Category Archives:Waffle Wednesday

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Oct. 07.

Waffle Wednesday: Where Have I Been

ww-logo-thYes, I know I have been posting a little sporadically on Robyn Rants and Raves for the past while. Yes, I know I should post more often (I am working on that). But I haven’t been doing nothing. I have been keeping busy. And as this counts as a post, and keeps everyone here up to date, let me tell you, where have I been?

Okay, having been unwell, there was a time where Robyn Rants and Raves had my (almost) undivided attention. I needed the distraction, and here was perfect. But, I am no longer unwell. In July my GP told me I was fit to go looking for work again (hallelujah!). The finding work bit hasn’t been easy (boooo), mainly because I have a particular skillset, but I don’t have a qualification in what I know how to do. I am changing that though!

In September, I was told to apply to do a course. I was given two weeks to do that (the department of social protection are so generous!). I couldn’t take that long, and within 24 hours had researched courses, applied to one, and been accepted. And at the end of last month, I became a student in Dublin Business School, studying Digital Marketing. It is the choicest parts of a 3 year degree, stuck together into a 1 year course, but I get a Level 7 award at the end of it. I will talk more about the course over the next year, but it was a joyous relief to be told that a large part of one module is being graded on the “setting up and running of a blog”, and that we are to use WordPress. Well, I’ve been blogging here for 3 years, and using WordPress for longer, so I went up, kissed the lecturer (not quite) and did a happy dance.

My digital home from home :-)

My digital home from home :-)

I’ve also been working on getting fitter, and losing some weight, as I have on occasion blogged about. Well, it is most definitely working. I now train using a heart rate monitor, and can push myself so much harder. I can cover the 2.14 km circle around the local park in 4:30 (the first time I tried it was closer to 6 minutes), and I can now climb hills too! It was a great feeling to go up the hill that beat me the first time out on the bike, and go sailing over the top of it.

Finally, as I do enjoy my food (maybe a little too much) I have been spending a bit of time in the vegetable garden. Most of what we’ve grown for the year has been eaten now, but the most recent thing to be taken out of the garden is a pumpkin (actually, 3 pumpkins). They should be orange around the end of the month. I learned from lifting them up, they’re heavy!

The most orange of the pumpkins

The most orange of the pumpkins

All this means that I have gone from having too little to do and too much time, to too much to do and not plan as to when to do it. Things are settling down a bit more now, so I am finding more time to blog, and I plan on getting regular posts going again soon. Someone put the rugby on at the same time, and those rugby players, and Nigel Owens (I do have a little crush on Nigel, but who doesn’t?) can be a distraction too. I am working on getting everything back on track. As the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says, Don’t Panic!

Robyn

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IBC-ft
Jun. 03.

Waffle Wednesday: A Learning Experience – Irish Bloggers Conference

ww-IBC-thAt the weekend I was so lucky to be invited to attend the second Irish Bloggers Conference, by the absolutely wonderful Anita of Dolledup.ie, and held in the delightful venue of the Radisson Blu hotel on Golden Lane. It would have been wrong of me to attend and not make it a learning experience, as the wealth of knowledge on stage was immense. I went armed with my notebook and camera to find out what was what.

Just some of the displays at the conference

Just some of the displays at the conference

Now, I will say that I probably didn’t use either as much as I should have. I am partly to blame for this, though I also assign blame to those who were speaking. You could spend so long paying acute attention to what was being said, that you plain forgot to take it all down. There were, though, a few bits that did make it in to my book, which will stick with me. The first part of the day was mainly about blogging as a business, and was led off by fitness blogger Rob Lipsett, who also has a line of gym gear. Three things stuck with me from his presentation:

  • Build up your name: Don’t just do what everyone else is doing. Be unique! Be noticed. This is very true. If you have 50 people all blogging about the same thing, in the same way, everything looks far too identikit, like it is the exact same info on a different template. Make your content unique, make it interesting. Put your slant on something and claim it as your own. It will make it so much easier to recognise YOU!
  • Be good at what you do: If you are doing something don’t half-ass it. Know what you are talking about! If you are knowledgeable and passionate about something it will show in your work.
  • And finally, if you are looking to make blogging your business, DO IT! If you are in a 9-5 job that you are just slogging through, ask yourself WHY? Move from something you are just doing to something you are passionate about doing!

