Sunday, 19 October 2014

Does Gmail secretly like Spam?!? (the junk email, not the meat)

I use Gmail as my main personal email facility - it works fine, I can use it anywhere, all that kind of stuff, but there's one thing that I've noticed.

If you get an email that you want to delete, what you do is you tick the box next to the email to select, and then a "Delete" button pops up.  And you click Delete and boom, the email is gone.

However, sometimes Gmail moves emails into a Spam folder, and occasionally I go in to clear it out.  The Spam folder is always full of spam comments on this blog, offers of Viagra, and coupons for Pizza Express - I'm not sure what Pizza Express has done to deserve the designation "spam", but to be fair I don't go there very often so perhaps Google has picked up on this and decided that I don't want their offers.

To delete the emails in the Spam folder however, you tick them, and then you hit the box marked...


Which just gives it a little bit more emphasis, as though Google is saying "I think that these are spam emails so you probably don't want them, but I could be wrong so do have a good look through first - wait!  Wait!  You've not looked thoroughly at the emails!  There could be something really important that I've marked as spam by mistake!  Dear me, no don't - agh!  You've deleted them FOREVER!!! Don't you realise how much space I have on my servers?  I could have easily looked after half a dozen emails offering you 40% off a main meal at Pizza Express, you didn't need to just go and get rid of them!"

Perhaps I'm reading a little too much into it.

If you got all the way to the end of this post, well done!  If you like stuff about the internet, maybe this vaguely philosophical piece about spending time chilling out on the Internet might be to your liking.  On the other hand if you're looking for something funny, perhaps I HATE NAPPIES is more to your liking.

Or if you've had enough of this blog, go see Tim over at Life, Explained.  His are very good.  Some people said better than mine.  But I found them and they don't say that any more.

This end bit has gone a bit dark now.

Saturday, 18 October 2014


Never let it be said that on the Blog of Thog we don't tackle the hard hitting issues.

We're going to talk politics.

We're going to talk financial news.

Because President Barack Obama, went to dinner the other night... and had his credit card declined.

Debit and credit cards have made buying goods massively simpler.  Rather than carrying around a wodge of cash, or a hefty chequebook and pen, you can now simply wave a piece of plastic at a machine, and type in a few digits (I haven't tried contactless yet), and the purchase is complete.

But I do always have the tiny fear everytime that I use a card that this time will be the time that my card is declined.

It's easy with cash.  It's either in your wallet, or it isn't.  With a card however you have to try to remember not only how much money is in your bank account, but also what bills are likely to come out before pay day.

So the next time that you're trying to buy your shopping, your card is declined, and you're scrabbling in your wallet for the joint account card, feel a little better that it doesn't just happen to you - the leader of the free world has to use his wife's credit card on occasion too.

My latest vlogtober video is up and required me to run - for no other reason than that, please watch.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Blog Action Day 2014 - Inequality

Today I'm taking part in Blog Action Day 2014, a day where bloggers and content creators around the world unite to talk about a common subject - this year we're focusing on inequality.

Inequality is everywhere, and it goes from the most powerful/rich people in the world, down to ordinary people like you and me.  I'll start by sharing a story which doesn't paint me in a good light.

I was on a train recently, and in the next row of seats was two teenage girls, who basically seemed to spend the journey talking about drinking, fit boys, family members of theirs being arrested, getting benefits from the government (one of the girls was on disability living allowance, so I'm led to understand) and various other topics which did include some talk about drugs.  I never saw the girls during the journey as they were in the row in front of me, but everything that they were talking about, and their accents, led me to think "there's a couple of chavs".

I automatically wrote them off as human beings with any possibility of having any kind of potential in life.  Yet, when the guy in the business suit at the other side of the carriage got up to leave the train and left his umbrella behind, immediately one of the girls called over to him and asked him if he'd forgotten it.

In my judging of these two girls I had assumed that they would have stolen it, or certainly let him get off the train without taking it.  And it made me realise that my judgements had been wrong.  Later in the journey they talked about how they wanted to get on and get their driving licenses, and go to college.

I'm not pleased by my thoughts about these two girls but it makes me think just how easy it is to judge people without knowing their situation.  And this is something that I do believe the vast majority of us do.

There is a limit to what that the majority of us can do about the big issues of inequality - for example, the fact that if you combined what the 3.5 billion poorest people in the world owned, it would equate to about the same as the 66 richest people owned.  That doesn't mean that we shouldn't try - you can contact your governmental representative (MPs, senators, whatever they're called in your country) to ask what they are doing about inequality, and to highlight any particular issues close to your heart.

You can join a campaign group - whatever subject it is that is close to your heart, there is probably a campaign group for it, which may well be able to advise on how to take action and make a difference.

We can read about it, and the Blog Action Day website is a great place to start, as it coordinates the hundreds of blogs coming out today about inequality.  If you blog yourself, you can promote the topic yourself.

But what we can also do is fight inequality where we see it, in our lives.  Challenge yourself to be less judgmental.  Remember that whatever decision someone takes, whatever thing it is that they say, whatever they look like, or what job they do, they have had a lifetime of experiences and influences that has led them to make that choice, to say that thing, to do that job.  And recognise that while you may not agree with what they do or say, or sound like, that it may be valid for them to be the way that they are.

With that in mind, I'm going to write briefly about ulcerative colitis.

