Category Archives: Blogging

It’s an honour

The end of 2012 was a bit of  a blur for me – I got back from Australia in mid-November and then can’t remember what I did until the last two weeks of December when I descended into a Christmas decoration frenzy.  Evidently during that hazy period I started this blog post, so today I have finished it and – voila – here it is.

Look, look at me – my blog was nominated for an award and won an honourable mention amongst the thirty six blogs on the list for the USA. Not bad for someone with only six months on the ground in a new country. I may have to admit the local fan base wasn’t perhaps as extensive as others – something about other countries I have lived in before. Lets not quibble though, I will graciously accept the honourable mention as my mother tried to teach me to take a compliment where one was offered, with as little mitigating comment as possible.

That was one gold, one silver, one bronze and two honourable mentions. Top 5.

blog-award-2012-usa-honour

There are literally millions of blogs you can find on the internet. There is even a name for it – the blogosphere. A quick check will give you various figures for how many blogs there actually are. As I tell my kids constantly you can’t believe everything you find online but one number I found was ‘over 164 million’. Reference for this is is a site that popped up in my google search called Blog and retire – obviously I trust their figures implicitly and will be back to read the fine print later.

Another number I found (same site reference) was the number of people that read blogs, over 123 million people. That feels wrong, but hoping it means that there are several people with multiple blogs and that every blog has at least one reader – generally the author.

Given there are over 2 billion internet users, that is a lot more potential bloggers, readers, fans and haters for the blogosphere.

There are blog conferences, blog superstars, blog fans, blog fan pages and even blog haters (as in blogs dedicated to dissing other bloggers).

There are blogs about cats, kids, cancer, cooking, crafting, traveling, technology, finance, fashion, gossip, grammar and even expats. If you can think of a subject there are likely to be at least 75 hundred million blogs about it (not sure if that figure correlates with the ones I have listed above from my viable internet sources but lets just say its a finger in the air figure).

Even if you think you’ve never seen a blog, except this one, you probably have, even read one one a regular basis. Of the world’s 15 most popular blogs listed on ebizmba.com as of January 2013 I would be very surprised if you had not visited at least one of the top five, Huffington Post, TMZ, BusinessInsider, EndGadget or PerezHilton.com.

Given the number of blogs about the gazillion things there are in the world to interest people, it makes sense there are about a billion types of recognition of bloggers, or maybe just a million, or even a few thousand.

No matter how many forms of recognition there are I won a prize badge and I shall display it with pride. 2012 was low on upside for me, I will take what I can get. Thank you to all my readers who stopped by the site to put in a good word for me.

I love youse all.*

* the former catch cry of an Aussie boxer that became part of our culture, we do generally understand it has spelling / grammatical difficulties but use it anyway

12 Days

It’s surreal, to be training for a marathon that’s 12 days away – at the same time on a 24 hourly decision making process to fly to Australia.

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing.

You can read all about it here.

It’s my stalkee-versary!

I know the internet has been here forever, you’ve met people on the internet ALL the time that turn out to be normal, everyday types that have seamlessly crossed over from internet to IRL (in real life) friends. Old, boring, yawn. People have even met and married via the interwebs and had children and their children are probably already on Facebook (or Google +) trawling around looking for their love match.

But did you find them or did they ‘find’ (aka stalk) you? Were you living in another country with little or no friends and not many options at the time?  Is your stalker to real life friend story as special as mine? Maybe it is because all my stories are special – its like MY wedding, or the first time MY baby spoke, walked, passed fluids – because its mine it’s special and I’ll talk about it for as long as I want. Yours might be special too, if you want to write about it I will read your story – maybe, if you make it interesting, but for now I will settle for you reading on.

