Spambot, vomit

The Day a Spambot Threw Up in My Comments

There’s something thrilling about receiving a notification for a comment on your blog. It’s not just a sign that someone has read it, it’s more than that. It means that they have been engaged enough to stick with it to the end and provoked enough to feel the need to respond. That’s a powerful feeling.

Six months in and I still get excited when a message pops up in my email. But there’s one way to deflate that feeling pretty quickly – comments from a spambot.

Spambots have a way of sucking the soul right out of you. I still can’t even quite comprehend their purpose in life, other than to really annoy bloggers. It’s not like they are subtly trying to sneak their way onto your comments. They hit you with a blunt force of spelling mistakes and completely contextually irrelevant gobbledegook.

I have noticed that there are some similarities with what the bots say each time, and today it became apparent why. Most of them are working from the same script.

 

How do I know this?

 

A spambot threw up in my comments.

It unleashed its entire arsenal of scripted comments in wave upon wave of nonsensical gibberish. I have taken some screenshots and included them below.

Perhaps I’m being overly cynical. Maybe this was a genuine comment from and actual person named Christal, with a genuine interest in making Silicone bracelets. If that is the case, I’m very sorry. I would be happy to acknowledge that I have ‘enormous ideas’ that have touched some ‘pleasant factors’. In regards to your question about whether I “get a lot oof [sic] spam feedback?” – I do get the occasional bit, yes. As for how I stop it, I have no earthy idea…

The following are screenshots of the extensive message left in my comments section. Do yourself a favour and don’t bother reading them. It will just make you lose all faith in humanity (or perhaps in robot-kind).

If you are considering using the below comments as the basis for your own spambot operation, good luck with that. Better yet, go get a real job.

Spambot Spambot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Daddy Blog
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imperfect vegetable, potato

World’s Worst Food Blogger – The Imperfect Vegetable

The Problem With Our Pursuit of Perfection

There’s a growing problem in Australia. I don’t know if it’s exacerbated by the rise of the food blogger, the reality cooking shows on TV, and Instagram, but I would be willing to place money on those things not helping. The problem is the expectation for perfection in food – the refusal to use the imperfect Vegetable.

Yesterday, on my way into work, I listened to a very interesting interview on ABC radio. The main focus of the interview was on food waste. Apparently, most Australians throw out a ridiculously large amount of food that they purchase in the grocery shopping.

This morning I did some further digging. According to the NSW EPA website: Love Food Hate Waste, NSW households throw away more than 800,000 tonnes of edible food every year. That equates to $10 billion dollars, or an average of $3,800 per household – every year.

The problem is further enhanced by our lack of willingness to buy the funny looking fruit and veg at the supermarket. Apparently we have very narrow expectations for what out produce should look like, and if it doesn’t meet that expectation, it just isn’t purchased. The imperfect vegetable stays behind, languishing in the corner, completely unloved and slowly rotting.

I’m guilty of that. I often pick up and look over a few plums before choosing the ones that look the best, the ones with fewest imperfections. But my attitude and, it appears, everyone else’s (surprise!), is having a massive social impact. It means that perfectly edible food is finding its way to landfill. That must mean two things – we end up with less food, and we end up with higher prices.

World’s Worst Food Blogger – The Imperfect Vegetable

Those of you familiar with this section of the blog know that I’m not the ‘Pintrest Worthy’, ‘Instagram Famous’ type of food blogger. As I explained here, I’ve never figured out how they find the time between making a meal and eating it, to find the perfect angle in the perfect lighting, in order to take the photo. I like to cook and I like the way that the food that I cook tastes, that’s all that really matters. Hence the moniker of World’s Worst Food Blogger.

Today, however, I have spent a long time photographing a piece of food. DON’T PANIC! It’s not for the purpose of food blogging supremacy. Rather, it’s so that I can bring to you the awesomeness of the Non-Perfect Vegetable!

Non-perfect vegetable, potato
Just look at that majestic knob!

I stumbled across this battered bad-boy in amongst the potatoes at the supermarket today. Normally, I would have walked straight past it, without a second glance. I would have concentrated on picking out the best looking potatoes without thinking for a moment about the impact that such a decision has on the entire food supply.

