Blogathon 2009 starts in 9 hours!

I’m terrible at planning things and I tend to procrastinate so it shouldn’t be any surprise that I spent the evening before the start of the Blogathon running around trying to get last minute hardware rounded up. One of my goals was to broadcast a video stream live from my stereotypical blogger basement so everyone can watch me desperately trying to come up with two posts an hour. However I wasn’t entirely happy with the performance of the web cam I bought a few months back. It seems it wanted to eat up the majority of the USB bandwidth available which made for quite a bit of lag on the video. I thought it was because I had too many things running off the one USB controller (keyboard, mouse, USB headset, and web cam) and my motherboard had some extra USB headers on it so I ran around trying to locate a USB hub I could cram into a drive bay and hook to the motherboard headers. Nearly 20 local computer stores later I finally found one that had a combo multi-memory card reader/USB port device that would fit in a 3.5” drive bay and I bought it. (Big shout out to the folks at Icon Computer Solutions in Ypsilanti, MI for being the only store to have a decent selection of parts and not try to double charge for them!) Got back home and slapped it in the PC only to discover that the web cam was still using the same controller. What the hell? Then I looked at the box it came in a little more closely. It says it’s compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1… which means it’s a 1.1 device. Sonofabitch!

That’s when I started checking around for an inexpensive USB 2.0 web cam at local stores on the web. Alas most stores that would carry such things shut down around 9PM and it was quarter to 9 by the time I found something that might work without breaking the bank and was available locally. Then I remembered that JethricOne had a web cam that was probably USB 2.0 so I called him up and asked if I could borrow it for the ‘thon. A quick trip over to his place to pick it up and I was back home in time to do some testing of the Ustream.TV service I’ll be using tomorrow with the help of ***Dave and Solonor.

Needless to say that ate up pretty much my entire afternoon/evening from the time I got out of work until just now. I never did get around to picking up any snacks or anything to munch on tomorrow so I’ll have to rely on whatever is handy in the house. Anne worked a double today and she’ll be going back in at 7:30AM for another double tomorrow so I’ll be flying solo for a good chunk of the ‘thon. Speaking of which, I’ve picked up one more pledge from my very own mom which puts me up to a total of $128.63 for the Humane Society of Huron Valley. It’s still possible to sponsor me if you’ve been considering it as they’ll be accepting pledges up until the end of the ‘thon Sunday morning. Start time tomorrow is 9AM EDT which means I get to sleep in compared to past Blogathons. Of course that also means I have to stay up later to finish it too. Oh well, I didn’t have any big plans for Sunday anyway.

Just four more days until Blogathon 2009!

We’re into the homestretch now with just four more days until the Blogathon wherein I will attempt to write two blog posts an hour that are witty, entertaining, and (most importantly come 3AM) coherent. Currently I’ve got four donors for a total of $80 for the Humane Society of Huron Valley which is, in all honesty, somewhat disappointing. Last time I did a Blogathon we managed to pull together $474 and I was really hoping to beat that this year. Perhaps it’s the bad economy or maybe my choice of charity this time wasn’t very appealing. I’m not sure why I’ve not had more sponsors so far, but I won’t be letting it dampen my enthusiasm come Saturday. Any extra money is still money they didn’t have previously so I’ll take solace from that.

Not that there isn’t still time if you’ve been thinking about sponsoring me this year. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money as even $5 or $10 would add up if enough people were to make a pledge. I know it’s annoying that you have to register an account with the Blogathon website in order to make a pledge, but that’s only so they can send out a reminder email once the event is over. You don’t even have to reveal who you are to me if you don’t wish to do so. And it’s for a very good cause as the Humane Society of Huron Valley is where we got Beanie from not too long ago. They’re in the middle of building a brand new modern facility that will allow them to take better care of even more animals than they currently have capacity for.

We have five days left to get folks to sponsor me (pledges can be made right up to and during the ‘thon itself) so if you decide you’d like to make a pledge then just click here and register an account. This year should be interesting as I’ll be making use of Twitter and my webcam to allow for some interactivity above and beyond just leaving a comment.

