Posts Tagged ‘blogging


Another rat abandoning this sinking ship

So, I’m off. Long-time readers of this blog might recall a post on Brian Lenihan that I ended by threatening to leave the country. Well, I’m following through on that threat. I’ve been offered a job abroad and I’ve decided to accept it.

A couple of months ago I posted about being offered a job and being told later I wasn’t getting it. It’s this job I’m for which I’m headed. I’ve avoided posting further on this as I didn’t want to jinx it, but I guess I’m safe enough at this stage. The explanation I received on why I was briefly told I’m not getting the job was, frankly, weird, something about mistaking me for English and not wanting to hire an English person. One can be forgiven for thinking something fishy is going on. However, I’ve checked things as much as it is possible to check these things. I’ve talked to embassy people and the agent with whom I arranged the job, and I’ve comfirmed separately that the company exists. I can be certain that the offer is legit and there is an actual job waiting for me.

And so I’m off. The visa is sorted and the plane-ticket is bought, and I’m leaving this weekend. I’m pretty much going as far as I can without resorting to the Australia option (which is good as I can’t imagine a fate worse than living in Australia). I’m leaving behind Ireland and unemployment, and probably this blog. It’s not that I’m abandoning blogging, I’ve really enjoyed it and I have a couple of ideas for new blogs I’d like to try out, but I don’t see myself updating The Unemployed Blog much longer. I suppose I could do an ex-pat Irishman’s blog, but it’s not likely. In all honesty, I’ve become quite bored of personal blogging in the last few months.

I’ll be fleshing out a few concepts due course, and there’ll be a few more updates here, just to let regular readers know what’s happening. In the meantime, if anyone’s passing through South Korea you can stay in my house.


Gifted Web Writers

Has anyone heard of this outfit? I’m wondering if they contacted anyone else. They emailed me yesterday to tell me that this blog and my writing style meets with their “quality guidelines”, and therefore want to include me in their program and pay me for my posts.

Now if it were simply spam I wouldn’t take any notice, but it’s not. These guys went through some of my recent posts and told me which ones they liked. And it’s not some randomly acquired trickery with bots either; they were able to distinguish between posts that are lengthy rants rather that pointless Youtube links or whatever. This is not the usual $1,000,000 deal from the Nigerian Department of Finance or notice that my email address has won a global lottery. Somebody has taken the time to research me personally and offer me money. They haven’t asked for bank details, but I’m sure that will be the primary request following any follow-up emails.

There is, of course, the possibility that I’m being paranoid, and that this is a legit offer, but I’m not convinced. The email directed me to their website for more information, but all it contains is an “under construction” homepage and a postal address in Israel. Also, this may be unconnected, but at least one person has found this blog through a websearch of my email address.

So, has the Gifted Web Writers program contacted anyone else? Does anybody have any more information on this? Obviously I’m not going to be availing of the offer. If it is legit then they’re going about it in a very dubious manner.

EDIT: ‘Cause I was asked for it.

Dear Damien,

As part of expanding our “Gifted Web Writers” program, we search the net for high quality blogs and gifted web writers. I’ve visited your website and read some of your recent posts, including “The poor farmer”.

Damien, you definitely have a unique and interesting writing style and an intriguing high quality blog. Since you and your blog meet our quality guidelines, we would like to offer you to join our unique and highly rewarding program.

About the program –

The program links our customers with gifted writers like you and pays them for writing short articles. You already do that, so I’m sure you will be happy to be rewarded for your talent. Our program pays at least 15 USD for each article you write, with options for additional payments. We do not ask nor expect you to write ads; rather, we give you complete writing freedom and appreciate your creativity and imagination.

I hope that you find the concept of our program interesting, and would be happy to provide you more information about it. Please email me back and in the mean time feel free to visit our website

If this email does not interest you, I apologize and I will not contact you again.



Irish Election Literature

I received an email from AJ of Irish Election Literature asking me to promote the blog. I’m happy to do it as it’s an incredible resource. There’s something here for casual and hardcore political anoraks alike.


Selling out is hard to do

I got my first request for advertising space on this blog yesterday. I’ve often been asked to promote some old nonsense somebody got into their heads (remember this), but this was the first time I was asked to link to a business website in return for material benefit.



I declined. The idea just seemed too odd to me. The company in question is a sports accessory website, and anyone who knows me knows I’m a proud geek. I hold sports in the same regard I hold casual racism. This aside, I have to admit I wasn’t too impressed with what I was being offered for selling out. Without going into details, I was directed to two product lists and told I could have one item for free on the understanding I would review it and provide a link in my blogroll. Now these items are hardly worthless. To somebody in the market this might have been a great offer, but to me they are of no use whatsoever.

