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The Origin of the Child Leash

Seems to be quite the hot topic with a lot of parents. To leash, or not to leash. Fuck’s sake, some kids I see running wild could also use a matching mussel, perhaps Hello Kitty will bring out a range for Christmas this year. One can only hope.

In all seriousness, I am not a fan of the leash. I don’t even really like to tether the dog, but have no choice as she isn’t quite as up on the English language as our 4 year old human.

After reading some rant today on Facebook about a child of a leash I got to thinking about the lighter side of child abuse. One of the posts was carrying on about some old lady pulling a kid along like it was a resentful pug unwilling to take a bath. Disgusting to say the least. Another post started raving on about how we have not needed leashes for children in the past, so why all of a sudden do we need them now.

Hold that thought….. Have you ever asked yourself the question: What is the origin of theLouis15 child leash?……

If not then never mind, I did all the work for you. Turns out there is actually some kind of circa 1990 style HTML homage to the history of restraining your toddlers. From what I have determined, this whole leash business started early in the 17th century, perhaps late 16th century. (Although this website makes note of telling us they have found no evidence in the 16th century yet).

Take a look at this baby. It is a painting of a young Louis XV with a child leash on. I highly doubt the leash is of any consequence that young Louis pictured here would turn out to be
known as Louis the Beloved, but perhaps being restricted to a one meter radius around his caregiver  fostered a sense of empathy.

Hell, good enough for the French, good enough for… ummm…. Just don’t bind your child folks, it isn’t a dog.

Oh yeah, after almost a year without so much as a whisper on the blog, I am back. 🙂

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Coffee Table Book about Coffee Tables – Blogging about Blogging

Kramer, in all his wisdom had this right. A coffee table book about coffee tables. Blogging about blogging, why does it draw our attention? We all write a blog, why do we want to read about writing a blog?

I think the answer is pretty simple really, it is relatable. Regardless of subject matter, direction, theme blah blah, there is one thing all bloggers have in common. Blogging.

There is something all bloggers want, to be ‘heard’. But how does one break away from ‘The Herd’ so they indeed get, heard. When I started this blog I had little to no idea what I was doing. With that considered, I still don’t have much of an idea, but I know a little more than I once did.

When I started, I thought it may be a good idea to document the journey. This was as much for new bloggers benefit (welcome by the way) as it was for my own. I wrote ‘One month of blogging – 5 things I have learnt so far ‘ and ‘2 Months of blogging – 4 more things I am still learning ‘ for these reasons. I read over them the other day, some of it is relevant, some not so relevant. This blog is now about four months old, out of its infancy but still very much a baby in the grand scheme of things. With that said, I can confidently say, the blog, and the blogger, have moved from assisted mobility, to crawling, to walking.

By no means do I consider myself an expert, or a big time blog dude, but I have learnt and observed a few things.

1. Theme, or no Theme?
In all honesty, I started The Unsimplelife as an experiment, with no real direction or theme. I just started it because I wanted to start blogging. I had no idea if I would continue past my first post, my first week and so on. Yet, here we are. I did not start blogging for any other reason than out of interest to test the waters. In hindsight, I am really enjoying it. I think this is above all else more important than deciding on a theme, or topic, or genre etc. Sure, if you have one, that’s great, and all credit to you. I still don’t, I started the blog thinking that it would build itself into a topic, well, it still hasn’t. And that is perfectly fine, I enjoy it, and I hope a few others do too. That WAS the goal right, so, good times. No need to be so serious, just enjoy the ride.

2. Content
If you are beginning your journey, or if you are well into it, you must have read somewhere that writing / producing good, original content is key. Sure, I think writing good content is important, but there is a multitude of ‘good’ content out in the interwebz. What makes blogging unique, what makes people read a blog? Well for me at least, it is personability, writing style. Let’s face it, you can get most, if not all the information you seek via the more main stream media sources. You can, Google it. 🙂 But, what makes blogging content valuable? It is the personal feel you get from reading a post that is produced in almost-conversational language. The swearing, the off the cuff ranting, the warm fuzzy stuff, the ‘people’ side of the communication. That, for me, is what makes great content, regardless of topic, and at least from where I stand, is what makes me return to someone’s blog. I am no lingual genius by any means, but I do attempt to personalise my writing in the same kind of way.

