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Sunday, March 31, 2013

#atozchallenge: About Arlee Bird

   
Arlee Bird's First Birthday
Arlee Bird many years later
     Since I didn't do my about me post yet, I thought I'd slip in quietly on this Easter day and do my quick little turn at a few of the questions.


"Where do you hail from?" (D.G. Hudson)  -- I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where I lived for the first seven years of my life.   But I feel like East Tennessee is my home.
 
"Have you ever wanted to be a rock star?" (Alex J. Cavanaugh) -- Oh of course!  I've fantasized about this since high school and still imagine it now and then, though now I think more country than rock.

"Would you rather have your own personal sailing ship or spaceship? What would you name your ship?" (L.G. Keltner) --  Since I have a bit of a fear of water and don't take too well to being out in open water, I'll probably go with the spaceship.  Although I guess being in airless space is a somewhat scary thought as well.  It is kind of exciting to imagine though.  My ship would be named "Imagination".

"Favorite childhood memory" (Tina) -- I had such a great childhood that it's really difficult to single out any favorite childhood memory.  I guess this is why I like writing memoir--I like remembering and telling the fun stories.   My favorite memories would probably be related to fun times at home and with family.

"How do you use those HTML tags .. and I've yet to learn about the signature line too .." (Hilary Melton-Butcher)   -- I've been a huge proponent for the signature link and the HTML tags.  They are so handy to direct people to specific links I want them to see and to my own blog.  It's so much quicker to visit blogs if I have a link that takes me right there.  I just hate that WordPress, other systems, and often the other bloggers mistake a link in a comment or the signature link to think the comment is spam.  I really have a strong distaste for spam and spammers.

"Describe the last Halloween costume you wore." (Nicole) --- Many years ago when my kids were still in school and before I got remarried, I dressed in old green coveralls, sprayed my hair green, and put on green make-up and went out with my kids.  When people asked what I was supposed to be, I answered, "Broccoli".   Why do some people find broccoli to be so scary?

"What's more important, space exploration, or under-sea exploration?" (Matt Conlon) -- That's kind of a tough one as they are both fascinating frontiers.   I love the idea of forging on into the outer reaches of the universe as well as a concentrated study of our own solar system.  So much adventure!  But on the practical side of what could be more immediately useful and accessible to us I'd have to put the priority on sea exploration.  It will be probably be easier to access the resources of the sea before what's in space.  I hope we don't give up on either.

Coke or Pepsi?" (Mina Lobo) -- Funny how things can change.  In the 80's I had a clear preference for Pepsi, then somewhere along the line I started preferring Coke.  Maybe they had the better sales?  

"If you could sing any song with the artist who wrote/performed it, what would it be and with whom?" (Tracy Bermeo-A2Z Mommy) -- What a strange experience this would be!  I'll go with "Living for the City" with Stevie Wonder and I'd want to do a bluegrass arrangement of the song.  I wonder if Stevie would approve?

"How old were you when you realized your passion for writing?"   "Who inspired you to write in the very beginning?"    "Who inspires you now?" (Magical Mystical MiMi)--  My mother inspired me to tell stories when I was perhaps five or so and my father inspired me to write when I was about eight.  Writing and reading have been passions since I was young.  Now my writing inspirations are Flannery O'Connor, Cormac McCarthy, and many great bloggers out there.

         Happy Easter to all!   And now let the Challenge begin!



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Friday, March 29, 2013

Blogging is a VERB



And then we blog…

We write. We edit. We post.

And then we blog…

We socialize, network and engage in the community.

Blogging in a bubble is like cooking without eating the meal.

And then we blog…

We read other blogs, meet and get to know other bloggers, join and participate in blog hops.

See what I mean? We blog.

Dishes can wait. We’re blogging. Blogging is a verb – an action word that requires participation.

Making it hard for active bloggers to comment on your blog is like doing the dishes when you’re entertaining company. Sure, you can get away with it, but why would you be so rude to your guests?

On that note, here’s a brief list explaining why some people might not comment on your blog…

  • It takes too long to find your post. As serious as I am about blogging, there’s one thing I know to be true. Blogs are blogs. When I get to your page, I don’t want to click another link to read your post. I’m sure it will be very interesting and all that, but reading your post isn’t about giving you page views. It’s about reading what you wrote on your blog.


