Saturday, June 11, 2016

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend #50

Quote of the day: 
If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets. -Haruki Murakami

Where does inspiration to spread love and happiness come from? A good answer may be derived from the stories that are shared below.

Photo of Philip Sossou behind some of his charcoal portrait sketches
Photo of Philip Sossou behind some of his charcoal portrait sketches /Image: NEWSCODEX

The first is of 18-year old Philip Soussou. As all 411 seniors at Boston Latin School in the US arrived for their final day of classes they stumbled on portraits of themselves along the corridors.
Philip sketched self portraits of his entire class as a parting gift, using charcoal and worked on the project sometimes late into the evening. He worked on it everyday for four months and although he didn't know each student personally, he got names from the school registry and used Facebook and sometimes his phone camera to take photos without giving anything away.

Owen who has brain damage and his support dog, Blue /Image: Facebook/Lowes

American home improvement and retail store Lowe's presented two of its newest hires on social media, Owen and his service dog named blue, both employed to greet customers at their new store in North Regina, Saskatchewan. A message on the store's twitter page goes, “Our recent hire couldn’t find a job due to brain injury & a support dog. So meet Blue, our customer service canine!”.

As seen on Arch Daily, 'Valeria House', by architects Luciano Kruk, María Victoria Besonías. Located in Valeria del Mar, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Its great design is simplistic, 'It is ground in a new development, with lush vegetation and crossed by tall dunes'.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Kygo -Firestone

Friday, June 10, 2016

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How to Identify and Control Comment Spam on Your Blog Posts: #1

Quote of the day: 
A nightingale does not stop singing its beautiful song at the intrusion of an annoying woodpecker. -Suzy Kassem

After having spent half an hour sifting through an old blog post, which for some reason is popular with spammers, I couldn't help but be left wondering how devastating these individuals can be. Don't get me wrong I am used to receiving spam in the comments section -as if those that appear in my email aren't enough, and of course with being owned by Google, it should leave little room for spammers having a field day no? Wrong. It gets worse. Asides from bombarding your blog or website with irrelevant comments, they also leave lots of dubious links.

I've read many bloggers complain about the spamming issue -at the last count I've had to delete dozens of such comments from numerous posts. Some blog owners prefer to moderate comments before they appear live on their blogs and I can't blame them, as I've thought of doing the same especially when things get to a frustrating level.

A screen capture from an old post showing spam messages

Why Worry about Spam ?

Spammers are like party crashers who basically invite themselves to a party they are not invited to. They come bearing goodwill, and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Unfortunately, there is no remote control to block them completely. I'm unsure about Wordpress or other blog platforms, but with Blogger, Google does recommend reporting any offending website and I've seen some blog profiles deleted in that regard.

Although spamming appears to be a never ending battle between good and evil, as these spammers will stop at nothing to enrich themselves, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce their frequency.

1. Check the spam folder (Blogger)

Spam folder view on Blogger
A snippet of the Spam folder view on Blogger

If you are on Blogger, you can keep an eye on your spam folder -as you can see from the image above, mine stood at over 400 spam messages from both new and old posts. In this way Google helps filter out spam from appearing on the blog, but its not 100% effective as some still find their way -which will have to be deleted manually. Its also good to look at this folder to make sure genuine comments are not being flagged. One of the reasons I have chosen not to turn to moderating comments is due to this spam detection tool.

2. Report Spam
As I said above, you can report any inappropriate and offending URL links via Google's Blogger support page. Asides security, these spammers prevent genuine visitors from easily accessing your blog or website as they slow it down with all the irrelevant visits and links. No one should have to put up with that.

If you are on Wordpress, you may want to have a look at their 'Combating Comment Spam' page

3. Moderate Comments

You can manage who can comment on your blog, and in effect the type of comments that readers can leave. This also includes Google + comments. In case you are wondering how, this Blogger help guide talks about how to go about managing and moderating comments on your blog.

4. Show Word Verification
Another tool that can be turned on is the modern word verification which is popular on most blogs, Its simple, and I think user friendly.


It is known as reCAPTCHA and according to Google it 'protects your website from spam and abuse while letting real people pass through with ease'.

In conclusion, spammers will never go away and the best option for us is to fight back as much as possible. Its enough to ask what's wrong with the internet? and although this post focuses mostly on Blogger, there are online resources and tools that you can use to manage your blog, or website against spammers.

Do you have a problem with spam on your blog? How do you deal with the frustration and what tools if any do you utilize?

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Gnarls Barkley -Crazy

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

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Art | 'Everything by my Side' Installation along the Thames, By Argentinian Artist Fernando Rubio

Quote of the day: 
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. 
-Edgar Allan Poe

Over the weekend I caught this display by Argentinian artist, Fernando Rubio along the banks of the River Thames, in collaboration with LIFT festival. Titled 'Everything by my Side', it involves beds, actors and stories and is said to be a dreamlike installation from Rubio -who is a playwright, actor writer and visual artist.

