Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

Copyright © 2012 Mark Kelly
Feel free to use, just give credit :)
I have had the good fortune to have recently joined in following two particular blogs of two differing aspects, but they have two common factors: each is run by warm, friendly, intelligent and witty young ladies.

What makes these two even more special is the fact they have both nominated me for this dubious award.
Why do I say 'dubious'? I say it mainly because I'm hard pressed as to what I'm actually versatile at? If it's my two-fingered typing, then yes. If it's the fact I can add html without cocking it up, then that's also another yes. But that's about as far as I can go?

Anyway, to name these lovely femmes of the blogosphere I shall; from the clean, crisp and thoughtful blog, 'Inspired Nordic', is Nikki.

And from the artistically enlightened, gaming delight that is 'Drama, Dice and Damsons', is Amanda. Thank you both for thinking of me, more or less, at the same time for the same thing.

Now I will say, I wasn't too enticed by the original green Versatile Blogger badge (above), so I decided I would create my own, so as to be in keeping with the feel of my blog. Vanity is such a terrible thing.
As usual, such things come with instructions, which I an obliged to pass on:

  1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award ( I will be nominating fewer).
  2. In the same post add the Versatile Blogger Award (the one you see is not the original - that can be found on Amanda's blog).
  3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you with a link back to their blog site.
  4. In the same post add seven random facts/pieces of information about yourself.
  5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
  6. Inform each blogger of their nomination for the reward with a post in their comments section on their respective blogs.
*Please remember, these things are done for fun and help to promote a greater sense of community and communication, so if declining, at least do so with some grace and warmth.*

Now I get to list those I have chosen to nominate for the award.

Random Stream of Consciousness

War Bear



Elizabeth Twist

Jen's Bookshelf


The Deranged Scribblings of a Poor Wordsmith...

The Girls' Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse

Aaron Polson

Maria Zannini

Some Dark Romantic

The Word is My Oyster

My Pants Are Haunted

Seven Random Facts About Yours Truly
  1. At the age of twelve I fractured my skull. I was hiding next to a wall from my friend, little knowing that he had crept up behind me. As he jumped at me, yelling, I took off like a scared rabbit head-first straight into the brick wall.
  2. As a kid I was shot in the right side of my body by a local crazy man with an air rifle. He was arrested a little while later.
  3. I used to keep and breed tarantulas, until I became allergic to them. I ended up having to re-home thirty-five of them.
  4. I've been working on a story loosely based on my former role playing group's adventures. I started this back in the mid 80s, and still it sits and watches me, waiting for me to finish it.
  5. The first car I ever owned was a V-reg (that's 1972, I think?) Ford Capri, 1600cc over-head cam. I was seventeen at the time. I loved it. You could open the locks with a penny.
  6. For several years I repeatedly applied to join the Police. I would pass all the tests, but kept failing the interviews. Eventually I gave up applying.
  7. Whilst going through selection for a different Territorial Army regiment to the one I was in, I tore the calf muscle of my left leg, so badly as it turned out, that it ended my TA days, and more frustratingly, my running. But as a result it led me to my present occupation - Sports Massage Therapist, which I've now been doing for over six years.


Amanda Heitler said...

Thank you for the kind words - much appreciated.

Amanda Heitler said...

Also - 35 tarantulas to rehome? How do you even start? I've always loved spiders, but the family won't hear of it.

Mark K said...


I used to be a member of the British Tarantula Society, so finding new homes was never a problem. Tarantulas are amazing creatures. My first spider was a Chilean Rose,a great beginners spider due to their placid temperament. I name her Phoebe and I loved her to bits. Sadly, she was killed by one of my other spiders which broke into Phoebe's side of the tank (my fault for using one large tank and dividing it - but I thought I had secured it effectively) and killed her.

The tank in question had a false ceiling of thick cardboard, on top of which was the tank's moulded plastic lid. Molly, the Curly Haired tarantula that killed Phoebe, was nearly double in size and very strong. She could have quite easily, once inside the space between the cardboard and plastic lid, have pushed up the lid and escaped. But her intention was to kill Phoebe. So Molly chewed her way through the cardboard once on Phoebe's side and the rest is history.

Never underestimate ANY creature, is what I learnt that day, to my great cost. Phoebe must have put up one hell of a fight, as the tank was a real mess.

Maybe I'll dig out some photos and post them to show you :) And the words were meant and a pleasure to write.

Nikki said...

You have had so many injuries! Poor you!

Thank you so much for your kind words! You're always making me smile with your nice comments and your sweet words!

Do you know what, I sat in my class on Monday morning and went over your tips in my mind. I took deep breaths, I tried to relax and then... we ran out of time!! So now I have another full week before I can do my presentation! But at least I have some more time to practice :)

I can't believe you hitch-hiked all that way! Where did you begin? Did it take a long time and how long were you there for? That's a really cool random fact :) I want to visit Japan as well. My flatmate in Oslo (and best friend) is from South Korea and now I'd really love to visit there!

The thought of 35 tarantulas really horrifies me. I'm so scared of spiders!

Mark K said...


My hitch-hiking journey started in Cardiff, and ended in Marseille. I think in total I was away for no more than several days. As for what I did there? Well, I will save that for another time... maybe.

As for my 'kind and sweet words', in all honesty they are no different than any other from the comments I'm reading on your blog. So at least I'm in withthe majority and not the minority on that one :)

I still hope you will find time to read through my short story and the on-going story. As I said before, I'm after all the feedback I can get.

A full week before the presentation? Well, in that case those of us following on your blog will expect nothing short of a perfect pass - no pressure.