Conor Lynch of socialmedia.ie talked about monetizing your blog – making it pay for itself, and you. Luckily a link to his full presentation is available here, but the main thrust of his talk was about the main forms of advertising, how they work, and how to implement them in a way that will not drive away visitors. There was one caveat he had though. The most important thing you need to have before advertising becomes worthwhile is TRAFFIC! If you think that you can just slap some ads onto the blog and it will become a goldmine, it won’t. You have to work up to it first!

I admittedly didn’t take any notes during Alison Canavan’s talk. We were all ordered to uncross our legs, clear our laps, and be in the present. The group meditation was a nice touch though!

The final speaker in part one was Anita Whyte of Dolledup.ie, who, though battling nerves, gave us two things. She has an app coming out soon, and one piece of advice: Interaction is key. Talking to people, sharing with people, interaction makes a big difference. The social aspect can’t be underestimated.

Artwork on display

Artwork on display

The second part of the day focussed on women in business & media (well, it was a mostly female audience, with the few men being questioned as to whether they were lost or being held there against their will, by the brilliantly funny MC Marcus O’Laoire). Sonya Lennon, of Off The Rails and Lennon-Courtney fame told us to not put all of our eggs in one basket. Keep building your profile. Keep looking for the next thing that you can get involved in. Basically to not expect one thing to last forever, but to keep adapting and evolving.

Writer and broadcaster Barbara Scully gave one of the standout talks of the day about women in media and social media (it’s owned by women and cats don’t you know). Again, I was paying too much attention to her to actually make notes, but a couple of things stood out.

  • Keep disciplined, making regular updates to your blog or social media. Watch the reactions to each post. Does something get people talking or clicking more than others?
  • With social media, particularly Twitter, get your name right from the start. Can you expect to be taken seriously with a name like @aurora111? – this is Barbara’s original twitter handle (Incidentally, I’ve always been @robyntmorton – I got something right!)
  • Know your facts: How difficult is it to say something incorrect and try to salvage the situation. You are better off checking your facts and getting it right first time.
  • Important: PUT DOWN THE WINE! Tweeting/facebooking/whatever after a few glasses may seem like a good idea. It may seem like fun, until the next day when you ask “Did I tweet that?” Think before you tweet!

Mary Carty of spoiltchild.com and Stemettes was talking about women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) and told us that “skills are the new safety.” If you don’t have skills, learn them. If you do have skills, keep improving them. And keep learning new things. Skilled people are always needed! She also told us not to wait on perfect. You will be forever waiting for the perfect opportunity.

Orla McDonagh, the Gym Bunny told us of two important things that are needed – Passion & Ego – before encouraging us to take pictures of a couple of slides that contained important information to keep considering (these are in the gallery below)

Gym Bunny

Picture 1 of 3

After the second break, where I tried to be sociable and passed on the delicious looking cupcakes that disappeared in about 5 seconds we had our final three speakers of the day.

Pete Wedderburn (the vet off the television, yes) talked about how he used old media and now new media to build the profile of his vet practice from having two vets not busy, to having many vets always busy. He also asked us to tweet about why exactly we blog, as he was interested to see the myriad of reasons (I blog for enjoyment, friendship and as a means of relaxation)

Timi Ogunyemi, the picture editor of Picture This talked about the 3 C’s (Communicate, Collaborate, Celebrate). I was more lost in his stage presence & glasses, but did manage to note that we should embrace creativity, and love what you do.

