22
Apr
08

Saved or Published

Did you all know there is a difference between hitting the save button, and the publish button?

Well I do too now.

Now, I thought back to my ettiquette lessons in primary school, yes it was that sort of school. Would Miss Manners go back and publish everything at once, or would she post them day by day, eventually catching up?

Then I came to the realisation that taking classes in ettiquette may not have prepared me for real world situations.

I think I will just go back and publish everything that is worth publishing, and go back and steal my own ideas from updates I dont just publish, and try to improve upon them.

15
Apr
08

My secret passion.

Well, for a change in this post I would like to share with you, my maximum of 3 readers my passion in life and give you an example of what fascinates me about it. Trust me, you might learn something and get a giggle.

Allow me to introduce to you Fake King Smerdis, he does have some other names but they do not really add much to the story. This is the story according to King Darius.

Fake King Smerdis was lived in Ancient Persia, which during his time stretched a great distance, reaching from Afghanistan in the east to Egypt by the time Fake King Smerdis died.

The King at the time was Cambyses II, and sources do not agree about him, some say he slaughtered a sacred bull, and is punished by going mad. He then murders his brother Smerdis and his sister, accidentally kills himself, and loses his kingdom. Other sources say he was a drunkard who murdered his brother Smerdis first, was punished by going mad, accidentally killing himself and losing his kingdom. In any case I think we gain an understanding of what sort of a man he was.

Cambyses II had hushed up his brothers murder, as it is not the sort of thing you would want to make public knowledge. Then went off to finish his important work subduing Egypt, failing to conquer Sudan, attempting to attack an Oracle and losing 500,000 men to a sandstorm. While this was all going on Cambyses II managed to die by a self inflicted stab wound to his inner thigh puncturing an artery, luckily for history fans Darius was there, and had these events recorded when he became king.

Egypt is a long way from Persia by foot, and while the remainders of the Persian Expedition in Egypt were coming home Fake King Smerdis made his move. He claimed to be the legitimate ruler of the Persian Empire, as brother of dead king Cambyses II. He promised 3 years of no collection of taxes to celebrate his assumption of the throne, and was recognised by the important members of the royal family, including Real King Smerdis’ mother and wife.

Darius and some of his associates captured Fake King Smerdis, and killed him and Darius became King Darius and lived happily ever after for a whole year before another Fake King Smerdis popped up and had to be dealt with.

But wait… here is where I need the Saw style flashback sequence to reveal the twist ending.

Darius, was present at the Death of King Cambyses II in Egypt, where Cambyses stabbed himself in a leg artery. Then Darius raced back to Persia to find Fake King Smerdis who had been actually recognised by all the notables in the palace, revealed Cambyses II secret of murdering his own brother and chased down the fake king and killed him as well for usurping the kingom.

The beautiful thing about being a fan of ancient history finally reveals itself, unless more evidence is unearthed against Darius, I can continue believing the story of cunning Fake King Smerdis who fooled them all despite the fact that Darius killing a horrible king and his brother and taking over the kingdom makes a whole lot more sense.

And for the curious.

Darius as it turned out was an incredible king, who married three royal princesses including Real King Smerdis’ daughter, reformed the empire’s laws, increased trade, allowed end helped fund rebuilding of the Jewish temple, was anti-slavery, set standard weights and measures and improved communication and travel across the empire.

14
Apr
08

Learning to play together.

Growing up with a brother a year older than myself, and a sister a year younger meant that there was always someone to play with. Playing games like getting tied to a tree while my older brother had adventures was a popular one until mum caught on. Playing dress ups with my sister was almost as popular.

Sometimes I really do wonder how my mum did it, she had 4 children who weren’t of school age, and one of them was a newborn. To add to her stress my dad’s job as an executive of a company that had contracts with different governments around the world meant that he was out of the country on a regular basis, two weeks here, a month in South America, two months here, two weeks going around Europe.

As a result of raising 4 children with part time help from dad meant that my mother attended a lot of play groups and mothers groups, there wouldn’t have been a week go by where we didn’t attend children’s hour at the local library. She rarely used a baby sitter, purely because there was just too much mayhem for her to feel capable of going out.

