Posts Tagged ‘Pragmatism’

As most of my readers would know by now, I’m a mum with three young children. And as the type of person who always thinks long-term – well, when my eldest was just a few months old, I decided to go down the “rechargeable battery” journey.
So I splurged on a good quality recharger and a number of packets of green ‘Varta’ batteries, AA and AAA size.
Fast forward several years, and I’m still buying packets of rechargeable batteries whenever I see them on special while grocery shopping. I use them for everything; and now that we’ve finally joined the ranks of being Wii owners, we’re using batteries more than ever! Which is fine.
I was pretty stoked last week. I scored not one but two packets of 4 AA batteries (silver cases, not the green ones which I prefer) for only $4 each! I was a little bummed though, that when I got home and tried charging them, they wouldn’t charge. Hence my trip to BatteryWorld this week. And this is what I learned:
Varta batteries are made in both Germany and Malaysia. BatteryWorld don’t stock them anymore, because they couldn’t get the German-made ones.
The AA batteries I had bought last week should have held about a 1.2 charge. They were holding a charge of around 0.6 – which is pretty crappy, really. No wonder they weren’t charging!
I told the guy at the counter that when I charged a newly bought, silver cased Varta battery with one of my older, green cased Varta ones, they’d charge. When I tried charging two of the silver ones together, they wouldn’t.
His advice:
– charge batteries that you buy together, together. Don’t mix and match battery charging; as in, don’t charge batteries that you bought at different times, together, because they’ll have been manufactured in different places with different metals. They’ll have different levels of charge.
– When you charge batteries, they’ll both only charge to the lowest level of charge. So if you charge a good battery with a dud one, the good battery will only be charged to the level of the dud one. You weaken the good battery; and it’s very very very difficult to get the charge up again.

I also bought a new brand of batteries, on his recommendation. Eneloop. Write it down. Because not only were they bright, sparkly and multi-coloured (yes, I’m writing this with my tongue in my cheek here) but their 8 pack of AA batteries also had the BEST packaging I’ve ever seen on batteries (and no, I’m not being silly now – as as marketer, I was impressed with how customer-friendly their product packaging was) but what had me over-the-top impressed was the 2 D-size batteries I also tried to buy.

Because I didn’t end up buying D batteries. Instead, I bought D cases. Which fit AA-sized batteries.

Yes – that’s right. How incredibly AMAZING is this idea! You buy a D sized case, and slot a AA battery inside! When it runs out, just click it out and put a new AA sized battery in. How AWESOME!!!!!

So. I’m sold. Just thought I’d let you know!

 

Have a great day, dear readers!!!

— Ceridwyn

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Today is the *last* day of the working week. Ha! I can’t recall when the last weekend that I didn’t work. Months ago? Years, more like.  I think, prior to conceiving the idea for GoodOldTalk.com – back when Mr 3 was 9 weeks old – I had some weekends where I wasn’t in front of the computer screen. I would have been busy with young children though. Is that just work of a different kind? Anyway, straying off topic here…

I love my job. Which is why I don’t keep regular hours. I often send emails between the hours of 9pm and midnight, or will blog in the early hours of the morning (I’m currently writing this at 3.54am) because that’s when it’s quiet and I can get stuff done. And if a kid wakes me in the middle of the night, as Mr 3 did just an hour or so ago, I’ll generally just stay up and work. And that’s okay with me. Truly. Being self-employed, if I don’t put in the hours and get the work done, I’ll lose my client’s respect – and then their business. Which is not good. So I work, and am happy to do so.

When it gets tricky though, is managing when I’m offered relief teaching. Since teaching means good money, and we need that, I only pass up these opportunities when I’m ill, or one of my children is. So missing a good 8 working hours out of a day while I teach means that I inevitably have to catch up that time elsewhere. And that’s where my organisation, of necessity, goes into overdrive.

