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Saturday, September 14, 2013

A to Z Challenge Hacks – All Text, No Extras!

The next Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge is a few seasons away but it’s never too early to get a head start on mapping out your game plan for surviving this massive undertaking. 

As we close out the Summer and head into Fall, this is a good time to learn from our own previous A-to-Z Challenge experiences or those of other participants, to keep up with the alphabet and visiting new blogs without losing our minds in the process.

Since I was fundraising for my short film at the time and didn’t have internet access during most of April, my daily schedule was hectic. There were days when I found myself scrambling to get a blog post up by 11:59pm to avoid falling behind our 26-day blogging schedule. Here is one of a few tips and tricks that helped me stay on track as best as I could during the 2013 A-to-Z Challenge.

Text first, Pictures & Stuff later

I posted my blog posts without photos and then returned at a later time to edit/update the posts by adding photos. This is one of my A-to-Z Hacks that worked wonders for me by reducing the stress of not being able to have something new for those who were visiting my blog.

Putting text-only posts up on your blog is especially useful for procrastinators or those who just usually write their blog posts later in the evening due to jobs, screaming babies, whining spouses, ailing parents, church services, natural disasters, technical issues, NBC’s The “X-Factor” or “America’s Got Talent,” CBS’s “Big Brother,” HBO’s “Breaking Bad” or for whatever other reason.

Since I’ve written a lot of my A-to-Z Challenge posts at night, I would aim to get something up on my blog by 11:59pm for the current letter of the day. When the challenge reached Letter K, I did not have the time to write, edit, proofread, edit again and format my post earlier in the day, so I worked on it at night starting around 10:00pm and noticed that I was running out of time. 

So instead of worrying about the layout of photos that would support this post, I focused on getting the post to go live before midnight, so that I could remain up to date in the challenge. Afterward, (since I wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon, anyway) I searched for the images that I wanted to accompany that post and then went back into my blog editor and added them sometime after midnight, within the next hour or so.

My Text first, Pictures, etc. later A-to-Z Hack worked so well that the same trick could be applied to posts written earlier in the daytime as well. If you are among the challenge participants who write your posts in the morning or during the early afternoon hours but still need to find photos to go with them, just split up those duties – publish the post that you have so far (which is the text) and then add the images and/or any links that you didn’t have handy the first time around, later in the evening when you get to them. See…this A to Z blogging trick is as easy as pie.

Have a joyous weekend, everybody!

- Nicole @MadlabPost

*More of my A to Z Hacks will be coming soon. Until then, let me know something…

When (morning/daytime/nighttime) did YOU usually write YOUR posts for the A to Z Challenge?

Do YOU have any A-to-Z Challenge survival tricks up YOUR sleeve that you’d like to share with me?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Elise Fallson and "Ologies" - Challenge Participant Feature

Today I welcome the lovely Elise Fallson to share her theme for the Challenge. And it was very unique. And informative! Careful, you might learn something…

What made you chose _ologies as your theme?

My theme last year was Entomology and since is went pretty well, I decided to look for another _ology theme. Trouble was I couldn’t decide on just one. There were many fascinating and odd _ologies to choose from that I decided to highlight them all. Well, not really all of them, but just the ones I found interesting or quirky. Then, when I found a list of _ologies from A-Z online I thought to myself, “Jack pot!”

Which one was your favorite?

That's a hard question to answer because I liked so many for different reasons. For example, D for Dactylology comes to mind because ASL (American Sign Language) interests me and when I stumbled upon songs interpreted using ASL, I was glued to the screen. I can't tell you how many times I've watched those videos, they always impress me. H for Hoplology is another one I enjoyed because I've been a fan of the fighting arts for many years and found the video of the longsword technique simply awesome. Then there's R for Rumpology and that was just butt-loads of LOLs to write. And I have to admit, I did enjoy I for Ichnology, but only because I masterfully managed to slide in a music video of Jensen Ackles doing Eye of the Tiger. Grrrrr  ==swoon==

I'm sorry, did you ask for just one? ;)

You kicked off the Challenge with the science of stupidity – agnoiology. Just so no one ends up studying us, what’s it all about?

Unfortunately, I feel the human race will always be under the microscope when it comes to studying stupidity.  Agnoiology however, centers on the study of culturally induced ignorance mainly through the publication of inaccurate or misleading data. I guess it just boils down to one group of people wanting to control another group by keeping then intellectually inferior. The dumbing down of the masses isn't a new strategy, but it does allow government to maintain control over the masses.

You HAVE to describe rumpology for us!

Ahhh, finally. I couldn't bare waiting a second longer to reach the bottom of this post!  Rumpology, sometimes referred to as "Bottom Reading," is fortune telling by reading people's butts. A 'rump reading' is performed by a rumpologist who examines crevices, dimples, warts, moles, and folds of a person's buttocks in much the same way a chirologist would read the palm of the hand. And to add some much needed creditability, astrologer Jackie Stallone (actor Sylvester Stallone's mother) states that rumpology is known to have been practiced in ancient times by the Babylonians, Indians, Ancient Greeks, and Romans (hard evidence proving this theory pending). You think Sylvester get free readings from his mom?  

You struggled with J but finally found Japanology and stated you find Japan fascinating. What are some of the things you’d like to see if you visited? (And you should visit – I lived there as a kid and it’s an amazing place.)

I'm glad I found J for Japanology because I've always held a fascination for Japanese culture, food, art, tradition, and really the Far East in general fascinates me. If I were to visit Japan there is so much I'd want to see that I could fill up an entire post, but off the top of my head I'd want to . . .

  • Go to Hiroshima's memorial park.
  • Visit Osaka and Kyoto mainly for the history and to visit the temples and shrines. 
  • Visit Tokyo, go shopping in Akihabara, get drunk in a Karaoke Bar, ride the bullet train. (: 
  • Climb Mount Fuji.
  • Visit Tokyo National Museum, Hakone Open-Air Museum, Adachi Museum . . .
  • Visit a samurai district.
  • See the forging of a true katana sword.
  • Eat in a real sushi restaurant where the food comes to you on a conveyor-belt.
  • Eat ramen soup in Fukuoka.
  • Go to a sumo tournament.
  • See the cherry blossoms in March/April . . .

     Anyone want to take me to Japan???? 

Yogurtology isn’t really a field of study – what is it?

I had a hard time finding a y_ology word but luckily (thank you internet) I came across this: Yogurtology, a chain store that sells frozen yogurt and ice cream. I've never came across one, but if I ever did, I'd probably wander in for some frozen yogurt.

Any meltdowns or freak-outs during the Challenge? 

YES, during my Q post for quinology. I only had prewritten posts up to Q, so when my Q post went live, I started to freak out. Luckily, I had a butt-load to talk about the next day for R. (;

If you participate in the Challenge next year, do you have any themes in mind? 

I'm not sure if I'll participate next year but that hasn't stopped me from bouncing around some ideas. I may have a few things brewing but, mum's the word. (; 

Thanks for having me over today Alex, it was fun revisiting some of these old posts. (=

Elise, thank you for enlightening us!!

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex is the author of CassaStar and CassaFire and his blog can be found HERE

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Stephen Tremp