Friday, March 27, 2015

Meet Your Co-Hosts! Fifty Shades of Nicole…
Dear Blogging from A to Z Challenge Participants, 

I am Nicole Ayers, a freelance writer, illustrator and media producer, who completed the April challenge four times and am embarking on my third year as one of your Co-Hosts. My tendency to write lengthy blog posts comes from a preference for painting the full picture of observations and thoughts on certain subjects, rather than an overview. It isn't unusual to find me making notes of some kind -- be that for ideas, to-do lists, troubleshooting problems, etc. on a daily basis. If I won 2 plane tickets, I would go to Italy with my grandmother because it's where many of the arts and cultural scenes that mesmerized me growing up are concentrated, and she deserves a vacation. 

The perpetual calendar in my room is a source of wisdom with reminders for approaching life with a positive and/or productive mindset, one step at a time. I enjoy watching The Walking Dead because its storylines contain lessons about developing multipurpose skills, conquering fear, being a team player, staying fit and identifying the reasons behind your actions. I’m far from a nature lover but would like to be more active outdoors and improve my agricultural knowledge. I care more about Twitter than Facebook. To this day, I dislike my inability to make an edible batch of pancakes. 

It would be great to make life a little better for someone dealing with adversity, before I die. The custom made dress I wore to the prom was based on a design I drew specifically for the occasion. I carry L'Oréal Paris lip gloss in my bag and aspire to find peace on earth but in the meantime, I’ll have BBQ sauce with my French fries, thank you! Although drawing The Gates of Hell at the Rodin Museum for my Art History class was an intimidating experience, the results were surprisingly better than I expected. Over the next 365 days, I plan to get back into the habit of creating artwork on paper.  

Connect with @madlabpost on Twitter
One thing I wish I could change in this world is the high cost of education for those who need it most. A computer is among the things I want to save up to get. Since I’m struggling with finding purpose, I think I can help it by just doing a bunch of different things that interest me and seeing what sticks. My favorite TV shows include Flashpoint and Parenthood. I seldomly favor any Holidays. At the time of this writing, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominated drama “Pariah” - about a Brooklyn teenager juggling an identity crisis while risking friendship, family & heartbreak while coming to terms with her sexuality - was the last movie I watched. 

I prefer gummy bears and nachos over popcorn. I don’t remember much about kindergarten but I do miss my friend Melissa from 1st Grade. We’ve crossed paths a few times over the years but don’t keep in touch. Still, I would have lunch with her today if the opportunity presented itself because she is one of the smartest, coolest, most ambitious people I’ve ever known from grade school. I’ve handled more guns than I’ve fired. 

The last book I read was A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and loved it! Add in A.M. Holmes’ Jack and Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and you have some of my favorite books. The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete is one of the saddest movies I ever watched. At this time, a Cabbage Patch Kid and a plush frog are the first childhood toys I remember having.
Posing with a stranger in my prom photos is one of the stupidest things I ever did. Looking back, I should have posed with my high school friend because now I have these pictures with a person I don’t talk to and it was a great opportunity to create memories with the person I actually knew, whom I continued to stay in touch with after graduation. That was a bad call on my part. Although I rarely celebrate Halloween, I would want to dress up in a rag doll costume. Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite horror movie. An initiative I participated in for the American Red Cross had the biggest impact on my views about giving to charity.

I like to draw more than paint but if I must do the latter, then I’d prefer tempura over watercolor and acrylics. My favorite actors include Denzel Washington, Vincent D’Onofrio, Matt Damon, Bruce Willis and Leonardo DiCaprio. My favorite actresses include Kate Winslett, Angela Bassett, Hilary Swank, Eva Mendes, and Dakota Fanning. The martial arts adventure Falcon Rising is the last live action film (I think) I saw in theaters, while Marilyn Myller is the last cartoon/animation film I watched at a laundromat during Couch Fest Film Festival. A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School teacher Scot Pankey’s “Uptown Funk” dance is one of my favorite YouTube videos.

