I get 50% off at Hungry Jack’s for an entire year

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of fast food. I like all the fast food chains, I don’t discriminate but when given the choice, I’ll usually opt for Hungry Jack’s. I think their onion rings and angry onions (spicy battered onions) really set them apart from the others and they always have awesome deals and coupons and the Hungry Jack’s App. They just put in a bit more effort than other places do in that regard, and I like that.

Hungry Jacks VIP card

In late 2014 Hungry Jack’s (Australian Burger King) had a Facebook competition to celebrate to celebrate getting 500,000 Facebook fans. They had a Facebook competition where you basically just had to comment on their post explaining why you’re a huge fan of theirs. For some weird reason, I had previously made a song about their Bacon Deluxe burgers and I shared it on that post and got about 200 likes on it and ended up being one of the lucky winners.

To celebrate reaching 500,000 Facebook friends, we’re giving away EXCLUSIVE Hungry Jack’s VIP cards to our 500 BIGGEST…

Posted by Hungry Jack’s on Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hungry Jack’s actually shared my song on their wall which was awesome.

We were blown away by Keith Nallawalla’s 'Bacon Deluxe Burger’ song – his entry to be one of our 500 most devoted Hungry…

Posted by Hungry Jack's on Monday, October 20, 2014

Nintendo Game Boy / DS / 3DS and other handheld collection

10156414_10152337630258899_754417432_o

 

Here is photo I took recently for my Instagram of most of my Nintendo handheld collection including Game & Watch, Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, Game Boy Advance Micro, Nintendo DS, DSi, DSiXL, DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSiXL, 3DS, 3DSXL and 2DS.

This photo shows almost everything (clear original Game Boy not pictured as I couldn’t find it at the time / forgot to look for it) and shows only 1 of each variation (I have a few doubles).

The rarest items here include the Yellow Pokemon DSiXL prize from 2010 Pokemon World Championships (White box with colourful sticker on it, plus white console below it, removed for this photo) and the orange Turkish Game Boy Color which says Yedigun on it, which is promotional item for an orange soda like Fanta (no idea how many exist but probably not many). There’s also the 1 of 1000 made Princess Peach 3DS consoles from Club Nintendo (only 50 in Australia).

A few other rare Pokemon items include the Kyogre blue GBA SP, one of my three Pokemon GBC special editions is a complete in box Pokemon Center Japan exclusive, a white USA Pokemon White version console (doesn’t show up well in this photo, this design was not released in Australia). The Pikachu 3DSXL was limited to 100 units on the EB Games webstore plus a few places like Gametraders may have had some in stock, Critical Hit in Melbourne had some for sale too.

I also have a Zelda GBA SP, 3DS (unopened) and 3DS XL (which is the one I use for gaming on).

Some other unusual items are the Target exclusive Red (with Target logo) GBA from America, the Australian exclusive Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie green and gold GBC, Ripcurl and New Zealand All Blacks GBA SP consoles (both with box) Mario 20th anniversary GBA Micro (unopened), Mario 25th Anniversary DSi LL (Japanese XL) and Mario DS.

The Yoshi, Pokemon X and Y and Pikachu 3DS XL and most of the 3DS boxes are all unopened.

Nothing pictured is for sale.

I hate Bitstrip Comics / Australians kill their servers

keith bitstrip

I know Australia is always months behind in trends online (and in real life). Bitstrip comics have been appearing in my newsfeed for months periodically and they appear to be e-cards where you can put in your own avatars and recycle a lame joke or even a non-joke (such as a string of words forming a boring sentence) with your characters inserted into the exact same situations all your friends are putting their characters into. Apparently this is comedic gold and apparently they get funnier every time you post exact same one that everyone is also posting. That sounds weird to me, but I can’t think of any other explanation.

Last night I witnessed a crazy phenomenon on Facebook where about 1 in 4 posts in my news feed were these boring comics. Often the same few comics were being used with different friends of mine in the exact same scenarios. Each time I saw what was essentially the same comic over and over again, I experienced physical pain in the part of my brain that enjoys comedy and I am concerned that it may have suffered permanent damage as now the only emotion I seem to be able to express is anger.