  • You wrote a friggin’ novel! Again, it’s a blog…especially when we’re all hopping around like flying trapeze artists, hoping not to miss any step (or blog) along the way during some of these gigantic blog hops. Save it for your ebook already, and post a blog post, without apologies for writing more words than I could write in a week. (And I write a lot of words every week too!)


  • Avoid misleading your audience by title or post. If your title promises to give a how-to on peeling oranges, I’m probably not going to want to read about dealing with grumpy co-workers. I’m certainly not expecting to anyway.


  • Check your ego at the post. Um, I’m sure your post will be great, but I’m not coming back to see what you wrote about something in two or three days, just because you were too busy to write your post for today’s blog hop. As much as you want me to appreciate your busy blogging schedule, it would be nice if you would appreciate mine too. Remember, blogging is a verb.


  • Skip the hoops already and make it easy for people to comment on your blog. I’ve commented on your blog time and time again. Yet I still have to fill out my name, email and website every time I visit you. At what point will you acknowledge my effort to leave you nice comments? I spent several minutes reading your post and now I can’t find where to leave a comment. Make it easy. Put the “Post a comment” at the bottom of the post (along with sharing tabs), just in case you said something my friends might want to read too. Captcha – think I said it all in this post on the subject.


It’s only a few days til we’re all in a mad rush to post and comment on well over 1,000 blogs in the A – Z Challenge blog hop. Hey, we’re all in this together and blogging is a verb!

Here’s to a successful A – Z Challenge for all!

M. J.

Photo credits:  Blog – commentskkkkk; Cortega9, CCA; blog iconoiiiiiii, Cortega9, CCA; Blog (1), Cortega9, CCA

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Do I Have to talk about myself?: Co-host Damyanti

As a writer, I always thought I could hide, stay incognito, but the current publishing scenario won't stand for it. I've been blogging a few years now, but I usually try to keep writing and reading at the forefront and myself in the background. So, I'll take this post as practice, and try to talk about 'myself', my least favorite subject of conversation.

1."Where do you hail from?"
India.

2."When writing, do you prefer to compose your first-draft by hand, on your computer, or using Morse Code?" 

 By hand, if it is a short story, on the computer if it is a novel.

3."Where do you go to "Get away from it all"?"

  Pick up an absorbing book.

4. "Would you rather have your own personal sailing ship or spaceship? What would you name your ship?"
 Spaceship. I've been on ships and haven't liked them much. If the spaceship resembles those in Star Trek, all the better.

5. "Name a book that didn't meet your expectations."
 Solar by Ian McEwan

6. "What makes life worth living?"
 Life itself. Only thing worth living for.

7. "Do you know how to 'Gangnam Style?'"
 Nope, and I hope never to have to learn.

8."What items could you typically have in your pockets?" 
 Keys, Phone.

9."Cake or pie?"
 Pie, sometimes. I like soups and salads, and all manner of healthy cuisine.

10."Coke or Pepsi?" 
 Neither. Water, every time.

Whew, that's 10 questions answered, all done and dusted! 
I can now go back to being A to Z challenge co-host, and ask you to make sure you stick to the AZ calendar, comment on as many posts as you can, turn off the captcha, and share your A to Z Challenge posts on all manner of social media. The A to Z Challenge is three days away, and I wish you all a fun and productive month of blogging in April!



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

April … WhenThe Following Should Be Easy


 

       It's "ASK ARLEE" day at TOSSING IT OUT, but I was given one question that seemed better addressed at the A to Z Blog.   Since the question primarily concerns the WordPress blogging platform which I am not too familiar with, I turned to one of my A to Z Ambassadors who blogs at WordPress.  In this post Judy from Raising the Curtain will address the topic of following blogs.

Let's Be Friends

The start of the Challenge is just around the corner and you’re ready. Your posts are prepared or well under control and you can’t wait to start the interaction.  You start scoping out a few of the blogs in the Challenge sign up list, get excited when you find a few quality ones and decide to follow them so you can keep up with their Challenge posts.  But hang on, these blogs are on a different blogging platform to your own and despite searching high and low on the site you can’t locate an easy follow mechanism. So you leave feeling slightly dejected, promising faithfully to come back manually to the blog… and you never do.

