Posted on 20-10-2014
I’m fairly new to the Instagram party, having only really gotten into using it in the past year or so. Of course on Instagram it’s all about putting the right tags for your pictures, and since my Instagram feed is 80% about food, I will on occasion, use the “#foodporn” tag. But there are people on Instagram who haven’t quite worked out what this tag means. Generally, “food porn” refers to food that looks absolutely mouth-watering, that has been presented with finesse and an incredible attention to detail. Something like this:
#chocolate #cake #raspberry #dessertco #dessertporn #dessert #food #foodporn #foodstagram #instafood #followme #everyonelikesanicetart
But sadly, there are people who don’t quite follow this rule, and either tag the most pitiful looking dishes or just tag a random photo because they felt like it. And so I proudly present, ten people who don’t quite understand what #foodporn is:
Posted on 03-10-2014
A few weeks ago, @fida wrote this brief piece about the relationship between PR people and journalists. For the longest time I imagined the relationship between PR and journalists as being like a Nutella sandwich. The pieces of bread represent the journalist and the client, and the lovely sweet sticky Nutella in the middle is the PR, helping to keep everything happy and together. But over the years I’ve discovered that this is a terrible lie and in fact the Nutella is actually a thick layer of Vegemite.
The only reason for my “sandwich-turned-sour” analogy is because I’ve had such a mixed experience with PR people in my life. There are some wonderful, truly magical days where the stars are aligned and I can have a truly wonderful day interacting with PR and facing absolutely no issues at all. But on those other not-so-glamorous days, I’m left pounding my head on my keyboard in frustration until QWERTY is permanently etched in my forehead. I’m certainly no PR expert myself, but there are certain things that just keep cropping up on an almost weekly basis that I just had to write about them in the hopes that someone else can shed some light on them.
So here boys and girls, is my list of totally baffling PR things:
“Save the date” emails: I know that PR people feel that journalists are super-busy (most of the time we are) and need to know in advance of when an event is happening, but these “save the date” emails are getting a bit old. Your client isn’t getting married, so telling me to block out a date in my calendar without actually telling me what the event is for is going to just get you a blank look. “No sorry, I can’t share any more details or the timings or client name, but it’s going to be a super exciting event and we are sure that you will love it!” (an actual reply from a PR company)
Not knowing who I actually work for: I get it. PR people are overworked and deal with a million clients and journalists on a daily basis. But if we’ve emailed each other before and met at least once, I would think that you would at least try to remember which company I work for, instead of introducing me to your client at an event and proudly saying I work for company X, when I have to correct you right in front of your client. Resting Bitch Face? Nailed it.
Calls after emails: I’d like to think that email was invented so we wouldn’t actually have to go through pointless phone calls. Just drop over a quick email and wait for a reply – that’s it. But what seems to be an alarming norm is to receive a phone call from a PR person to check if I got their email or not. If your email didn’t bounce back, then there’s a 99% chance that it got delivered and is sitting in my Inbox, waiting for me to get to it. If it’s an email that I don’t find useful or appropriate, I will either delete it or shoot a quick one-line saying “no thanks”. If you call me, I will then spend the next eight minutes on the phone with you describing exactly why this press release isn’t going to be published. Your call.
Round-robin the office: If I email you back to say that I’m not interested in a particular press release, that doesn’t mean you then email or call my other colleagues to try and wrangle them into publishing it instead. Chances are that the answer will be the same, but if you’ve got time to kill then go crazy.
Mail Merge: Sending a personalized email to each and every journalist would be a huge task, so the easiest and most effective way to email a press release is of course via BCC or a mail merge. While I am completely fine with this, at least put my name in the body of the email. For the record, my name is not “,” or “$FIRST_N”. And don’t try using that “Recall” option in Outlook – it doesn’t work.
Rescheduling: For everyone, time is precious. So if you call me to arrange an interview with your client and I accept, I expect it to happen on that date and time. What I don’t expect is for you to call me 45 minutes before our appointment to try and reschedule. What’s even worse is when I agree to the reschedule, you call again on that day to fix a new date. Sorry, but two strikes and you’re out – get your client to sit their ass down in one place for fifteen minutes and then give me a call.