Take next week, for example. I’ll be the St Paul’s Prep C teacher Monday through Thursday. I’ve also organised a branding photo event next Monday for the school – so the brilliant Greg Parsons will be shooting some additions to the St Paul’s library of branding photos. And normally I would assist in this event – but I can’t, because I’ll be in the classroom. I’ll also be in the classroom on Tuesday when I would normally be updating websites, on Wednesday during my Skype appointment with Hervey Bay, and on Thursday when I’d be interviewing sources for my weekly news stories that I submit on Fridays. See my problem? I need to re-schedule all my marketing activities for non-school hours… and not forget my mum / wife duties too (swimming lessons, shopping, cooking, washing clothes, helping with homework etc etc etc).

Sometimes life can be tricky to sort out. Lucky I’ve got this weekend to prepare it all! (Oh – and I apologise in advance. I doubt very much that I’ll be posting anything over the next several days!)

CC Image courtesy CC Chapman at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cc_chapman/480188435/

 

You may or may not know, I have another (current) WordPress blog, over at www.bloxhammarketing.wordpress.com – current because I also have other, inactive WordPress blogs. But let’s not get in to that here.

I started blogging for Bloxham Marketing in November of last year, thinking that ‘If I want to grow my business, why not do a bit of the “practicing what I’m preaching” kind of thing.’

Initially, my entries were similar to these here on hmmm… – as in, they reflected on the happenings of my work day. What campaigns I was working on, what successes I’d had with getting free advertising, etc etc. Which was all well and good, but I didn’t really feel as though it was working as well as I’d liked.

So I started reading other marketing blogs. Lots of them. And using a Bloxham Marketing twitter account, separate to my @KRidwyn account, to follow a ‘marketing’ crowd rather than a friends / Library / education / tech crowd. And what I found surprised me. There are marketers out there who are FULL ON!!! I thought I was pretty intense, but they take the idea of ‘marketing’ to a whole new level. And I don’t want to be like that. They seem so insincere, so money-focussed, so self-promotionary (I know. That’s probably not even a word.) But there’s no real substance there. No relationship to build (even though that may be, exactly what they’re pushing!) because they’re just so in-your-face about sell-sell-sell. Yuk.

Some of the ideas though, I liked. I liked the idea that I could use my blog to help others. My clients, for a start, could learn more about the techniques behind what I do, through the topics I could write about. “If I’m suggesting that they get blogs, and update them regularly, then perhaps I could help them to do this successfully by giving them hints / tips etc on my blog,” was what I was thinking. And this gradually developed.

I also like the idea of series-writing. Where my readers could get a more in-depth look at a topic because I could expound my ideas over several posts, rather than cramming all my advice into one entry. This concept also gives me posts to tweet about – and to continue to tweet about in the months ahead, as the content won’t date too much.

So I think I’ve found a happy medium. At times, I’ll series-write. At the moment, I’m part-way through a series on “How to Create a Headache-free Yearbook“. I’ve also written a series reviewing ifttt.com; “Website Design“; “Enhancing the High School Library“; and “Planning for Successful Blog-Writing“. I’ve interspersed these with one-offs, such as “6 Lessons The Big Bang Theory can teach us about Blogging” and “Why I’ve left Pinterest“. I’ve also, on occasion, written reflective pieces on what was happening in my work day – announcing my upcoming presentation at LEQ’s Digital Marketing PD; tweeting the #iPadexplore mini-conference; and creating CoverPhotos for Facebook Page timelines, to name a few. And I’m happy with aiming for three posts a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) whereas my aim here on hmmm… is for daily entries.

So, that’s it. Ceridwyn at work. Just thought I’d share.

Oh – and happy birthday, Mr 3!

Again, another interesting piece from my first-ever blog…

Is ‘the author’ a dying breed? Just one of the disadvantages of folksonomies.

BY CERIDWYN, ON AUGUST 13TH, 2010

Imagine you’ve just spent the last few years of your life writing a novel. You’ve researched it; poured out your thoughts, ideas, and plans; agonised over characters, settings and  plot devices. Finally, after countless hours of Herculean effort, it’s finished. YOUR work. YOUR  effort. YOUR blood, sweat, and tears.