It starts with an email from a random on Facebook and ends up several months later with me arriving at said random’s house after closing time at the public house with two carloads of people, most of whom they have never met. That’s the measure of a true friend, one who invites you for a drink and you know its fine to bring half a pub with you, without warning! (well I didn’t actually know if it would be OK, but it was – we’re still friends so yay)

It was around the time of what I call the ‘great Aussie twitter scandal’ of the winter of 2010. A gripping saga I was glued to from my seat in far off South Africa.  A person – who can’t be named (because I genuinely don’t know her real name) had been posing on Twitter as a cancer sufferer and befriending people there and the natural extension of that for those living close by – in real life.  She had been to their houses, posed for Twitpics and from what I understand was slowly working her way around to seeking monetary assistance for future medical procedures. It was hard to keep up, different time zone and all and just a sideline watcher really. I came across her one day when my stream was filled with special wishes and good thoughts for her as she lay apparently dying in hospital and her ‘friend’ who had rushed from the US to be with her was tweeting updates. Luckily she survived and went on to befriend a whole range of seemingly lovely tweeple (people on twitter – keep up) etc etc. But watch out young players – cyberspace is a mean and nasty place and people can *shock & horror* lie about who they really are. She did lie about it and a lot of people got hurt in the process but are probably slightly wiser for it – as I am.  I was all – noone is going to fool me like that.

So when I got an email to my Facebook account – which is actually pretty hard to find for an amateur like me – I mean all my privacy settings are set exactly like Mark Zuckerberg told me. I was very suspicious about the motives of such a person wanting to befriend me just because they happened to *say* they were a fellow lonely expat in Durban. Who were they? Why were they using Facebook and not Twitter (that was back when I had the rule of IRL friends only on FB – what was I thinking)? Why had they read all my blog posts and referred to them in a humorous ego-stroking manner in their email? Were they looking for a kidney to sell on the black market?

It seems these people were fairly switched on stalkers and had created a whole backstory which basically was a blog that went back over two years. Clever huh? Their blog also had many many photos of this couple and feedback from people who seemingly knew them in real life and had for years, they even had their parents on there. As perfect a cover for kidney-stealing randoms I ever saw.

Proceed with caution was the order of the day. I was after all living in a country where I wasn’t fully at home yet – all my flesh and blood type friends who didn’t dabble too much in the online world thought the whole thing was too out there and I had best just leave it alone. However, I was also desperately seeking friends and these ones did know how to use the internet, my kind of people. So I set this person up as a friend on Facebook – obviously with various privacy settings so they couldn’t see photos of my kids etc as thats obviously the sensible thing to do. Of course I did the whole thing wrong and the next email said something along the lines of, I have been looking around your fb page, your kids are gorgeous. Obviously I had to meet these people as soon as possible to determine whether they were the real deal, as well as disabuse them of their incorrect assumptions regarding the small people.

We had to meet in a public place, where others knew I would be in case of emergency exit or kidnap situation, joking on the kidnap – maybe. Anyway a perfect opportunity threw itself our way when we both realised we would be attending the Durban July – Durban’s answer to the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne all in one day. We exchanged phone numbers and text messages and promised to arrange to meet up.  The Durban July is quite a lively social occasion and  we were being hosted in a marquee by a work connection of my husband. Free flowing champagne from 10am and a few hours and about 20 text messages later  I was falling over the railing of our enclosure waving my arms wildly screaming ‘Liz, Liz – over here’ at a girl in a bright orange dress. It’s a moment that she may have regretted months later when I arrived at 1 am with 10 people and not a bottle between us at her house but she and Johnny G diverted their path into ours and a beautiful wine laden friendship was born. We extended the friendship to pineapple martinis a couple of weeks later when we had them over to dinner at our house to introduce them to some other friends. Thinking back that’s when we could have lost the kidneys – all of us, and none of us would remember, but it seems more likely to have been a liver damage situation.

For this year’s Durban July we travelled together by taxi and toasted our Stalkee-versary en route with champagne.

As a tribute to my very special friendship with my former stalker-but-not-really I am including my very first photo in a post. It is the wine glass name I am given when I attend (invited) a function at their house.

(Now I have worked out how to do photos they may appear more often – who knows?)

My special glass at the Hawthorne house

Look over here – I’m going to climb a mountain

Because I am so good at updating this blog – I thought I would start another one, you know, for fun!