A lot of other friends of mine who are less easily amused than the others and I all started posting about our disinterest in these bland comics and taught each other how to block this app from appearing in the news feed.

how to block bitstrip

 

This is how you get rid of Bitstrip comics from your newsfeed. Click the arrow to the right and hit the “Block posts from Bitstrips” button (don’t unfollow your friend unless they always post lame stuff like this)

Bitstrip joke

This is much funnier than any real Bitstrip comic.

bitstrip 3

 

I posted this last night my disappointment in Australians using Bitstrip poorly.

bitstrip 2

Here’s a status about it that I did before I went to bed. Oh yeah, the Bitstrip servers actually crashed last night as millions of Australians spammed their friends with the same bland comics.

bitstrip error

I had actually given this app more credit in my first impressions. Below is part of the discussion from the first status I posted where we discussed the comics.

bitstrip 4

I’d been under the impression that people could use his to make any crazy situation but you are basically just copying premade comics that is essentially a “face in a hole” app that uses a cartoon version of yourself instead of a photo of you.

I haven’t used this app myself so I may be wrong but this is how it has been described to me.

I think that if the people who made this app were to give the user more control and could make multipanel comics with more text options (more control of speech bubbles etc) it could be quite a good app for people who want to make comics but can’t operate drawing software themselves. But until then, these are worse than planking photos.

Ok, I just looked at their site and it looks like you might be able to do more with these than what my Facebook friends have been doing. I hope this is case but I don’t have time to investigate as I’m off to see a client now (probably won’t look into it later anyway)

Made another contest app for a client

Sometimes I make contest apps for Facebook for my clients at work. This one is using a template and looks nicer than some others I’ve made in the past (I’d used the client’s colour scheme previously, which didn’t really look good in this format). The picture slider feature is pretty cool, I’m probably going to use those more often in the future.

Toplock ALT Tower app contest

 

The contest is for TopLock Locksmiths in Northcote who are a 24 hour locksmith company servicing all around Melbourne. The contest is for one of their clients ALT Tower Serviced Apartments, who are one of their clients. The winner (automatically generated from a database of entries) will get a night away in a luxury apartment and can do whatever they want in the city and come back and stay there for the night. I think the contest should do well as it should appeal to most people, everyone wants to stay somewhere fancy every now and then right?

For some weird reason I had a lot of problems getting the Facebook ads to work. It appears as if the filtering for ads on Facebook isn’t very well organised. I kept getting error messages that made no sense to how  was running the contest, I made appropriate changes to remove use of the word “Like” from anywhere (their filter seemed to think I was telling people to “Like” the page to enter, when I had said you must like the page to be able to enter). Though I’m still sure I hadn’t done anything wrong (Like gating to have fans enter a contest app is the correct way to run a contest rather than those dodgy “Like this photo to enter” contests that most small businesses do which actually violate Facebook’s terms and conditions). I also kept getting emails when my campaigns were rejected that showed a blank space where the error message was meant to be, so it was hard to fix. In the end I made an appeal to Facebook and showed them that their filter was screwing me around and they approved my ad. Still quite sure this was an error by them the whole time as I’ve made many ads similar to this in the past without a problem.

The thing that confuses me most is that how could a link to an app be confused with “liking this picture to enter the comp” style contests that other people do?  Oh well hopefully Facebook fix how their filter works. The contest framework I used is quite popular with Facebook.

Kung Fu Bus Driver / Mortal Kombat

 

 

 

Mortal Kombat Kung Fu Bus Driver

 

A few weeks ago I posted some pictures of a bus driver stretching on my Facebook in my “Pics I stole off the internet” folder and they got a few hundred likes each and people thought I had taken them myself. A few days later they went viral and everyone kept messaging me about it but it was just a repost I’d just happened to get onto early (my friend Julia told me to post them). Facebook doesn’t seem to make super clear what folders things are in anymore. Anyway. I did put this picture together. Wasn’t sure whether to change his name or not / was too lazy to find the right fonts etc. Kung Lao will do as people seem to refer to him as “Kung fu bus driver” on other sites anyway. The picture is from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Chose that particular screen shot because it fit the picture the best out of the random image search pictures.

Why do some bands get places and others do not?