Sending useless releases: There are PR people who email press releases based on their target audience, just because they know that there’s a greater likelihood of it being read or published if it’s something that publication can use. On the other hand, there are other people who email out press releases for no particular reason at all. A new power strip that has USB ports? Send a press release! Client participating in an upcoming tech exhibition? Send a press release! Sales increased by 0.000009% from last year? Send a press release!
Sending emails about upcoming press releases: If you’re going to email me to let me know that a press release is coming next week – don’t.
Using me as a body count: This is something that has been happening a bit too often with me – I receive an invitation to an event that I’m not really interested in going to, and when I politely decline, the PR person says “Oh that’s okay, just come along anyway and fill up a seat. Are you bringing a +1?” I AM A PERSON, NOT A MANNEQUIN.
However before I end this post, a disclaimer. There are some truly amazing PR people out there who work their asses off trying to pacify clients who have no real idea or clue about PR. There are also I’m sure some journalists out there who drive PR people crazy as hell, so if you’ve got a PR or journalist story to tell, post it in the comments below!
Posted on 23-09-2014
…I cobbled together a mix.
This is what happens when you’re editing fifteen videos in the office and you need a break. I decided to drop two songs into Adobe Premiere and fiddle around a bit and spit out the mp3 – and here’s what came out. Yes, it’s terribly out of sync at times, but I don’t give a flying fuck because I’m not a professional at this, so if you can do better feel free to post a more polished mix.
Have a listen below and leave a comment at how crap my mixing skills are! <3
Posted on 17-09-2014
Ah Twitter, how do I love thee? I jumped on this social media bandwagon back in September 2009, not really knowing (or caring) about what I was doing. Today I feel pretty much the same way on Twitter, however the 3,000 people that I’ve seemed to have amassed over the years keep me entertained. And they occasionally send me DMs about shady weight-loss programs, which is always useful.
But for all the years that I’ve spent on Twitter, there are still some things that piss me off about it. Some of them may seem trivial, while others will have you nodding in agreement and waving pitchforks and burning torches in the air.
1. The auto-DM: I followed someone a few weeks ago, and after about 20 minutes they sent me three direct messages. It was basically one long-ass message that they had broken down with links to their website and a generic ‘thank you’ for following them. Seriously? I don’t give a flying fuck if you follow me back or DM me to say thanks – I follow you because I want to keep up with your tweets. If you think this is a great marketing idea to make your new followers more welcome, it’s not.
2. Trying to find your Twitter worth: I’ve been seeing this crop up recently, where people will randomly tweet out “My Twitter account is worth $3,194.40 What’s Yours worth?” and all you can think of is “Can you shove that money up your ass and shut up?“. Seriously, why on earth would you want to try and find the value of your Twitter account? Not only is it annoying to see on your timeline, you can really get depressed when you finally realize that you can’t write to Twitter asking for a cashier’s cheque for said amount.
3. Tweeting how many people unfollowed you: This is another irritating service that people love to sign up to. OMG YOU JUST UNFOLLOWED ME WHAT DID I DO WRONG YOU ARE SUCH AN EVIL PERSON THIS IS BEYOND FORGIVENESS etc. We’re eternally grateful to see that 12 people unfollowed you and 19 people followed you. We’re also eternally grateful for the Mute button on TweetDeck.
4. Tweeting your horoscope: Yet another baffling thing that people sign up to. If you want to put your faith in the stars, that’s fine, but please be aware that the sugar-coated horoscope that you just automatically tweeted was also simultaneously sent out to about a quarter of a million people. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? MAYBE YOU’RE IN RETROGRADE.
5. Anyone who still uses paper.li: Stop it. Just stop it.
6. People who have private accounts: what in the holy hell are you tweeting about that you don’t want the world to see? This is the Internet – why are you on Twitter if you want to keep your thoughts to yourself? THE WORLD MUST KNOW HOW AWESOME YOUR LUNCH WAS. Also, private accounts are a bitch to retweet, so just come out of the Twitter closet already.