3. Sharing the Love
There is something different I have come to learn about the blogging space. In my misspent youth I trolled chatrooms and social media like a fiend. So much negativity, (and humour) is out there in the social media universe. But, at least from my experience, the blogging space is a little different. There are some really fantastic people / blogs out there, and the ‘community’ so to speak is very positive and welcoming. Everyone who has a blog, or will be starting one, should embrace this, enjoy it. If you think back to what the goal is, to be heard, there is nothing more personally inspiring then to have someone out there engage with what you are doing. So seriously, read other blogs. COMMENT on blogs. If you do read something really good, go one further and drop the writer a line from their contact page. I have had a few people do just that, and I can honestly tell you it is a great motivator. So please, enjoy it, be positive.

4. Stick with It
Sounds strange, but even in the four months I have spent blogging I have seen some great blogs come and go. Such is the transient nature of it. I completely understand, and it is a shame. But, please stick with it, and good things can / will happen. People WILL read you. I should also refer back to point 3., share the love, again. 🙂

Well, that’s about it for my rant on coffee table themed coffee table books, but I thought I’d share it anyway. Hope you enjoy.

Stickin’ it to The Man

In a previous post, I mentioned how I was feeling about my current work situation. Suffice to say, I was/am well over it.

After a lot of thinking, I decided to apply for enrolment back into University. It has been many years since I have studied, so this was a big decision. Not to mention the financial aspect, we will all have to tighten the belt just a little bit.

I handed in my resignation today. Feels so good. See, I lost my passion for my line of work some time ago. To be honest, I really don’t see any value in it anymore other than the money. Hence, a change in direction was required.

In two weeks time I begin my journey to become a High School teacher for English and History. Pretty excited I must say. Teaching is something I had always considered, but have never had the balls to jump in the deep end and get on with it. The time has come.

That’s it for now. My apologies to you all as I have been busy with real life, I have not been giving much love to the blog over the last few weeks. Stay tuned for more. 🙂

Am I a Murderer?

Odd thing to have to ask yourself isn’t it? Am i a murderer?

It’s a question i have asked myself many times over. It’s a question that nearly drove me to madness. It’s a question that i still can’t answer.

Once again, the ever inspirational blog, A Momma’s View, has prompted me to rant.

I left a my home, my state, my friends, my now so-called friends, my job, my life. Why? For many reasons. But there is one that gets to me.

Am i a murderer?

To be honest, some people look / looked at me like i am / was. It is a strange look, a hollow look. Like the blood has left all the layers of skin on their face, like they are a shell. The eye’s seem to be void of colour to me. They can talk, but i read between the lines.

“You asshole, you killed him.”

Perhaps it is just the guilt.

A man i considered my best friend for a time, my mentor. A man 30 years my senior, will now no longer talk to me. He thinks i am a murderer.

For those unsure as to where this all came about, here is an old post about it.

Honestly, it is starting to get to me again. The dreams are making a return. Which does not bother me that much, but bothers my partner. She does not know what to do sometimes when i am thrashing, sweating, screaming in a sleep so deep she can’t wake me from it. My bigger fear there is my little boy seeing that.

No doubt one day, i will have to explain it to him. I dread that day, what i will say plagues my mind.

I am ok though. Am i a murderer? Well, no, i’m not.

Am i responsible for his death? Well, no, but at least in part i am. It was my idea.

He was a better man than me. Sometimes i wish it was me. Honestly, i had a childhood of surfing, and being a stronger swimmer than him was all that mattered in the end.

It is such a hard thing to describe, the look. For your sake, i hope you never have to experience it.

Real Neat Blog Award

7 questions for the nominees to answer:

I have been in a bit of a slump over the last week or so, health, blogging, writing blah blah…. Something nice happened today though.