Sounds familiar?

One of the cornerstones of the Challenge is interaction and you want to make it easy for your readers to follow you, no matter on what platform they blog. Don’t let that follow slip through your fingers, especially after you have done the hard part with quality content.

Following Blogger to Blogger is easy through Google Friends Connect and the internal blogger follow mechanism. Following WordPress to WordPress is also easy through the internal WordPress follow button.
But what about following WordPress to Blogger or Blogger to WordPress?

Here’s a few suggestionsthat might help you capture that inter-platform follow.

For Blogger Users:

1.       Make sure you have a prominent RSS feed subscription feed button. WordPress users can import your blog’s URL into their WordPress reader.

2.       Even through you may not like to receive blog posts by email, others might. It’s my preferred blog capturing mechanism and a lot of the time blogs don’t have an email subscription capability. You might want to consider adding that capability.
3.       As Google Friends Connect can no longer be accessed by WordPress.com users consider linking your blog to one or more alternative follow platforms, such as Networked Blogs (http://www.networkedblogs.com) or Linky Followers (http://www.linkyfollowers.com/login/default.aspx). Each of these sites acts as an intermediary between blogs and their followers, a sort of blog clearing house. Networked blogs has a Facebook interface and can also be linked to your blog’s Facebook page if you have one. If you decide to use one of these, make sure the platform’s follow badge is placed in a prominent position on your blog.
4.       An alternative to Google Friends Connect is Google +. If you have a Google + blog page or a personal page, make sure your Google + follow badges are placed on a prominent position on your blog and that your blog posts are posted to your Google + page.

For WordPress Users:

1.       All of the above applies to you too, except for Google Friends Connect which has now been discontinued and in any event the script was not permitted on WordPress.com.

2.       Make sure that you have the grey WordPress Follow Me button option turned on. It will allow readers to follow you through an email subscription no matter what page of your blog they are on. Mine appears at the bottom right of the screen and jumps around with each page.

The Challenge is a great opportunity to break out of the confines of your blogging platform and invite other bloggers into your world. You never know, they might even stay for dinner the follow.

Good luck to all the Challenge participants and may you all have a fulfilling and followsome April!

Judy

        Thank you, Judy!  Please be sure to stop by Judy's blog to visit, comment, and by all means follow.

         Are there any other follow methods that you might suggest?


This post entered by Arlee Bird 

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quick Note to A-to-Z Participants

Hi there!

In order to insure that everyone gets to come along on equal footing during the A-to-Z Challenge, and to make sure you have someone specific to go to should you have any questions, each co-host is assigned a certain number of blogs to attend to.  Now, we all try to visit everyone, but this way, each person will get visited by at least one co-host and will be able to contact their co-host directly in case of questions.

We want to be sure you know who to go to, so you will receive a single email from your co-host at the beginning of the challenge.  It will just be an introduction and welcome, along with your co-host's contact information.

Your emails will be BCC'd, so your email will not be given out to your fellow participants.  Only your co-host will have that information.  In order to insure it doesn't turn into a spam-fest, be sure to reply only to the co-host if you have a question; don't hit "reply all."  However, do feel free to ask your co-host anything, and don't be afraid that you will be bothering us...you won't! 

Ultimately, we are here to support all of you.  This should be fun.  Yes, we're challenging ourselves, but if you take it too seriously, it just won't be fun at all.  Enjoy yourself, and ask your co-host if you have a question.  Let's make this the best A-to-Z yet!

May you find your Muse.

Shannon L.
The Warrior Muse

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spam Flattery and Mr. Anonymous Commenter


It starts out innocently enough. Spam Flattery delivers the line. It’s a simple, common, worn out line meant to make you smile and maybe even blush a little. You know the type. They’re the lines everybody uses when they want to flatter you just enough, that you become a tiny bit self-absorbed; those wonderful little things they say to make it easier to take advantage of you, without you even realizing what they’re doing.

You toss your hair back, smile at the screen in front of yourself, cock your head off to one side and read the most delightful comments posted on your blog for all to see. They’re shy, the poor devils. They always sign in as Mr. Anonymous; sometimes they leave their name at the end of the comment, along with a link so you can visit them in return.

