It normally doesn't snow down under in sunny Perth, Western Australia - unless you count fake snow made with diapers and water - and we tend to spend our holidays trying to escape the heat while dreaming of a white Christmas. To rectify this predicament, I have installed the Snow Storm WordPress plugin to simulate cyber snow on my website. Please try to refrain from licking the screen.
Australia's second largest DSL broadband provider, iiNet, has announced the return of the TopGeek competition. I entered the iiNet TopGeek competition last year and after several rigorous geeky challenges, where I invented an iPhone app and turned my friends into zombies, I leveled up and made it into the top ten before I took an arrow in the knee, resulting in game over. In the end there could only be one Top Geek, that honour went to Cassandra James, a talented comic book artist from Tasmania.
TopGeek 2.0 follows last year's highly successful inaugural contest, and will once again see geeks of all types show off their geeky prowess in an attempt to take out the title of Australia's next TopGeek. The winner will also score an all-expenses paid trip to attend one of four geeky events - including ComicCon, Consumer Electronic Show, South by Southwest or Penny Arcade Expo. Last year's winner will head to San Diego in July for ComicCon 2012. She'll report back to TopGeek HQ with all the comic news and make you wish you were there, and you could be, if you enter TopGeek!
I won't be entering the TopGeek 2.0 competition this year, instead, I shall be judging it along with last years finalists, Andy Wells, Jason Cartwright, Jess Watson and Cassandra James.
This year the competition encourages everyone to discover their inner geek and embrace it, as geeks come in all varieties. The iiNet crew behind TopGeek has introduced multiple categories - including art, tech, fandom, gamer and internet - bigger and better challenges, TopGeek TV and runner-up prizes. I'm looking forward to TopGeek TV, a fortnightly series hosted by award-winning comedian and self-proclaimed geek, Lawrence Leung. The series will take a closer look at the nerdy stories behind the competition and the geeky finalists.
As a Fandom category judge, I'm looking forward to seeing the creative and geeky entries. I'll be picking contestants to go through to the next round, show off their unique geeky talents, and compete in knockout challenges before battling it out during an epic final event on May 10th, 2012. The last geek standing will be crowned Australia’s ultimate TopGeek and winner. I'm looking for something that sets the contestants apart from the cookie-cutter-hipster-geek-is-cool-now type of geek - contributing to an open source project, running a meet-up or group, designing or developing a website from scratch, building your own robot butler, learning for fun not profit, amassing thousands of online followers, designing you own costumes, changing the world and thinking outside of the box. Pro tip: You don't just watch/play/read/collect [insert whatever geeky interest here] you live and breathe it, you're THE BIGGEST FAN and have amassed your own army of fans for your aforementioned fandom. Your profile should describe your geeky attributes and make me want to see more of you. Last years top twenty set the bar pretty high.
The search to find the Australia's most talented geek is currently taking submissions. If you're a geek (or you know a worthy geeky) head the the iiNet TopGeek 2.0 website. Good luck, geeks!
I've received an enormous amount of spam comments on my blog - over 740,000 spam comments have been caught thanks to Akismet - blog comment spam was a hot topic at the October Perth WordPress Meetup. I remember the days when blogs were spam free, roaming the internet without a care in the world, and you didn't have to be concerned if a comment was real or spam. Over the last few years there has been an influx of what I like to call complimentary spam comments. To the untrained eye these comments seem to look and act like real comments, however, they are complimenting the author to try and secure comment moderation approval. The spam filled website link or fake email address is normally a dead giveaway.
"I love this site/post/opinion, you're awesome/great/informative!"
I know a few bloggers who approve such comments and remove offending website address. A comments is a comment, right?
A few months ago I received a spam comment that caught my eye, it's the holy grail of spam comments...
Earlier this year I moved to the city to be closer to friends, study and work opportunities. My address now contains the words and numbers 'Perth 6000', when I was young I assumed anyone who lived in the 6000 postcode wore top hats and swam in pools full of money like on Duck Tales. Silly young me didn't realise that anyone can live in the city, if they pay a decent amount to rent for a small apartment in a complex with a shared pool that is full of water instead of money. Top hats are optional.
Living in the city has its pros and cons...
Pro: Ten minute walk to Murray Street.
Con: Ten minute walk home at 1am will might result in a brisk mugging or assault.
Pro: Closer to friends.
Con: Further away from family.
Pro: The man with a cockatoo in a basket on his bike is cool.
Con: The crazy flag lady is not cool. Run away.
Pro: The apartment is nice and has faster internet.
Con: IT DOESN'T HAVE A BATH TUB, WHY DID I AGREE TO A BATHLESS APARTMENT? NEVER EVER AGAIN. EXCLAMATION POINT. ANOTHER EXCLAMATION POINT.
In the end the pros and cons level out. Except for the bath. I'm so traumatised about my lack of ability to relax in a bath that I ask everyone I meet if they have a bath that I could use. So far, only one person has said yes.
Although my mother worked in the city when she was in her early twenties, it didn't help her come to terms with the CBD I now live in, full of crazy people, one way roads and stairs. Oh, don't get her started on the stairs. There are nearly 40 of them leading up to my front door and she hates every single one of them.
As I was riding shotgun in my mothers shiny new car we passed two of the local whore houses. I gather one is like the Hungry Jacks (Burger King if you're American) of hookers, while the other is like McDonald's - both serve the same items and one always claims their burgers taste better.
"What is that place with the flashing lights?" asked my Mum.
"It's a whore house" I replied, as if whore houses are on every street in every neighbourhood and everyone is cool with it.
"A what house?" she exclaimed, as if whore houses are not on every street in every neighbourhood and everyone is not cool with it.
"A brothel... a place where men visit prostitutes."
I wanted to elaborate more about the penis goes into the vagina and money is exchanged perplexities, but decided not to, I was riding in her shiny new car and she would never forgive me for tarnishing its innocence. I had already told it the petrol fairy wasn't real when she wasn't listening. My mother was quiet for a moment and then, in a nonchalant tone said...
"Oh, I thought it was a cafe."