The blog has been nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award by Carol from ‘Time for my Thoughts..’. I really enjoy reading the musing and inspiring quotes that frequent Carol’s blog. If you haven’t already done so, please go check it out.

Thanks for the nomination. It is really nice to know that some of you out there are enjoying my daily dribble. The award has come at the right time for me, i’m back!! 🙂

So, onto the award post:

Real Neat Blog Award Rules:

1. Put the Award Logo in your post (done)

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you (see below)

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs (done)

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs (see below)

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.) (in progress – possibly already done)

My seven questions:

Who is your favorite author and why?
Good question, there are so many. But, given the upcoming Australia Day Weekend, i will show a little patriotism. John Marsden. I loved reading the ‘Tomorrow When the War Began‘ series as a teenager. Have revisited it again as an adult, still just as good as i remember it. For those interested in postapocalyptic / invasion type stories it is well worth a look. They also made an Aussie film for the first book which was awesome, and true to the tale. Sadly, they will not be making the others. Marsden is more of a children / teen author, but has also recently released an adult book, ‘South of Darkness‘, which i am yet to sink my teeth into.

If you could travel through time (forward or back), when/where would you like to arrive?
Can i pick both…? Guess not, keeping true to the question i will say i’d love to travel forward in time. Although, i couldn’t say when. I would like to see when / how we make first contact with an intelligent extraterrestrial race. What an amazing time that will be to be alive. If that never eventuated, then still forward in time, to when we are exploring the outer reaches of our galaxy, perhaps others. Probably the dreamer in me, i have always been fascinated with the universe ever since i was young.

Why did you decide to start blogging?
Still not 100% sure why. It has something to do with my bad run of life over the last few years. But also because i feel like i have something to say. I am typically a little introverted, so i figured blogging would be a good way to get out what i need to in a public forum. To be honest, i SHOULD have started blogging years ago. I am finding the experience very rewarding.

Who/what were the biggest influences on your life choices?
Damn, hard question, i have many, and i am still young(ish). Here is a few, perhaps i will post about this one day.
– Living in a village in Western Samoa when i was 17, no money, no electricity, no running water. People had nothing, but were still willing to help me. Beautiful people, beautiful country, changed the way i view the world.
– My home. I was lucky enough to grow up on the south coast of NSW, Australia. This shaped my love for nature, my love for the ocean, and my taste for adventure. Not sure who i would be without it.
– Watching a dear friend and colleague get eaten by a crocodile. Yep, that happened, i have never been the same again.
I have many more, like i said. Expect this to be a post in it’s own right. (Thanks for the inspiration Carol!)

If you could change something in your own past, would you?
I don’t believe in changing anything. Sure, there are moments i wished never happened. However, those moments are what shapes you as a human, taking them away would be taking away a piece of yourself. In my opinion anyway. 🙂

What is your favorite season, and why?
Winter. Funny that, i lived in the tropics for 4 years, no winter…. I love it though, love the snow, love the crisp cold air in the mornings. Love the nice smell in the house when the fireplace is burning. I love the silence of the world when it’s snowing, for those that have experienced it, you know what i mean.

If you could have one superhuman/superhero ability, what would you choose?
I’d be Spiderman. Because with great power comes great responsibility. 😛

Seven Questions for my nominee’s to answer

If you could be a sound, what would it be?
What is the most wonderful thing that ever happened to you?
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
If you could invite any three people (living or dead) to dinner, who and why?
What is your ideal sandwich, and why?
What is true about you today that would make 10 year old you cry?
What do you get out of blogging, why do you continue to blog?

My Nominee’s

If you get a chance, please check out the blogs i have nominated. They are all awesome reads in their own right. I have kept the list pretty short, as i have noticed some i would have nominated had already been. So, i am sharing the love around.

HypeDad
FunkyDaddy
A Girl Named Wanda
Ah Dad….
Humyn

For the nominee’s: Feel free to disregard the award if you like. It does take a bit of work to get through. Either way, thanks for blogging and sharing with all of us. This is our way of saying thanks. 🙂

Have I hit the Blogging Wall?

