We can take them breakfast

The innocence of kids. It blows me away sometimes.

Yesterday evening was one of those times. Having picked the boy up from his grandmother’s, where he had spent an exciting afternoon mainly eating, playing snap and eating, we were on our way home via the M3 and then slipping down the Constantia Main Road off-ramp. At the lights on the junction, I saw a mother and her two kids sitting by the side of the road, begging.

Sadly, this isn’t an unusual sight in South Africa, but I have seen this lady here before. She has two daughters – almost exactly the same ages as our two kids (3¾ & 1½, for new readers). And that kind of makes it a bit more personal.
As it happened, I had a small packet of sweets with me which I had planned to share with Alex, but given his gastronomic exploits throughout the afternoon, I had thought better of that idea. Thus, the kids by the side of the road became the grateful beneficiaries of a packet of candy polar bears. Seeing the young girls’ delight at the quickly opened packet and its contents brought a lump to my throat. So I probably wasn’t ideally prepared for what followed.

As the lights changed and we headed home, Alex piped up.

“Why did you give the lady some sweets?”
“Because the lady and her children were hungry.”
“Where do those children live, Daddy?”
“I don’t think they have a home, Alex.”
“So where do they sleep then?”
“I think they sleep wherever they can find some shelter.”
“And where do they eat breakfast?”
“I don’t think they have breakfast, Alex. That’s why they are hungry.”

There was a brief pause in the inquisition from the back seat.
Then:

“I’ve got an idea, Daddy. We can take them breakfast.”

And despite the much deeper issues that lie behind their situation, Alex was right: We can take them breakfast.
And because I’m a great believer in actions speaking louder than words, this Saturday, we’re going to take that mother and her kids some breakfast. Yes, I recognise that this isn’t a solution; I know that it won’t solve anything other than their hunger that day, but it will at least solve that.  

And when u-turn finally get back to me (hello?!?), we’ll maybe be able to help them out a little more.

Doing it every day

I’vebeen at it every day for almost a year now. Unlike Tiger Woods’ missus, my wife knows all about my addiction and she’s been very supportive. But then again, my blog doesn’t send me late night SMSs about how it’s missing me.
Obviously, it would if it could – it’s just that I haven’t found a plugin that allows it to do that.

Yet.

Jim Connolly (from Jim’s Marketing Blog) (your premier destination for marketing tips and ideas for small and medium sized businesses – by Jim Connolly) knows why it is. He did an experiment for a whole two weeks…

Usually, my blogging schedule is erratic; often just a handful of posts in a month.  However, as regular readers will have noticed, I have been updating this blog with fresh posts every day, for the past 2 weeks. Why?

I wanted to measure for myself, just what the value to a blogger is, of updating their blog every day with new posts.  I assumed (rightly as it turned out) that 2 weeks would be a long enough period, for me to get some worthwhile data for you.  The results have been VERY interesting!

Yes, with just two weeks of effort, Jim rightly predicted that he would have some worthwhile data. Sure, he doesn’t post any statistical methodologies or calculations, but he’s Jim Connolly (from Jim’s Marketing Blog), so you just know he’s right.

Jim saw that his RSS subscriber numbers rose by 400% (from 1 to 5, I’m guessing), the number of comments increased by 300% (1 to 4?), overall traffic was up by 30% and pageviews were up “massively”. Jim says:

Daily blogging has improved literally every metric I have measured – not just those mentioned in this brief post.  It’s also improved areas that are far harder to measure, like making the blog a lot more ‘alive’ and vivid.  These things are harder to plot on a chart than RSS subscribers or traffic.

Posting every day made a marketing blog “alive”? Wow. The power.
So it’s all good, right?

Wrong.

Jim Connolly (from Jim’s Marketing Blog) is hardcore.

I see zero point in posting dross occasionally, just so that I don’t miss a day!  That material will live on the Internet forever, with my name attached to it. My 4 year old son will see it when he’s older – I don’t want him thinking his daddy writes pedestrian, generic bullshit occasionally, because I’m a slave to some self-imposed, daily blogging schedule.

Fortunately, regular readers of 6000 miles… will know that I never write pedestrian, generic bullshit occasionally.