But today, with my new-found sense of self-righteousness, I picked it straight up and put it in my basket.

Does my purchase of one, slightly funny-looking potato save the world? Of course not, don’t be daft. Really, the difference that it makes is absolute bugger-all. If I’m truly honest, I bought the potato as much to have something to write about, as to secure our nation’s food supply.

What it does do is make me begin to think. How much food are we wasting in this house? Can it be avoided? Am I too precious about seeking perfection at the shops? Am I too quick to throw out food that I deem to be ‘past its best’? Perhaps, if we all began to ask those questions, then things may begin to change.

 

The Good news is that there are those out there who are far more noble than I am, in their mission to change our food habits. OzHarvest have just opened Australia’s first ‘rescued food’ supermarket, while the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority has just begun a new study into kitchen waste. Any NSW residents interested in participating can find out more here. Check out both of these great websites for more information about what you can do to reduce food waste.

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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Guest post, Hannah, typing, keys

Guest Post – Hannah

Every good blog publishes guest posts from time to time. It’s a good way of building networks and adding a more diverse range of voices and opinions to one’s work. It breaks up the monologue, which can become a bit stale, a bit repetitive, even a bit boring.

Hannah has been watching me work on my blog for a while now. I try to explain to her what I’m doing and she seems interested enough. But I have a sneaking suspicion that has more to do with the clicking buttons than the hilarious aspects of parenting that I’m constantly immortalising.

It has now reached the point where she clambers her way up into my lap, then reaches for the keyboard with tiny, sticky outstretched fingers. This has become somewhat of a hindrance to my writing, but it also serves the more useful purpose of pulling myself away from the computer and engaging with Hannah.

Today, however, I thought to myself ‘I wonder what Hannah would write?’

What a great idea! What could possibly go wrong? Hannah has been infatuated with the keyboard for a while now, why not give her free reign, and see what blogging gold she comes up with?

 

So here it is. The first ever guest post on Blog Of Dad – Hannah

Hannah is a 14 month old girl. Her real name isn’t actually Hannah, but due to a healthy dose of ‘privacy first’ from her father, she’s not allowed to use her real name on the internet until she is 25. We sat down for a question and response session. I asked the questions and she typed her answers.

 

‘N

Hannah, how do you like being a baby?

 \\\\\\ggg””””””””””””””””’88888888888888888888888888888888888888888 8888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888 8888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888 8888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII0————————————————

 

What are your thoughts on nap time?

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU0PNNNNNNL,KOOOOOOOOO

 

What are your goals in life?

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, KKKK——]””’\                                                           LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL=][[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[;. MMMMM/.M

LL

 

Who is your favourite parent?

KiMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM;,MMMMMMLLLLLLLL

 

 

What are your thoughts on current geopolitical issues and what could be done to ease tensions in the South-China Sea, and on the Korean Peninsula?

DEWXCCCCECXWWWWWWQEDCXWXCDXSAAAAAAZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZFFFFFFFFFFFFFF VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVWEDEEE

 

*Section removed*

 

 

 

 

What is your favourite button on this keyboard?

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

 

Thanks Hannah. I think that has provided readers with a valuable insight into the life of a 14 month old. I will, however, have to have words with this ‘KiMMMM…’ person. How about you pick a biological parent next time…

 

I must admit that I have edited Hannah’s response slightly. The reason is that she somehow managed to paste sensitive information from a work email that I had just sent, into her response. While I was thoroughly impressed by Hannah’s newfound knowledge of keyboard shortcuts, I thought it best to remove that information.

To be honest, I don’t even know how she did it. I left her playing with the keyboard for a couple of seconds while I fetched the camera. When I returned, I was very briefly astounded by Hannah’s rapid improvement in spelling and sentence structure. Then I realised what had happened. Who knows what other mischief she got up to in that short time. I hope she didn’t email somebody…

 

I’ll leave you now with this parting comment, made by my wife, Emma, made when she read this post –

 

“Makes more sense than some of yours” – Emma

 

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My Sunday Photo - Sydney Park, wetlands of Sydney Park

My Sunday Photo – Wetlands of Sydney Park

My Sunday Photo for this week is of the water feature in the wetlands of Sydney Park.