May be the codeine, might just be the time of the year. Could be my general shitty mood as of late. Could be the fact that i subconsciously feel a little apprehensive. For some unknown reason my Samoyed post went somewhat viral. Too many people……

For the first time since the blogs inception, i have hit a writing wall. I have more than a few topics i want to cover right now, but i can’t bring myself to write about them.

I am new to blogging. But, i have learnt that trolling online for help likely wont get me any answers. So i am asking you guys.

Have you got to a point with your blog where you just can’t write? Writer’s block, or something to the effect?

Do you have a process to get back into tune?

Please share your thoughts and experiences, i would appreciate the help. Perhaps others in a similar slump will also benefit. 🙂

Back on Deck – Few less teeth

This is more an apology to all of you, rather than a post.

The other day i woke up feeling like a hammer had been bashing me in the face all night. I was to later find out i needed some wisdom teeth taken out. I have been drugged up for days, drifting in and out of sleep like a junkie. I rarely if ever take medication for anything, so i get pretty knocked around when i do.

I have noticed i have quite a few posts, comments etc to follow-up on. I promise i will get to all of them, just give me a day or two!

Bit amazed that you lovely people out there are following the blog, thanks so much. 🙂

Talk soon
Ray

Same old blog, great new taste

Inspired by some comments left by fellow blogger and friend Carol from ‘Time for my thoughts…..‘ last year i have decided to update the theme for the blog. Also got a little push from a post on ‘A Momma’s View’ called ‘Be The Change’.

This did not happen with great ease as i have only just come to learn that i have grown a little attached to this thing… After a day of procrastination and fooling about with around ten or so different themes, i have settled for this one.

So, the blog has a new look for 2015!!

Would appreciate your thoughts and/or feedback on how it is. I will certainly take them into account, however, i am staying firm and not going back to my old one. 🙂

Oh, yeh, i also got a bit of a haircut over the holidays. Moving away from the ”is that guy homeless?’ look….

Reddit Gifts and Christmas (even a dildo)

Happy New Year everyone. After an eventful Christmas period i am back to the blog, sadly back to work as well. Given that i have a few things to cover on the blog, i will be doing so in sort-of- chronological order since my sign off post back in December.

So, for those that have read my post about RedditGifts, i received a pretty amazing gift from my secret santa last year.

You know the old saying, when it rains, it pours. Such was the few months leading up to Christmas for us. Broken down cars, sick puppy dogs, sick people, brother-in-law needed money… The list goes on. Given the tight times we had fell into, i am very thankful my partner has a fondness for Christmas akin to that of a five year old. We had all our shopping done (food aside), months in advance. Santa would indeed be coming, no question about that.

However, we had also decided to host our traditional family Christmas lunch. Twenty odd people… My inner Grinch was getting to me. To add to this, we also had ‘elected’ to look after my sister-in-laws four kids Christmas Eve so they could set up some bigger presents’ in the backyard. Meaning, with my last pay for the years going in Christmas Eve, we would be destined to take five screaming children into the supermarket on Christmas Eve to complete the last of our food shopping….. Grinch getting cranky now…

My Reddit santa had other ideas….

The morning the gift arrived began like any other, sleep in, wake up, feed dog, feed toddler, have coffee, have smoke, have coffee, feed toddler, have smoke. Then the post came. I was actually expecting my gift that day, as i received a message from my santa on Reddit advising to stay home and wait. So, with anticipation, a little box arrives. Awesome. We get to the opening, ummm…. whaa? This was not for us. I check thee address, it was for some lady a few streets up the road. So i walk the ‘package’ up to her house to drop it off. I apologised for opening it, she was ok with that, just happy i’d brought it around. Oh, by the way, not shitting you, it was a ten inch dildo…. She was like fifty years old… ick…

So with my coffee welling up inside me ready to come out like a bad hangover, i walk back home. No more than ten minutes later, our gift arrives.

A truck from the supermarket… umm, what?

