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#atozchallenge Reflections…

#atozchallenge Reflections…

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The nice people who organised April’s A-Z challenge have asked that anyone who participated in the month long blogging marathon publish a feedback post, giving their reactions and opinions on the whole experience.

Today is the deadline for the posts, so I thought I’d do a quick summing up.

The task of posting every day for a month is something I had already done once this year, for Just Jot It January, so I wasn’t overly worried about the schedule.
It was only the format that I thought might be a problem; I mean, coming up with a blog post themed around each letter of the alphabet sounds easy enough to begin with, until you realise how few subjects begin with “U”, “Q”, “X” and “Z”, to name just four.

So I had to cheat occasionally; finding that photography was a good fallback option, when I was short of time or inspiration, but I think I managed to acquit myself fairly honourably overall.

The one thing I found more problematic though, was the part of the challenge which required everyone who took part to visit other blogs and comment on them.
Not that I object to reading other bloggers’ work, you understand, (I spend a lot of time following, reading and commenting on a increasingly large number of blogs and enjoy the whole interactive element of the blogosphere) but the list of blogs who were supposedly taking part in the challenge was somewhat hit and miss.

For a start, the number of Blogger powered blogs made it impossible for me to comment on any of them, due to some sort of incompatibility between their platform and WordPress, which was frustrating.
But the thing that annoyed me the most was the fact that many of the blogs on the list clearly had no intention of taking part in the first place (a few of the links took me to blogs that hadn’t had a post published for several months) and featured no #atozchallenge posts whatsoever.
I can only assume that they either changed their minds after registering, or had signed up purely as a way to attract traffic. The fact that some of these blogs were on Blogger made them a moot point, and I did find one or two interesting posts on the non-participating blogs, on which I commented anyway, since I was there.

I also ignored the suggestion that I stuck to visiting the five blogs either side of me on the list (I think it was something like that, I’m not big on reading instructions) and simply browsed the list each day and stuck an electronic pin in it to pick my daily selection of articles, which led to some very interesting juxtapositions of style and content.
So if you were a regular visitor to Diary of an Internet Nobody for the month and I only popped by to see you once or twice, it wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy your posts, I just wanted to take in as many new blogs as I could.

As to whether I’ll do it all again next year; well, I think you probably know by now, I’m a sucker for challenges and collaborations, so it seems very likely.

All in all a very rewarding experience and one for which I’d like to express my gratitude to the organisers, who did a fabulous job of curating such a massive project.

Thanks for reading, see you next April for more alphabetized abstractions and blatant cheating.

#atozchallenge

 

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Just Jot It January: Day thirty two (?)…

Ok, it’s not actually Just Jot It January anymore, but I thought I’d do a quick post to register my appreciation for the last month’s entertainment, provided by Linda G Hill and her annual feature.

It’s the first year that I’ve taken part and it was a very useful experience, not only because it gave me a challenge to come up with something to post every day, but because of the huge range of blogs and talent that I have been made aware of in the process.

One of the best things about blogging is the opportunity to meet new and interesting people who I would ordinarily not have had contact with, so this type of blogging community-based project is particularly rewarding.
Not only that, but I’ve gained several new followers and attracted considerably more traffic to the blog than during an average month.

Whether or not these extra readers will continue to be regular visitors remains to be seen, but I shall certainly be keeping an eye on a great many of the blogs I came across in my random ramble through the last thirty one days.

I might even be inclined to post more frequently from now on, as the idea of going back to only writing two or three times a week leaves me feeling at a bit of a loose end, even as I write this.
We shall see what happens.

I don’t know what February will bring, but I’ve already signed up for an A – Z blogging challenge in March and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m tempted to get involved in other regular features as the year goes on.

For now, I should try and catch up with Starship Gypsies and concentrate on one or two other projects that I have been neglecting recently.

My final contribution to this thread though, is a gif that I made from Linda’s JJIJ participation badge, which is bestowed on anyone who took up the challenge last month.
So, until I work out how to display it in a more permanent setting, here’s a stick man doing a little Just Jot It January victory dance.

Because I can, alright..?

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Thanks again to everyone who visited Diary of an Internet Nobody in January, it was great to meet so many new and talented writers and artists.
And a last, but certainly not least, thank you to Linda for all her dedication and patience.

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 

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Just Jot It January: Day thirty one…

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It’s finally reached the end!
I’ve made it through Just Jot It January, having posted once or more for every day this month and to celebrate, I’ve composed a calming little tune to chill out to.

So may I present the world premier of Janjot, which you can listen to by clicking the link below, (Go on, click it, it’s the only way I can get it into the post, so there’s no point in you coming all the way here and then not listening to at least SOME of it, is there?) because you never know, you might like it.

Thank you to the superhuman efforts of Linda G Hill for curating JJIJ, I don’t know how she finds the time.
And thank you for letting me into your busy lives every day this month, normal service may well return tomorrow; who knows…?

THIS IS THE GREAT BIG, REALLY OBVIOUS LINK TO “JANJOT”, CHECK IT OUT ON SOUNDCLOUD HERE!

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on January 31, 2016 in Arts, Just Jot It January, Music

 

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Just Jot It January: Day thirty…

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I’ve had no time at all to do any writing today (so it’ll be tomorrow for SoCS again, sorry) because I was working this morning, shopping this afternoon and cooking this evening.

So today’s penultimate JJIJ post is a quick one.

Here’s a nice photo of the dawn over Exmoor national park, on my way to work the other morning…

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…and one taken at dusk yesterday.

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And, just because, here’s the story of my life…

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See you tomorrow for a double-header JJIJ finale.