Mr. Anonymous says things like, “Appreciate this post. Will try it out.” Or “I’m going to link this page and share it.” That always gets your attention, right? I mean, we bloggers live for page views, and people linking to your work is like finding gold at the end of the rainbow.

Except there isn’t a rainbow in sight, it hasn’t rained in days and that site they’re linking to is nothing more than an advertisement for Viagra, Accutane, hemorrhoid cures or some other product you don’t want to advertise in the comments on your blog.

Oh, they’re good, these unsolicited, sales marketing spammers! They’re really good! Check out this comment left on an unsuspecting, unprotected blog:

Ηello! Ι unԁerstand this iѕ somewhat off-topic however 
I had to ask. Does managing a well-estаblisheԁ wеbѕite 
like yourѕ rеquirе a lot of ωоrk?
I аm bгand new to running a blog but I do 
write in my diary on a daily basis. I'd like to start a blog so I can share my personal experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

They close by leaving a link to their website. (Funny. They don’t have a clue about blogging, but they’ve managed to build a website!)

Whatever you do, don’t click on the link!

These Mr. Anonymous commenters are masters of deception! They draw you in and spit you out. Picture cookies, lots of them and viruses – well, I wouldn’t be surprised! Spyware, malware, Trojans – both kinds I’m afraid.

Trust me, you’re going to be getting tons of comments once the A – Z Challenge begins next month. The last thing you need to worry about is sorting through and finding the ones from Mr. Anonymous, and wasting time trying to delete them all. Not to mention the unsuspecting bloggers who might actually click on the links provided!

Take a minute right now. Go into your blog settings and turn off “Anonymous Comments.” Make your visitors own their identity, claim their name and document their source before they can leave a comment on your blog. This is standard practice in the world of blogging anyway. It eliminates a major percentage of spam from ever getting through…unlike the dreaded captcha that does absolutely nothing to protect your blog from anonymous spammers, and only serves to frustrate anyone trying to leave a comment on your blog – except the anonymous spammer, that is. They’ll jump through all the hoops they need to, just to sell a product or leave a malicious link on your blog!

Photo credit:  The Emblem of Anonymous, Kephir at English Wikipedia, Public Domain; No Spam, indolences, Public Domain; Blog-commentskkkkk, Cortega9, Creative Commons Attribution
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Contributed by M.J Joachim, find her at Lots of Crochet Stitches by M.J Joachim

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Never On A Sunday...

I hope you all are relaxing, do you have a plan for the challenge?

I thought it might just be fun to sneak in on this Sunday. This cause their is something in the shadow of next Sunday.

Have a great day!
Jeremy [Retro]

Oh, No... Let's Go CRAZY!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A to Z Tip: Timing is Everything


This post is brought to you by Cindy Dwyer, another A-Z expert. Please welcome her – I found her advice really helpful even though I'm MST in the U.S.  She brought up some questions I hadn't even considered.


Like many bloggers, I have a full-time day job to support my writing habit. I leave the house at seven in the morning and get home at around five or five-thirty. So during the A to Z Challenge, I schedule my posts to go live in the wee hours of the night. This gives me several advantages. 

Since I sleep with my laptop next to the bed -- and really, who doesn't? ☺ -- when my alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. EST, I can check to make sure that day's letter made it safely through the cyberspace gremlins before I even roll out of bed. If I don't fix any problems then, they stay broken until after dinner because, sadly, I do not have an IT department. (Once, I did come home to find my cat asleep on my laptop, but that wasn't quite what I had in mind when I wished I had help staying on top of the technical aspects of my website.)

Another great thing about posting early is that during those ten hours I'm gone, other A2Zers can be reading and commenting on my post. I do try to log onto my website during lunch to answer comments and visit a few blogs from the list. But on crazy days when I can't, at least my blog is current with that day's letter.

Even if you do have the entire day free to write your post, you still need to account for time zones. The A to Z Challenge attracts participants from around the world. Remember, New York is five hours behind London and sixteen hours behind eastern Australia. 

Say you live in California and have a habit of blogging after dinner. At 7:00 p.m. PST, it's two o'clock the following afternoon in parts of Australia, where people may have already posted "I" before you've had a chance to update your "G" post to "H". 

