30 Dec

This is not a blog post

Dear Subscriber(s):

My apologies for the lack of posts through 2009. A mix of a white-tshirt job, an insomniac baby and the amputation of both hands (well, not that last one) have all contributed to my general writerly slackness. Those who wish to keep abreast of further minxness may do so on Twitter. I may return to this blog, but I also may not. One of the two.

As an aside, I’ve enjoyed reading through the mixture of comments that have been posted over the past year in my absence. Sorry “Daniel Fischer”, I won’t be funding your surgery but I wish you the best of luck.

And the Comment of the Decade has to be this one, left by Enculez: “Advantageously, the post is really the freshest on this worthwhile topic. I concur with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your future updates. Just saying thanks will not just be enough, for the tremendous lucidity in your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Pleasant work and much success in your business efforts!” Warm and fuzzy.

05 Oct

The Week That Was

Questions on my mind this week:

1. If I go to Sydney for the weekend, does that enhance my foreign policy experience?

2. Is it really possible to read all the magazines in world, as Sarah Palin claims to have done? Even a speed-reader would struggle, I think.

3. Is buying a url similar to that of a successful blog (be it a .net version or just a typo of the same url) effectively drinking the blogger’s milkshake?

4. Does visiting a country for a couple of days really mean you have ‘seen’ that country?

5.  Can I really be expected to pick up on your cryptic references to ’60s TV shows?

6. Is my $700B bailout in the post?

7. Is googling oneself really a narcissistic waste of time, or a useful exercise in monitoring one’s personal branding?

8.  Speaking of personal branding, are there any Gen-Yers out there who don’t have a tattoo?

9. If Metallica needed an on-call therapist for two years, what hope is there for the rest of us?

10. Why didn’t I win last night’s $20m lottery draw? I bought a ticket and everything.

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28 Sep

A Rolling Blog Gathers No Moss

This morning I have blown the dust off my blog and checked its pulse (faint) because I missed it, and I missed you guys. Is everyone well? Great.

I’ve been busy working, but I also took a trip to Tahiti earlier this month and last weekend I had my first flying lesson, which was very exciting. It was so much fun that I’m going to take more lessons and see where that takes me (literally and figuratively). Could it lead to the long-awaited Pilot Minx?

Anyway, it’s good to shake things up and not linger in a rut, so I’ve decided to change the name of this blog to Blog Minx. Rich Minx was born while I educated myself about the world of finance, and while I learned a lot (and am still learning), it’s a stretch to describe myself as ‘Rich’. Blog Minx keeps it real, apart from the ‘Minx’ part.

So I will be posting here more regularly, and you’re invited.

From the Blogger Formerly Known As Rich Minx (try saying TBFKARM 3x fast) 

17 Aug

When Was The Last Time You Faked It?

Over the past week or so I have spent many hours watching super-human feats of strength in the Olympic Games. World records have been broken as contestants somersaulted off diving boards, ploughed through the pool, quadruple-flipped their way across a gym mat and cycled until their muscled legs could cycle no more. We’ve seen laughter, tears,  medals… and a bit of fakery.

Opening ceremony: some of the fireworks were digitised.  Little girl singing: not the real singer. Cheering crowds: partly Games employees called in to fill the empty seats. It didn’t detract too much from the wonder of the events themselves, but still – you always feel a bit duped when someone deceives you.

But fakery lurks everywhere, particularly in the blogging world.

1. Fake identity
Many hot blondes are just avatars while a male writer pulls strings in the background. But if the content is good, do you care?

2. Fake comments
I get enough fake comments from Nigerian students to go on, but would you ever fake a”great post” comment to fill the gap?

3. Fake links
Those affiliate links may be real, but did you disclose them before you told people to click on them? And did you really endorse the product or did it just pay a good commission? (I’ve been guilty of this one with Text Link Ads. Didn’t like them, never used them – but kept a tile in my sidebar just in case.)

4.  Fake news
If a blogger announces they make $200 a day from their blog, or they sold their blog for $40,000, how do you know they’re telling the truth?

All in all, it’s a mixed up world out there and sadly we may get burned from time to time. I’m not prescribing 100% cynicism; however, never accept candy from an unknown blogger.

