Iraqi Muse

November 24, 2008

nanowrimo-2.jpgI found Iraq to be a very seductive place. There is something about the country, Baghdad in particular, which I found akin my experience of some parts of India. Life is such a precarious thing in these places that people grasp it with both hands and make the most of what they have. Those who live in the face of guns, under the prospect of random and butchering death know how to live. We have no idea. Read more

eBook Surprises

May 8, 2008

us-newspaper290.jpgThe Internet is a pretty amazing place. But you all know that. Still, every now and then you get a pleasant surprise which is a change from the usual “shock and awe” that attempts to penetrate our dulled www senses. This surprise was a Sony PRS-505 eBook which landed on my desk today. But the  story about the device can come in the next post. How the thing landed on my desk in the first place is an intriguing little vignette. In more ways than one. Read more

Blogging Connections

April 27, 2008


A week ago I met with a fellow blogging traveler – traveler and blogger that is. A first for me, meeting someone through the internet that is and then catching up face to face. There was some irony in driving off to the meeting given there was a sense of ignoring all the advice (mostly ignored) that you give your kids about meeting strangers over the net – and worse, following up. That can only lead to disappointments. Or worse. Read more

Bloggers Choice Awards

October 27, 2007

Many of you kindly voted for the Pickled Eel by clicking on the icon to the right. The 2008 Bloggers Choice Awards are now running so the counter has been reset. If you have a few spare moments I would be very grateful for a vote out there. Its not a bad way to get the blog exposed. Thanks.
p.s. the page is currently parked on the second page under Best Travel Blog.

Pickled Eel Interviewed

October 10, 2007

Eric over at Travel Blogs asked me a few questions recently – they are listed below. He posted my replies up on his quality Travel Blog site which he has managed to built into a rather good travel blog in a short period of time.

The questions were:

Pickled eel… Is that a delicacy you’d recommend?

You seem to travel quite extensively for work. Do you think this kind of business-related travel is an enjoyable way to travel? Or does the “work” factor diminish the enjoyment somewhat?

Since you spend so much time on the road for work, what does a holiday look like for you? Does it still involve travel, or do you prefer to stick closer to home?

You have been to places like Iraq and Jordan, which many people would consider too dangerous to travel around. Have you ever said no to travelling somewhere because you considered it too dangerous?

Do you think the risk-factor actually adds to the appeal of travelling to dangerous places?

Once this business trip to the Middle East is over, what’s next? Any big trips on the horizon?

The responses are at Travel Blog – but take the time to have a look around the rest of his site. There are some interesting characters there traveling some interesting trails.

Another Blogging Traffic Tool – Maybe Worth A Look

September 20, 2007

I don’t normally have the patience to bother messing around with the tools that supposedly promote, expose, advertise or otherwise make claims to broaden the readership of this blog. On the other hand something that claims to do all those things without me doing much more than inserting some html is worth at least a shot. And for no cost. Click here to be taken to Blogrush and a video that explains it better than I can and in less time than I could.

Double Fechr Blog Promotion

August 28, 2007

I decided a while ago that this forum is really aimed at well, me. It’s useful mix of journal and writing and other creativity though there are many more hours I could spend in here! But that decision meant I have stayed away from trying to place Google ads and all of that sort of stuff. I have not really focused on getting a lot of online attention although there is now a regular round of readers and visitors – repeat visitors are flattering, let’s be honest. However many of those visitors first picked up on Pickled Eel when Bobby at Bestest Blog got me some pretty broad spectrum coverage through his site. After something of a hiatus he is back with a new promotion tool which is worth having a look at. Linked here is (pronounced Feature) which gives you 24 hours of intense exposure for no cost (at the moment) – a double fechr whichever way you look at it.

Casey Serin: Worlds Most Hated Blogger

June 18, 2007

Well, here he is. Apparently. I am not sure how you get a reputation like this from a few dodgy business moves. There are worse business results out there from so called professionals than this young chap has perpetrated. Whatever those moves, he has generated a phalanx of detractors who seem hell bent on getting a pound of flesh out of him. Worlds Most Hated Blogger? That is a tall order to fill.