If you want your friends Down Under to read your letter of the day before they go to sleep, you really need to activate that entry before 8:00 a.m. EST.

And the opposite is true for bloggers on the other side of the world -- you may want to schedule your posts for a little later in the day to avoid appearing a letter ahead of the western hemisphere.

I'm curious to hear from prior A to Z participants. Did you try to post at the same time each day? Did the differences in time zones make you feel like you were always a little ahead (or behind) everyone else? 

These are excellent questions, and I'm curious how our international participants handle this issue.  Please speak up!

~Tina, very grateful for Cindy's excellent advice

Friday, March 22, 2013

A - Z "ing" through the A - Z Challenge



Ambitious beginnings
Cruising diligently
Exciting entertainment
Fantastic, golly-gee!

Heaven help us, hurry!
Inspire impressive jaunts
Kindly kick our kiesters
Lending labor, not laments


Motion mild manners
Never needing nasty names
Oppressing only captchas
Picky pop-ups in a frame

Quintessential quest
Quantificates rebuttals
Snatching snobby snaglines
Tried and true with titles



Useless unanimity
Verociously vivacious
Waging without weakness
XXVI – not one word less

Yin and yang have yielded
Zipping zigzags zestily
April’s Blogging Challenge
Is the testament, you see!



Brought to you by M.J Joachim.  Find her at Lots of Crochet Stitches


Photo credit:  Badges courtesy of A – Z Challenge and Charmaine Clancy
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cryogenics: Can We Live Again In The Future?

Robert Ettinger, founder of the cryogenics movement, has died (at least for now) about eighteen months ago at the age of 92. Cryogenics is the process of freezing your head or your entire body in hopes science will one day figure out a way to bring you back from the dead. Ettinger will join his two wives (what was he thinking???) and his mother in frozen limbo. 

The facility is in Clinton Township, Michigan. Over 100 human corpses are floating in the gentle giant capsules filled with liquid nitrogen in hopes of one day living again. Nobody knows for sure whether we can ever restore consciousness frozen bodies, but cryopreservation is a phenomenon present in the animal kingdom and effective medical technology. 

Many livestock have developed tricks to survive temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, accounting and after periods of paralysis caused by frost. And scientists have made important progress in freezing living tissue and even of whole organs for medical purposes. 

The minimum price that the airline claims for his services is 28,000 dollars. Other organizations charge for customers and amounts up to $ 200,000 and offers the possibility of "neuroprezervării" instead of full body freeze, freezing heads may require only interested in the idea that personality and memories are stored in the brain and loaded into a computer or an artificial body in the future. 

One obstacle to overcome is frozen ice crystals within the bloodstream are very sharp. They can actually cut tissue and blood vessels, causing sever damage that make it difficult preserving vital parts of the human body. 

Question: Do you think this process of cryogenics is actually a possibility? Can we freeze our heads or bodies in hopes that one day technology will enable us to one day live again? 




Stephen Tremp, author of the BREAKTHROUGH series, has a B.A. in information systems and an MBA degree in global management. Stephen has a background in information systems, management, and finance and draws from this varied and complex experiential knowledge to write one-of-a-kind thrillers. His novels are enhanced by current events at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERNand other scientific research facilities around the world. These potential advances have the ability to change the way we perceive our universe and our place in it! 

You can visit Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs
BREAKTHROUGH and OPENING can be downloaded:  Kindle for $.99  through this weekend!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Getting to Know Your Co-Hosts - Matthew MacNish

I'm Matthew MacNish.
I'm the author of the publishing and query critique blog: The QQQE
I co-author the YA literature blog: YA Confidential
I co-author the MG literature blog: Project MG Mayhem
I'm an aspiring KidLit Novelist, whose published short fiction you can find, here.
I collect vinyl records.
I love Star WarsAnime, and Tolkien (yes I bought and watched The Hobbit on Blu-Ray last night - it was the third time I've seen it).

Here are my answers to some of the crazy questions we, and some of our readers, came up with:

"Where do you go to "Get away from it all"?"

I don't have time for that much anymore, but when I can, I like to hike in the mountains.

