Tuesday, September 04, 2007


When most people get a second homework diary they just stuff it in their bag and let it fade and rot away in the depths of they're school bag. However i decide to let it help me with a challenge i always forget to do. This was to find a Birthday for every day. While i should have been listening to my guidance teacher talk about exams and the future i was flicking through my mind trying to remember my friends birthdays. During lunch i gathered some more dates and names but i didn't quite realise there were so many days in a year. The most annoying thing was that there was several people on the same day. it seems there is actually a mathematical theory behind this coincidence.

This is the probability theory of the "Birthday Paradox." This is that in a group of 23 people there is a 50% chance two people will have the same birthday. At 57+% the statistic is 99.9% but somehow it isn't 100% unless there is 366 people. Though it took me a mere three people before l got a birthday match. According to a recent survey in America most people are born on October 5th and a possible reason for this is that New Years Eve was around nine drunken months previous. Though i am yet to find someone with this Birthday. The survey also said May 22nd was the least common birth date, yet i have actually found one, single sole for that date. So not all statistics are true. So far its May 25th and June 20th at the top. The date of Feburary 29th only happens once every four years because of leap years which are 366 days long and happen every four years because of...

... The normal length of two successive vernal equinoxes is called a tropical year, and it is about 365.2422 days long.
Using a calendar with 365 days would result in an extra of 0.2422 days or almost 6 hours per year. After 100 years, this calendar would be more than 24 days extra(and i think a year is long enough already). By adding leap years approximately every 4th year, there is the difference between twenty-four days and one extra day.

Or something like that anyway ask your physics teacher if you are desperate to know. The main reason i brought that up was because if there is anyone you know born on the 29th February their real age is four times less than it is now. Which is another birthday fact. Also, if you think about it your actual birthday only occurs once every seven years, at least. As the date of your birth moves forward every year and won't return for seven years(leave out leap years this time). For example i was born on Sunday May 31st 1992 so my next "real" birthday is in 2009.

So after finding out one thing i was intrigued to find out there was a lot more behind the Cake and presents that seemed so routine. i suppose they had to start somewhere. 'Guessing that when you celebrate your birthday you aren't doing it to wish away evil spirits? That is where the tradition originates and you would be close to your family and friends to protect yourself and cards would be sent from those who couldn't make it. Nowadays it is all for fun(which is what it should be). it is not quite known where the tradition of a birthday cake originates from but it is thought that the ancient Greeks made a round cake(to symbolise the moon) to the goddess of the moon - Artemis. Candles were added to make it look like a glowing moon. Though it is also thought to originate to the German's "geburtsagorten." Which means "Birthday Place" so it would have been used to celebrate birthdays. The first children's birthday party was held in Germany, it was called "Kinderfeste."

Birthdays are celebrated differently all over the world. Russians do not get birthday cakes, they get birthday pies. instead of icing the messages are engraved onto the pie crust. Until recently most Japanese children celebrated their birthday on January 1st, but now they are beginning to celebrate on their actual birthdays. After leaving primary one of the things that frightened me about my birthday was getting "The Bumps"(though the name has been loosely changed to "the Dumps") This included the "happy" birthday boy/girl being thrown to the sky's and quickly hurled to the ground at a stop speed. if you are in luck it won't be face down. This happening once for every year, and of course one for luck. "The Bumps" is a tradition from Ireland but not the only violent tradition. in Italy and Brazil the child gets a pull on the earlobe for every year of existence and apparently it is a tradition of the home country that the child gets a smack on the behind for every year, thankfully i haven't encountered that one before. One of the stranger traditions is from Canada; the child is first "ambushed" and then greased on the nose with butter (or margarine) and is then thought to be too slippery for evil spirits to catch them.

Our birthday has also been used as a sign into our personality using Astrology. This is when the positions of the stars can be interpreted into readings to organize personality or affairs. The horoscope astrology is the main branch of astrology related to your birthday. Early astrologers made the signs of the zodiac and named them after the constellations they felt were most important; Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. if your are born between March 21st and April 20th then you are Aries and it works that if you are Taurus you would be born between April 21st and May 21st and about a month for each from there. There's also hundreds of symbols and objects such as flowers and precious stones which are not only meant to be the one dedicated to our month it also tell us more about our personality but that we need not know. Though people do find some sort of personal satisfaction out which stone is theirs, and every one of their friends.

So there you go there is more to your birthday than cake and presents.

