No More Free Speech

Nope. No more. I have declared that there will be no more free speech permitted by the Backstabbers Guild of Australia.

From here on in, anything we say will have to be paid for according to the price list. No more freebies. You want us to talk, you come out with your wallet. Have no fear – we’ll give receipts and an ABN number and we’ll make sure that you get good value for money. But this Guild is a commercial proposition and you cannot expect the business of destroying civilisation and blighting a generation to be done on a friendly basis.

Or, to put it another way – if you have no mates you need not give mate’s rates.

Of course people can say what they will – we have defamation lawyers on speed dial just hoping that you’ll overstep yourself. And we would not dream of restricting people in the practice of their various religions, political affiliations, or disturbing traditional dances. These are all legitimate activities and can serve as worthy targets of treachery. We also welcome serious-minded souls who are unlikely to laugh even if a bear is biting them.

But as far as denouncing them, betraying them, or otherwise making them the nonny-butt of the Guild humour, you’ll need to put down a deposit and pay regular installments before we let them have it.

Business is business, and we are in the business of giving you the business.

Advertisements

” What, Actually, IS Your Hobby…? “

Darned good question.

I’ve asked it of myself for about 6 decades – ever since I discovered that things you like to do are a hobby and things you don’t like to do are a chore. I’ve tabulated the former and latter and I’m happy to say that the first outnumbers the last – so I have a credit in my fun account.

How do you know when a mere experience or activity becomes a hobby? When you devote more than a half hour a day to it – this can be accumulated over a week to 3.5 hours or more and spent all in one go – attendance at a hobby club or social circle, for instance. The most it can be accumulated is a month –  14 hours  – and then it must be discharged.

Can a chore be a hobby? Only if you are very lucky or very unfortunate. That old saw about doing what you love so that you never work a day is somewhat true, but like all old saws gets rusty and loses teeth eventually. I know people whom I suspect have never worked a day in their lives because the thing the dearly love to do is sponge off others. That’s not a hobby – it’s a crime.

Can hobbies be fluid? Yes, and if the fluid you choose is brandy, don’t expect to get much done in the evening. But you can change from one hobby to another quite legally. It is not so easy in practical terms, however.

Hobbies cost money, time, and social effort. If you design to change, you are going to have to do something about the past expenditure you will be foregoing and the remnants of the thing. You may have left over equipment, projects, and people who are still valuable… And you’ll find it hard to give up valuables.

The thing to do is to meld – make one hobby flow into another. Take some of the gear and investment in whatever you did before and make it do now. Carry people over from one social group to another – the ones you value – and you’ll find that they are still a delight.

And occasionally you can return to an abandoned hobby and take it up again – it will be all the sweeter for the rediscovery.

 

I Become An Influencer*

The cry of the moment is the desirability of becoming an Instagram influencer. But I suspect this – as I suspect most aspects of modern computer life. The suspicion is that the whole circus has passed Instagram by and is way off down the road doing far cooler things to far hotter people. Or vice versa.

I was once accused of being an influencer by a representative of a wholesale camera firm who thought he was not getting enough coverage for his products in my commercial column. He insinuated that another firm had bought me with a free camera. In reality they alerted me to their products with the freebie and I went and spent a vast amount of money on their goods out of my own pocket. Any reports I made were genuine. And as far as pressuring people into following me, the customers have the minds of cats, not sheep. They rarely purr, are not herdable, and occasionally throw up in your shoe.

But back to Instagram. I was cozened into subscribing to it by someone who likes to show off on it and wanted another viewer. I’ve added a few other contacts and a couple of artists and cartoonists and find it a pleasant light browse while dinner is cooking…but not such a vital artistic service as to cause me to allow the soup to boil dry. I do like the colourful art, but I wouldn’t buy anything because of it. And I really don’t think others would either.

Oh, they’ll buy from paper flyers loaded into the post box. They’ll buy from shopping channels that endlessly bombard them with simple instructions. They’ll buy from door-to-door sales cons and Royal Show spruikers. They’ll buy from Harvey Norman. But I don’t think they’ll buy because I’ve posted toy airplane pictures on Instagram.

*  Or should that be an influenza-er. Come here and I’ll sneeze on you.

Professional Networking

Traditional networking is generally practiced off the Grand Banks of Nova Scotia by smelly old men in schooners. It results in codfish.

The other kind of professional networking is practiced in second-rate hotel conference rooms by smelly young men in suits. It generally results in a loss of money and a rising sense of unease.

The action of getting together with your business peers is marketed as ” networking “, because it is more difficult to sell the word ” conspiring “. The purpose of the conference, the stale biscuits, and the burnt coffee is to allow you to gain an ascendancy over your peers…oops, I used the wrong word again…I meant competitors. It is a combination of industrial espionage and sly browbeating, as you ask questions designed to show how smart you are while discovering where their customers are hiding.