I believe that many of our traditions and practices in Western culture are the result of social constructs that limit our potential for unity. If I achieved my dreams, I would be a happier person who got more sleep. An anonymous postcard (the image over on the left) sent to Frank Warren’s PostSerect project contains what has become one of my favorite quotes. “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” by Lauryn Hill is a song that usually makes me cry. My pair of socks from The Crayola Factory hasn’t been worn in at least nine months because I’m afraid about them getting raggedy. Traveling by plane is an experience I dislike since airport security measures that passengers go through have become more intrusive and downright ridiculous. Garfield, Charlie Brown and Bart Simpson are some of my favorite cartoon characters. 

Nicole who Blogs at The Madlab Post
What you wanted to know...
The Madlab Post TV - YouTube
Do we have anything in common?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nicole - great to meet you once again and getting to know your co-hosts ... the A-Z is always crazy .. but you have a head start .... you post from the MadLab already! Cheers and enjoy - Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, you covered everything!
That's a great drawing, Nicole.
I want more sleep as well.
And I won't ask you to make me pancakes.

Sue McPeak said...

Hi wonder you 'want more sleep' are Fifty Shades of Creative Energy and Fun! We do have some things in common...Drawing (former Art Teacher w/MEd), Length Blog Posts (same reasons as yours) and Socks (saving Favs...getting raggedy). Looking forward to your AtoZ posts.
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
AtoZ 2015 Challenge
Minion for AJ's wHooligans

Heather M. Gardner said...

Holy WOW!
Awesome post today, Nicole!
And so colorful!

betty said...

Hi Nicole, glad to get to know you better. I too am a fan of nachos. Getting excited about the challenge.


Nicole said...

Oh you're so clever. Ha! I agree that the A-Z is craziness. I don't know what was I thinking trying to take on even more madness?!! ;)

A good night's sleep is such a gift to be had, man! I din't make that drawing on the postcard. It was sent to the guy who manages PostSecret, a community project. That postcard is one of very few that I remember because I can relate to the sentiments on it. Oh and you're in luck...I found a way to compensate by befriending Belgian waffle makers! :)

Your comment is my most favorite! Thank you for reading this blog post and I love your 'Fifty Shades of Creative...' statement. Art teachers are the best! I sure do miss mine. It's nice to know you understand my wanting to preserve favorites. There's nothing like a pair of good socks!

Your response is the same thing I thought when I went to schedule this post. Ha! It looked so different...massive...when everything was finally put together. So, I had to tweak it a bit but yeah...the colorful aspect was a last minute thing I threw in there to give it some personality since it's a long post and all. Plus, it goes well with my introduction's "Fifty Shades..." theme, wouldn't you say?! :)

Yay to nachos! It's all about the right chip and the right cheese, at just the right temperature. If any of those elements are off, then I'm a sad camper. Ha! I'm glad your excited about the challenge. I've had a great deal of anxiety this week, with the A-Z around the corner but I think it's going to be a fun April for participants. Thank you for your comment on this post!

The Madlab Post

A Daft Scots Lass said...

A Wee bit late to signed up, right?

Elizabeth said...

Would it be bad to post the a to z post titles in poem form prior to the start of the challenge?

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Well, you sure didn't hold back Nicole! I may now know more about you than I do myself! ;)
Life & Faith in Caneyhead
I am Ensign B ~ One of Tremp's Troops with the
A to Z Challenge

Book Dragon said...

Finally decided to do the challenge this year and the linky is closed.

Arlee Bird said...

Well, you pretty well covered a lot! I'm so happy to have you as a long time co-host in A to Z. I hope you get that new computer soon. I'm amazed that you're able to do what you do without one.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Arlee Bird said...

The Linky list is open to April 2nd. Maybe you were looking at the wrong one?

Here is the link to the list:

Michelle Wallace said...

Lovely to learn more about you, Nicole!
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is an AMAZING album! I love her style!
Only 4 days left to the challenge-------

Kathleen Jennette said...