Fernando Rubio at Southbank
Fernando Rubio's 'Everything by my side' puts an actress and one member of the public in each of seven beds along the banks of the River Thames

On the website it says: 'For 15 intimate minutes, this ‘dreamy piece of pillow-talk’ (NY Times) invites you to take off your shoes, lie down and listen to a long lost childhood memory whispered to you from across the covers – a deeply personal encounter in the middle of a busy festival.'

According to Rubio, with the installation, each 15-minute performance calls for the audience to 'respond with silence and an open mind to the challenging ideas and forms being used'.

LIFT works to build stronger relationships with artists from all over the world and the LIFT festival is a biennial event from June 1 to July 1, with work happening all over the city from the Barbican to historic music hall. With LIFT its all about bringing global stories to London, something they've done for over 35 years presenting various shows and events while partnering with the city's major arts venues, theatres and galleries, as well as numerous hidden spaces and areas across the city.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: James Bay -Scars

Sunday, June 05, 2016

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Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali, 'The Greatest', Passes On Aged 74

Quote of the day: 
I'm the greatest thing that ever lived! I'm the king of the world! I'm a bad man. I'm the prettiest thing that ever lived. 
-Muhammad Ali

Image: Source

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali, has passed on at the age of 74 at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. Born in 1942, Ali was a three-time-heavyweight boxing champion who proclaimed himself 'The Greatest'.

His dedicated website best describes him:

Muhammad Ali is responsible for some of the most legendary moments in the ring. His incomparable work ethic, revolutionary techniques, and fearlessness towards standing up for his beliefs, all contribute to the legend that is Muhammad Ali. 

Growing up he was one of those people that always seemed larger than life. The mere mention of his name brought awe and admiration. If not the greatest fighter that ever was. A champion in his own right. Confident as an eagle, up-beat and self assured. A beacon of hope who not only fought inside the ring, but also outside the ring for causes close to his heart.

Tributes from his former colleagues, George Foreman -who fought Ali in the famous 'Rumble in the Jungle' fight of 1984, Frank Bruno, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, among others.

Ali is flying like a butterfly now...even though his loss is like the sting of a bee.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Mariah Carey -Hero

Friday, June 03, 2016

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Three Things To Inspire Your Weekend #49

Quote of the day: 
If you want to be happy, be. -Leo Tolstoy 

Following on from previous weeks there is an abundance of inspiration existing all around us -like the story of Jerry Pollard from the last inspiration post. We see it occur everyday, we sense it and can almost touch and feel it. And despite the different things we can get inspired by individually, there is a common theme there -one of happiness and elation, of joy and sensibility. Inspiration comes from everything around us, from the sun shining and the leaves falling. However we shouldn't overlook the small things in life which we could draw influence from.


Croatian artist, Lonac

As seen on reddit, a piece of graffiti artwork titled 'HeArtbeats' by Croatian artist Lonac, best known for his photo-realistic murals. He is influenced by skateboard culture, music, movies and more. Although most of his work is carried out in Zagreb, he's painted walls in the U.K also.

Chris Koch

Chris Koch, 37, born without limbs, finishing the Calgary Marathon on a longboard he uses to get around. And although Koch has completed shorter races, the Marathon was his first full race, and it left most spectators emotional -most especially his family who were there to support him.

New House, Little England Farm as seen on ArchDaily. Creatively 'designed to relate to the surrounding landscape in a number of ways' by BBM Sustainable Architects Ltd, and located in Uckfield, East Sussex, UK.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Sia -Footprints

Thursday, June 02, 2016

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Book of the Day/ The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare -short review

Quote of the day: 
Virtue is a positive quality developed by taking a firm stand for the right in temptation, or by the suffering endured in consequence of wrongdoing. 
-Max Heindel 


One of Sun Tzu's sayings about conflict goes thus: The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.  Much of the story in this book explores the effect of war and its psychological effects on a nation. The Fall of the Stone City, a book written by Albanian novelist and poet Ismail Kadare is just about right for quick reading at just 168 pages.

It explores how the townsfolk of Gjirokastër in Albania with their values and culture go about their daily lives, most of it spent speculating about two doctors in their town who are held in high esteem. Imbued with metaphors and sometimes comical narration, Kadare weaves a believable tale and one can't help but be left with a certain affection for the characters.

The novel starts around the year of 1943 and the highlight of it is the arrival of German tanks entering the town with no single shot fired, only to be taken over later by communists after their departure. In the course of the invasion, one of the doctor will help to shape how the rest of the story evolves.

It is a brilliant novel by Kadare, but the book leaves so many unanswered questions and maybe it was done so as to leave the reader with some pondering to do. However, I do look forward to reading more of Kadare's books.

I'm still on track with my goal of reading at least 5 books each month, as was the case last month. You can view my book reading list for May 2016.

What books are you currently reading? Do feel free to recommend in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by.

Other books I'm reading this month: 

George Orwell -Keep the Aspidistra Flying

Kazuo Ishiguro -The Unconsoled 

Franz Kafka -The Castle

William Wordsworth -Selected Poems

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Foster The People - Pumped up Kicks