"Where do you hail from?"

Originally? Seattle.

"Name an item that you have too much of."

Records, I suppose.

“Your house in on fire; assuming your kids, pets, and other living things are safe, what do you grab as you head out the door?”

I'm really not a materialistic person, and I back-up my writing meticulously, but I suppose I would try to get my parents' ashes.

"Who is your favorite fictional character and why?"

Gandalf. I've wanted a Wizard for a best friend since I was three years old.

"Do you know how to 'Gangnam Style?'"

Yep. I used to be quite a dancer when I was younger. I could even breakdance a little, but I'm way too old and fat for that now.

Is there anything else you'd like to know? Ask away in the comments, and I'll come back to answer!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

#atozchallenge News Round-up

Click Badge to add your Name
To the list.

     Have you signed up for the A to Z Challenge yet?   If not, the list can be found by clicking the tab at the top of this page.  Now's the time to get on the list.  You still have time to at least get started on preparing posts.  And even if you write as you go you'll still have fun.

       Many of you have been helping to promote the Challenge on your own sites.  Here are a few that we've run across:

Co-host Tina had a new commenter on her blog.  First challenge, 9 followers. Tina was the first to comment on her A-Z promo post.  If you have a chance, show her some love at Tales of the Reborn Crafter

M. J. Joachim has become a ubiquitous presence in the 2013 A to Z Challenge.   You can find one of her guest posts at the equally ubiquitous P. V. Ariel's Philips.com.

When readers run across an A to Z promo post they will sometimes let us know about what they find(since we often don't see all of them on our own).  That's how we found the post from Wayne at Random Stream of Consciousness.  Thanks Wayne!


Ambassador Tim Brannon from The Other Side made a post to try to get more people from his corner of the internet involved.

Beth Lapin talks about her A to Z theme on her special blog set up for the Challenge.  Check it out at Beth Lapin's A to Z Blog.

With her third A to Z Challenge ahead, Michelle tells her A to Z story at Writer-in-Transit.


Here's a good A to Z post from M.M. Pollard at MM's Fundamentals of English.    You may learn a few things from her during April.  


Maria at First Draft Cafe is working away at her posts for April.  

At first she wasn't go to do it, but now Nel Ashley has decided she should.  Read more at Nel Ashley.

Sharon Bayliss did a great interview with co-hosts Tina and Nicole at her blog Write for Your Life.

Julie did a lovely tribute to the Challenge at Empty Nest Insider.  

At her  blog Being Catholic, M.J. Joachim added the A to Z Challenge to the current events of the day.  We are newsworthy!

Be sure to stop by ...The Slightly Eccentric Diary of Rob Z Tobor for a lesson on A to Z blogging.  

JoJo at Tahoma Beadworks & Photography is part of Tina Downey's Terrific Team and started her duties with a Challenge announcement.

Challenge veteran Dale from Smurfin' the Web gave a good word for the Challenge--yes, he's ready to go.

If you're a U2 fan you will definitely want to check out On The Road With U2.  Deena's back for a second go around with the alphabet.

Rosie Amber is looking for you!  Stop by to read about her A to Z intentions at Rosie Amber

And to close this edition out with a bang, take a look at Andi-Roo's epic A to Z promo post at The World 4 Realz.  Yes, Andi-Roo is back for another year and that's for realz. 

         There you have it!  This will probably be the closing edition of  the A to Z Promo news, but don't let that stop you from adding your own promos to your blogs.   Tell everyone you know.  Tweet it.  Announce it on FaceBook.  Let's get some more sign ups.  Can we break last year's record?





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Monday, March 18, 2013

#atozchallenge Getting to Know the Hosts - Nicole Ayers

Name: Nicole Ayers
Blog: The Madlab Post
Other Online Info: My Twitter, My Pinterest, My IMDB, My Flickr, My Tumblr and My YouTube
Films: ABYSS ; Lighten Up
Publications: The Madlab Post Zine and Bulletin; My Journey to Bare Bones

1. Where do you hail from? (D.G. Hudson) 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or otherwise known as The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection – which is a questionable nickname, depending on who you ask.