7. People who think Twitter = Google: There are certain times where asking a question on Twitter is a good thing. Something like “Does anyone know where I can get organic flax seed oil to massage my dog with?” would probably get a few replies. Asking something like “Does anyone know what time the stores in Dubai Mall close tonite plz?” is not.
8. Commemorative tweets / followers: YAY! You hit 400 followers / 12,000 tweets – have a fucking cookie.
9. Brands that act like people: Hi, we’re a brand and we’re not quite sure how this social media thing works but we’re going to go ahead and jump into it anyway and assign someone to talk to people on Twitter like we’re BFFs and braid each other’s hair on the weekends. It’s incredibly creepy when I’m chatting to someone on Twitter and I’m suddenly elbowed in the ribs by an over-friendly brand that is trying to be a part of the conversation.
10. Verified accounts: you verified people sitting there looking so smug with your blue tick marks…
Posted on 04-08-2014
I stopped using Grindr a while ago, but recently I’ve hopped back onto it for a) entertainment purposes and b) a girl’s gotta eat. But in my absence, it seems that nothing much has changed on Grindr. Scrolling through Torsoland is no easy task, and what’s more some of the lingo that these guys use can be quite baffling. It’s like the whole men vs women war, where they say one thing but mean another.
So of course in the interest of science, I decided that I would document some of these responses and create my own “Grindr phrasebook” so that you’ll never be lost again.
How’s it going? = Now that we’ve got the formalities out of the way, send me a pic of your junk
Any pic? = Any pics of your junk?
Where are you from originally? = Are you a white male with a six-pack?
Any face pics? = I need to know if you’re attractive or not.
I can’t see your pic = I don’t know how to use a VPN
I can’t send pics = I don’t know how to use a VPN
I’m discreet = Don’t tell my wife
No Asians = Are you a white male with a six-pack?
My WiFi is slow = I’m cheap so I’m using Hotspot Shield
Nice = Meh
Cool = Meh
I’m XX inches = I’m overcompensating
What are you doing online? = Why haven’t you sent me a picture of your junk yet?
Any more pix? = I’m still deciding if I want to meet you or not. Also, send me a picture of your junk
Looking for friends = Don’t tell my boyfriend
Looking for playmates = I’m in a sexless relationship and I’m hoping this will revive it
No queens = Are you a white male with a six-pack?
No offense intended = Let me insult your ethnicity first and then decide if you’re interesting
Straight-acting = I’m not gay. I just like to have various parts of the male anatomy in my mouth
Girl looking for my GBF! = I’ve been brainwashed by gay stereotypes and I’m sifting through an avalanche of shirtless men to find someone to talk to
Posted on 16-05-2014
I promised my sis to take to Spinneys…wow good job susie. NOW I HAVE TO ACTUALLY MOVE MY BUTT AND LEAVE THE HOUSE.
— wild (@susientist) May 16, 2014
i'm that type of girl you'd find in the mall holding a bunch of bags from Spinneys not from Chanel and Gucci
— Dareenalicious (@Dareenxxo) May 16, 2014
Spinneys went from sending annoying messages to annoying emails. #improvement
— Abir El-Khoury (@AbirElKhoury) May 15, 2014
Words can't describe my love for Spinneys
— rhinoceros (@jude_dababneh) May 15, 2014
— Christine GerberRutt (@JustKooki1) May 15, 2014
Women that wear heels to spinneys..? Who are you
— Paty Olmos (@patyyolmos) May 14, 2014
AND THERES SPINNEYS COOKIES. I AM HAPPY
— ✖️amelia✖️ (@amzisloser) May 14, 2014
Spinneys is my life
— Sir Bizzle (@Jbieberandcody) May 13, 2014
#Spinneys sold me out-of-date celery and charged me for my chickpea salad but failed to bag it. Got to watch them like hawkers.
— Hedley Hymers (@HedleyHymers) May 11, 2014
Cookie craving. Spinneys I'm coming.
— Zainaß Marji♕ (@ZainabMarji) May 10, 2014
— ☆ (@Legaimat) May 10, 2014
Soooo… Spinneys supermarket has their own radio station that they play in store.
