Blogathon 2007: the wrap-up
Twenty Four Hours in Forty-Nine Thumbnails:
Pick a post at random, or follow the progress from eclipse (start) to fireworks (finish).
If you’re reading this post before Tuesday, July 31st at 9pm Pacific time, you can still make a pledge to the Electronic Frontier Foundation by visiting my Blogathon sponsor page!
I truly didn’t think I could do it. Forty-eight posts in 24 hours? Most times I don’t think I can pull off 48 posts in 24 weeks, and yet, here I was, signing up at the last minute and with absolutely no planning. It was, no doubt, one of my crazier moments.
Seat-of-the-pants marathon blogging can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, in that it’s all over just a few short days after signing up so there’s never a chance to build up a case of nerves. Bad? Well, for one thing, I had little time to gather pledges, and by the time I discovered fellow blogathonners were doing all sorts of cool things like contests and group blogging events, I was in the thick of it and far too busy to join in. For 24 hours, my life revolved around photos, words, and the ever-ticking clock. Occasionally, I remembered to get up and use the bathroom. Once, I even stepped outside!
What? Outside? Just once? No trips around the neighborhood? Blogging from parties? Not this year. I knew going into this that I’d be tied to one computer for the duration. The Lappy’s dead, and my handheld mobile typing device is too ancient to understand the finer art of transmitting text without a USB cable. Add to this the recent refusal of my flashcard reader to perform the one job it’s meant to do, and the result is: must blog at home, at desk, with no new photos.
With these rather frustrating restraints firmly in place, I determined to choose a theme for my blogging that would allow me to do at least something creative. I knew I didn’t want to just write. I wanted visuals. And since I couldn’t take new photos, I thought — hey, here’s an excuse to raid the old photos. I mean the really old photos — the pre-digital photos. So, I set for myself the following rules:
- Every post must include a photo.
- Every photo must be one I’ve taken myself.
- Every photo must be from a 35mm print, negative, or slide.
- I will not use any photos I’ve already uploaded onto Flickr.
- I will include at least one sentence of text with each photo.
(I’d originally thought “one paragraph” but I quickly amended that to “sentence” after discovering what a pain in the butt it is to select, scan, tweak, resize, and upload a new photo every half hour. Oy.)
The restraints (part deux):
And here I thought I was through with restraints. Hah. Remember that bit about signing up at the last minute? Well, one result of that was I didn’t actually haul my boxes of photos up to the living room to sort them until the night before the Blogathon began. It was at this point (well after I should have hit the sack to rest up), that I discovered many of my old favorites existed only in negative or proof sheet form. (Oh, right, now it comes back to me: I hated wasting photo paper and all the good prints usually went to other people who requested them.)
Sigh. All fine and dandy if the negative scanner’s working but, um, negative scanner? Meet Lappy. Have a nice chat in the Casa Belly Timber computer graveyard. Sorry about the crowd.
So, I ended up, at times, rather annoyed with my lack of photographic choices — damn, can’t use that pic. Not that one either — but you know, at three, four am, after twenty some hours of this, consider yourselves lucky I wasn’t subjecting everyone to multiple badly-processed copies of that same pic of that cute boy from the basketball team I had a secret crush on in seventh grade.
The Survival Tactics:
Item one: The sentences I write don’t have to make much sense. Once I determined that, I let myself off the hook quite a bit. Just wing it, I said. Have fun. The goal wasn’t to wax eloquent after 20 hours with no sleep; the goal was to stick to my (quite manageable) rules and cross the finish line.
Item two: Quality fuel. This is one area where my small amount of preparation came in handy. I had on hand: A large bag of almonds, two apples, freshly ground peanut butter, a tin of sardines, and a bottle of kombucha. Add in two eggs for breakfast, a chicken and veggie stirfry for dinner (thanks, Chopper!), a single cup of coffee, a few handfuls of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips, and a substantial amount of herbal tea, and I was set. No soda, no energy drinks, and no Doritos needed. I came near to crashing from fatigue twice, and both times I pushed to get myself a tiny bit ahead of schedule and then simply set the alarm and had a nap on the couch for twenty minutes. Worked wonders.
The Rescue Squad:
I can’t thank enough the folks who stopped by in the dead of night to leave comments and cheer me on. It made a huge difference and kept me at least partially sane. Special shouts of gratitude go to 2006 Blogathonner Sam from Becks and Posh, who brought friends and family along for the ride. Thanks again, Sam and everyone!
Would I do it again? Hell yes. Would I do it differently? Hell yes. I had a great first time experience with Blogathon. I made it to the end, I stuck to the theme I’d set for myself, and I raised a little bit of money for my charity. If I do it next year, I’ll be signing up well in advance and I’ll be recruiting co-conspirators. I’ve dropped by the posts of a few of the participating group blogs, and I have to say I would have loved the camaraderie of a crew, watching each other’s backs and covering for each other’s groggy moments.
Also, next year? Mobile. Please! If I do it again, I’m definitely doing it from somewhere other than my office because oh, lordy I grew so sick of this chair it took me over 48 hours to plant my butt in it again to write this post!