I have ulcerative colitis.  It's essentially an inflammatory bowel disease (a gut condition) that typically has some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Cramping pain in the abdomen
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss (not in my case, I hasten to add!)
  • Tiredness and fatigue

The cause of it isn't clear.  The theory is that it is caused by a combination of a number of factors - genetics, an abnormal reaction of the body's immune system, and something in the environment as a catalyst - which could be something you eat, viruses, bacteria, smoking, stress... but these aren't clear, and they aren't universal - one person may be able to eat whatever they like, while others (like me) have to avoid certain types of vegetable.

For those that know me personally, don't worry - my condition is currently in remission, it doesn't really have any effect on my day to day life right now.  It may flare up in the future, or it may not - I try to look after myself to ensure that it doesn't.  But conditions like mine can be difficult to talk about, and isn't helped by being misreported in the press as something that happens to people that eat junk food.  If you want to find out more, I recommend the Crohn's and Colitis UK website, and in particular their guide on understanding IBD.

The point of the above is not for me to get sympathy (right now I'm absolutely fine - no sympathy required!) but to raise awareness of the condition.  Many people - indeed, I'd suggest most people - suffer with one or more mild or severe health conditions of some sort, whether it's a severe disability or just a knee that won't bend as well as it used to.  Understanding that may help you to give people a little bit more leeway if they don't move quite as fast as you expect them to, or take a moment longer to react to something.

Thanks for reading.  Head over to for more information

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


I'm tired.  I should be making a video for vlogtober, but I'm just too tired.  Fortunately I uploaded a Hearthstone video last night, so here it is!

My Teddy Bear Appeal video has also been getting a lot of views, do check it out if you haven't already.

And have kindly published a blog of mine about foods to avoid to speed up weight loss.

So it's all good, but I feel really tired right now, and I think I need some relaxation right now.

Fingers crossed I'll be back tomorrow!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Getting my eyes tested

Before I get into today's essay, thank you very much to Lauren of Mummy is a Gadget Geek who mentioned this blog in her list of five blogs for your inner geek at!

Okay, so I wear glasses.

And have been known to sleep under a pink girly duvet.

It's been about two and half years since I had my eyes tested, which is overly long - I know that I should get them done every two years, but for one reason or another (which is another way of saying I'm lazy) I hadn't got round to it.  Anyway, I bit the bullet and booked myself into an opticians last week.

Just one thing that I want to ask: hasn't anyone discovered a better way of testing for glaucoma than the puffy machine yet?

If you've never had your eyes tested, you may not have encountered this, but basically the very first thing that they do when testing your eyes is blast sudden puffs of air into each eye to... well I don't know why they do it, it's something to do with glaucoma (which is a bad thing I think?) but the problem is that the more they do it, the more uncomfortable your eye gets, and the more your body thinks "Hey, if only we had some kind of cover that would protect the eye... oh wait! We've got an eyelid!  Brilliant! Let's close that bad boy!" and before you know it you're having to prise your eye open with your fingers with a faint hope that this time the machine will get whatever information it wants and stop with the puffs of air.

Anyway, I had the tests, I have new glasses (which are extremely light compared to my old ones) and it's all good.

I'll finish off my asking you this question...


If not, watch this video now.  Scary things are happening to our teddy bears.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

More Internet Randomness

Have you found the invisible cow yet?

This looks like a blank web page.  But it has an invisible cow on yet.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go to - you have to find a cow that is hidden somewhere on your screen, by listening to a guy shouting "COW" at you.  It's good fun, and you can't help but feel a little bit of achievement when you finally see this:

Yippee!! It's an ex-invisible cartoon cow that says "moo"

Play long enough and you can unlock a goat too.

This cartoon goat doesn't say moo.  They stick true to the principles of nature.

If you haven't been over to my YouTube channel recently, I'm doing Vlogtober - a video every day for the month of October - which is going quite well, I'm making some different videos, I actually have a fair few videos ready to make live, and some more that just need editing.  Do drop by and say hi!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Strolling along the shore of the Internet

Tonight (as I type this it's about 3.30am) I've been strolling along the shore of the Internet.  I know the common cliche would be to "surf the net", but I don't think I've been that focussed.

I've been uploading a video onto YouTube, and encoding a second video to be uploaded after the one first is finished.  For some reason these videos are monstrously huge (3Gb for a 15 minute video) so it is taking some time to get them online - hence the reason why I'm up to late (and also that my other half has agreed to get up with the little one so I'm enjoying the opportunity to be a night owl for once!)

In the meantime I've been checking out peoples blogs, and it's been really interesting.  You never know what you're going to come across when you visit a new blog.  Is it going to be about a particular subject?  Or is it going to be a general everyday life blog?  Are you going to find it interesting or not?  Maybe they might hold some views that you don't agree with - not that I'm looking for an opportunity to troll or flame anyone, but I find it interesting to compare views.  If I come across a blog that I really don't agree with, well there is always another one to try instead.

It could be argued, is what I've been doing an efficient use of my time?  In this age where you can type whatever you want into Google and get it in a split-second, should I be spending time looking at blogs that might not interest me, or might even offend me?


It's important to experience other things, other views, to stop and smell the roses.  I've learned and seen things tonight that if I hadn't done this, I might never have experienced.

Moving on, I am continuing to do Vlogtober despite missing out the 7th of October, so go over to my YouTube channel and discover the thoughts I have whilst in bed!

TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs
Paperblog BlogCatalog