— Sam Moult (@SamuelMoult) May 10, 2014
One of the things that I shall miss most about the UAE is #Spinneys.
— A. (@UndeterredBelle) May 9, 2014
That moment of win you get when you empty your local Spinneys of all the dozen or so Terry's Chocolate Oranges they have. #FirstWorldWins
— Hisham Wyne (@HishamWyne) May 8, 2014
— Sarah Walton (@the_hedonista) April 24, 2014
cat, wifi and spinneys cookies – is there any more to life?
— gina (@gina_hoxley) April 19, 2014
On queue at Spinneys til I remember I forgot to bring my ecobag! Oh I hate plastic bags!! #greenwarrior
— Lian Magno (@leelipad) October 28, 2012
Man I hate Spinneys.. I came in to buy milk and leave, how did I end up paying 270dhs????
— Abdulrahman Makkawi (@Abood_Makkawi) September 24, 2011
I love feeling guilty after buying a bunch of stuff I don't need (@ Spinneys) http://t.co/6hZ2kJ6M
— Elsy A. (@elsyak) October 3, 2012
Great ! The cute guy is next to me in line as my English Cucumber is the only thing I ran into Spinneys 4. Stupid Salads I hate them anyway!
— .. Bubbles (@Bubblesdxb) November 16, 2011
I don't think there is much more that could shock me about Dubai – I saw a leopard in the back of a car parked outside Spinneys before. #WTF
— Nicola Jane (@Miss_NicolaJane) February 19, 2012
— Gabriella (@gabriellasleeps) March 13, 2012
Posted on 18-03-2014
Last week I popped down to Taste of Dubai with my sis, something that we’ve done each year as a kind of insane foodie tradition. While the festival has certainly grown over the past few years, we’ve noticed subtle changes in the variety of food on offer as well as the kind of people who show up to attend. Having attended two out of three days this year, I certainly ate quite a bit and observed my fair share of weird people (and cliques). So while we were propped up at the bar, we came up with a little list of the kind of people that you can meet at Taste of Dubai:
The Honeymooners – what better way to spend the weekend with your significant other than at a food festival, curled up on the soft grass listening to a band on stage while you sip Tiger beer. And you don’t even need to be married to be in the Honeymooner category – basically feeding anyone a spoonful of soft-shell crab while having a not-so-silent orgasm will get you into this category.
The Pram Pushers – hot on the heels of The Honeymooners come The Pram Pushers. These people think that it’s much more fun to bring their kids out as well, rather than having them at home with a sitter. And with small kids come prams that could pass as Transformers. It’s bad enough that the place is teeming with people, but let’s make things a bit more interesting by barrelling down the pathway with this huge thing that looks like a wheelbarrow. Bonus points for carrying your two-year old baby and standing in front of a flaming BBQ pit to give you kid that extra-smoky,
carbon monoxide smell (apparently carbon monoxide doesn’t smell, so la dee fucking da).
The Serial Clubber – on your way to a club? Why not detour and binge-eat on sushi, crab, chicken skewers, and drink wine from a plastic cup? These strange creatures come decked out in their best clubbing gear (including high heels – on grass), and are utterly confused when they realize they have to buy a ticket to get in and not flash their tits at the door.
The Food Blogger – poised with diminutive notepad and DSLR/smartphone, the Food Blogger hops from table to table while painstakingly framing their five-millionth Instagram photo of a fish biryani. They’re not afraid to storm the stage after a chef’s demo or to stop you halfway through your meal to snap a photo of ‘casual diner tucking into their latest food find’. #love #food #foodporn #tod #nom
The Social Drinker – a regular every year, the Social Drinker sees Taste of Dubai as just one big excuse to go out and get completely plastered. Whether they’re staggering into the MMI tent or staggering out of the MMI tent, the Social Drinker is far from social, opting either to lean on a fence for support or plonking themselves in the VIP lounge with fellow Drinkers. Strike up a conversation with them at your own peril.