It did, however, get me to wondering how fast I’d sell out if I were offered something I am interested in. Being a Bill Hicks fanboy, I’m always pissed off by celebrities endorsing products. When it comes to writers it’s almost unforgivable (who the fuck does Marian Keyes think she is doing ads for a photo shop). On the other hand, it’s just a blog. As much as I enjoy doing this, it’s hardly a sacred bastion of the legitimate arts. In reality, what’s the harm in it?

If anyone would like to further test my integrity I can be found at


Recession bloggers, no book deal for you

I was flicking through a copy of U magazine (dated March 16) that was lying around the house when I happened upon an interesting item on the last page, entitled “U get on my goat”. Basically it’s a list of things that annoyed some U writer during the week, and number one on the list is a good one: Recession Bloggers.

Now I realise us recession bloggers would be best served by ignoring this. After all, it’s U. Their cover story in the same issue is about newsreaders who are gorgeous (even though they apparently don’t have to be). This is not a world that reasonably intelligent people should have to concern themselves with. However, I found myself annoyed, and the more I thought about it the more annoyed I got. I think what got to me was the explanation for the entry

Your desperate hopes that your blog will be discovered and you’ll get paid millions for a book deal are very transparent.

I know this betrays a massive ego on my part, but as I’ve mentioned on several occasions here that I’m a writer by profession I couldn’t help but feel this was a comment made with me in mind. For what it’s worth, my reason for maintaining this blog is nothing other than for the sake of doing it. But this aside, I found the entry a bit self-important, especially considering the other things that got on U’s goat.

2. Buying fancy (and expensive) new shampoo and only realising you’re allergic to it after using it all week.

No recession ‘round here.

4. Owing a Labrador now that Marley and Me is out. You didn’t believe the crazy dog stories before but now that the movie is out you think you know all about it.

Well excuse me! When choosing a dog, one should of course consider that an American journalist might someday write a memoir based on his ownership of that same breed, which will then be adapted into a very successful yet highly schmalsy film, leading to an increased interest in these dog which in turn will lead celebrity lifestyle magazines to declare owning them to be soooo last century. What were we thinking? As the proud owner of a Lab, whose antics have on occasional been mentioned here, this further enforced the notion that I inspired this article.

6. Nearly fainting in yoga. All the bendy, ‘we go four times a week people’ (sic) are staring and judging.

Now this I can empathise with. It isn’t pleasant being judged by smug, uppity pricks.

If you’re going to launch of sweeping critique on any group of people, you should probably ask yourself if you really have the Dylan Moran/Charlie Brooker style of wit to carry it through. Because if you go on to moan about shampoo and yoga and mineral make-up that spills in your bag and ruins the lining (which is a little indicative of the kind of attitude that largely caused this recession to begin with) then you’ll probably end up looking like haughty, self-satisfied gits with more money than sense. The last entry in this article might as well have been “Picky proles who won’t eat their cake”. I realise I’m making a big deal of what is a fluff piece that’s only there to fill a page, but bad writing is bad writing, and particularly galling when criticising others for theirs.

PS, I was going to title this post “Fuck U, too”, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.


Roe versus the Volcano

With the media’s constant attempt to makes us feel miserable these days (discussed here, which in turn produced this. I always thought of myself as something of a muse), it’s good to see there’s still room for this kind of story. Blogger Jason Roe posted about a glitch he found with Ryanair’s website, which produced a spate of offensive and highly personal responses (accusations of a “pathetic life”, etc) from individuals within Ryanair’s HQ. (link and linker)

I still don’t understand how exactly the glitch Jason found works, and as I wouldn’t fly Ryanair even if they paid me I don’t really care. What interested me was the vindictive nature of the responses left by the staff. The rudeness of Ryanair’s frontline service has long been established, so it’s somewhat refreshing to know they share this attitude within the inner-workings of the company. Even so, the explosion of anger over someone doing nothing more than highlighting a bug on your site is baffling. Choice quotes for me are: “Keep working on yourself and don’t post bollocks,” “It’s not a threat, its advice for you to present yourself better… but of course you think of threat straightaway, because that fits you better,” and my favourite, “Offensive aggression of customers depends on customer’s ignorance.”