The final speaker was Darragh Dolye, a man who has a simple job description – to get things noticed on twitter. He led us on a 20 plus minute, 211 slide journey, that comprised many of memes and funny pictures, while telling us to know where different sources of traffic get to the blog (he is the reason that Robyn Rants and Raves now has a Whatsapp share button). When I wasn’t doubled up laughing, I did manage to take a couple of photos of his presentation, so, the best of Darragh Doyle is below, minus his naked pictures (yes, there were pictures of him, and lots of other naked people, in the presentation)

Darragh Doyle

Picture 1 of 16

The day finished with a fashion and beauty bloggers panel, including Anita Whyte, Nuala Gorham, Holly White, Joanne Larby, David Cashman & James Butler. One of the interesting questions asked was about dealing with negative comments on blogs and social media. I thought the answer given that negativity will happen (some people just hate seeing others being successful) and while you shouldn’t stifle it unless it gets really bad, do not engage with it. There will be so many more positive comments, and brands may be watching. If you lower yourself to the level of trolls, it does not reflect well on you.

blogger-panel

The bloggers panel (I was in an awful place for pictures of this)

One more thing that was mentioned a lot, by numerous people, was about saying yes to opportunities. There must be a reason for someone offering an opportunity to you, so always, where possible, say YES to the opportunity. There may come a time when you have to balance which opportunities pay the bills or not, but don’t let opportunities pass you by. A Richard Branson quote was used to illustrate this: “If you don’t know how to do something, say yes – then learn to do it.”

It was a fantastic day, and as you can see, I took a lot away from it, which, hopefully, you can take bits of too. It was, at times, a bit overwhelming, and a bit of information overload, but it was a very worthwhile day (without even mentioning the goody bags, the Yamamori gift card that I won, or the drinks afterwards in 10 St. Stephens Green), and in the absence of a video of the full day that I can watch back, I will certainly be in line for tickets for the next one. Major kudos have to go to the team at Cool Events for the effort in putting together the day, which is most appreciated.

Robyn

 

(Thumbnail picture credit: Irish Blogger Association & Holly Shortall)

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ziaja-ft
May. 27.

Waffle Wednesday: Things You’ve Always Wanted To Ask A Trans Person

ww-logo-thThere is a video currently doing the rounds of internet land, that was originally made by BBC Three’s Free Speech programme, entitled Things You’ve Always Wanted To Ask A Trans Person (But Probably Shouldn’t) that has popped up in my timeline a couple of times in the past two days. It was on The Journal today (where I engaged in the comments, which are a dark soulless place – bad Robyn, don’t read the comments, you know that!), and it does pose an interesting question as to just what is and isn’t okay to ask.

Looking at some of the questions included in the video, you have to wonder just what some people are thinking in believing it is okay to ask these things. Let’s be honest, if you were to go up to a woman at random and say “Can I feel your boobs?” you’ll be lucky to get away with just a slap around the face. Why should someone who is trans* be any different? Likewise, how do you have sex? If that is your opening line, you better have much more than your charming personality to go with, because it alone is letting you down. There seems to be an attitude that trans* people are at best curiosities, and at works (as put by one commenter on The Journal) creatures, seemingly beneath basic human rights and boundaries. That is very much not the case.

That said though, I do believe that sometimes asking questions, in the right way, and at the right time, is acceptable. If you are asking for the right reasons, to learn and understand what trans* people go through, then I wouldn’t mind answering them, and I’m sure most trans* people would be the same. (Some questions may be off limits unless you are really close though). And so, if it helps anyone, here are my answers (though they’re probably nowhere near as good as the ones of the people in the video!)

