Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Posts tagged ‘Blogging’

And the Winner Is…!

I had no idea it would be so fun to run a 5 year blogiversary contest!  To be honest, I thought more people would enter, but those of you who did participate did so with a gusto that brought a smile to my face many times over.

So to recap, for those of you too lazy to click back and read: in 2011, all my blog posts had one deliberate thing in common. Everyone had 5 days to email me and tell me exactly how I deliberately tied all my 2011 blog posts together. Those who answered correctly via email were entered into a random drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card! Anyone who could also tell me which post did not strictly conform to the pattern got a bonus entry into the drawing.

As each entry came in, I listed the person’s name and the date/time of the email in a Google spreadsheet (I am making the switch as much as possible to free and open source software with this new laptop). Participants got listed twice if they provided a correct answer to the bonus question (and in Kellie’s case, that came in the form of a later email!) As soon as the deadline arrived, I used the True Random Number Generator at Random.org to select the winner.

Before I show you the results, I’d like to share some of the comments that made me smile:

Kellie and I went to college together, lived in the same dorm, and have reconnected thanks to Facebook. She was the first to answer:

Debbie, I think that the answer to your blog contest is that all of the blog posts use song or movie titles as their titles.  The one I see that doesn’t strictly conform (I think) is the one for “One Week,” which is perhaps a modification of “One Day,” the movie and book. Of course, there may be a deeper hidden answer to this question; if I’m completely off base, let me know.  Congrats on reaching five years with your blog!

Ah, a deeper hidden meaning – she knows me better than I thought! I was tickled that she nailed the fact that all my posts were song titles. However, “One Week” is in fact a song title, albeit not a sing I really KNEW. It was harder than I thought to make every post a song title!

Rebecca was next to answer. She and I both attend Trinity Lutheran church and I didn’t even know she read my blog! But again, we are connected via Facebook, too, and I’m guessing that’s where she saw my post about the contest.

Kellie, however, was clearly still pondering her answer, because I received this email later:

Debbie, I’d like to amend my entry — I suspect the nonconforming blog title is actually “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her,” which is actually “Wherever.”  I realized that last night while thinking about Simon and Garfunkel, thanks to your blog contest.

Doh! That was an unintended mistake on my part! Kudos, Kellie – and you earned yourself an extra contest entry for that astute observation!

Lyn was the next one to jump in. She and I met through a mutual acquaintance, who happens to be her husband Stephen!

All of the titles of your blog posts are song titles.  I had to look some up.  J For the bonus entry: Let’s Get Physical is the title, not Let’s Get (a) Physical  PS.  Can you confirm the email address is right.  The post has dschinker dot gmail dot com and I’m guess you meant @ gmail.

Oops! Thanks for finding that mistake, Lyn. The (a) was meant to indicate a deliberate twisting of the title, so technically no bonus entry for you, but I gave you one anyway, for catching my typo.

The last person to enter was Lyn’s husband Stephen, who was my first serious boyfriend way back in high school. Stephen earned top marks for thoroughness (which will surprise no one who knows him!):

All of your titles in 2011 were song titles, with the following anomalies, from the major to the minor:
1. Ch-ch-ch-choices (1/4) — this alludes to David Bowie’s Changes, but is not, in fact, the title of the song. There is, however, a song from a Catholic children’s music publisher called “Choices” that includes “Ch-ch-ch-choices” in the lyrics.  http://www.allelu.com/activities-resources/song-lyrics.html
2. Back to the Future is the only instrumental.
3. Let’s Get (a) Physical — obviously, the word “a” is an insertion. This post, by the way, was the one that tipped me off to the pattern, all the way back in January. Two song titles in two days were unusual for you. Let It Snow cinched it.  (BTW, this was because I was confused on the lyrics to the Bowie song!)
4. “End of the Innocence?” — the actual song title is “The End of the Innocence”.
As for “didn’t strictly conform to the pattern”, I would have to say Ch-ch-ch-choices doesn’t conform if the pattern is titles, and Back to the Future is the one that doesn’t conform is the pattern is songs.

The title “Ch-ch-ch-choices” was actually made BEFORE I decided to title ALL my blog post entries for songs, so that one was the anomaly I actually had in mind. And I must point out that my biggest blog supporter, dear husband John (who was excluded from this contest and was none too happy about it, either!) did tell me today that the title of THAT song is actually “Physical.” Now you know – and so do I!

Well, I shall keep you in suspense no longer. Here is the screen print from the random number generator:

As you can see, the winner is:

REBECCA! Congratulations!

But as a special surprise, I am sending a $5 Amazon certificate to Kellie, Lyn, and Stephen as well, just for participating. (Don’t you wish you would have entered now?! Pppppttthhhh!)

I truly appreciate everyone who reads my blog, and by extension hears my voice. I appreciate the opportunity to think and write – especially for an authentic audience – and to talk things through with you, my readers, be you friends or strangers. Happy birthday, Midnight Musings, and here’s to 5 more years!