Do I feel sorry for him? It’s a week for the underdogs perhaps. Paul Potts goes his winning way and I am cheering him on, then Casey emerges with a hard luck story, slipping down here in Australia, hiding from his detractors and trying to get his life back on track. Sounds like he should get a sympathy vote as well. Then you discover he is attracting not insignificant traffic to his blog (300,000 + visits per month), the advertisers are doing OK out of that and you wonder if marketing is his skill even if real estate is not. And that this “worlds most hated blogger” tag is a clever promotional effort. You can be anyone and anything on the web (even a pickled eel), so who knows?

Then you figure that whatever the claims, and whatever his faults, and whatever the merits of the business plan, he deserves his shot at winning, just as much as the rest of us. After all, the Pickled Eel opened his business account ten years ago with nine dollars in loose change (and we have a long way to go yet). So there is a strong sympathy vote from me for a guy trying to make something out of nothing. Casey, the secret is “don’t blink.”

Casey’s website is here(looks like it is melting down this evening). And Sydney Morning Herald coverage here. And to whom I acknowledge the source of the photo.

Blogger’s Choice

April 12, 2007

There is always a degree of scepticism in the blogging world which is always healthy. Well, skepticism in my own blogging world at least. Competitions and promotions are as much about feeding someone else traffic as getting exposure for yourself and more often than not they are promotional tools that take you up the same filthy dead end track that we used to find out the back of Trotters Gorge (NZ). (Google Earth 45°24’14.83″S 170°46’49.99″E. You can see the open camping area. The trout, lazing in water as clear as your bottled distilled stuff, and in the shade of the foot bridge, are just out of view. Clear in my memory though). If you had told me in 1970, as I ran loose in this Gorge, that more than 30 years later I could “walk” up it via satellite (or other) imagery and from a desk in Australia I would have thought you insane. Who wanted to live in Australia?!

I digress, though I dip my lid to “travel”. Like a good security plan any online strategy has to be a consideration about trade-offs that you have to make. So here we go – Pickled Eel is out there with nomination for the Best Travel Blog in the Blogger’s Choice Awards. To vote, and I would love it if you did, you will need to go to Blogger’s Choice site, create an account (basically user name and password), log on and vote for this Blog. And if you can’t be bothered doing that, at least get into Google Earth and have a fly around Trotters Gorge. You might see a bunch of ten year old boys in long shorts and no shoes having the time of their lives.

Art or Science? Me or You?

March 16, 2007

With more than 100 blogs under my belt what has this medium turned into? How much of it is art? How much should be intuitive and off the sleeve? And how much thematic, scripted, planned, scientific? I have to confess that the exercise of writing this blog has evolved through a number of phases reflective of my intentions. It started out with a hard focus on my travel diaries, and then moved into some attempts at posting up past and current creative writing. I even invited some serious, journalistic writing houses in the US to comment. Surprise surprise, they replied.

Then some kids responded to the blogs and I found myself writing not for myself but for an unseen but imagined audience. I went searching for tools that would broaden my readership and perhaps even earn the site a few dollars. (So far $5.10!!). I don;t think that should be the focus and I have resisted Google’s Adwords. Where I have used the blog to help shape the novel I have been grinding away on for the last few years that imagined audience has been very helpful, freeing up thoughts and forcing some discipline into the writing.

Now it has settled down into what I really think it should be. Something that has proven cathartic and therapeutic. Something for myself. Writing about my recently killed friend, JD has confirmed that. Perhaps writing for myself will infuse a more honest air to the posts. And if readers respond to that, well and good.

Mind you that has not stopped me prodding for feedback. Dave, had a look and kindly posted some feedback. Not everyone reacts well to his advice but if you are going to hang your shingle out you need to expect the occasional egg to be thrown at it. He does what I should really do and create a separate blog for different themes. He has a few out there including I think I will be sticking with this blog alone, writing for myself, and keeping fingers crossed that the posts have a resonance with those that stumble over them. Comments always welcome of course!!