  • When did you decide to be transgender? I never really decided. I just am, though to give something, I suppose I became aware of it in my mid teens.
  • Have you had the op? Medical questions, woo! I’ve been through so many ops now that I lose track of them, but the ones you are thinking about, no. Patience, grasshopper!
  • Which bathroom do you use? The one that is there when I need to pee. Which one do you use?
  • How do you have sex? In bed with the person I love. Get to know me better and ask again.
  • Are you a drag queen? No. I don’t have the makeup skills for the eyes and contouring.
  • Are you sure you aren’t just gay? Gender and sexuality are two completely different things, with infinite different stops on each scale. Variety is the spice of life after all. Wouldn’t life get boring if we were all the same.
  • Can I see a picture? If you know me well enough to see a picture, great. If not, too bad. There’s not much difference, except for my being much more fabulous.
  • Can I feel your boobs? Can I feel yours? No – then don’t be such a tit and stop asking stupid questions.
  • I can tell you used to be a man/woman – Well good for you, but the thing is I don’t really care. I am who I am and if you don’t like it, move along.
  • I never know what to call them – he/she/they? This is quite simple. If you see a woman you use she. If you see a man – he. If you’re unsure, they is gender neutral and works great until you politely ask. That should clear up and issues. If in doubt, ask. We don’t bite (much)
  • Do you think you’ll ever go back? Happiness is everything. Why go back to being unhappy?

As I said, there are some questions there that should really never be asked. I know curiosity may get the better of you, but stopping for a second and thinking whether you would reasonably ask a cisgender person the same thing will give you a pretty good basis for asking or not.

I must also say thank you to BBC Three for putting together the video, and for their respondants for giving such excellent answers!

Robyn

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Robyn R
Apr. 29.

Waffle Wednesday: I see the posters & Despair for Humanity

Robyn RYes, I will say it right now. This is a political post. It is about the Marriage Equality Referendum, and if that’s not your thing, please come back soon. Normal service will resume shortly. There is now less than a month to go until the May 22 Referendum, and I’ll be honest. It can’t come soon enough.

As it typical with all elections and referenda, it comes with posters. Tons of them. Millions of them. Every (other) lamp post is festooned with one or more of them, and sometimes with multiples of the same one (cover every angle). I try to ignore them. I am not a fan of them, but some of them are hard to ignore (but to make it easier, there are no poster images in this post).

My issue isn’t with the Yes campaign posters. they are hardly emotive ( I personally find the Fianna Fail ones to be very banal). The AAA ones skirt a bit close to not being suitable (Vote yes to Equality in 2015, no to Austerity in 2016), but generally they are okay. My issue is with the No campaign. There are a wide range of posters out there, all dealing with highly emotive topics, which aren’t relevant to this referendum. They are issued by and paid for by a group called Mothers & Fathers Matter. Now, I completely agree with the group name. Mothers matter. Fathers matter. But it does not mean that the mother and father have to be in a single group, a single unit. To say that someone who raises a child without a mother, or without a father (why is the evil couple ALWAYS two men?) you are automatically failing the child. Have Mothers & Fathers Matter actually stopped and thought about what they are doing there. They are insulting, and delivering a slap in the face to every single parent in Ireland, and indeed the world. To say that a mother, who threw an abusive partner out, and did the very best she could to raise a child, protect them and care for them in not at all easy circumstances, is a failure as a parent, as they didn’t raise the child with a father, is degrading, inhuman and wrong. Likewise, if fate happened to conspire to leave a father to raise a child without a mother, the father is a failure? There is something seriously messed up there.

And yet, as I said above. The issue of children is not the topic of the referendum. It is about marriage. Very simple. As the proposed wording states:

‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex’

Nowhere does it mention children, or mother, or father. Though, as the constitution will, and has, inevitably been brought up, let’s do some simple word finding exercises:

  • There are 6 mentions of mother in the constitution. Most are as part of the word “mothers” (twice in relation to abortion & four times in relation to work)
  • One mention of father, in this passage (Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,)
  • Nine mentions of parents  (in relation to Article 42 – education)
  • No mentions of female or male

I have seen the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child quoted the same way. The figures are just as bad, and prove the argument wrong just as easily there.

