Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bad English

This morning I got my first real spam/scam contact through my online shop. Thankfully up until today most correspondence I've received through my online shops has been lovely and friendly and most importantly genuine. I've had lots of nice messages from people throughout the UK and also from elsewhere in the globe. The problem I've found though is that opening your shop to an international global market means that quite a few of your customers may not use English as their first language and any email they send automatically triggers the junk mail sensor in my head. This makes me feel incredibly guilty as I don't like mistrusting people, its sad that someones knowledge of English can make me react in that way but it really has come to be the number one signal that something is wrong with an email. (As someone whose spelling and grammar can be pretty atrocious at times I could easily fall foul of the same prejudice myself.)

When I first started selling online I got an email from a customer in Brazil which was really poorly written and was quite hard to understand. She started by apologising that her English wasn't great and that she wanted to buy something from me but that she needed a rather odd postal arrangement as it was a surprise gift. After a good bit of correspondence and some Googling of her name and email address I finally decided that she was in fact real and took a risk on the posting the item. Thankfully it all worked out great and she was delighted with the print but I very nearly just decided to give it a miss.

Here's the message I received today, if you get the same message just ignore it. (saves you getting on their spam message radar.)

"hello, i want to make immediate purchase of your item, what is the present condition?
do you accept PayPal as mode of payment? what is the final asking price?
kindly get back with your reply to my private email:
hope to read from you soon. Best Regard"

I however wanted to hear the spammers story (I somehow enjoy how ridiculous their messages can be) so dropped them a polite reply and got one of the old classic stories in return. The Spammer, in pigeon English, really like my item much. want to buy for secret present for mum who very important not know item is coming. Sadly they are oceanographer and on sea so cannot complete sale through Folksy. Please tell how can pay and pick up agent will come and pick up item direct. All need is direct Paypal details and will arrange payment.

Delete, block and forward to Folksy's spam police.
The other scam I've had people try isn't an attempt to rip off bank details its more a bit of a cheeky attempt to get a discount. I've had people contact me pretending they run a shop and wanting to purchase a range of items wholesale. It sounded good so I sent them wholesale prices and asked for more info on their shop. They emailed back to say they wanted to just test the water and would only take two items at the wholesale price and ignored my request for more info on their shop. I'm a bit picky about where I sell so again asked for more info and got a quick reply saying its a very small shop in New York, with no name or real details. A Google search later it turned out that they didn't have a shop at all they were really just buying the items for themselves and the whole shop thing was just an attempt to get the items cheaper.

All these little scams can be very annoying but as long as you keep your wits about you, ask for details about them and their company and do a bit of research into user names/ email addresses whenever you are suspicious then you can usually spot any dodgy characters pretty easily. I just hope the scam artists don't realise that a little investment in some English lessons might pay off pretty quickly!!!

Anyways its not all doom and gloom some people are trying to make a positive out of a negative and find creative uses for spam - here are a two of my favourites:
  • My friend Eilidh MacAskill created the Spam Song lifting lines from spam emails she received into a hilarious and rather rude song as part of her project ">Eilidh's Daily Ukulele Ceilidh. (snippet of the Spam Song about half way through linked video)
  • Big brother to one half of Hole in my Pocket and our IT guru, Richard Airlie created the wonderfully addictive ">Spam Radio which takes junk mail and turns it into a hypnotic robot voiced monologue with electronic soundtrack.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dr Jessica and Little Miss Hyde

The spooky true story of the life and fate of little miss Jessica Hyde and her chemistry set.

Got a nice email today to say that I was being featured on the brilliant Poppytalk site which is one of my favourite places to find interesting new artists and designers so am feeling pretty pleased to be in amongst them and am going to go have a celebratory bowl of soup. Here's a link to their post.

Happy Halloween Weekend to all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Have your elf a merry little Christmas

One of the new (set of five) Christmas cards I've made for this year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ho ho ho

Not sure if making cards is going to be all that fun. It forces you to start thinking about Christmas far too soon. All my stockists are currently getting their winter goods in and so I've had to get my new Christmas cards printed up already. Quite pleased with the new set, a different style to last years range. (which will be available again this year too.) Will be uploading the rest to the online shops over the next few weeks but at the moment the above is the only one on there.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Infographics show @ Sho Gallery

Mario Klingemann: Dada Visualizations
Hole In My Pocket: Heaven or Hell & Christmas Comparisons
Matt McKenna: Tenements
Ellen Mueller: Practical Preparedness Videos

Some images of the rather cool looking Infographics show at the Sho Gallery in Cardiff, you can spot our two images hiding in the background. The show proved very popular and  the Cardiff Design Festival directors liked it so much that they have extended its run and moved the work to the festival HQ @ the Cardiff Story Museum in the city centre where it will be exhibited until the 9 November. All images are by Sp:ke Dennis and can be viewed here.

 Infographics Exhibition

Private View

Hole in My Pocket: Heaven or Hell & Christmas Comparisons
Ellen Mueller & Phil McCollam: Practical Preparedness Videos
Daniel Ulf Hansen: On Yer Bike Mate

Alix Martin: The Facts About Rape

Innes Jones: Rant #1

Friday, October 07, 2011

HIMPTOLOGY @ Cookie for Bungofest

The stainglass window from the outside

A version of the HIMPTOLOGY exhibition is now on display in brilliant cafe/ venue/ restaurant Cookie in the Southside of Glasgow. "Bringing their thoughts on faith, belief and belonging to Cookie, Hole in my Pocket form their own religion and ask you to become a true believer."
Its part of the inaugural Bungofest organised by The Strathbungo Society and The Arches. In and around various Strathbungo locations there will be a host of free spoken word, poetry, theatre, kids workshop and music events. The full list is below and you'll see quite a few are roving the area. The idea is for you to drop into one of the local bars/ cafes and get some free entertainment at the same time.

Lots of great people are involved with local author Alan Bissett reading scenes from his novels, the amazing Eilidh MacAskill leading her Arches choir in full song and the evening topped off with performances from comedian Bratchy and performer Kieran Hurley.
Looks like its going to be a great day. Our work is on display and for sale at the venue for the next month. If anything catches your interest drop us an email or visit our online shop.

Cookie Scotland
72 Nithsdale Road
G41 2AN

9 of the Himptology drawings are on display

 3 of the Himptology commandments are on display

5 of the Himptology diagrams and the giant HIMP LOVES YOU print are on display

Diners enjoying their meal with the stainglass window in the background

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Cookie Exhibition

Currently reprinting parts of our Himptology show for an exhibition at local restuarant Cookie as part of the Bungofest festival organised by the Strathbungo Society and The Arches. Looks like a really great community event. I'm also going to have to make another stainglass window so a busy evening of cutting up rolls of coloured cellophane awaits me. Huzzah.

EDIT: Well completed last night (cheers to Kieran and his ladder climbing skills). I wasn't sure how it would work in a smaller setting but the modified show is actually looking really good and the big window has turned out rather cool. Will try and get some photos this weekend. Click the link below for the Facebook page about the festival its going to be great with performances from such Southside greats as Alan Bisset and Eilidh MacAskill.

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