Happy Birthday!

I’d like to wish my blog, Midnight Musings, a very happy 5th birthday! Five is auspicious – this digital child of mine is a whole hand old now and frankly no one is more surprised at its staying power than I!  I’d like to sincerely thank my husband John Schinker for encouraging me to give this blogging thing a try way back in January of 2007. I never imagined so many people would read my words or care about what I had to say. So I’d also like to thank YOU, my readers, for breathing life into this site by reading, sharing, and commenting. I am truly flattered and honored by your attention.

Now that I’m a mother, I find curiously amusing the tradition of giving presents to the child on the day when the child did nothing and the mother did all the work. Really, its our MOTHERS who deserve presents on our birthdays! Since the only present my blog really wants is more posts and more readers, I decided long ago to give you, my readers, a gift for my blog’s birthday, but you do have to work for it just a little bit.

So here’s the deal: in 2011, all my blog posts had one deliberate thing in common. You have 5 days (until midnight my time on Sunday, January 8th) to email me at dschinker at gmail dot com and tell me exactly how I deliberately tied all my 2011 blog posts together. Anyone who answers correctly VIA EMAIL (no spoilers in the comments please – I will just delete them!) will be entered into a random drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card! You get a bonus entry into the drawing if you also tell me which post did not strictly conform to the pattern. I believe I have only 5 faithful readers, and John is exempt from winning, so your chances are pretty darn good!

Hey, you can even get your friends into the deal by telling them about this contest. Even if they aren’t a regular blog reader of mine, all my 2011 posts are there for perusal. I don’t do ads, giveaways, or product endorsements on my blog (okay, there was one a long time ago – but it was sincere!), so you know this is no gimmick to drive up readership or anything. *bats eyelashes innocently* (Hey – didn’t I tell you that the MOM deserves a present on the child’s birthday, too?)

While you are waiting for the answer and contest results to be announced here on this post in the comments on Monday, January 9th, you can check out the 2011 annual report for this blog that the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared. Don’t those fireworks kinda look like candles? (-:

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Let’s Get (a) Physical!

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com inspected my blog stats for 2010.  Here’s a high level summary of my overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ says my blog is fresher than ever!

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2010. That’s about 17 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 8 new posts [really?  only 8?  I need to blog more, I think!], growing the total archive of this blog to 85 posts. There were 5 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb.

The busiest day of the year was November 22nd with 94 views. The most popular post that day was Billy Elliot: Dancers Soar, Writing Falls Flat.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were playhousesquare.org, plurk.com, scrapbooktreff.plusboard.de, twitter.com, and digital-photography-school.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for scrapbooking, dodge charger, dodge charger 2007, unicorn cake, and dodge charger 2006. [The dodge charger stuff STILL cracks me up!]

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Billy Elliot: Dancers Soar, Writing Falls Flat November 2010
1 comment

2

How to Make a Unicorn June 2009
3 comments

3

Baby, You CAN Drive My Car! October 2007
6 comments

4

Dodge Charger April 2008

5

(Inter) National Scrapbooking Day May 2008
4 comments

WordPress further reported to me that, “Some of your most popular posts were written before 2010. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.”

I’d Like To Thank…

I am so honored to announce that “Midnight Musings” has won its first blog award! Lisa over at qualcosa di bello (who I believe was the first person to ever blogroll Midnight Musings) has honored me with the Arte Y Pico award for blog creativity, design, interesting material, and contributions to the blogging community, no matter what the language. I am thrilled to accept this award. Thanks, Lisa!

[And to think I once asked my husband if it was worth blogging if no one ever read what I wrote. I’m glad I stuck with it – and moved to WordPress where I can glance at the blog visitor stats every so often. (Ok…so I look at them obsessively many times a day if I’m home…but I don’t have a problem…really! Did you know that 30 to 40 people read this blog every day? Wow!)]

There are five rules associated with this award:

1. Winners may pick 5 blogs that they believe deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and contributions to the blogging community, no matter what the language.

2. Each award given has to list the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog.

3. Each award winner has to show the award graphic along with the bestowing author’s name and blog link.

4. The award winner and the one who has given the prize must show the link of the Arte Y Pico blog so everyone will know the origin of this award. (The author is a blogger in Uruguay).

5. Each award winner should post these rules.

(Ok…so I did a little research and this award was apparently just started on Friday, May 2, 2008. But when you google it, there are already 128,000 hits. Ah, the power of the internet! The popularity of this award is growing almost as fast as the gas prices!)

In the interest of sharing the love, here are my nominees for this award. Please visit and bookmark their sites. You’ll be glad you did!

* John Schinker at Taste of Tech, who got me started and hooked on this whole blogging phenomenon, patiently answered all my questions (or referred me to the right websites for answers), and keeps me learning about and growing with new technology. He’s also the best husband in the whole universe!