It is unfortunate that psychology says someone will be swayed by the No posters, and that is unfortunate. It is one thing if you choose to vote no, for the right reason in your mind. I don’t agree with you, but I respect your opinion. To decide to vote no, as the result of an argument that is completely irrelevant, though, is wrong. Completely wrong, and as a result I need to advise everyone of this: Find out what the referendum is about. Look at the logical arguments from BOTH sides, discount the ones that you can see are crazy or irrelevant, mull things over, and then make up your mind. You have until May 22.

I must also add, please, do your civic duty. If it is at all possible, check you are on the voter register (you have until May 5th to get yourself on there), and on May 22, get out and vote!

Robyn

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r white
Apr. 08.

Waffle Wednesday: Run, Robyn! RUN!

ww-logo-thYesterday, I did something seemingly crazy for me. I got out of the house, went down to the pathways by the beach in gorgeous sunny Shankill, and I went for a run. This is not something I do, but yesterday I started the Couch to 5K program, and after I got clearance from my GP to keep going (she saw no reason not to, but due to my unique health issues I thought it prudent to ask) I am going to force myself to complete it. These will be my chronicles. They will only be every couple of weeks, but making it public makes me want it to be as good as it can be.

Before running baseline:

Fitness: I’m going to use the zombie apocalypse test. Basically, if you were being chased by a horde of ambling zombies, how likely are you to get away and survive. Currently, I’d be lucky to get away from the shambling, ambling ones. The ridiculously fast 28 later style ones, forget about me, go and lead your lives! In all honestly, I’ve been laid up for 18 months nearly, being told to do nothing, and *holds hands up* I’ve been inactive a lot longer than that. I used to play softball, but had to give it up as it was affecting my knees.

Weight: Prefer not to say, but may be equivalent to a small car or baby elephant (only a SMALL exaggeration). When my GP weighed me today, I was 3KG lighter than I was just before surgery in February, but I could still stand, or run, to lose a large amount of this.

First Workout:

C25K, Week 1, Day 1: The most basic workout you can get. The very beginning. Warm up walk for 5 minutes, jog 1 minute & walk 90 seconds repeating for total of 20 minutes. Warm down 5 minutes. Total 30 minutes.

I lasted 20 minutes of it. This disappointed me, as I wanted to hang in there for the full time, but impressed me, as it was about 15 minutes more than I thought I could do. It was not a great start, but it was a start, and in everything you have to start somewhere.

Problems encountered:

Shortness of breath: The 20 minutes took the wind out of me, quite literally. It took me a few minutes sitting down afterwards to get my breath back properly. If I needed proof of my being unfit, that was it.

Earphones: Standard in ear earphones are USELESS for this kind of thing. I found myself stopping every couple of minutes to put them back in (but did stop the clock while I did so) I’ve already picked up some sports earphones for next time.

Personal notes:

Once I got my breath back and was in the shower, I did feel a little good about the fact that I was even attempting it. I’m thinking that if I can keep breaking it into lots of small victories it will be easier to keep going, rather than looking (at the moment) at a seemingly unattainable goal. One step at a time, Robyn. One step at a time!

Robyn

P.S. I know some of you read the title of this post as Run, Forrest, Run! Go on, admit it!

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What the hell is that?
Mar. 04.

Waffle Wednesday: I’m Back! (Well, Almost)

Robyn RHello there! I’ve been kind of absent the past while, but the good news is that I’m just about back to doing whatever it is that I do here (if anyone knows what I’m meant to be doing here, let me know in a comment, please and thank you). It will take me a couple of days to figure out what is sitting in the review box (which looks like a bomb has hit it) and decide what to write about, but I’m finally able to get my mind back to what I enjoy doing most.

I apologise for my absence, but, as some of you may know (I’ve written about it a lot) I have been dealing with some complicated health issues for the past year and a bit, and it all got too much for me. Having your entire existence dictated by when you do (or don’t) have appointments with hospitals, doctors or nurses is not easy. I’ve said it before, but if you’ve been through it, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, I hope you never have to. Concentrating on the blog, and well, concentrating on anything really, became almost impossible, so I took a break.