Even their PR guy was snotty about it when discussing the matter. “It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy corresponding with idiot bloggers,” he was quoted in the IT, adding, “lunatic bloggers can have the blogosphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel.” Of course he also admitted the offending posts did come from staff. So we have two conflicting pieces of information within the same head with both being accepted as true, not terribly unlike the difference between the prices they think they charge and what they actually charge. Orwell would have had a field-day with this. Presumably the cost of air travel went up a little when their people were wasting time and energy with Jason’s blog.

When RTÉ reported it a spokesman tried to suggest it was the work of just one member of staff “when they should have been working”. I call bullshit on that one. This to me sounds like the kind of thing that spreads around the office like wildfire, and in a mob-mentality sort of way they lost the run of themselves. As for their repeated degrading language regarding bloggers, I would suggest a blogosphere boycott, except I’m not that organised and I really don’t care enough.

Anyway, the relevant blog is here, but yoze have probably found it already.


I’m full of shit

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about this blog is the reaction it has generated. The e-mails and comments sent to me have been almost entirely supportive, which I very much appreciate. However, last week this suddenly landed in my inbox.

i just read your blog and you are full of shit.if i was that girl i would walk passed you in the street.they all did that for a good cause grow up…………………

I found this anger confusing, not least because it was left as a comment to my “this is me” page. At first I hoped it might have been left my mistake, as it seem like otherwise the writer had somehow taken offence to me personally, which was just bizarre. However, I soon realised that what had upset this person was my post on a naked calendar featuring people I know that I had just discovered. I had to delete the comment, as it would have been ridiculous to leave it where it was left. All the same, I’d like to highlight it and offer a defence.

It’s not that I’m so thin-skinned that I can’t accept that someone doesn’t like me for what I write. I’ve had plenty of articles published that pissed people off, and I would never dream of giving a shit. I’m also not bothered by the childish use of foul language. Let’s face it, with post titles like “Dermot O’Leary can go fuck himself”, it’s not something I’m in a position to moan about. What is bothering me is how people can misinterpret a comment and perceive offence where none exists. Ok, the language I used in this particular post might be described as flippant, you might even say sarcastic. Yet I do not accept that it was negative or unfairly critical. I believe I expressed encouragement for the enterprise and the cause it is aimed to support.

I have to admit I’m nervous about meeting again the individuals referred to in the post. I imagine they’ll be a bit pissed. I probably should be more careful about what I write here, especially now that thanks to the Indo people close to me know I write this blog. Even with this aside, there’s a duty of care. We bloggers enjoy a freedom to write what we like without interference from an editorial process. This, however, should not permit us to unfairly cause hurt or offence with impunity. In general, this isn’t a major issue as most Irish bloggers seem to be mindful of this. But we should also be mindful of unintended offence with off-the-cuff remarks about individuals.

This being said, if you publish pictures of yourselves in the nude and distribute them freely, it’s a bit of an ask to assume everyone will dismiss it as a big laugh. I would have thought such a calendar was designed to generate a discussion, and this is what my post sought to reflect.


You’re gorgeous!

So my first Blog Awards has come to an end. In a sense, I shouldn’t have been there, as I didn’t make the shortlist. But I suppose anyone there who isn’t Tommy and was hoping to win the best newcomer gong was fooling themselves.

Still, I’m delighted I went. I learned that the guy behind Green Ink is an old college buddy (as ridiculous as this may sound, I had no idea), I got laughed at for opening a statement with “this may betray my nerdy side” (apparently my t-shirt had already taken care of that), and I won some sort of “Facebook phone” (at least I’m assured I won it. I won’t be certain until it lies in my hands). Above all I met lots of cool people, some of whom I’m a big fan of. And I got to see Rick O’Shea with no shirt.

I was more than happy Suzy won best blog. I’ve never said this out loud, but Maman Poulet was largely the blog that inspired me to start my own. Overall, it was a fantastic night. Thanks so much to Mulley for doing this.


Fame at last

The ‘Review’ section of today’s Indo has a feature on personal stories from the “Frontline” of the recession, in which yours truly makes an appearance. Any fans of this blog who’d like to know what I (or even my mother’s sitting room) look like might want to pick it up. Dear Edel paraphrased a lot my comments to her, but she didn’t change the points so that’s ok, and I suppose I did kinda ramble for a bit.


The Irish Blog Awards: long-listed

The Unemployed Blog has found itself on the long list for two categories in the Irish Blog Awards, best newcomer and best personal blog. To be nominated at all is hugely gratifying. To know people actually like this stuff really makes the effort worthwhile. Thanks to whoever nominated me and to the judges who rated this blog. Cudos also go to Mulley for organising these events. It really brings forward blogging in this country.