2. Would you rather have your own personal sailing ship or spaceship? What would you name your ship? (L.G. Keltner)
I’d rather have my spaceship named Captain Data, as homage to two of the coolest “Star Trek” characters ever!

3. How do you comment? - if someone posts 5,6,7 times a week .. once - or 3 times .. then each time or once or twice .. then each time I can't keep up .. but hate not supporting everyone .. (Hilary Melton-Butcher)
I comment in a manner that directly correlates with the amount of time available to complete all tasks laid out in my day. If my time is limited, I just comment on the most recent blog post. If I have more time to spare (or if I really like the blog), I’ll read through a few of the recent post titles and then comment on the ones that peak my interest.

Just because a blogger posts multiple times a week doesn’t mean that I’m going to comment on them every single time. It also depends on the frequency of my visits to a blog. If I visit more often, then it is more likely that I would comment on most, if not all of the blog posts but if I only visit the blog every now and then, I will usually comment on whatever is present on the page.

4. How do you use those HTML tags? .. and I've yet to learn about the signature line too ..(
Hilary Melton-Butcher)
I searched for the HTML tags and then tested them out by creating a draft post under the HTML tab and not the “Compose” tab, in one of my least active Blogger blogs. When I got to a point when the links worked and appeared to my liking -- after previewing them in “Compose” and also as a live post preview, I created a document file with the proper HTML tags that fit my needs such as text links, bold, photo links, etc. and I keep that file handy so that I don’t have to keep searching or reaching through tutorials every time I need to create a hyperlink quickly.

It’s sorta like my own HTML Template file that also includes a template of code that I made for my signature. So now, all I usually have to do is go to the file, copy the tags that I want to use at the moment and then paste it in the comment box or blog post draft page or online forum or wherever I need to create HTML links.

5. If you were a contestant on the CBS show "Amazon Race" and could pick ANY movie character to be your partner, who would it be and why?
It’s a toss-up between Jason Bourne from “The Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum” and Bryan Mills from “Taken.” Bourne keeps himself in shape, meaning he can run fast, lift heavy things, climb building structures and bounce back quickly if he falls. Mills on other hand is very meticulous about gathering information -- a quality that could be very useful in our team’s ability to complete tasks that involve assembling items that contain several different pieces of a puzzle or gathering activities that involve repetitive routines where I could easily forget a key step.

Bourne and Mills both have a very special set of skills that they’ve acquired over long careers and would each be an asset in helping me advance to the next Pit Stop. I’d be more likely to go with Bourne, however, because he knows how to live off the grid and get himself out of a jam without always needing aid from technology, friends in high places and fancy gadgets.


6. Describe the last Halloween costume you wore.
I dressed as Uhura from Star Trek, complete with the red dress and black boots. Now, I wonder if I should have worn a homemade costume because I have this Star Trek dress sitting around and no reason...or place to wear it.

7. What is the most unusual thing you have ever given as a gift? (Matt Conlon)
A fanny pack; and get this...the recipient gave it back to me!

8. If you could make a recommendation for a book for World Book Night (awesome event on 4/23), what book would it be? (Tracy Bermeo-A2Z Mommy)
How to be Black by Baratunde Thurston. It is a funny, insightful and surprisingly relatable read.


9. "Where do you go to "Get away from it all"?" (Matt Conlon)
To the land of alcohol. It’s cheaper than health insurance, requires less of a commitment than therapy and the bartenders/cashiers never ask for a referral when ordering a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon! When that fails or is not available, I simply rock out to Lenny Kravitz.

10. "When writing, do you prefer to compose your first-draft by hand, on your computer, or using Morse Code?" (Mina Lobo)
My writing methods vary by the nature and purpose of whatever it is I’m working on. I tend to write blog posts on a computer so that they’re ready to be published when necessary. I do jot down random notes for future posts in notebooks as well as on napkins and store receipts. I write the first drafts of my screenplays by hand because distractions like email, Words with Friends and YouTube aren’t a click away. It’s healthier to spend hours in front of a notebook than a bright computer screen. I also write songs on both and would be down to try some Morse Code for a project, just to get the experience.

Writer and Director Nicole Ayers on the Set of "ABYSS" 
If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. In the meantime, I’d appreciate your contribution to my film festival campaign for ABYSS and convincing of your friends to do the same!