Why do some bands get places and others do not?

I started writing this about a year ago. I haven’t proofread it / will probably change it / add to it later. Publishing it now for benefit of some people I am discussing it with currently.

Your Name

The name of your band is kind of important and you really shouldn’t mess with it once it is established. So when choosing a name here are some things to consider:

GOOD NAMES for your band

Is it easy to remember? – If it’s too weird or hard to remember or hard to spell, it might be hard to find your band online.
Is it something people would proudly wear on a t-shirt? If your name is really silly, some people might not want to wear it on a shirt. In some genres a silly name might be an advantage, I guess it needs to be appropriate to your target audience.
Is it easy to shorten / abbreviate? I recall reading that Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails liked the name because “NIN” still read well on paper.

BAD NAMES for your band

Is it a song name from another band in your genre? – I know of a local band who had several thousand fans on their Facebook who changed their name once they started getting well known because they were now embarrassed that their name was lyrics from another band. It could be embarrassing if you ever have to play with that band, I mean it’s kinda cute but it is also saying “we will never be as big as you and we love you so much” which is a bit lame. You should be aiming to be big, not to be smaller than another existing band. It could also make you sound like a cheesy tribute band. A lot of them have lyrics from other bands or puns on their other song names as names.

Is the name already taken? – This is probably the most important thing ever when choosing a band name. If someone else in another country has the same band name as you… DO NOT USE THAT NAME. It is pretty simple. Do not just assume “Oh we are way better than them, we will just take it anyway and no one will ever know”. Blink-182 was originally just called Blink and later found out that another band in Ireland was threatening legal action for using the same name, so they added numbers to the end. Back then it would have been much harder to find out about other bands with the same name as you but NOW you can do it easily… just search the internet. You are only making life hard for yourself if you do choose a name that is already taken. The names for all your online sites will probably be taken already. You are probably not going to be taken seriously if you can’t even get the Facebook name you want. Just say you wanted to name your band Metallica. This name has already been taken. You don’t really want to have your URL as “MetallicaAU” or “MetallicaRock” or “MetallicaBand”. It is making your URL too long and it will look lame when written down.

Do Not Change Your Name UNLESS You Really Have To

Ok sometimes it becomes hard not to change your name. But if you are starting to get a following and you change your name, anyone who had known of your band but hadn’t really been following you too closely will forget about you. If your name had been appearing on gig flyers at stores and all over the internet and suddenly you change your name to something totally different, people who read your name will assume you are someone else starting again from the bottom. I have seen a few bands do this after having established 1,000+ likes on Facebook, they both managed to get decent numbers back up afterwards but their original profiles (having been around much longer) still have more likes.

Merch

One of my pet peeves is when bands start designing logos and tshirts before they have even recorded any songs or in some cases, before they have even performed live. Making merch is a bit of a commitment. On numerous occasions I have seen local bands start selling t-shirts before they have even done a show yet. In other instances they have done one or two shows and then do merch, if they are a good band, then it is less risky, but still you are really just selling things to your friends, not your fans. I own shirts from most of the local bands in my town from 2004 to maybe 2007ish. I think only 2 of those bands is still around and only 1 of them I still occasionally wear and when I do, it’s for some kind of weird nostalgic / ironic reason due to them getting big recently and hardly anyone has that original tshirt design from back then. All the other shirts and hoodies I don’t wear because whenever I did, people would ask me why I’m wearing that and say that band broke up and stuff. It’s like you’re not allowed to wear a shirt for a local band anymore if they’ve broken up. If you sell your friends clothes that they will feel silly for wearing 1 month from now, you’ve kind of burned them. They probably won’t want to wear a shirt of a crappy band that only existed for two months and you’ll probably end up with a box of unsold shirts that no one will want to buy and now you’ve also burnt yourself.

