It’s April. Time for Writeapalooza

There are a couple of writing challenges that begin in April. One of them is Camp NaNoWriMo. This is part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) , also known as “let’s try to write an entire novel during the business month of the year for everyone who is not an accountant.” Think about it. People are preparing for a variety of holidays. Students are ramping up for finals or midterms. No Bueno.

April, on the other hand, is usually pretty open for me (sorry tax preparers). I considered participating in this challenge, but I literally finished and submitted a large writing project on March 30. I’m sketching out my next one, but I could use a break from sprinting toward the finish line.

I did come across a challenge that could be more my speed this month. The Blogging From A-Z Challenge. The premise is that beginning tomorrow, April 1, you blog a letter a day.  Any topic, just follow the alphabet.  Sundays we get a break.

Here’s the signup and rules.  My badge is there ========>

Tune in tomorrow to watch me make an A of myself.


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March Madness #wagginnotbraggin

Spenser the Dog and March Madness

My dog Spenser decided that he wanted to fill in a bracket for this year’s NCAA basketball tourney. But with a limited vocabulary and no opposable thumbs, he could neither fill out the bracket himself, nor read me off his choices.

It was time to come up with an outside-the-box solution.

I brought home some scrap paper from work and wrote the name of each team on a sheet of paper. I placed the matchups in front of him one at a time. Sometimes I had to place a treat on each, other times he was eager to give me his pick right away.

We did this for each and every matchup.



Yes, this took a very long time, but on the other hand, shut up.

It was pretty exhausting for a little dog.

It actually took two nights, a handful of treats, and my trusty assistant to complete the task.

Here is Spenser’s final bracket:

 And a close up.

I didn’t know how to have him choose his tiebreaker score, so I used 142 based on his weight, 14 lbs, 2 oz. 


If you’d like to see how Spenser does, you can follow him on twitter @spenserthedog

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Get Ready for the Next Blogging U. Challenge: Writing 101

Looking Forward to this challenge.

The Daily Post

Feeling a bit bereft now that Blogging 101 and 201 have wound down, or just looking for a way to cultivate good writing habits? Never fear, Writing 101 is here!

(Well, it will be here, starting June 2.)

Our next Blogging U. challenge moves away from the technical and design aspects of blogging to focus on your content. Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit is a write-every-day challenge designed to help you create a writing habit while publishing posts that mesh with your blog’s focus and push you a bit as a writer.

Here’s how it works:

  • We’ll post a new writing assignment just for Writing 101 each weekday in June here on The Daily Post. Assignments will publish at 10:00AM EST (14:00PM GMT).
  • There are no weekend assignments — you’re free to expand on a weekday post, write something unrelated, or (gasp!) spend some time away from your blog.
  • Each assignment includes…

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Know Everything and Control Everything: 2 Apps to Try

Here are a couple of the latest (Yay! Free!) apps that I’ve tried. No surprise that I found them through Lifehacker.


The first is Circa. (iPhone or Android) Circa is a news aggregation site (with Real news even). You can stay with the Top Stories default or check out national or world news, politics, technology, science and health. It’s easy to share stories through social media, email, even text. The best part? If you find a story of interest, you can set the app to send you updates.

I like this one so much that I gave it a spot on my first page of apps.


Lift is perfect for those still procrastinating on New Years resolutions. Create good habit by persisting 21 days. Choose from a list of habits or choose your own. Set reminders, find friends on Twitter to follow or join a discussion group.

I just started this one, so I’ll have to update you in three weeks.

Anyone else have apps to try? I’m a big sucker for new apps.

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My Plan to Become a Born-Again Voracious Reader

I’ve been a big reader for as long as I remember. The last few years I have been slacking off though. Mostly because there are a million distractions from binge watching Vampire Diaries to live tweeting reality shows to trying to find the end of the internet.

I think another problem is that I tend to read multiple books at once, so I never get really engaged in a single book. If I’m not dying I find out what happens next, when I have down time I’m more likely to fool around on my iPad than I am to crack open a book.

But I have stacks of unread books, so the first step will be to power through them. A couple of self-imposed rules:

1. One book at a time.
2. Non-fiction books don’t necessarily need to be read cover-to-cover.
3. I don’t have to finish every book, but I need to give each one a chance, then let it go if I don’t want to finish it, I can just let it go. Donate or whatever, but I don’t need to add it to the guilt pile.

Here are the first ten I am starting with:

This is your Brain on Music — Daniel j Levitin
The Falls — Joyce Carol Oates
Last Train to Paradise — Les Standiford
Highland Fling — Nancy Mittford
The Flu Season — Will Eno
The Ultimate Sales Machine — Chet Holmes
Behan, the Complete Plays — Brendan Behan
A First Rate Madness — Nassir Ghaemi
Content Marketing — Rebecca Lieb
American Buffalo — Daved Mamet

What are your strategies for making reading a priority?

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When Women Go Off-Duty.

Off Duty Cab

Off Duty Cab

I was reading an interview of David Sedaris in the October 2013 (I know) edition of Writer’s Digest and he mentioned a conversation he had with a woman at one of his book signings:

“I heard on the radio that you were going to be here. Normally I take my bra off and it’s off for the night. I put my bra back on for you.”

He asked the next woman in line, “When you take your bra off, is it off for the night?”

“Oh, hell yeah,” she responded.

Hell yeah indeed. And it made me think how common it probably was. It’s like the lingerie equivalent of the off-duty sign on a yellow cab.

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Twitter History: A Scary Look Back

Have you requested your twitter history yet? I finally got around to it. When I opened my first account in 2008, I really didn’t know what to do with it. But that was more than 7,000 tweets ago. If you think I’m exaggerating my cluelessness, take a look at my 1st ten tweets.

2008-12-13 learning twitter
2009-03-04 haven’t found a purpose for this yet
2009-04-13 college road tripping
2009-06-12 I saw someone in a Tim Horton’s uniform eating lunch in a cemetary.
2009-10-28 God help us all, I’m going to try actually using this.
2009-10-29 assuming I can figure out how to do it from my phone
2010-09-18 it’s just wrong to wear a dirty GTL shirt to Wegmans
2010-09-19 i’m watching a documentary about a bear hybrid. strong and carnivorius like a polar, fearless and aggressive like a grizzly.
2010-09-19 I’ve had this account for a couple of years but I haven’t really used it. I wonder why I thought I wanted to follow icanhazcheeseburger?
2010-09-20 Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day ye scurvy dogs!
2010-09-20 Why in God’s name do I have cher’s I found someone stuck in my head?

I’ll post again with my best tweets.