Should you have the right to feel some sort of ownership of that novel? Or those words? Phrases? Characters? Ideas? In my opinion, I yell out a resounding ‘YES!!’ (Of course I would, I’m an aspiring novelist.) However, there are many that wouldn’t.

Put a photo on flickr, and anyone can ‘tag’ it. Okay, that’s normal practice. Maybe, if the photographer hadn’t wanted their photo tagged, they shouldn’t have put it there. But they did, so they should accept the ‘standard practice’ on these types of sites. But what then, when it comes to something other than a photo? When it comes to something like that novel you’ve worked just so darn hard to create? Is it then fair that others can ‘tag’ this? Your work? I guess it’s all well and good if the tags are suitably reflective of the main ideas espoused: ‘historical novel’; ‘character-based’ etc etc. But what if it gets tagged ‘a piece of crap’?! How would you then feel? Because this is indeed a possibility – once ‘out there’, on the net, you have relinquished all control over your work. Completely. It’s enough to make you, the author, want to quit.

And another disadvantage? Finding your novel again! Say this piece of work that you had sweated over was ‘Les Miserables’ (which makes you, of course, Victor Hugo). Say hundreds of years have passed; hard copies of your novel have fallen into disrepair or worse. The only copies that exist, dwell in whatever the future’s version of ‘online’ is. But unfortunately, they’re impossible to find, because everyone has ‘tagged’ your work with classifications that are personal to them.

This system called ‘folksonomy’? I don’t agree with it. I can’t change it; and I know that I have to live with it; but I don’t like it. I’m with Daniel Pink on this one… “On the great library shelf in the sky, Melvil Dewey cannot be amused.”

Yesterday I wrote a post about my insanely busy week last week – and included a photo of my gorgeous three cherubs. This was the first time I have ever posted a photo of them – any of them – online, as I am paranoid when it comes to their security. I have asked all my family and friends to do likewise (to not post photos of my children, if they have them) and even emailing is something I am wary of.

To some, I know this sounds absolutely crazy, and I must be certifiably insane. To others, that I’m taking my role as their protector a little too far. To a few, such precautions are prudent. The world wide web is simply NOT a safe place, and although I hate to admit it, I know that there are some very poor children who have simply horrendous things done to them, and I want to keep my children as safe (and as innocent) as possible, for as long as possible. It would break my heart if I inadvertently was the cause of anything remotely close to their being in danger.

Reason being: I have cute kids. Yes, I know that every parent probably thinks that about their children, but in my opinion, they are really quite good-looking. I am Eurasian, which gives them slightly olive skin, high cheekbones, and cute button noses. Miss 7 has light brown hair and brown eyes. Miss 4 is blonde with blue eyes. Mr 2 has almost black hair, and eyes so dark brown they’re almost black. And I’d prefer for them to be in their late teens before they start posting identifiable photos of themselves online. They’re all listed with Faye Rolph models, and the girls have both had modeling jobs in the last 6 months (Miss 7 was in the Christmas Amart All Sports TV ad) but any identifiable photos which can be traced back to our address – or even any specific location – are a plain scary thought.

That being said, the photo of them yesterday was cute without revealing too much. And I liked that. They’re a huge part of my life, and I like writing about them. So I’ve decided to post more, similar, photos of them here. (They DO take a good photo, I must admit!) Today’s is the whole family, taken early last year. It’s probably my favourite photo ever.