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on January 30, 2016 in Just Jot It January, Photography

 

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty nine. Melodic Randomiser Unspooled 6…

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It’s been a long day today and since I’m now relaxing with a drink and a few tunes, I thought I’d make this Just Jot It January post the next in my series of cassette-library-plundering Melodic Randomiser Unspooled features.

So here is the first handful of plastic boxes I pulled out of the understair archive…

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…starting with metal icon and ex-Scorpions, ex-UFO axe-man, Michael Schenker.

This track is from the Michael Schenker Group album, Armed and Ready.

With my usual obtuse eclecticism, the next tape out of the box was Dazzle Ships by electro-pop pioneers Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, so here’s Telegraph

…and just in case you detected any sort of theme, pattern or method in my musical madness, here’s the entire, sprawling, bombastic, camp and overblown experience that is Frankie Goes To Hollywood and their gloriously over the top debut album, Welcome to the Pleasure Dome.

You’re welcome.

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Just Jot It January, Music, Video

 

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty eight…

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Only four posts left in JJIJ, including today’s, so I’ve been trying to think of something that I haven’t covered in this month-long run of random ramblings.
So far, I’ve done writing, photography, animated gifs, music, nostalgia, self-publicity and romance, along with the usual directionless waffling, but one thing I’ve never featured on the blog is…

…Cookery!

There’s no particular reason for this, especially since (even if I do say so myself, which I do) I’m a bloody good cook, but it just isn’t something that’s occurred to me to post about before, partly because there are so many fabulous foodie blogs out there and partly because I’m usually too busy telling you the sort of nonsense that leaks into (and back out of) my head on a daily basis.

It just so happens that, with our wedding anniversary yesterday, (incidentally, thanks for all the kind comments on that subject) I decided it would be a nice idea for me to cook the two of us a romantic candlelit dinner for when Rhonda returned from work; where she spent the evening cooking for other people at the local, award-winning fish and chip shop just down the road from where we live.

I should say that I’ve never followed a recipe in my life, I don’t even own a cookery book, I just make stuff up as I go along, (much like my method of writing) but it seems as if I have a talent for it and, since I also have a serious talent for eating, I take every opportunity to combine the two.

Unfortunately, the idea to post the recipe only occurred to me this morning and I neglected to take any photos last night; you’ll just have to take my word for the fact that it looked and tasted amazing.

So here is the very first dish from the Kitchen of an Internet Nobody:

Chicken with Parma ham in brie and tarragon sauce, with asparagus, mushrooms and leeks.
(Serves two)

You will need:
2 chicken breasts
4 slices of Parma ham
6 – 8 asparagus spears
12 closed cup mushrooms
1 large leek
2 cloves of garlic
Milk
Butter
Plain flour
Tarragon
Smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

Method:
– Wrap the chicken breasts in the ham, overlapping the slices so the chicken is completely covered.
– Lay the wrapped chicken in a shallow glass dish, lightly brush with extra virgin olive oil and cover the dish in tinfoil.
– Place the dish in the oven (preheated to 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4) for 35 – 40 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, make the sauce;
– Melt around 100g of butter in a saucepan on a medium heat, then add one heaped tablespoon of flour and stir rapidly until the flour is absorbed, taking care not to burn the butter.
– Slowly add 150 – 200ml of milk and stir continuously as it thickens, to avoid the sauce becoming lumpy.
– Add the brie (to taste) in small pieces and stir until it has melted and the sauce is creamy and smooth.
– Stir in finely chopped tarragon and season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.

– Roughly chop the leek, mushrooms and asparagus and soften by frying lightly in a little butter, along with the finely chopped garlic.

– Remove dish from the oven, evenly spread the vegetables around the wrapped chicken breasts, cover the whole thing in cheese sauce and sprinkle with paprika.
– Return to the oven without the foil covering, cook for a further 7 – 10 minutes and serve immediately.

(To drink: I’m no wine expert, but I’d suggest a well-chilled Pinot Grigio or a nice crisp and citrussy Cava)

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And there you have it; dalecooper57’s dish of the day.

If any of you try it for yourselves, please let me know what you think.
Bon appétit.

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on January 28, 2016 in Just Jot It January, Personal anecdote

 

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty seven…

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There really is only one subject I can pick for Just Jot It January today and even now it seems extraordinary that I’m writing about it at all.

A year ago today I took the day off work, in order to complete a journey I never thought I’d make, a journey that began over three years before and which would prove to be an emotional roller-coaster, far beyond anything I’d ever experienced.

I didn’t make any big announcement in advance and hardly anyone else was there to witness the momentous occasion, yet this was exactly the way it was meant to be, it felt right.

Because the one with whom I shared this journey, the one other person who had been through all the highs and lows of the previous six months of waiting, stress, disappointment, bureaucracy and ultimately, hope; she was the only other one I needed to share this moment with, the one who would eventually make my life complete.

That special person is my wife, Rhonda, and today is our first wedding anniversary.

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I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to have her and Audrey in my life, and if I can return to them even a fraction of the happiness and affection they have given me, then I shall consider myself a very lucky man indeed.

However, there is one thing I regret and that has to be that my oldest friend, Chris, one of the two other people who made our day so special, (pictured above, with the lovely Becka) by acting as witnesses at our simple little ceremony, cannot be here see how happy we are together.

I’ve been thinking about Chris a lot today and I take comfort in the thought that he played such an important and supportive role at a pivotal time in my life and for that, (amongst many, many other things) I’ll never be able to thank him enough.

The same goes for all the other incredibly helpful, generous and patient friends and family who helped make our dream become a reality; we literally could not have done it without you.

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#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

{By the way, if you’re new to the blog and haven’t read about Chris, why not go and find out about The Unlikely Hero, I’d consider it a fitting tribute to a great friend if he could touch the lives of a few more people on this day of personal celebration}

 
 

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