Have a read, you know you want to – its all about my upcoming big adventure.

More posts here soon – promise.

Its not the Bloggies but vote for me anyway!

Being an avid twitter stalker (I do try to participate but lots of things I think about contributing to the conversation are generally already said – this can sometimes be a time zone issue and sometimes be a ‘I’m just not that quick issue’) – so also end up doing a lot of ‘watching’ – as well as a brand new blogger, I have been watching with interest the hype and excitement online around the Bloggies (voting now closed).  I now realise I should have been making notes on vote getting techniques and other related items.  However I was busy doing other stuff – I forget what now but just things.

So it was with a certain amount of surprise that I read a comment on my blog that said I had been nominated (on a shortlist of 114 – I told you this is NOT the Bloggies!) for the LexioPhiles Top 100 International Exchange and Experience Blogs 2010. www.lexiophiles.com/ix09/vote-for-ix10-here It didn’t appear as a Spam warning so I thought I might investigate it further.

Apparently it is a real site and a real event, although the site is very slow to get to so when you do vote for me be prepared to wait a little longer than you might think for the site to load up, obviously a very busy site with all that voting going on – also it is a VERY long list and I am listed towards the bottom (an excuse I will use for reduced votes when the final tallies are taken). Also you need to know the name of this Blog – Random Thoughts of an Aussie expat living in another continent starting with A – which I have just realized is a very long and perhaps not particularly catchy title when you are trying to interest people in voting for you, but can’t change it now, given someone nominated me it apparently has some brand recognition. I am also wondering if it should be ‘living on’ – do you live ‘in’ or ‘on’ a continent? My English teacher is no doubt shaking her head wherever she is and saying ‘That girl never listened to me, she was too always busy reading books under the desk’ and she’d be right.

I have had a look at some of the other blogs nominated – some are pretty good  I think – quite a few are not in English but they look quite flash, some are even on YouTube – would have no idea how to do that myself but these tech savvy Gen Yers seem to have it all down pat.  I am sure some if not many of the other blogs on the very long list deserve votes – but here’s the thing – I want some too!  While I don’t for one second think I will ‘win’ the thing (whatever it is) – I certainly don’t want to be the only one on the Voting results page (which gives you an update of how many votes there are for each blog) with 0% or just one vote (yes – I tried it to see if it worked and voted for ME).

…………….

I have taken a break from writing this – which I have chosen to indicate by using a dotted line above in case you are wondering what that was for, to review how some of the finalists that were nominated for real live grown-up awards ‘The Bloggies’ (Final Top 5 Blogs in Australia /New Zealand – rather than 114 rather more random ones) attempted to induce voters.  @kerrisackville offered to dance in Spangly knickers for her voting public http://lifeandothercrises.blogspot.com/2010/01/vote-for-me-is-vote-for-spangly.html  if she won and @theNDM offered to bake cupcakes and send by post – and then supplemented that with a threat went  to eat a very interesting looking Vegie porn star she had created with a rather impressive outcome http://notdrowning.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/shameless/ . You can read more about both those offers on the links – should they work – after all this is my first time trying to insert real actual links (told you I was new at this). Please remember that these people are real grown up bloggers – so don’t abandon me when you realise what a real blog looks like! Its also true on those sites they know how to put the links in so they aren’t long clunky looking things – but one day I will also learn this – promise.

I have no Spangly knickers – did a quick mental check and don’t believe I own any – nor likely to buy any soon – so not likely to dance in them for you, not something you would want to see anyway. I’m also not a very good baker and given the reliability of the South African postal system I am not sure anyone would receive them. So I am just asking, based on the fact that you are reading this – vote for me!

How to do that? Click the link in the top right hand corner that says iX10 Vote for this blog. Choose the right one – mine, and you’re done. Voting is open from February 1st to February 14th.

Finally – to the person who nominated me – I am assuming someone did as I really did not do it myself (pinky promise), Thank You.  I hope to not let you down by securing at least two votes – mine and at least one other persons or maybe three – here’s hoping…….