From a young age I had learned that older brothers exist for protection, if another child at play group was being cruel, he would take care of it, and push the bully over in the sand pit, this only had to happen twice before other children learned to play nice. This doesn’t meant that older brothers have to be nice to you, but rather just didn’t let anyone else be mean.

The new baby was different though, I mean, sure it was exciting and all that at first, and I think my reaction to getting a new baby sister on my birthday was really sweet. However she was not one of us, she was just too little, she couldn’t play with us in the sandpit, and she didn’t really do anything interesting. I wish I could write that I was the perfect big sister to her, but the truth is, she was barely even a blip on my radar, rating in importance somewhere below the family cat.

I know that is a horrible thing to say, but the thing is, I can’t just write “and thats another time when I was absolutely perfect”, but a lot of good that would do, when writing my story is meant to be cathartic. I wouldn’t be able to believe myself, or even worse I would have to be completely delusional to believe myself.

11
Apr
08

Children’s Parties, keeping the cost down. Part II

So you have found your perfect party location, but now you need to know how to keep the costs down in relation to entertainment for your precious little one’s party.

I conducted some actual research on this by asking Ivy and a group of her friends about parties they have attended while supervising them. I guess school holidays do have a purpose after all.

From their answers I gathered some facts about what made a party great for them, and you would be suprised that most of the parties they had the most fun at had one thing in common. The entertainment wasn’t expensive.

The top ranking party was that of a friend of theirs, who had a pool party and sleepover. Apparently the miserable rain did not have any effect on this, so I make the assumption that perhaps that highlight was not looking at the pool and being too scared to venture in, but rather the sleepover aspect. The cost of this party was not that high due to the fact that the children invited were just the close circle of friends, just the cost of pizza, coke and renting a couple of DVDs.

Another high ranking party was a beading party, where the mother of the child involved sat down with them and they all came away with a necklace.

The other thing I learnt from talking to them about parties was that what was popular are parties where they are actually allowed to talk and play without constant parental/entertainer interruption.

The most popular games were the chocolate game, where there is a dice and a block of chocolate, and you have to eat the chocolate with a knife and fork, until the dice going around the circle comes up with a 6. Then you get to stop, and the person that rolled the six has to take over. I wouldn’t recommend this for larger groups though.

Another game that they spoke highly over involved stringing doughnuts up on a string at about head height, and the goal is to eat it without touching it, the first person to finish is the winner.

Parties where the parents set up a treasure hunt can work really well, as long as you keep the children’s age in mind. For smaller children just scatter the treasure around an area, let them all start at the same time, and watch them race around like crazy picking up treasure. For older children you might want to create a treasure map, to ensure the group of children stay together I would suggest only making one copy of the map for them, and keeping a spare for yourself, this should prevent them all splitting up and them getting competitive.

The overwhelming result of my research however was that more guests are not better. Infact, I was informed that the best parties are when the guests are all part of the same circle of friends, because they know how to have fun together, how to play together, you do not need to hire a magician for a group of children who manage to have fun at lunchtime at school each day.

Coming up next, What makes a good theme party.

10
Apr
08

Children’s Parties, keeping the cost down. Part I

After reading the flood of opinions about different sorts of children’s parties here on http://miss-britt.com/2008/04/the-great-birthday-debate/ I start to think about it. The problem seems to me to be that some parents find it convenient to just pour money into the event, and this leads to the keep up with the Jones’ style parents to follow suit. This leaves the other parents feeling like they need to follow suit or face social ostracism.

So I thought I might come up with some ideas for children’s parties that are reasonable in price, because if the first group of parents had ideas for how to throw a memorable party without having to pour large amounts of money into it, I think they would go for it.

So the key ingredients for a successful children’s party would appear to be

  • A location to hold it.
  • Decorations.
  • Food and Drink.
  • Entertainment.

The location is probably the trickiest part, but at least there is a decent number of options. If you are able to hold the party at home, then it can be quite simple and cheap. If holding it at home is not an option, or you would rather hold it elsewhere then you need to look at the season.