Monday, August 13, 2007


8(approx) hours on a bus + 3 Melodicas + 1 Crumhorn + 1 Alan Bain = Belladrum 2007

i hope you were one of the privilaged few to have doned the Wellies and suncream and found your way to Belladrum Tarten Heart Festival as it was one heck of a festival!
For those who have Never heard of this glorious festival(Shame on you) it is a Music Festival hidden away in the Belladrum italian gardens in Beauly near inverness. it is family friendly, but just generally everyone is a lot friendlier than those at other fesTivals!


After finally getting to sleep the previous night i woke up on Thurday(09/08) to blinding sunlight and thought "SCORE!" i had to catch the 11am boat from Stromness, which is thankfully not that much of a trek considering the amount i ended up taking. So after hauling everything to the terminal i met Andrew there and we sat working out why there was a Salmon printed on a "Caution Wet Floor" sign. turns out that is the company logo as it was a Salmon Product. Look for yourselves. So on the boat we saw a crooner and passed St, Johns head "which stands at a height of 346 meters and is the highst vertical sea cliff in the whole of Great Britain." We decided to get food and Andrew had his coffee completing the evoloution of man. We played a few rounds of "Who am i" and i will always remember i am Snoopy forever more. AFT.
At Scrabster we caught a bus to inverness even though responsible Andrew had some ticket problems everything was fine. The "Thats what she said's" were rolling out from the word go. The bus journey was redicoulously long at 4 hours (ish) and detouring through very similar Scottish Villages. We passed two "Patience the Baker's" which was the best shop sign, except from a possible "Curl up and Dye" yet it is not confirmed.
Arriving in inverness we spotted a few belladrumers and instead of waiting for a bus we decided to get a taxi. They got the name mixed up but it was a good thing as Ronald Fleming will be continuing his search for a long haired male about 18 who goes by the name of "kyle." We arrived at the site with teh sun still shining and they did proper bag searches and we got all wrist banded up and looked around see see if we could see any more orkney folk but we couldn't so we found the section nearest the entrance. We attempted to put the tent up ourselves but "Even sam couldn't get it up" so we aquired some help from our new neighbours who i think went by the name Doug.? Well we got the tent set up and cracked open the.....minestrone! And cider. The sun certainly had its hat one and smiling down as "Oh my it is SO sunny!" was a frequent statement. After our soup and brief sunbathe we wapped out the frisbee and went on a wander. After some frisbee we went into the Main Site. Walking into the place was so surreal and different to what is expected of a festival site. You were surrounded by trees and mountains. it wasn't just in a field surrounded by more fields. Andrew was determind to show me the Garden stage but it was still fenced off for some reason unknown. We walked around and found many an exotic food van including Japnese Noodles, Hog Roast and Crepes. On our return to the capsite we founda Porridge stand and Hetty, izzy, Mirium, Ruth and Kate(some more Orkney People). Thay had not been into the main site yet so we showed them around and heard the echo of the "Oh Wow!" 's and "Cool!" 's made by myself. Well the first food stop was naturally the crepe van.
Time passed by with us wandering along and when it was dark Andrew and i were considering what to do now when we heard the opening chords to Don McLean's "American Pie" coming from the Grass Roots Tent. This meant we ran dodging drunks holding Bratwursts towards the tent Yelling "YEAH THATS iT!" and "THAT'S ONLY THE BEGiNNiNG, iT'S OK!" We mingled our way to the very front and found ourselves jumping around to some brilliant songs! it was a brilliant start to the Festival! Returning to the campsite we decided to wander around to see what randoms we could meet they included : Callum, "Hey this guy's pretty hot", "Sweaters mate?" Ross + friends, "No i have some!...Nahhhhhh!", and Ewan (i think). After making friends and a pot of minestrone soup we felt we could go to bed.

Day 2...