16 Aug

When The Tax Man Knocks

I arrived home last night to find one of ‘those’ letters waiting ominously on the table. No, not a Dear John; a letter from the tax department informing me that my tax payment was well overdue and I needed to pay up YESTERDAY.

I was self-employed most of last year and had what felt like copious amounts of money flooding into my account at regular intervals. Yes, I knew that I’d have to pay tax on it but when I got my full-time job earlier this year (which considerately deducts tax automatically from my wages each fortnight) I forgot all about it. D’oh!

So the money that was blooming in my account, which I was planning to shove into high-yield investments (or at least some spring fashion), has gone out the window. The less greedy part of me acknowledges that a lot of tax is well-spent on funding local health, education, infrastructure, etc etc. But some is definitely not allocated as wisely: government funded hip-hop courses spring to mind.

I felt like Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost, not kissing Demi Moore or announcing: “You in trouble, girl,” but at the moment she’s forced to relinquish a seven-figure cheque to a pair of oblivious nuns collecting on the street. I didn’t have to part with quite that much, but I can understand her reluctance. After all, if I was being haunted by Patrick Swayze I’d find some comfort in that money.

27 Jul

5 Signs Your Blog Has Wandered Off-Topic

1. Your AdSense ads are displaying random content (eg. Rich Minx is currently showing ‘roofing’ ads – why, Google, why? How will I make my 4c weekly target at this rate?)

2. An email from a reader has just arrived, thanking you for that scintillating post last week about omnivorous cyclops robots fighting for supremacy in 18th-century France.

3. Your RSS feed has imploded with a ‘Does Not Compute/Fatal Error’ message (that displays for PCs AND Macs)

4.  Even the spambots are confused.

5.  Your blog has made it to #36 in the list of Top 100 Blogs About… Something.

27 Jul

Hunter S Thompson Should Have Been a Blogger

Gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson would have made a great addition to the Blogosphere.

Imagine the potential posts as he made his drug-addled way through the desert to Vegas in search of the American Dream, and along the presidential campaign trail a few years later in search of an honest politician.

True, the internet hadn’t been invented back in the 60s/70s so that may count as a reasonable excuse for not blogging. However, the internet was well and truly in use by 2001 when he was ranting about 9/11 and the deep inadequacies of Mr Bush. Yet he was still banging away on a typewriter, up till the day he shot himself in the head in 2005.

And as any seasoned bloggers know, blogging by typewriter is a skill that has yet to be mastered, even if HST was using some new-fangled-for-the-sixties heap of technology with a dial that allowed you to fax a piece of paper anywhere in the country in just six minutes. It’s just not the same.

Other questions to consider today:

1) Is no hair a prerequisite to becoming a master blogger (looking at you, Problogger and Shoemoney)? If so, even more reason for HST to pick up a mouse. Those giant shades, boat hat and cigarette clamped permanently between his teeth were just bonus accessories.
2) Would intaking copious amounts of alcohol and drugs add to, or detract from your overall blogging style? Or is this something you’ve already experimented with to increase RSS subscribers? What conclusions did you draw?
3) Is your blog written with fear and loathing? Or fear and coding?

Regardless of your answers to the above, wouldn’t it have been great to encounter HST at a bloggers’ convention. As long as he left his loaded guns at home.

19 Jul

Don’t Tell Me What You Can’t Tell Me

The other day I was driving along, minding my own business, when the following ad came on the radio:

“We’re announcing some great deals at [local electronics store] but this information is embargoed till 11.55am.”

It took a moment to sink in. So… basically what they’re telling me is that they have something to tell me, but they can’t tell me. Plus, it was already after midday so I wasn’t optimistic about ever hearing the news, which was likely to be some crappy deal on something I didn’t need anyway.

Next I’ll be getting ‘embargoed’ Viagra spam in my inbox.