Bear in mind that you need to consider if the option works for the season your child’s party is in.

As a child my most memorable party was when my parents booked a tennis court for four hours on a saturday afternoon. The benefits of this would be that there is room to run around, while at the same time tennis courts usually have a high fence, so you don’t need to worry about escapees. You can always bring a couple of rackets and balls, and the children can have a hit if they want to, for a game not usually played at children’s parties there is pacman, where a child is in, and they have to run along the lines with the last child to be tipped being the winner. The total cost for renting the courts was to memory $3/h, so $12.

What are your local outdoor swimming facilities like? Is there a grassy area you could set up with a picnic blanket? Are the children old enough that they are all able to swim safely with your supervision? At my local pools entry for children is $2 a head, just make sure you call ahead first and they are alright with the idea of you bringing the children for a swim and a picnic party.

A third summer suggestion would be the pricier one of miniature golf, however if you invite the children your child actually plays with rather than just every child they are spent time with in the past year the cost will not be that bad. An example of how to work it would be to get a family ticket, I know at my local one a family ticket is $65 for 12 games, so if you break that down, you could have 4 children playing 3 games, 6 children playing 2 games or 12 children for one game.

Renting a space that is already set up with everything for a child’s party will always be more expensive than renting a venue and setting it up yourself. A generally cheaper idea is to hire a scout or guide hall, bring your own music and decorations, and make sure you clean up afterwards. I know at my local one the cost for hiring it for an afternoon is roughly $60, with a $100 deposit you get back if you leave it clean. This has a real benefit because they will always have a kitchen and bathroom facilities. I had a friend who had her party there when we were 12, her parents booked it overnight for a massive 25 child sleepover, and her parents stayed the night to supervise us watching movies.

Those are just some suggestions, but utilise google, see what is available in your area, and if you are really lucky your area might even have a site like this http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/venuehire/ where you can see all the halls and function centres in your area.

I will do some research on decorations, themes, food, drink and entertainment and put up a follow up post soon.

09
Apr
08

My earliest memory.

So I decided to start at the very beginning.

Aunt Judith was supervising us that afternoon, I was outside with Adam and Layla, we were having my birthday dinner, from what I understood my parents had gone away and were not coming back until the new baby arrived.

I was just about to blow out my candles when the phone rang, so I had to wait for Aunt Judith to come back, she wanted to make sure she got a photo of the event. When she came back out she told us the baby had arrived, and once we had cake we could go see her.

I was so excited, I mean, I got baby Dymphna for my birthday, there isn’t anything in the way of presents that beats that. I have been told I found it so exciting I spent an hour running up and down the hospital corridor, probably driving anyone nearby crazy.

She was such a beautiful and happy baby, she just liked to be held.

08
Apr
08

Protecting the innocent and the guilty.

Well, I guess the first step is to come up with names to identify the people involved, I figure its easier to start not giving real names, than come back later and trying to hide all evidence.

My parents are Nurse Mummy, currently in her early 50s and Dad, currently in his early 60s, there is almost exactly 10 years difference in age between my parents.

Then there is my older brother Adam he is currently 22 and a mechanic and his girlfriend Delilah a hairdresser who is 19. I kind of like those name changes, he came first and she cuts his hair.

Then there is me Ella, I have kept my own name, purely because I know if I tried to give myself a new name I would screw it up too often. I am currently 21.

Then come the three younger sisters, Layla at 20, Dymphna at 17 and Ivy who is currently 14.

We have a spinster Aunt Judith who lives nearby and is very closely involved with all the family members, I love her very dearly even though sometimes she can be a little over the top.

Finally  comes Layla and Dymphna’s significant others, although using that term for them could be a mistake.

Layla is in love with Rhodes, who is an American boy she has met twice, and is planning to move to Australia to be with her.

Dymphna has little to no luck with men,  but is currently with yet another burnt out stoner named Tristan. They separate and get back together on a regular basis.

Once I get my catharsis from writing this all down, I will look into behaving like a proper blogger, you know, posting pictures of my cat with things on his head, and getting involved with the blogging community.




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