Google Reader, RIP

Google Reader, RIP

google-readerGoogle, that arrogant, all-powerful, tax-evading internet colossus that has come to dominate our lives like the Catholic Church of old has decided to bin Google Reader, their handy application that allows surfers to aggregate and sort their favourite content across different sites. As of 1st of July, users will be left high and dry. Are you one of them? Fret no longer. Feedly is a worthy successor. Check it out here. Also, if you currently receive Pansy updates via a reader, why not subscribe via email instead? Simply click on the ‘subscribe by email’ on the right and away you go. Easy.

We’re back from Palma now so stay tuned for some delicious (and not so tasty) Catalan titbits coming next.

Jail Bait

In December 2010, Perking the Pansies was blocked by the Turkish internet police. I threw a hissy fit at the prospect of a firm hand on my door knob, a frisk by a frisky conscript and instant deportation. It all turned out to be a storm in a çay cup. Tens of thousands of Google blogs were instantly blacked out because they all shared the same IP address with a couple of Turkish websites that were infringing copyright law (laughable when you think that Turkey is flooded with counterfeit goods). As a result, my inconsequential ramblings were simply caught up in lazy censorship – the scatter gun approach punished the innocent and the guilty alike. My blog became, as the Americans say, ‘collateral damage‘. I had to shut up shop at Google and move lock, stock and barrel to new premises at Word Press.

Well, bugger me. It’s happened again. This time, the idiotic censors have targeted my personal website,, which I use to promote my book. I’d like to make some PR capital out of this by claiming anti-gay discrimination but, alas, I can’t. The circumstances are exactly as before. This time, it seems porn and gambling sites were targeted. I found one site sharing my IP address called Jail Bait; sounds like a particularly nasty little corner of the web. Ban illegal sites by all means but it can’t be beyond the wit of these petty bureaucrats to deal with offenders individually, instead of pulling the plug on thousands of innocent sites just because it’s easier.

I’m pleased to write that the problem has now been resolved by changing my IP address with my domain registrar. What a palavar.

Will the Real Jack Scott Please Stand Up?

Google sits astride the internet like a leviathan. Forget Yahoo or Bing or a host of smaller search engines, only Google counts. Their search algorithms can make or break an online presence. If you don’t show up in the first few pages of Google, you may as well not be on the internet at all. It’s all about search engine optimisation (SEO) and ways to make it better. There’s an entire industry dedicated to improving it (or trying to cheat the clever geeks at Google). How’s a humble little jobbing blogger in a faraway country most people couldn’t place on a map ever going to make his mark? Well, Perking the Pansies does well. Google favours fresh, frequently renewed content and my content is frequently renewed, if not fresh. Sorted.

1923 -2008

Little Jack Scott, though, struggles. The name is a curse. It’s eclipsed by other more illustrious Jacks plastered all over the web. Who are these pretenders to my rightful throne? Well, there’s Jack Scott, (AKA Giovanni Dominico Scafone Jr) the Canadian singer ‘undeniably the greatest Canadian rock and roll singer of all time,’ apparently. I’d never heard of him. Sorry. Then there’s the late Jack Scott, buck-teethed weather man who died in 2008. He was everyone’s favourite weather guru and brought magnetic weather symbols to live broadcasts on the BBC. Unfortunately, they often slipped down the board or dropped off altogether. My final Jack is the now infamous Mayor of the little town of Cordova in Alabama which was flattened by killer tornadoes earlier this year. Mayor Scott refused to allow trailers into the town to house the newly homeless because he didn’t want to encourage trailer trash. Sounds like a fine and upstanding pillar of the community.

So, what’s a diminutive, washed-up ex pretty boy with his best years behind him to do? Change his name to Dick Stillhard (no wait, that’s already taken).

Thanks to Spainstruck for the inspiration for this one.

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Top of the Blogs

I was flush with pink pride. Perking the Pansies briefly occupied the top spot on Blogroll Centre, one of the (many, many) blog directories I’ve joined. Sadly, the honour was short-lived, a temporary aberration caused by a transient interest in Now That’s What I Call Old, a post that resulted in 2,700 hits. The next day, Perking the Pansies dropped to 3rd place. A one day, one hit wonder. Doubtless the blog will continue to slide down the charts like an X Factor has-been that never was. To be honest I’m not entirely sure if any of these blog directories is worth the effort or the repetitive strain injury. I joined them on the off-chance they might broaden my audience. I think some are sophisticated enough to help with Google rankings but I wouldn’t know which. All I can say is that I would never consider paying for the dubious privilege of a listing, preferring to spend my dwindling assets on booze, fags and leather thongs.

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Happy Birthday, Perking the Pansies

When Liam and I came to Turkey, we intended to retire early, put our feet up and watch the pansies grow. With a ridiculous amount of spare time on my hands, I decided to amuse myself by starting a blog. Maybe it would delay my inevitable descent into alcoholism? At the time, I assumed I would end up talking to myself.  Twelve months, 400 posts, 2000 comments, 6,000 spams and 120,000 hits later, Pansies has just reached its first birthday. To celebrate this minor miracle I’d like to share what I think are some of the major milestones (Pansysteps).

08/10/10 – In the Beginning

Perking the Pansies was launched onto an unsuspecting public. God help them. I knew nothing about this blogging business, how it worked or what would happen. This was my debut post.

24/11/10 – Are You Mad?

I knew something was up when the blog exceeded 12,000 hits. Shit, someone was actual reading my inconsequential, irreverent ramblings. I started to understand blog promotion and search-engine optimisation, joined Faceache and that tweet, tweety thingy to build a virtual social network. Well, it beats actually talking to people.

04/12/10 – Clapped in Irons

My blog was banned by the Turkish Internet police just as it was taking off. I was expecting a knock at the door by a scandalised conscript in latex gloves, demanding to conduct an internal investigation. I nearly gave the whole thing up in despair.

10/12/10 – Pooing on a Paddle

After a frantic, fretful week, Perking the Pansies shut up shop at Google and moved lock, stock and barrel to begin life anew at brand new WordPress premises. Fear of imminent arrest subsided. This naughty little number was my first post on the revamped, re-launched site.

14/03/2011 – Hold the Front Page

Perking the Pansies was featured in the Turkish national press along with a select group of illustrious fellow jobbing bloggers.

01/04/2011 – Bubba’s Gobbler

Perking the Pansies reached 50,000 hits. This was my April Fools’ piece. It was partly inspired by thumbing through the gaypers in a Soho watering hole.

06/04/2011 – Perking the Pansies – Bound and Ungagged

The blog has spawned a little book which is about to go off to the publisher. The book covers some of same terrain as the blog but with much more spice, bite, depth, pace and pathos (Well, I hope so).

10/05/2011 – So You Think You Can Write a Pop Song?

This was the first mega post attracting big numbers. Pansies were bursting out all over the place. My pansymap ended up resembling a nuclear attack on Western Europe and North America. All very Cold War.

24/07/2011 – Amy Winehouse, RIP

This is by far my most popular post, 4,600 and still growing. I think it just caught the mood. It also caught the attention of some wanker who left a vile comment. I don’t generally censor comments. Free speech and all that. However, I didn’t publish his nasty little words.

17/08/2011 – I’m Coming Out

Perking the Pansies reached 100,000 hits and I exposed myself to the world. No, I didn’t get arrested or receive a congratulatory brick through my window.

Many happy returns, Perking the Pansies. Make a wish and hope you make it to the terrible twos.