I think the production of t-shirts may have improved in recent years but it seemed that in the old days, most bands had 1-2 colour screen prints and they looked kind of cheap. Professional band tshirts usually have lots of colours /shades and just look better. Don’t use a font that came preinstalled on your operating system. Especially don’t use Comic Sans or Chiller. If possible pay someone to design you something that actually looks cool. There are a lot of talented people out there, you could probably license an image pretty cheap off Deviant Art or some other online artist website, or maybe you know a good tattoo artist or actual artist who can do something. Unless someone close to you actually studied design, you really should just get a professional, it’s worth the money and you won’t have to worry about offending your friend if their design sucks. If your merch looks awesome people will be more inclined to buy it. I have passed on buying some of my friends merch in the past because I didn’t think it looked good and didn’t really want to wear it.

Hoodies are pretty awesome but I wouldn’t suggest selling those unless you’ve had a lot of success with t-shirts beforehand. The cost price to get a hoodie made used to be about $35-$45 AUD. Which meant they had to be sold for a bit more than that. It’s still cheaper than what someone would pay at a concert or band merch store in Australia, I remember them being $65-$99 at these places a few years back. I know I once paid $75 for a Nine Inch Nails 2007 tour hoodie that only had a 1 colour print on the front and back and was the exact same brand as what you would buy at K-Mart for $15. But I used to love Nine Inch Nails and had been obsessed with them for a few years by that point so was willing to pay a stupid amount of money for a hoodie at a concert. Most of your friends probably don’t love your band THAT much to spend big money on a hoodie of yours. A local band I know from maybe 2006-7 actually sold hoodies and only performed about 1 show ever. After a while it was only the band members who wore the hoodie. They were nice guys and all, but I guess their enthusiasm was bit overwhelming and more time should have been focused on writing good music and practicing instead of making designs and researching merch companies.

Before you start selling merch you should probably ask yourself these questions:

Do we have friends or fans?
Have we performed shows where people you haven’t met before are singing along to your original songs?
Do we get a lot of feedback on our Facebook and Twitter pages from people we don’t know very well / have never met
Have we released an EP or Album yet?
Do we gig regularly?

If your answer to any of those things is no, then it’s probably not the right time. If you are starting to do shows interstate then that’s actually a good time to start selling things. This is only if you are actually wanted interstate and that people will buy it. If you land a support slot on decent tour then you should definitely have something to sell or to give away, otherwise people from that show will forget you. If you’re any good (which you probably are if you are supporting a high profile band) then people will naturally add you to Facebook, but if you have something to give them then and there, it really seals the deal. Bands from interstate always look good with their state’s initials next to their name, a band from another state (our country) usually gives a bit of credibility to the event and to the band itself. “Ooooh these guys must be good if this venue I like got them to come all this way” or “This venue must be good if they can afford bands from interstate” and I guess in most cases this is true. Most interstate bands I have seen at Melbourne venues have been quite decent except there was a very young looking band that I saw open at metal concert whose music was very boring. I think they opened for Children of Bodom a few years ago or some other bigger metal band. We assumed they must have been related to someone important or something. You’d expect a metal band who opened for them to be catchy and at least be similar to the headline band. Metal has a lot of sub genres. Get someone of the same sub genre or else they could be pretty hit or miss.

Your first CD.

If you are doing lots of gigs then shirts and CDs are great. I see a lot of bands who go straight to recording all their songs as soon as they have written them, this seems a bit premature but at the same time this is a double edged sword. Recording your EP before you’ve done many gigs is risky because time spent in the studio early kind of takes away from time you could be spending doing shows and practicing. If you have played the songs live a lot before you record them, you will probably be able to do a better job on the album. But if you have nothing on your social media pages that shows what you sound like, then many venues or bookers are unlikely to book you. If you can get a decent live demo done or know a sound engineering student who can just make 1 track for you or something early on as a demo then this could be handy.

The reason Why I am hesitant about recording songs straight away is this:
1 once you hit the road, you might find out your band is full of idiots you don’t want to spend lots of time with. Someone gets kicked out of the band / the whole band breaks up and the recording is kind of wasted. Also anyone who got kicked out soon after recording will also feel ripped off.
2. The first songs you write probably won’t be your best work. One of my favourite local bands, Obsidieth didn’t release their album for quite some time, they scrapped quite a few older songs and only put their best ones on their album. Most venues will only give bands a 20-30 minute set. If you are a good band, you will write more songs over time and will drop the bad ones. Why fill your CD up with bad songs if you are probably going to drop them soon?