Marian Perera said...

I looked up the Chilean rose tarantula on the web, and my, are they ever hairy. The one in the Wikipedia picture looks like it was rolled in dandelion fluff. Though the article mentioned at least some of those hairs are used in defence, not that it saved Phoebe.

Bogus Gasman said...

[note to self: totally steal Seven Random Facts]
I really get a kick out of this type of thing. I'm pretty omnivorous when it comes to reading in general, blogs even more so, so it's also a neat way to see people's stuff I otherwise might have missed out on.

Fair warning though, in my case versatile means "Attention span of a circus monkey. Utter contempt for grammar and spelling"

Jen said...

Wow! You fractured your skull by running into a wall? Owww! My head hurts just thinking about that.

Thanks so much for the blog award! I will get right on thinking up seven random things that don't involve food - I haven't had breakfast yet and it's showing.

Mark K said...

I think it's great that you're both getting into the spirit of the award, and I'm looking forward to reading your random facts :)

Matt said...

Thank you for the recommendation, I'm flattered! I really enjoyed your seven facts.

In a similar vein, a friend of mine has also applied to the police force and been rejected at the interview process. From my impression it's not how well you interview, it's who you know, as many of my old high school buddies are now police...

and lets say they weren't the most law abiding citizens...

Mark K said...


You could be so very right there. Here in Wales, at least, back in the 80's, if you were great at rugby getting in was more or less guaranteed. At my interview for the Metropolitan
Police in London we were interviewed in these rooms, of which there were four, all on the same corridor. We were sent in waves of four. Opposite each door of the interview room, in the corridor, we're two chairs. One chair was occupied by an elderly lady in a nylon smock, similar to the ones a dinner lady would wear whilst serving school diners, but I digress.

No sooner had you sat next to your assigned old biddy she launched into a preparatory speech, which went along the lines of the following: "Upon entering the room do not move the chair. Do not shake hands. Do not speak until you are spoken to. Do not sit until you are told to."

So, are you not only nervous on top of being nervous, you are now shitting yourself - I know I was. So my turn came and I was ushered into a room. Facing me was a single hard-backed chair. Beyond that was a broad, dark wood desk, behind which sat a man and a woman, their uniforms denoting the rank of Inspector. Behind them was a secured window all mucked with London traffic dust that muted the bright sunshine desperately trying to get through.

I followed my instructions as given by the female half of the interviewing duo. Out of the two, she was stern-faced and critical of eye. The man seemed bordering on amused, said little (compared to she), and wrote lots. Basically I was facing a 'good cop, bad cop' routine. I know that now, with hindsight, but at the time I was clueless.
She--the bad cop--ripped me to shreds. She twisted everything I said, put me on the defensive every time, until in the end I didn't know wtf was going on. I was so relieved to get out of that room.

The good thing about he day is that we were told there and then if we had passed. As it happened, the three lads I had shared a room with at the bed & breakfast: one other Welsh lad fresh out of the army, one English guy, and a youth worker with a passion for soccer from Northern Ireland, we're in my interview 'wave'.
Once told our results we compared notes; the guy from the army failed, apparently due to a lack of life experience? The English guy also failed, though I can't recall the reason? I failed because I hadn't stood up for myself enough and had been too polite (oh, the shame!). And the lad from Northern Ireland got in. He had been interviewed by two CID officers and all they talked about was soccer.

That was the last application to join the Police force I made.

Jen said...

Also, I've tagged you on my blog for the Lucky 7 meme! It's a fun one.

Mina Lobo said...

Thanks, again, so much for both the nomination and the gorgeous badge! I've done my bit, as threatened! Uh, I mean - as promised! :-)

Elizabeth Twist said...

Thanks for the nomination, Mark! I love the makeover you've given the VB badge, so I plan to steal the revamped version.

We should find some more bloggers with histories of injuring themselves and run a Blogfest on that theme. I propose the Skull Fracture Fest. Or something. Me and my broken noggin are in.

Mark K said...

So long as it's not 'The Steel Plate Brigade', as I wouldn't qualify ;)

Glad you are taking part - I have several other colours of the same badge, if interested? Turquoise, Fiery Orange, Yellow, Luminous green, Blue, Red, Black & white. Just let me know and I can email your choice to you :)

Maria Zannini said...

You've led such an interesting (and painful) life!

Though I will have to take your word on tarantulas as pets. Eek. I thought I had nerves of steel, but you definitely beat me out.

I do find it fascinating that you entered sports massage therapy. You've the soul of a healer. :)

PS Sorry for taking so long to visit. My internet just now came back up.

Claudia Del Balso said...

Congratulations on your blog award, Mark!
However, it saddens me to learn that due to circumstances out of your control you couldn't fulfill one of your goals (but maybe you were better off). Why not write about these amazing experiences? A memoir perhaps ;)
P.S. Hey, I see you have more followers, yay!

Mark K said...

Shhh! Easy, tiger, not so loud, otherwise more will come...

"Build it and they will come." I knew I should have listened to that crazy old man... damn!


Lydia Kang said...

A brick wall? Ouch! Your poor noggin.

Thank you so much for the award!!!

Mark K said...

And thank you for being here :)

Aaron Polson said...

Ooo... Late to the party but I'll have to try and work this in. No more brick walls, okay?

Mark K said...


Better late than never - good to have you join us :) As for the wall, well, maybe it knocked some sense into me as a kid? Daft part about it was, later that evening I went for my first training session with the City of Cardiff Swimming Club... the things you do as a kid without even thinking about them. Crazy.

In your own time, no rush. Though I have enjoyed reading folks' replies :)