Today marks the end of my week-long posting series. (It was actually meant to finish yesterday, but I kinda piked out last Thursday due to the Queensland floods.) But anyway, this is the seventh ‘Important Word in my life’, inspired both by the the American Dialect Society’s ‘Word of the Year’ and by @fionawb‘s #blog12daysxmas posts. So, to sum up:

Word 1 was ‘integrity’, Word 2 was ‘restless’, and Word 3, ‘blessed’. I realised that ‘history’ should probably be Word number 4, never having previously comprehended the depth of my emotional attachment to the city of my childhood until it was destroyed in the floods. Word 5 ‘organised’ offset the ‘openly emotional’ of Word 6. And today? The final day? I think it would be remiss of me to not include ‘responsibility’. As in, something which I feel weighs heavily on my shoulders.

I think I’ve always been a responsible person. Maybe it comes of being a middle child. Maybe because I was the girl between two boys. But I can’t ever remember a time when I haven’t felt as though ‘goofing off’ was morally irresponsible. Weird, looking back! Once, I led a devotion at Caloundra Christian College, comparing A.A.Milne‘s characters of Tigger and Rabbit. Tigger, the playful one who bounces through life, oblivious to the damage he causes to others, and Rabbit, the grumpy ‘it must be done properly, in an orderly manner’ one. My point was that as teachers, we shouldn’t force our Rabbit ways on our Tigger students if (as happened in the example I gave) the end result is the same. I was speaking from a wealth of experience. I am far more of a Rabbit than a Tigger. It’s funny, cos Tigger is my favourite of the whole cast of characters! (Maybe it’s true – that opposites attract?) Anyway. I’d say that ‘responsibility’ is an apt choice for my seventh and final word important to me. That reflects the person I think myself to be.

Looking over the list, it seems pretty bleugh. But that may just be my perception. As I mentioned previously, for each character trait I tend to see the negative outweigh the positive. But that’s okay. The list is finished now. So let’s move on to something more fun. More interesting. And I’ll try to present six of them. Momentous events in my life. (That way, I’ll cover that ‘cult’ story I mentioned the other day.)

So… til tomorrow, dear readers – stay safe and well!

I love that slogan. It’s just so picturesque. And it’s certainly got me hooked. I want to see it for myself, which is why the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation area (apparently now all just called ‘the Daintree’, to encourage tourism) is number three on the list of four ‘places I want to visit prior to death or rapture’.

And the good bit is – unlike the Kimberley’s, which was number two on the list – it’s (apparently…) accessible by caravan! (Yesterday’s post described how enamoured I am with my caravan, if you missed it.) Although, having travelled that far, up to the Daintree from all the way down here in S.E.Qld, I’d probably want to keep on going and end up right at the northern tip of our country. Just to experience it, and be able to gloat that I’d been. But apparently, taking caravans further north than the Daintree is just foolhardy. Again – a pity. But that’s okay… I’ll get there one day! (Hopefully I have a lot of time left before my death /rapture…)

So I have the caravan, the 4WD, and the road to get all the way to the Daintree. Which means that the only thing holding me back is ‘time’. Cos I have absolutely NO idea on exactly how long it would take to drive that far. And once we got there, how long would we want to spend exploring the area? A week? Two? A month? More? And how about exploring the areas on the way up / the way back? (To date, we’ve ‘seen’ as far as Yeppoon, with the exception of when we flew into Proserpine and bussed to Airlie Beach on the way to the Whitsundays for a pre-kid holiday.)

Which brings me to my dilemma. I’d like to spend at least 3 weeks there, I’d say. Minimum. Plus a week up(-ish?) and about a similar time back. Around 6 weeks or so. Which is tricky to find when hubby only gets 4 weeks off a year. But I’ll manage something, I’m sure. Stay tuned… I’ll blog our adventures one day, I promise! But not tomorrow. No – tomorrow we head overseas again. Destination Number Four, last on my list, promises to be one to fill the senses. Intrigued? Well, have a lovely day and I’ll see you same time, same place, tomorrow!

PS Some more piccies – again, taken by others. Unfortunately.

 

CC Images courtesy:

Daintree rivers
from thiery49

Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the ocean By dirk huijssoon

 

River in the Daintree
from Mozzer

I was one of those kids, growing up in the early eighties, addicted to the Leyland Brothers. What a brilliant show it was! What a sense of adventure it instilled in me, together with the desire to see as much of this wonderful country as I possibly can.