Hannah and I have started to make it habit to find a new, most excellent park in Sydney each week. Last week was the wonderful Carss Bush Park, with it’s fantastic playground and bayside setting. This week, the park that we discovered was Sydney Park.

Deep within the heart of this expansive park is the wetlands of Sydney Park. They form a wonderful oasis, so close to the Sydney CBD. Find the right spot and the stresses of modern life wash away.

My Sunday Photo - Sydney Park, wetlands of Sydney Park

Hannah and I had this spot all to ourselves as we ate our grapes. I immediately felt a great sense of calmness. The sound of this spectacular water feature removed and hint of the busy world around us. Every now and then, water birds casually swam past as they too searched for a morning snack. Some people leisurely wondered past on their morning walk, but no-one stopped to share the peaceful space with us.

I chose this particular photo as My Sunday Photo because I liked the effect of the slightly longer exposure on the water. I didn’t have my tripod with me, so I had to brace myself on the handrail in order to keep the camera steady. The exposure was 1/8 sec, which is usually far too slow for me to get a decent shot hand-held, but I seemed to have gotten lucky with this one.

The seagull appeared at just the right time. He hovered over the water feature, wings a blur of movement but the rest of him just still enough.

You can read all of my thoughts about the wetlands of Sydney Park, and see some more photos here. Besides the wetlands, there was plenty of other spaces to enjoy, especially for those with children.

Photalife
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World's worst food blogger, chili salt, chili, chilli, mortar and pestle

The World’s Worst Food Blogger – Chili Salt

If you are unfamiliar with the concept behind this series of blog posts, head on over here to read the very first one.

What is Chili Salt?

Chili salt is a thing I recently invented. Okay, I probably didn’t invent it. Like all my great ideas, I most likely saw it somewhere a while ago, stored in in my subconscious, then brought it out and claimed it as my own when the time was right (a quick Google search return 50,200,000 results for ‘chili salt’. This confirms my suspicions).

Ownership of the idea aside, the time was certainly right. My Bird’s Eye chili plants are coming towards the end of their most productive season ever (I have had them for seven years). Over the summer they have produced in excess of 600, extremely hot chilies.

chili, bird's eye, chili salt
Chilies on a tray, ready to oven-dry

That’s a lot of chili, when just one of them is enough to add a kick to a meal. I had frozen some, used as many as I could fresh and lost about 50 during some bad weather. I still had an abundance of tiny red chilies left, and no idea what to do with them.

Oven-dried Chilies

My first thought was to dry them. I did this by cutting the chilies in half lengthwise and placing them in an oven on its lowest temperature setting (50 degrees Celsius – fan forced). After about 3 hours, they were dried and ready to be crushed.

chili, bird's eye, chili salt
The chilies after drying in the oven

 

I started with the good old-fashioned mortar and pestle, but soon moved on to the food processor to finish the job. Perhaps I hadn’t quite dried them enough, but the just wouldn’t flake away properly when I tried to grind them.

I reserved some of the chili flakes for cooking. They are ideal for use in a wide range of dishes.

 

mortar and pestle, chili, bird's eye chili, chili salt

 

How to Make Chili Salt

I returned the rest of the chili flakes to the mortar and pestle, and added a good handful of rock salt. I didn’t really know what ratio to go for, but I knew that the chili was pretty potent, so I erred on the side of caution and added twice as much salt.

 

chili salt, chili, salt, bird's eye
The salt and chili before grinding

The salt helped with grinding the chili flakes into a fine powder. The final result was a pinkish salt, with some small red specks dotted throughout. I am fairly happy with the mixture, a small amount sprinkled on top of a dinner gives a good saltiness, followed by a heat kick. I find myself sprinkling the mixture over just about every meal I eat (within reason). I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bit addicted.

chili flakes, chili salt, jar
A jar of chili flakes and a jar of chili salt

Because of my current addiction, expect chili salt to feature heavily throughout my World’s Worst Food Blogger posts.

It’s easy to make and there’s really no right or wrong way. If you are like me and you have an abundance of fresh chilies, stick some in the oven and give it a go. After a bit of experimentation, I’m sure you will end up with the perfect mix for you. Once you do, good luck ever using normal salt again!

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