal blogs have much impact. On a personal level, I have learnt a lot about other countries that I could never have known by reading books or daily media, so it would give people a better understanding of other countries and cultures. If you treat others in the blog world with respect and politeness, you do set a good example. You may not agree with what people write, but that is not a reason to be rude.

Who are your top five favourite bloggers?

I don’t want to make a list and offend anyone who I may not mention and I have truly made some great connections with nice and interesting people. I will just say that below is the first blog I started reading perhaps nine years ago, and I am still reading it today,

and for a good education about Australia, an honourable mention for this one,

Plenty of effort goes into both of the above blogs.

Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?

It is difficult to remember a single instance, but often just a simple and brief post can provoke the most comments. The are some areas to write about that will be guaranteed to get comments flowing, but the subject does not necessarily have to be controversial. Oddly, a post that might take me a long time to write and/or research, may barely receive a comment, whereas as a couple of lines about something that has annoyed me on that day, could get a huge response. There aren’t any rules about reaction, although writing race and religion can be quite provocative

What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?

It is only a view from afar, distilled by media, but I think it is a country being pulled in many directions by people with different aims and ideals. It is the poorest Pakistani people who suffer the most.

Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?

I can’t say that I have ever come across a blog writer who is unique. In a way though, we are all unique.

What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?

Open corruption in developing countries comes straight to my mind. I am not foolish enough to think that corruption does not happen in developed countries, but it is not a daily part of most people’s lives.

What is the future of blogging?

I am not sure. It won’t disappear but may become less popular. Blogs written by professional journalists are relatively new and interesting but I like my news and opinion from the old media such as newspapers, television and radio.

You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?

By educating me about some things and stimulating my interest in others, both professionally and personally. But I tend to keep my personal life separate from my blog, although I write about it at times.

What are your future plans?

Nothing beyond the usual. Hopefully to be able to continue to live much as I now do.

Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?

We are all human yet all different, and we must try to tolerate each other’s differences. While don’t do it to your ultimate peril, do try to stand up for what is right and never accept in your head something which is inherently wrong.


  1. I'm an old cynic. When they asked me to fill in their questionaire I automatically thought, "What's in it for them? These people know that if there's one thing people who blog like to talk about it's themselves and their own blogsites, so this has to be a scam of some sort. I still haven't figured out what their scam is, and I still haven't filled in their questionaire. I don't think I ever will. I don't trust 'em, I tell y'...there's more to this lot than meets the eye.

  2. Oh my God, I wish someone would do this to me, to interview and ask me about my view etc

  3. Enjoyed the interview and thanks for the mention ;)
    Especially like your last response :)

  4. Anonymous11:09 am

    They are scammers. It's irrefutable; the same 'message' on all of our blogs.

    I wouldn't invest any energy in them.

  5. it appears to be harmless fun. Sorry to spoil the cynics here, but good on you. I'm sure our country is portrayed fairly poorly overseas, if at all, so well done!

    I can't say I got the message though on my blog...

  6. Blogs will not get less popular. Bloggers want to write and are generally interesting and don't want to be nudged and annoyed by idiots on Facebook. We have intelligent commenters not pathetics crying "friend me! friend me!".

  7. I like how you say you watch how people carry themselves as an initial assessment, or be it an on going assessment of a person. I first look at their eyes, then their shoes!! Funny enough, shoes tell a story... they must be clean, no matter the age of the shoe... an I am off to buy some new Rockports for work next week... my other ones had bitten the dust, not doing their job to save my calves and lower back from the standing up at work...hence, I have not been carrying myself well at work..not professional wouldn't you agree? :)
    Re- Uniqueness of bloggers... I agree, everyone is unique.. I wish I could express more of my own uniqueness sometimes, but that would be for a private not a public blog.
    Interesting post Andrew. Thanks :)

  8. Why not fill it in if you have the spare time Brian. I am sure you will get as much response as I did. For me, it was also an interesting exercise, that is, to try and write properly while also keeping the essence of god, what a wank I just wrote.

    Well, Hide lover, you may well get an invite now.

    Jayne, for such an intolerant person as myself, I thought the last response was ok.

    They promote their website with spam Reuben. Well that is a new idea, not. There is even spam blogging where a legitimate blogger collects blog mates by quick skim reads and occasional comments with no follow up. No names.

    If you wrote as much crap as I do Rob, I am sure an invitation would be forthcoming.

    We are a bit more subtle about it Jahteh, but the friend me, friend me aspect is still there. We all seek approval in either quality or numbers.

    Funny you mention about footwear Cazzie. After about eight years, my heel suddenly started making squeaking noises. There will be a post about it. I had an old boss, who when you asked for a day off, would look down at you shoes to see if they were clean. R swears by Rockports. I buy Rossi. You are unique on my blog, as you are the 2.3 children couple with the white picket fence. I also recall hints at a not more interesting, but a different phase of your life. Of course it was you who served me in that shop fifteen or twenty years ago. I am sure you recall.

  9. I really enjoyed reading that dear Hawt Andrew, and loved the bridge/canoe photo story too.

    Maybe everybody could answer the questions as a meme - it is no different to being Profiled on Norm Geras blog - and that is considered an honour.

    also: Great to see your hawt bodeh at Coppys parteh for Halloween.

  10. Anonymous2:51 am

    Thanks for commenting on Glasgow Daily Photo - I really appreciate it :)

    I don't know if this site you wrote for is spam or not, but just speaking personally I love this sort of writing, it's like therapy - what better than to waffle on about yourself to a captive audience :D What you wrote was really interesting. I was very cynical about blogging until I started a blog, and very soon I was hooked. I've also noticed an improvement in my writing style, which is obviously a good thing.

  11. Party was good Ann, but really, what were you like! I never thought I had it in me.

    Hi Jackie and welcome. Yep, it does improve your writing and communication skills, and you certainly get plenty of brain exercise.

  12. Anonymous12:13 pm

    In my books, Andrew, any individual or body seeking to gain attention or patronage though 'spam' or advertising has an ulterior motive. If their work is good and legitimate, they need not advertise it. I don't advertise to others (except in that rare case on Daniel's blog...urr), so why should they to me. It's also really annoying to receive junk-mail. I'm not a garbage bin.

  13. I dunno Reuben. A site sending one email requesting a blogger to fill in an interview form for publication surely can't be called a spammer.

  14. Anonymous9:59 pm

    But to every contact in that person's list? That's spam. Undeniably.

  15. As you wish, but daily I would delete 80 odd spam emails from various yahoo addresses, plus one or two from my isp email account. One bot email from Pakistani whatever requesting an interview was not a problem for me.

  16. Anyway, I have fulfilled my part of the deal, and Paki reader will soon disappear from my blog.

  17. Anonymous11:53 am

    Oh well. I wouldn't be too depressed to see these spammers wiped from the internet. But of course that's impossible due to the nature of them being spammers.