Here I am though, a few decades later, and still barely left Queensland except to do short trips just on the other side of the border. Fartherest south to date? Melbourne. (But that was too cold for me. I’m a sun lover, and probably always will be.)

But all that will change. I’m determined. I am recently the proud owner of a gorgeous, brand-new Montana Hastings caravan, and plan on using it as much as I possibly can to see as much of this extraordinary country as possible! It’s a pretty tiny thing, especially when the three kids are underfoot as was the case just the other week when we were stuck on the ‘island’ of 1770, unable to travel due to the 6+metres of water covering both access roads. (By the way, if you were planning on using the Baffle Creek road any time in the next four months, don’t. It’ll be out for at LEAST that long, they’re saying. The bridge will need complete replacement. Sorry about that, being the bearer of bad news an’ all.) Anyway… back to my caravan…

Yes, I LOVE it. The kids do too. And hubby doesn’t mind it either, which is pretty good seeing as he does all the organising of maintainence, all the driving (to date, anyway! I think he’s a little worried I’ll roll it…) and understands all the ins and outs of the fridge workings and the tuning in of the TV antenna. (Both extremely important, I’ve discovered!) So we’ll be getting away whenever we can, and ‘seeing’ Australia for ourselves.

Well, as much as we can, anyway. Unfortunately, there are a number of places I’d like to take it, but it’s just not going to happen. And today’s post, (which was meant to be the second of four on ‘places I want to visit prior to death or rapture’, but kinda got sidetracked onto ‘my caravan’,) is on one of those places. It’s the Kimberleys, over there in WA. A gorgeous spot, judging by all I’ve heard, but not particularly kind to caravans. Pity. I could spend ages just looking at photos taken from that region of our great land. (Could, but don’t. Too darn busy.) But just looking isn’t going to cut it for me. I want to SEE those places with my own eyes. So once the younger two are out of nappies, I’ll be planning it. Maybe I’ll still be blogging then, and take you all with me in my laptop bag?! LOL!

Til tomorrow, when we meet Destination Three…

Ceridwyn

PS Just thought I’d share some (other people’s) photos that inspire me…

CC Images courtesy:

Kimberley Ranger Forum 2010
from KimberleyLandCouncil

Bell Gorge
from Chip_2904

Hiking through the Bungle Bungles
from David Busch Aus

Palm Spring S32663
from yaruman5

I can’t recall coming across many sarcastic songs. But I think I’ve just realised, at the age of 36, that “The Twelve Days of Christmas” which I had always thought of as a beautiful love song, is one such song. Over the past twelve days, I’ve looked at each and every gift, making comment on the meaning behind the gift, and the possible intention of the giver – the so-called ‘True Love’.

Initially, I was impressed at his pragmatism. He gave gifts that showed his understanding of the real world. That relationships need practicality too. The partridge and pear tree, both edible, came before the two turtle doves – symbols of devoted love. Hens and more edible birds followed.

As the days went past, the ‘True Love’s organisational skills impressed me. Not only was he able to source some pretty interesting gifts (geese that always laid, swans known for their singing ability) but he also managed to get a LOT of them. Six geese per day, since Day 6, means (let’s see my maths skills in action again, shall we…) that today we now stand at 42 geese. Seven swans per day since day 7 means 42 of them too. That’s a lot, in my opinion. Finding them, purchasing them and organising them all to arrive on the exact day that they were needed, would have been a task-and-a-half as well, I’d say.

But then the sheer enormity of her household started making more and more of an impression. By Day 8 we were adding people. Milkmaids (with cows, I’m assuming), then ladies dancing, then leaping lords (which again would have been a difficult find!). And finally yesterday, we added musicians. Eleven bagpipers would certainly add to the cacophony.