If you are good at it you can appear to be a brilliant friend to all – passing out pearls of wisdom while boosting everyone’s self-esteem. Whilst observing who is in financial trouble and making a mental note to deepen this for them until they are bankrupt. It is the sort of thing that J.P. Morgan and John Rockefeller would have loved to do. Think of it in terms of an adult Monopoly game  – if you get in early you can claim the Scotty dog or the battleship for your token.

The wonderful thing about modern life is that you can do this from your computer screen as well. You can be linked-in to like-minded people with just a click. Before you press the button, though, you might give a thought to whether the people you want to lure into your crab-hole are bigger crabs than you. If in doubt, give a false name. I use Andrew P. Mellon myself, so that’s taken.

” Lookin’ For A Good Time, Big Boy…? “

Yeah, I am. And I have learned to be damned careful where I look.

Recently a friend on Facebook shared a small essay about doing things for fun – as opposed to doing them for money. My mind, being what it is, instantly linked up the concept to the title and it all went downhill from there. But I thoroughly agree with the original essay – there is a limited time and a place for monetization of our lives – and an increasing pressure to judge everything we do by the standards of the cashbook and journal. But there is an equal time and place for it all to be done for love.

We stand in danger of becoming Jacob Marley in our spare time.

These essays I write are for fun – I find them so, even if you may not. I do not expect to be paid for them, as payment comes as soon as the words hit the screen. It is in the form of pleasure and satisfaction…and I do not need to do double-entry bookkeeping to appreciate that.

I have had hobbies that earned money – and I pursued them diligently enough for years. In the end the money that they brought has evaporated, as all money does, and the only thing  left is a sense of satisfaction or otherwise when I think back on the times spent sewing, developing, shooting, drawing, or whatever. I could equally have this final pleasure if no money had been sought. Indeed, it may have given me more time to seek pleasure, rather than profit.

Well, I learned. I now build model aircraft, take photos, and write to please me. I share some of this and if you are pleased as well, good times are rolling. But they do not need to roll with an on-line shop, etsy, or business model. They have other wheels to run on.

Data Mining In The Yukon

Or the Kalahari. Or the Gobi Desert.

Have you dreamed of a career in the mining industry – but have been put off by the appalling conditions in the places where the ores and minerals are to be found? Has the sight of the human slaves of the Brazilian gold mining industry endlessly struggling up out of craters in the earth horrified you? What you need to do is join BGACO – the commodities division of the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia. We can get you digging without all the flies, heat, and armed guards.

The multi-national data mining industry is one of the most energy-efficient ways of making money known to man. We do not need giant ore trucks, wheel excavators, dynamite blasting, or underground boggers. We don’t need to fly in and out constantly nor do we need to sleep in dongas. We don’t have to listen to an overfed chairperson tell us to tighten our belts while they pour themselves another champagne.

You can work from home, or the local library, mall, or coffee shop. You can work late at night without disturbing the neighbours. You have no-one trying native title rights claims on you and there is no Occ Health And Safety officer. You can live in a wet mess all day, if you wish.

All you need to start is a computer, tablet, or mobile phone and an enquiring mind. You simply think up an intriguing question, quiz, game,or challenge that will require people to divulge their secrets to you. If they do so to the rest of the planet is irrelevant – as long as you get the information about them you have a salable commodity.

Like zinc or copper ore it must be concentrated to make it worthwhile shipping. This is where you do the most work, compiling lists of the most relevant details for each person and putting these into blocks of information. These blocks can then be shipped over the internet to the advertising corporations who convert them into commercial weapons. What they do with those weapons is none of your concern. As long as they pay you per delivery that is all you need to know.

Occasionally you will encounter the information equivalent of iron pyrites – details that look like gold but are just valueless. Even here some profit can be made by connecting these individuals with the worse dregs of humanity – you’ll have a goodly dreg supply along with the paying customers. Eventually the word will get out that it is safer and easier to tell you the truth…

 

How to Book Your Trip To Coventry

In the last two years  – as a retired person – I have been in touch with many of the people I knew whilst in employment. Some of them are now retired as well. In the case of two of them, I think they were subject to a form of adult bullying in this.

In both cases the businesses for which they worked underwent major changes – in one case bankruptcy and sale of the firm to a rival and in the other, establishment of entirely new premises. I hasten to add the firms concerned were separate ones in two widely differing trades.

In both cases, however, while you might have expected the new management in the one company or the old management in the new building to keep on their most experienced people, this did not prove to be the case. They fired ( retired ) the two people in question but gave as their reason complaints from other staff members.

I am not privy to any of their affairs, but I suspect this is bushwah – neither individual is dishonest or bad mannered. They could not have been as they were both concerned with their own forms of retail trade and dealt with hundreds of customers per week. I think there may have been staff rivalries that were used as levers to sack them. And I think it was a foolish thing.

But, folly or not, it would appear that what was intended as a kiss of death from the other employees may have turned into precisely the opposite. I regularly see reports of hobby activities, trips, and sporting ventures from the two chaps and I suspect they are having the time of their lives. They, like myself, are getting more accomplished now that ever before.

If they were sent to Coventry, they went first-class, and are enjoying the trip. Coventry can be a very pleasant place.