Always looking forward to meeting and reading the A-Z'rs.

Anonymous said...

This was totally engaging--I couldn't stop reading and wished you had an audio clip of you reading it aloud ... it could be a beautiful spoken word piece. I look forward to reading your blog and more of your posts, and I also love the same Lauryn Hill song, and Lauryn Hill in general!!!

Fee said...

"My tendency to write lengthy blog posts comes from a preference for painting the full picture of observations and thoughts on certain subjects, rather than an overview."

Ohhhh, that resonates with me, especially now when I'm trying to keep blog posts reasonably trimmed during the A-Z month. Wonderful, personal piece. I enjoyed reading it.

Philip Verghese 'Ariel' said...

Hi Nicole,
Good to read the well explained piece on the eve of the blogging journey, as Alex said, you said almozt everything.
Good going
Good Wishes.
~Phil of JL's Joyful Brigade.

Nicole said...

A Daft Scots Lass,
Signups are open until April 2nd. I also noticed Lee responded to your question over on his Tossing It Out blog.

That sounds fine to me but just keep in mind that a poem of titles from A-Z doesn't count toward actually doing the challenge. Just a thought....if you're going through the task of writing a poem, that sounds like a good opportunity to use it as one of your A-Z posts DURING April :)

What you describe sounds like it would have been fitting for the theme reveal, given that it would be a creative way to provide readers with a peek at what you're going to be blogging about in April. If you're wanting to post a poem to help promote the challenge and encourage other bloggers to signup, that would be great. Participation in the A-Z requires one blog post every day in April to go with one letter of the alphabet for each day.

Your comment made me laugh! I kinda want to cross-post it on my own blog for one of the A-Z letters, given how much went into it. Ha! Thanks for your comment :)

Yeah what good is it to have a title like "Fifty Shades" and not take advantage of that?! Maybe I should've added "new" in front of that sentence about computers...'cause although I've had my days being without access to a computer during the challenge in previous years, I do blog on a used one that is now also a few years old and started acting wonky a while back. I have a feeling it's on its last leg so I'm pretty much up the creek without a paddle. Thanks for reading my "Fifty Shades" blog post and for your comment!

Glad you enjoyed reading and yes Lauren Hill's style is unmatched. Her 'Miseducation' album is timeless! Yeah 4 days, don't remind me, lol I still have a ways to go in completing my blog posts for April.

A Katy Did Gig,
Thanks for reading my introduction to the 2015 A-Z participants.

Funny of you to mention the audio clip, spoken word thing. I considered posting this in video form but changed my mind at the last minute because I wasn't sure how engaging it would be in that particular medium. Lauryn Hill has such special talents. She deserved all of those Grammys she won for that Miseducation album. Thanks for your comment!

Reasonably trimmed is a great way to put it. The length of my A-Z posts will likely depend on the subject and what all I want to say. There's something about short blog posts of my own that give me a bit of a sense that something is missing. I'm glad to know my blog post resonated with you and you enjoyed reading it. Thank you for your kind words!

P V Ariel,
Sometimes the A-Z feels like such a long blogging journey but I think it will still fly by faster than we expect it. Kind of how like March just crept past us all at a speedy pace. Thank you for your good wishes for the April challenge.

Maurice Mitchell said...

This is great Nicole and I always enjoy your thoughtful comments on our blog. It's kind of funny that my answers would be a lot like yours. I do prefer Twitter than Facebook (TMI for me) and I cannot make a pancake that isn't burned, undercooked or both. I've gotten lots of tips but just can't get the temperature right.

Susan Scott said...

Fantastic post Nicole thank you so much - also for answering the questions, all interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nicole. This is my second year at A to Z. I see you are an artist, I have great respect for the mind of an artist, getting the pic from in your head onto canvas, in my mind is a miraculous feat. Whenever I try any such thing I end up with stick men. Thanks for being my co host, looking forward to the challenge:)