All of which led to my change in opinion. From incredulity, to suspicion. (Okay, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, I’ll admit it. Took me til Day 11.) With that much noise, I’m now of the opinion that his intentions may actually have been the opposite of what I had originally thought. I’m starting to think that he may not have been particularly fond of the singer – rather, he wanted to give her a mental breakdown. My proof? Circumstantial, I admit it, but still. Today’s gift is drummers. Twelve of them. All drumming. What’s the bet that they don’t just perform one song?! So by now, we have… 12 drummers, 22 bagpipers, 30 lords flirting with 27 dancing ladies and 40 milkmaids (and I’m guessing, at LEAST 40 cows), 42 swans, 42 geese, 40 pheasants, 36 blackbirds, 30 hens, 22 turtle doves, 12 partridges and 12 pear trees (well… at least they’re quiet!)

Now I don’t know about you, but that to me sounds as though he has had a bit of an agenda, and disguised it with supposed kindness. Sneaky. Underhanded. Not the nicest person you’d want to be your ‘True Love’. So all in all, I’m left feeling rather disappointed. I hadn’t expected that this process would end up as a bit of a downer. Sorry, folks.

On a happier note though, I must admit that I’m very glad I joined in this #blog12daysxmas challenge. I had expected it to be a more difficult task, blogging each day, than it was. Maybe it was easier due to holidays, or something, but now that I’ve started, I’ve decided to continue blogging. And I like the idea of using a ‘list’ on which to structure my writing. @haikugirlOz gave me the idea, actually, tweeting about Wilsons Promenade – a place I’d love to go to, but haven’t. (Yet!) So that’s my plan. Starting tomorrow, I’ll work through the Top 4 places I’d like to visit one day, and why. Stand tuned for Ancient Rome, this time tomorrow! Have a lovely rest-of-the-day, dear readers!!!

The pipes, the pipes are calling… For today’s gift, the second last, the true love adds eleven pipers to his collection of partridge, pear tree, two turtle doves, three hens, four blackbirds, five pheasants, six geese, seven swans, eight milkmaids (and accompanying cows), nine ladies, and ten lords. Just what I’d need, were I her. Imagine the ruckus, the sheer density of sound assaulting your ears on a minute-by-minute basis. Add in the sound of a bagpipe or eleven. Wow. Pretty insane.

I have suffered from the odd headache (or several) in my life. Actually, that’s a bit of a massive understatement. I used to get headaches very frequently. A stress thing, combined with a LOT of lack-of-sleep thing. At one stage, my daily dose of panadol stood at 8. For days (actually, more like weeks) on end. Then I went and had acupuncture on my shoulders / upper back / neck, for a pulled muscle. About three weeks later, I realised that I hadn’t touched the panadol packet for ages, and worked out that my last tablet was the day of the acupuncture. So you’re reading the words of someone COMPLETELY sold on the benefits of needles. Just so you know.

Anyway, I would say that the singer may also need some pampering after being around all this noise. I’ve listened to someone playing the bagpipes close up, and it was loud. Ever heard that joke, “Why do bagpipers march when playing? To get away from the noise!” Well, I get that. But to have eleven pipers close by, and presumably standing still? Well, I’d be hoping that the tune they were playing was a short one. With no encores.

I know… that’s pretty harsh, and it sounds as though I’m not too fond of the bagpipe and its resulting sounds. Well, I’ll admit to the harshness, but I’ll negate the opinion. I actually love the sound of a bagpipe. But eleven may be too many. And when that gets included to the bird calls, the cows lowing, 32 milkmaids nattering with 27 dancers and all of them flirting with the 20 lords, I’d say the resulting noise would be fairly cacophonic. Makes me wonder why the true love was sending them. (And tomorrow we’re going to get drummers added to the mix?!) Maybe we’ve got it all wrong, and he wasn’t devoted to her at all? Rather, he wanted to break up and was devoted to the idea of sending her insane? Hmmm…

Oh well. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. Have a lovely rest-of-the-day!