Fortunately though, on February 19th, I found myself in hospital, for a long awaited and looked forward to major surgery (I know that sounds weird, like I’m some kind of surgical masochist) to finally solve the kidney problem I was having – I’ll avoid the gory details, as it is bad enough that I know the mess that was made in there. It was a messy surgery (I left the ward at 8.30 and didn’t get back until that evening), and quite probably involved the doctors looking like this:

What the hell is that?

What the hell is that?

It was all a success, and after a week of recovery, heavy painkillers (morphine on tap for 3 days) and some fairly forgettable food (though not entirely bad this time, my nagging worked) I was deemed fit enough to go home (they really just needed the bed – as was demonstrated by the loud conversation about bed demands just outside my door before asking if I wanted to go home).

So, after almost another week at home, I’m at the point where the pain has more or less gone (unless I move stupidly) I am in a good mood and can pay attention to doing things like blogging again (woohoo!).

Bear with me a couple more days, and I’m sure I will find something to rant and rave about really soon! Expect topics to include the search for a good manicure, pedicure, brow shape and hairstyle (all things that have been neglected for a while) but don’t expect me to be talking about swimsuit season this year (not being able to be active for too long, and the huge scar that now wraps around my waist can be blamed for that).

Thank you for sticking with me through all this!

Robyn

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hospitalbed
Nov. 05.

Waffle Wednesday: A Frustrating Hospital Update

ww-bedthAnyone who has been following me on Facebook or Twitter, or who has been reading Robyn Rants and Raves for a while knows about my adventures in healthcare, and mid to late October saw another chapter written in the ongoing saga. Unfortunately it has not been a good chapter.

If you didn’t already know, I spent 5 weeks in hospital late last year, after discovering a problem with my kidneys and bladder (we’re rapidly approaching the 1 year anniversary). The bladder has been sorted, and in March we discovered the cause of the kidney problem – a polyp causing an obstruction. It was minor, and they were willing to wait and take a look at it again in July.

July turned in to October after 4 cancellations, but in mid October they finally got me back in to look at things again, and it had gotten worse. It is now a more serious problem, as it is completely obstructing the kidney.

The doctors suddenly decided that things must be done. Within an hour of getting home from the hospital that day I had a phone call giving me a date just on the opposite side of the weekend to bring me back in. That didn’t happen, but it did happen that week, on the Friday, for urgent intervention with the aim of protecting the kidney. Even that didn’t go perfectly. They were able to complete one part, but not the other. Cue a weekend of sitting in a room doing nothing. A LONG long weekend of doing nothing over the bank holiday. On the Tuesday they decided that yes they wanted to try again, and did try the next day. And again it didn’t work out. So they sent me home, with the aim of trying again next week.

So, the current plan is to being me back in on Tuesday, with the aim of trying yet again on Wednesday. After that, I have no idea what will happen.

This is where things get frustrating. It is rapidly approaching a year since this all began. A year where I have had to put things on hold. A year of not being able to plan ahead, not knowing when the hospital would want me again.

Then there is the lack of communication. I have been taking quite an interest in my treatment. I find it helps to have some idea of what has been done, and what still needs to be done. The medical team this time around seem a little unwilling to actually discuss things, and in the most recent stay, I didn’t speak to my consultant, even to have him say hello.

And of course there is the feeling of going backwards. These interventions have been done before, deemed to no longer be needed, and taken out. Now we are putting them back in. This doesn’t seem any closer to a resolution.

To know we are getting closer to the job finally being done, to being able to get my life back on track is all I want. Physically I am better than I was this time last year. I can put up with the poking and prodding and sticking things in me to try and do something. Mentally, however, I am suffering. It is not easy being unwell. If you haven’t experienced it, I hope you never do. If you have, this probably makes too much sense.