*ahem* Moving on…

Jim Connolly (from Jim’s Marketing Blog) now has a dilemma. He knows that daily blogging is good for his blog, but he’s scared about what his kid will think about the whole thing in a few years time. (I have no such worries as I am not going to allow Alex to learn how to read.)
Bring forth the insipidly bubbling pot of compromise:

I’ve decided to aim for blogging here on a more regular basis than before, but only when I have something I believe is worth sharing with you.  If that’s daily, then fine. If not, then I assure you, you will be missing nothing worth reading.

However, having browsed through a few of Jim Connolly (from Jim’s Marketing Blog)’s posts since that announcement, I am sad to report that it seems he has slipped back into his pedestrian, generic bullshit habits again.

Someone should tell his son.

Statpr0n and three big moments

I was flicking through some WordPress plugins and seeing what they could do for 6000 miles…when I realised that there are three fairly large moments rapidly approaching. And, quite conceivably, they could all arrive on the same day. Although I will not be making any particular effort to ensure that they do. Honest.

Firstly – on January 30th, I will complete my 365th day of consecutive posts. I got the post-a-day idea from the inimitable Brian Micklethwait and I thought I’d see how it went in February. It went well and the rest is, as they say, history. Or soon will be, anyway.
I’ve had to throw the odd quota photo in here and there to keep things going, and – mainly due to intercontinental travel – I have even pre-written a couple of entries, but generally, you’ve had one or more quality posts each day.
It’s been hard work, really hard, sometimes, but readership is up, subscriptions are up and I’ve actually enjoyed the challenge.
Will I continue? I haven’t decided just yet, but it seems likely. Watch this space on 31st January.
And before and after as well, obviously

The second big thing is that I am “just” 10,000 words short of 200,000 words on 6000 miles… blog posts. That’s a whole lot of words and a whole lot of posts considering I (apparently) average just over 300 words per post. One memorable effort didn’t even have any words at all. That must have dragged the average down a bit.  

The last bit of news is that – at an average 8 comments per post – I am almost up to 5,000 genuine (i.e.ham, not spam) comments. This blog would still exist without comments and commenters, but it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting and fun. Posts about the 2009 general election in South Africa were particularly well commented upon, as is any post about the contentious issues in local politics. Quota photos generally don’t get comments, nor do admin posts; those about religion do and that one about The Killers concert really got people going.

I’m going to make an effort to reward my 5,000th comment in some way.
Not sure how yet, but I’ll do it.
And because of all the spam that Akismet sifts out for me, no-one will know who or when it is, save for myself and The Guru. And thus, he’s not allowed to enter. Sorry, The Guru – it just wouldn’t be fair.

This post is 422 words long and is being filed under admin.
All of which means that no-one will actually have read this far.

The KVLY Mast – soon to be forgotten

Yesterday, the Burj Khalifa (or Burj Dubai, depending on who you’re reading) was officially opened in Dubai, breaking records all over the place. Stuff to do with elevators and concrete pumping, having lots of floors and a really high mosque.

Oh, and at 828m, it’s also the tallest man-made structure in the world, of course. 828m is a whole lot of height – the Burj would stand over 150m above the 669m Lion’s Head in Cape Town if it were built alongside it, although I’m pretty sure planning permission would be refused. 

And before the Burj came along, that record belonged to the  HUGE Taipei 101, the MASSIVE World Trade Center or the REALLY TALL CN Tower in Toronto. Or did it?

No.

Since the collapse of the Warsaw Radio Mast on 8 August 1991, the KVLY TV Mast in North Dakota, USA has been the tallest extant man-made structure. That was its claim to fame. That and the fact that it transmitted TV signals, but then other shorter masts do that as well.

And now that claim to fame has gone.

Still, at 628.8m high, the KVLY Mast is still tall enough to warrant lots of space filling if you decide to put a picture of it down the side of a blog post.

Lots of space filling. Loads. Big amounts.

More top class blogging tomorrow, then?

*ahem*

(…are you still here?)

Life is a Rollercoaster

Or some sort of adrenaline-packed fairground ride, anyway.

I’m watching the Arsenal v Hull match including the disgusting off-the-ball antics of Samir Nasri with a fine supporting act of comedy refereeing by Steve Bennett, while being annoyed by the all-new, all-singing, all-dancing, all-bloody irritating WordPress 2.9, so I’m popping a quote photo up here. This was taken at Munich’s 2009 Oktoberfest, I’m told.

Reminds me of the annual St Giles Fair in Oxford, where the kids from the estates used to congregate under these sort of rides, hopeful of picking up any loose change from the punters.

Because – as you can see – anything that’s not properly secured is in grave danger of falling out.