*

The other night was a special occasion and I went out to dinner at a swanky restaurant, which is a bit of a rarity and something I never quite get used to. I mean, it’s nice eating lots of courses of great food and sipping silky wine, but I never lose the feeling that I’m about 12 years old and an impostor in these sorts of establishments.  The feeling is exacerbated when the waiter:

1) Flicks open my serviette and glides it onto my lap. I mean, I don’t have the strongest arms in the world but I probably could’ve managed that myself.
2) Places 20 knives, forks and spoons in front of me. How long am I going to be sitting there?
3) Pours an inch of Cabernet into my glass and waits expectantly for the usual glass swirling/sniffing/palate-rolling behaviour that is meant to ensue.
4) Hands me a menu in Latin. ‘A filet of Beef nestled upon a Symphony of Fluffed agria potatoes placed Strategically alongside a Handsome row of Beans’ etc.
5) Retrieves my coat at the end of the meal and pauses as I grow 10 arms and struggle into it, slightly blearily after too many Cabernets and 21 courses including, and I quote, ‘Variations on a Theme of chocolate’. Mmm.

Not to mention the bill. HOW much?! I’m on toast for the rest of the week.

06 Jul

My Mailbox Begat A Plea For Funding

I never receive snail mail these days, so it was with mild excitement that I opened the mailbox to find a leaflet that implored me to help save a 50-year-old local church (ancient by NZ standards) by donating towards its restoration. I’m not a church-goer so I can’t say I felt too strongly about it, and the photo of snazzy new apartments which are threatening to replace the church (“This…. or these!!!”) looked a tad more appealing than the decrepit old relic.

What I did feel strongly about was the dire misuse of the English language, with spelling errors and nonsensical phrases peppered throughout the entire rant. Example: “Dilapidated and close to whether-or-not it can be retained, we are lunching this APPEAL.” My knowledge of dangling participles may be a little stale, but I’m pretty sure the “dilapidated” in that sentence is referring to “we”  and not to the church itself.

I am feeling a little dilapidated at the moment; perhaps I should drop leaflets around the neighbourhood asking for donations to restore me.

Sorry, Mr Church. Perhaps I shalt not mock thy poor grammar, or covet thy neighbour’s apartments. Best of luck to you. But please, next time get your leaflet proof-read. Please.

22 Jun

Going The Distance

A long time ago, back in the glory days of January 2008, I wrote a mission statement:

“I will train for long-distance running (at least a 10km run; maybe a half marathon).”

Well, here we are in June and I’ve run a half marathon. That’s 21km. In miles – well, it sounds better in metrics.

This morning dawned cold and raining, it being winter and all. At 6.30 the alarm beeped in my face, but I was already awake. I arrived at the starting line and encountered thousands of lycra-clad, stretching, nervous runners, most of whom were entering the 10km run (sounded appealing). The rain started to fall hard. People were sheltering – why? They were about to run through it.

A rogue with a megaphone herded us to the start and suddenly, we were off. The more focused sprinters flew past us noobs with abandon and muscled calves.

As we puffed through the city, people stared as if watching a herd of odd animals being deciphered by David Attenborough (“The majestic and ephemeral runner…”). Small crowds cheered us on. Cups of water appeared. My bung knee, which had been troubling me for two weeks, began to throb but soon numbed. I kept running and running past houses stacked along the coast, alongside the rough grey sea hurling waves and salt in my direction.

Soon we crossed paths with the full marathon runners, who had left at dawn and were heading back. Their distorted faces spoke of lengths I may never face as they neared their own finish. Markers showed our progress – 5km…6km…7km…8km… I thought of the meticulously planned running soundtrack waiting on my ipod: Kanye, Queen, Rage, Zeppelin, anything I had thought might keep me moving. But I didn’t need any of it.

At 10.5km we turned and headed back to where we started, and the second half was easier because I knew I was running towards the finish. The wind picked up to gale force, and we almost got blown off the road. Caps went flying. Some gave up and simply leaned into it. I started thinking about the people who had encouraged me over the past few months, and had come out in the cold to call my name and cheer me on.

At 19km my adrenaline peaked – I can do this! I sped up, smiling, heart pounding. At 20km the buzz wore off – where is the damn finish line?! The final km I just moved my legs forward and breathed. Shivering people circled the finish: “Well done!” someone cried as I tumbled forward, admittedly a little emotional, and realised my feet were hurting like hell. I hobbled forwards to collect my banana (yep, I ran a half marathon and I got a banana for my troubles).

So I did it. How do I feel? Proud. Happy. Sore. Planning to have some fun after the past few weeks of focus. Will I do it next year? Yes – I want to beat this year’s time (not hard!). Will I run a full marathon? No thanks.

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