My GP today said something to help, a little bit of good news to remember. At least the polyp is benign.

That’s it. Stay optimistic. Keep the chin up. I’ll get through it eventually.

Robyn

P.S. This is also the reason for my sporadic posting in the past couple of weeks. Trying to juggle getting things ready for the hospital, being in there and blogging is difficult. I’ll try to do what I can though.

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Waffle-150x142
Oct. 15.

Waffle Wednesday: Bloggers, Photographs and Unauthorised Use

ww-wafflethIt can be difficult, getting the perfect photo for your blog. The lighting may not be what you wanted, or the angle may be off, or no mater what you do, you just can’t get the colour to reproduce properly. We have all been there, and it is a pain. But then there are moments where everything goes perfectly for you, you get a great photo, use it on your blog, and you are very happy with yourself. But then, lo and behold, it appears on another website. A website that took your image, your hard work without permission.

I have been known to right click on various images on my blog, and thanks to Google Chrome there is a direct option to search Google for this image. Mostly, no matches come up, except for on my own site, and that is a good thing. A couple of days ago though, I did find a match from another site. It was a site purporting to be an image library. And there was an image of one of my manicures on the site. I was never approached about it. I was never asked. They just added it to their site, which on their “about us” page was telling people that it was a site of high quality images, allowing people to download the best one to suit their needs.

NOTD-FrenchExcuse me? A site took my image, and was offering it for people to download for their own use? I’m not having that. On their contact us page, there was a spiel about how the images are not free to use. That they should be freeware, but might not be, and so you shouldn’t use them. There was also a contact form for copyright holders to request the removal of images, or if they prefer, have their link added to the recommended links page (it was a very short list of recommended links). Annoyed by the fact that my image was there without permission, and not wanting my link to be associated with what could be a very dodgy website, I told them that it was to be removed. Fortunately there was no argument, and a couple of hours later I had an email to say it had been removed. Problem solved, and crisis averted.

Meanwhile, I started checking through every image I have on the blog. Most of them came up with nothing. I mean, who wants to reproduce images of my face, but unfortunately I found another one. One of my most popular posts has always been about the SS ’14 launches from Shiseido. In it there was a photo of their Face Colour Enhancing Trio’s. A photo that I actually made a mistake with, in that one of the included brushes was pointing down, while the others were pointing up. It turned out to be a very telling mistake, as I found the same four products in 1 photo, with the same mistake, the same dimensions, and the same filename, as my image. That’s too many coincidences. That is my photo, again being used without permission or credit. This time on another blog.

Shiseido-Blush

Another blogger wanted to write a piece on the product, did an image search, and just helped themselves to my work. This irks me. Any blogger worth reading, to the best of my knowledge, takes great pride in their work. It is what makes blogging and the blogging community so great, because it is a person who is just genuinely passionate about a subject and wants to share their passion. So, to feel that one of our own didn’t have the courtesy to contact me for permission, or even credit my work, is a bit of an insult really.

Normally, I try to be polite, but I ran into several issues here. The blogger in based in Spain, writes in the Spanish language, and had no contact details on the blog, so I was left with two options. The first was to leave a comment saying that I was the copyright holder of the work, that it was used without permission, and that I needed the image removed. The second, which ultimately I have had to enact, is to approach Google with a copyright takedown request, as it is housed on one of their blogging platforms.

I hate having to do things like this, but at the same time I feel that my rights as the creator of the works should be respected. You can call me a moany bitch if you so wish, but I am really quite easy going on things like this. I love seeing people acknowledge my writing, my photos, my work as being excellent and that they want to use it, and well, I am completely fine with it. All I ask is that someone sends a quick email to say that they want to use such and such an image, for whatever reason, and that they’ll credit me as creator. Hey, if I can I will even sort out higher resolution versions of the image.