Yes, a truck, filled with yummy food, a few toys and some doggy treats. Wow, what an amazing random act of kindness from a total stranger. And wow, what impeccable timing, NO CHRISTMAS EVE SHOPPING!!

My santa did leave me her number in case the delivery went sour. We called her just to say thanks, it was all a little overwhelming.

Thank you so much random person. We love you.

just-amazing

Hope you all keep watch for my next post. I will be going through the drama i had restoring a piece of furniture to create a kids kitchen for Christmas. Note, i AM NOT a handyman by any means… 🙂

Two months of Blogging – Four more things I am STILL learning

Today is my last day of work for the year. I will be taking two weeks off from the world to spend time with my family, my dog, and to drink beer and watch the cricket. I will also be taking two weeks off blogging. In light of that, i am going to share more of what i have learnt about blogging with you. For those of you who have read my last post, One month of blogging – Five things i have learned so far, you will know I am certainly no expert. So i advise that you take these new  tips with a grain of salt. 🙂

1. Longevity in a Post vs Posts that will get traffic
I know, it is kind of funny that i would be writing about ‘longevity’ given that the blog is now only two months old. However, i have noticed some trends on my blog that i think are worth sharing. Getting your voice out there is our goal right? And i have now come to realise there is a fine line between getting traffic to your blog, and keeping readers. Interestingly enough, i have seen a trend with some of my posts that reflects this. Posts like, LITERALLY, I CANT (BELIEVE IT’S NOT BUTTER) – REDFOO, AND THE DOWNFALL OF MODERN ‘MUSIC’ , seemed to shoot me up in views almost instantly, but given the subject matter, have not stuck around. Where as posts like ,Insulted by a Toddler, and Toddler Potty Inception, have been consistently viewed and commented on. My new theory is there needs to be a balance with posting. I think there is value in posting things you think will get some readers in short-term, but it is perhaps more important to have some other posts, that although they will not boost your views over night, they will continue to serve you well. I think…?

2. Power of Menu’s
I know, i am a bit of a derp, but i only recently discovered how to use menu’s. I was finding that my views/visitors were almost one and the same over my first month. My assumption was that my blog was difficult to navigate. So i tried this menu business. I have seen my views/visitors stats change dramatically as a result. Helping your readers to find other similar posts they like is the key. For my example, i am now using only 4 or 5 categories and using those categories as menu items to split up the blog. Appears to be working, i think it is well worth a look if you have not done so already.

3. SEO v2.0
So, on my last post, i said i had been reading ALOT about SEO. To be honest, i still have no idea, but i have learnt a little more. I will break down a few things into sections below:

i) In addition to my get Menu revelation of 2014, i also discovered the power of links. I read somewhere (forget where now), that search engines like links, between posts on your blog etc, and external resources. The idea is that a viewer wont return to the search engine from your blog, but to another place on the interwebs. So, i have been linking to relevant things where possible.
ii) Register your site with Google Analytics. Still unsure why, but it appears to be helping me. You can also target a country from in there if you like.
iii) The sitemap. I was unaware, but WordPress actually creates a sitemap for you. This is something you can register with Google Analytics, which somehow (don’t ask me 🙂 ) helps with indexing your blog. For those who don’t know where or how to find their site map, it is pretty simple. The address to YOUR sitemap will be http://yourblog.wordpress.com/sitemap.xml.
iv) Robots.txt… This is some odd-looking HTML thing i also know little to nothing about. But every site has one, and Google likes it. There are some pretty good templates robot.txt files out there online if you don’t know HTML, like me. Here is a link to my one if you want to have a look.

So, i have learned a little more, and i keep reading more. So i will let you know. But, as an example, with those things above, i have exponentially increased my blogs traffic from search engines. In the first month i think i had about 5 hits, This month to date it is much higher.

4. Keep Having Fun
I said it last time, and the message still stands. Have fun! I have found my experience so far so rewarding and i hope you all do too. I have received some really lovely, confidence boosting feedback from several bloggers, thank you so much! So, have fun, enjoy blogging, and spread the love around yo! 🙂

See you next year all! 🙂

Merry Xmas etc etc