The Beachcomber – a new entry this year, the Beachcomber is exactly that – dressed for the beach, but attends a food festival. Tank top, shades on top of their head, flip-flops, and shorts complete a chic beach look, except they stand out like a sore thumb amongst everyone else who’s dressed like regular human beings.
Did I miss anything? Leave your own observations in the comments!
Posted on 13-03-2014
We need to talk.
I joined LinkedIn years ago, in the hopes that mingling with the high profile names of the corporate world would land me a job at my then dream destination – Microsoft.
It did not.
But I continued to stay on LinkedIn, ‘connecting’ with colleagues and other people in my industry, all the while trying my hardest to obtain the elusive “100% complete” profile badge.
However as of late, I’ve noticed that LinkedIn has become a complete joke. Or at least I’m ‘networked’ with people who think that LinkedIn = Facebook.
It is not.
I’ve come across the below posts a bit frequently on my LinkedIn, and every time I see them I cringe a little bit. I also them promptly delete that person from my network.
So I decided to respond to these kind of posts in the only way I know how – through gifs.
Posted on 06-02-2014
A table for just one sir? No one else is coming?
I’ve had to endure this line every so often when I arrive at a restaurant and have to be seated. On one hand, it’s almost always easy to seat a table for one – there’s bound to be a single seat tucked away, near the bar or even towards the back, where the bustle of the kitchen warps any sense of actually enjoying your meal. But on the other hand it gets irritating when you have to stare back at the maître d’ who’s looking at you with raised eyebrows as if a second person is going to materialize out of thin air.
For most of my adult life, I’ve been single. I’ve done the long distance relationship thing, I’ve had great relationships with people who’ve suddenly decided their true calling is halfway around the world, and I’ve had a few psycho cases along the way. But for most part, I’ve been rocking the singles boat. At parties, weddings, events, clubs – I’m usually descended upon like some kind of rare specimen, to be poked and prodded to no end. You’re still single? Oh you’ll meet someone great, don’t worry! The dialogue is always the same from my friends but it’s rarely convincing. But the funny thing about being single is that eventually, you just embrace it. And that’s when you truly start to enjoy your life.
Of course there’s always Grindr for those looking for a gentleman’s company, but you pretty much know what kind of company you’re going to get from there. I love it when I see guys who’ve written that they’re on there for ‘networking’. What the heck kind of networking can you do with a headless torso and a picture of your family jewels?
I have a fair amount of friends who start to get all mopey in the run up to Valentine’s Day. Something about it just turns them into bickering, bitter human beings, and to be honest it can be quite toxic. For these people, Valentine’s Day is a not-so-subtle reminder that they don’t have a ‘significant other’ in their lives, and for some reason this scares the living daylights out of them. For a long time, I was one of these people, always worrying about when I would meet this other person who would give me a reason for living, and who I could share every special moment with. Truth be told, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Speak to any couple in private and they’ll confess that they often envy their single friends. Why? Because as single people, we write our own rules. We go where we want, when we want, and we go with whoever we want. There’s no obsessively texting someone that we’re going to be home late, or spending twenty minutes deciding which movie to go for or which place to order dinner from.
I choose to celebrate being single, and of course it’s taken me a while to get there. Sure, I could be a complete nutcase and join the various ‘Anti-Valentine’ brigades that seem to be popping up everywhere, or burn all memories of my exes in some kind of ritualistic dance, but neither of these are going to end well. Valentine’s Day is just like any other day for me – I see couples and people in relationships on any other day, so there’s nothing different this time around (except that flowers go up in price by 135%).
If you’re single on Valentine’s Day, don’t make a big deal about it. Life is meant for living, and right now sitting around worrying about when and where you’re going to meet a partner isn’t helping anyone, least of all you. Go out and enjoy your single life while it lasts – meet up with your other single friends and treat yourself to a night on the town, or just do things that make you feel good. In fact, why wait for just one particular day to treat yourself? Do it any day of the year, any time you feel like you just need to unwind, or blow off some steam, or just to remind yourself that there are greater things in life you should be worrying about than heart-shaped candy and roses.
So yes, I’ll take a table for one – just me and my fabulous self.