And finally, if you do go searching the web for images (and we all have) to use for something, I encourage you to acknowledge sources, be it a brand, an image library, or another website. If we do take the convenient way out, it is really only fair that we tip our hats to the ones that put the effort in to create the images for us.

How do you feel about unauthorised use of images? Do you regularly check and ask for images to be taken down? Do you watermark your images? Or do you think that people will just use them regardless and let them get on with it?

Robyn

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poseidon2
Oct. 08.

Waffle Wednesday: There’s Something In The Water

ww-fish-thOkay, I may as well say it now. This is not a post about Irish Water or water charges. I’m not going to get involved in that discussion. Instead I am going to talk about something else in the water. Something moving, something swimming. Something fishy.

Years ago, as I child I remember keeping a pet goldfish. He was won at the fair, and was put into a pudding bowl of water, expecting only to last a week with him. He lasted several years. Then someone gave the family a gift of a large, 4 foot long fish tank, lights, stand, the works. Just add fish. So we did, and at maximum capacity we had 24 fish of different colours, shapes and sizes. Again we had the fish for years quite happily, until somehow the tank got chipped, leaked and the fish died. And that was that, until recently.

Lir

Lir, the Lionhead Ranchu

I had been thinking about keeping fish again for a while. For one, I find it incredibly soothing to watch fish. I could spend hours staring at them, watching them do their thing, and be content doing it (both me and the fish). It is also a great way of learning about the management of them. Childhood me was wrong about just putting a fish in a bowl of tap water it seems. There are so many procedures to work through to get everything set up before you even think about fish. But I found myself a tank, the right equipment, water additives and decorations, set them up, and a few days later got some fish.

poseidon2

Poseidon, The Fantail Goldfish

In adding fish to the tank I went for three species, a Lionhead Ranchu, which is like a golf ball with no fin on his back and a flowing tail, and two fantail goldfish, which are like normal goldfish, except a little fatter and they have a double tail. These were called Lir, Poseidon and Amphitrite, after Gods and Goddesses of the sea.

amphitrite2

Amphitrite, The Fantail Goldfish

Then there was 6 White Cloud Mountain Minnows, which look like little silver streaks, with vibrant red tails. There was no way I was going to be able to tell them apart, so I just collectively called them the Minions, as a play on words of minnow, and as they were going to be under control of the Goldfish Gods.

minions

The (White Cloud Mountain) Minions

Or so I thought. Things didn’t work out that way. I am not sure whether it was through poor quality fish, or poor set up and care on my part, but Lir, the Ranchu, died within 36 hours. Poseidon and Amphitrite followed between one and two days later. It was gutting to think that as a clueless kid, I kept goldfish quite happily in a bowl of tap water, but when I try to do things properly, things turned into a disaster. I was fortunate enough that where I got the goldfish from offered me a credit note for them (and a lecture on how I must be doing things wrong) but it was still not a pleasant experience.

Unfortunately too, I lost one of the Minions around the same time, but I believe that was accidental where the poor thing swam into the base of a decorative plant and got stuck. By the time I found him again the next day it was too late. Since then though things have settled down, the remaining 5 minions have settled in, and yesterday, just under two weeks after the disaster I was able to add in a few more fishy friends, in the form of 6 Zebra Danios, which “look like the stripy toothpaste” as blogger and fish lover Amy from Red Lips; Red Hair put it. They’ve come to be known as The Herd (zebras come in herds, and that’s enough logic for me).

It is good to see some life in the tank again, as while it is a fairly modest desktop tank, the fish are only small too. The Herd add a lot of playfulness to the tank, as they can always be seen chasing each other, or the Minions around. Feeding time too is a joy to watch, as once the food hits the water the whole lot explode into action, leading to a minute of total craziness before they start settling down again. Below is a video of feeding time if you don’t believe me!

Do you, or have you kept fish? Are you more of a furry four legged, eight legged or snake fan? Please do let me know!

Robyn

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