* Alvin Trusty at Alvin’s Educational Technology Blog for his TSPY (Time Saved Per Year) tips and tricks! Aside from Taste of Tech, this was the first blog I ever followed (which motivated me to learn about Protopage and RSS feeds!) I hope I get to meet Alvin in person someday, even is he still hasn’t tried out the Memory Manager software I sent him. (-:

* The fine women at the Shutter Sisters collaborative photo blog, who inspired me to start my own photo blog with their meaningful prose paired with delightful visual images.

* Julie Stiles Mills at the Pragmatic Compendium whose tagline is, “I Breathe, Therefore I Organize!” I found her recently, but her posts make me laugh out loud and her style is incomparable.

* Rebecca Borelli for the Art in Your Heart blog. She is the art teacher at Woodland Elementary and I LOVE that she’s embracing technology by creating this blog. It’s the first blog my kids have bookmarked and read on their own – and even commented on!

Schinker’s Shutterbug Site

So I started a new blog today: Schinker’s Shutterbug Site. I recently discovered the Shutter Sisters website and LOVED its daily photo topic feature. Basically, one of the Shutter Sisters blogs on a topic daily and asks visitors to post links to their own pictures on that same topic.

Yes, I could have used this blog for those posts. But it didn’t seem like the right vehicle, and I’ve discovered that many people have multiple blogs on different topics, which appeals to my obsessively organized brain. I also love WordPress‘s new photoblogging theme, Monochrome, that changes the color of the post automatically based on the picture in the post. It’s a great theme, but not appropriate for this blog where I have spent many an evening getting my sidebars just right. So creating a special photo blog seemed like the logical way to go. (And of course, doing something technological FIRST in this family is hard to accomplish, so I expect the DH – dear husband – to now go out and create HIS own second blog. Yes, dear, that IS a challenge (-:).

So please have a look at my new blog and do tell me what you think! You could have the distinction of making the very first comment there if you hurry!

Looking Backward and Forward

I recently browsed through my own blog, reading past posts and comments. I thought it was interesting how I have a different perspective on some of what I wrote just 15 month ago.

For example, here’s an excerpt from one of my earlier posts from January of 2007: “There are even rumors that Hilary Rodham Clinton might start a serious bid for the U.S. presidency. Although I don’t particularly like her stand on many issues, I would feel it necessary to strongly consider voting for her in order to create history and further deteriorate the historic stranglehold on power men have and do hold in this country.”

Now we are less than 7 months from the general election and not only has Hillary started a serious bid for the presidency, but she and Obama are running neck and neck with both having already garnered more votes individually than any other past presidential candidates in a Democratic primary election.

And, yes, I considered voting for her early on, but after researching the candidates’ stands on various issues, listening to stump speeches, and seeing how they react in a variety of situations, I came to the conclusion that I just couldn’t vote for her, even though she is a woman and I sincerely do want to see a female U.S. president before I die. But I plan to live to be 101 years old, so there’s still plenty of time. (-:

So this year I am an Obama supporter and so have put away my, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Good Woman for President” button (obtained years before Hillary’s run), since I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression that I think Mrs. Clinton is that “good woman.”

An April 2007 post discussed my hopes for a congress that would stand up to President Bush. I wrote, “…my fear [is] that the Democrats, having gained power in Congress, would be unable or unwilling to exercise their people-given power to stop him.” Hmm…looks like that fear has come true.

I also discussed Sunshine Week, a movement to keep discussion alive about the important of open government and freedom of information. Unfortunately, I heard nothing about Sunshine Week this year.

In contrast to my changed perspective politically, my perspective on the importance of organizing your digital photos hasn’t change one iota! Memory Manager is still the best program out there – and unlike the price of just about everything else these days, the cost of this software hasn’t changed! Everyone I know who has this program is sold on the features and ease of use. Read more about tis fantastic program here.

It will be interesting what perspective changes next year brings.

Dodge Charger

Sometimes, I don’t understand this whole blogging thing. Although I have never (before now) mentioned the words “dodge charger” in my blog, yet I apparently used a picture of one in my post “Baby, You CAN Drive My Car!” back in October of 2007. (In case you didn’t know, the General Lee was a Dodge Charger!) This picture is single-pixelly responsible for the majority of traffic to this blog from search engines. Yet when *I* use a search engine and enter the term “Dodge Charger,” I don’t find my own blog.

And it’s not just me. The top search engine term for “Taste of Tech” is “cheetah.” You’d think it’d be from a past post referencing how fast a cheetah can run, but instead, it’s from a post that used the picture of a cheetah.

So what’s going on? How is this happening? Why do random web images used to illustrate a point in a blog post create such search engine traffic to a blog? (And is there a way to use this pheonomenon to steer more traffic to a blog or other website?)

If you have answers – or even decent theories – PLEASE leave a comment. And if you found this blog by searching the words “Dodge Charger,” please tell me exactly how and where you were searching!

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