After a rather uncomfortable sleep on basically the ground and woken up about 3 times by dicks with whistles and airhorns the only thought in the morning was porridge. The queue was long and there was clouds in the sky but we were hungry, so we waited. it seemed that just as the queue began to move the sun came out from behind the clouds. in then end we had Porride with brown sugar and cream! Oh it was heaven! The doors were meant to open at 11 but they only opened at 11:30. The garden stage was still cordened off which was strange but it turned out that the wooden tartan heart(left) was still being hoisted up. As soon as they opened the fence we rushed in to find a spot. it was actually pretty empty so that was easy. We picked a bit quite high up and saw everyone walking in, including Darth Vader and his mini me. We saw the end of Jazz on the Lawn and they did a cover of Sunshine of your Love, we were liking the covers. After them was Crash My Model Car who were good, but a tad samey. However, they did give us a postcard! We saw Nuru Kane who were from Senegal, " l say LiLiLiLiLi, you say LoLoLoLoLo?!" We went for food but also achieved a news paper, "The Gardening Times." it was a paper for the festival and they printed it daily. i thought that was cool! The next part of the festival was to lead on to be THE highlight of the weekend. We went to the Venus Flytrap Palais, which was known to have the wierd and interesting attractions of the festival. As we wander in we hear furious violins and guitar playing. At first we thought it was the Polish Homecoming but it was the Luminescent Orchestrii . The next song they played was called " Knockin' " and was nothing like the previous, it had beatboxing and lyrics like "so show me the money." and " Theres chicken in the fridge, half a bottle of wine." We were instantly impressed be how different the band was and by one of the violinist's dresses! We found out they were selling CD's and so were were basically infront of the queue. We stayed in the Flytrap as we thought it would be more interesting. The next band on were called "Circulus" they were, well quite hard to describe lets just say a "renaissance prog-rock band" they were all dressed in renaissance clothing, one played a crum horn(google it, i had too) and other woodwind from that era. They reminded us of teachers, english or drama teachers gone mad. We also saw a Biology teacher from our school in the crowd.

in the evening we thought it would be difficult to get a good spot for the magic numbers so we went to the garden stage before the Peatbog Faeries(who were about 3 hours before the Magic Numbers). We had heard of these guys and the only reason we thought they would be alright was because they have an album named "Croftwork." They mixed bagpipes and fiddles with trumpets and trombones ect. it would have been more enjoyable if the annoying Neds infront of us. After was Alabama 3 well lets just say there was a guy who got bollock naked infront of us and they had a song called techno with the chorus line being" We don't listen to no techno anymore!" We did not like Alabama 3. After being in the crowd for so long we then decided to fuck it and go to the top of the hill, but first we stopped of to have a Bratwurst. When the Magic Numbers came on it was brilliant as we could see everyone in the crowd jumping around, but this did make us want to join them. There was somebody throwing and juggling fire so we decided to watch that, though it brung us to join the crowd. Andrew had an awkward moment with a 40(ish) year old after being a bit too sympathetic. At the end of there set they brung martha wainwright on stage and they also had inflatable versions of themselves. Back at the campsite we thought it would be easier if we slept tonight and partied tomorrow.


With one hour extra in bed a shower(a cold one) and fuelled with coffee we went to the main site which actually opened at 11 this time. With waffles being the special at the Strawberry Van (the only Soft Fruit Producer in Deeside at that). We had waffles with strawberries, melted chocolate and ice cream that "melts lN the waffle"(emphasis on the in, however the ice cream was placed nowhere near the waffle itself). Waffle was a good choice. There wasn't really anyone we particularly wanted to see until about five so there was a lot of wandering around. On our travels we met the other Orkney folk. They were looking for masks for the masked ball tonight, so we joined them. it turned out that on the specialised mask and cloak stall there was only one mask left so we decided to make them ourselves. We found a scarf and split in into eight using nail scissors and a lot of ripping. Well to say the least the made us look like somewhere in between bandits and robbers. The next band was the Hoosiers. it was pouring down

with rain yet there was still a crowd forming. The really sad thing was that some people just left after "Worried about Ray" which only dicks do. Remember the Luminescent Orchestrii? Well we found out they were playing at the Potting Shed at 8:30 so we made our way over there. We spotted them watching the band before them and Andrew and Hetty went to speak with them. Another one wandered up and so the three of us spoke to him. His name was Sxip(Pronounced Skip) and was the guitarist. He also said that they were playing in Orkney on the 24th! We situated ourselves under a marquee though when we started playing Sxip urged us all to dance, which brought in everyone else to do so too. The atmosphere was so good and everyone was having a good time, i even forgot it was raining. Everyone even got up to tango. They were the highlight of the whole weekend. When we finally decided to leave we went to see James Who were the main headliners. We went along not particularly interested in watching them but to try and get as many people to dance with us. We randomly met the Calum guy again and some other people one who lived down the road, a father, and some of calums friends. "it was so fun my tummy hurt!" That night was so good and from what i can remember will not be forgotten!

THe final morning was a cold one, we thought we should shower this morning but the showers were not producing hot water. They let andrew in for free as he said he would brave the cold but it din't clean much as the grease was still in his hair. Packing up the oversized tent was difficult especially in the rain. we ended up with about 3 more bags than we came with. Getting out of the place happened fast and we had some time in lnverness where we bought bread and spreads to make some sort of sandwhiches on the bus. The journey back to orkney was very swift and the television programmes on the boat kept us awake. Orkney greeted us with a warm shower, Bliss! Though nothing compared to the weekend!