I’ll be staying up late for this year’s Blogathon!

After several emails and more than a few Tweets, I’ve decided that I will participate in this year’s Blogathon. Taking my inspiration from ***Dave’s choice of charity I’ve decided that I will be blogging for the Humane Society of Huron Valley which is the shelter we adopted Beanie from. They’ve been around for 110 years and are the only shelter in Washtenaw Country that takes in all types of unwanted, injured, lost, stray, abandoned and abused animals helping over 10,000 yearly. They are in the middle of building a new shelter as the old one dates from the 1950’s and as such is woefully inadequate in this day and age. Given the rise in abandoned animals in this economic climate it seems like they could use all the help they can get. Plus they have a number of different ways to donate which allows some flexibility on the part of folks who want to help out.

Here’s what this is all about: A whole bunch of us bloggers will be getting up early on Saturday July 25, 2009 and staying up for the next 24 hours blogging a new entry every 30 minutes or so. Some of us, like ***Dave and his comic books, will have a specific topic they’ll be focusing on and others, like me, will court disaster by relying on our ADD afflicted attention spans to find topics to blog about. ***Dave’s approach is more practical, but mine is more exciting. OK, not really, but there is a certain level of drama involved. The Blogathon will start at 0600 PDT/1300 UTC which translates roughly to 9AM local time for me. That is a bit later than in year’s past, but I’m not complaining. At that time I’ll sit down at my computer and try to be entertaining and/or informative for the next 24 hours straight.

What I’m hoping you will do is to sponsor my attempt at marathon blogging. To do that you just need to click here and register an account with the Blogathon folks and tell them how much you’re sponsoring me for. This registration is strictly so they can keep track of who’s sponsoring me and to be able to send out a reminder to donate after the event is over. While you’re there you can also sponsor other bloggers if you wish. There are a number of them already blogging for many worthwhile charities. If you’re a blogger yourself you can also sign up to participate for your favorite charity as well. Keep in mind that no money is sent to me or to the Blogathon folks! You’ll be donating directly to the Humane Society of Huron Valley. They are a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization and as such donations to HSHV are tax-deductible.

Now you may be asking yourself why should you go through all that trouble if you’re just going to donate directly to the HSHV anyway. Why not just donate to them directly and eliminate the middle man? Sure you could do that and if you’re more comfortable that way then please do so, but by doing this through the Blogathon you motivate me to try and blog coherently at 3 o’clock in the morning. Plus I’ll be on Twitter and Facebook this year and I’m looking at ways to stream a live feed from my webcam while I’m at it. No doubt I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you guys as I blog and I’ll be encouraging you to participate by sending me Burning Questions or topics you’d like to hear from me on. In short I’ll become a virtual puppet dancing for your entertainment all in hopes you’ll toss a few bucks towards a very worthy cause. You can check out past performances from 2003 and 2006 to get an idea of what’s in store. In 2003 I raised $193.25 for the Association for International Cancer Research and in 2006 it was $474.00 for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. It would be really cool if we could break the $500 mark this year.

We’ve got three weeks before the main event, but don’t let that stop you getting an early start. Go sign up and make your pledge and I’ll dig out my dancing shoes.

It’s almost time for this year’s Blogathon.

The semi-annual charity event for bloggers is almost upon us again. Yes, the Blogathon is back and scheduled to take place on July 25th. For those of you who are uninitiated, the blogathon is just like a bowlathon except instead of getting people to sponsor you to wear loud shoes and throw heavy balls at little pins you get people to sponsor you to stay awake for 24 hours writing an entry every half-hour. That may not sound all that hard, but as someone who has participated in the project twice previously I can honestly say that it’s tougher than you might think. Around about 3 or 4 in the morning your entries are often barely coherent.

As I said I’ve done it twice before, have sat out a couple of times, and a couple of years they didn’t do one. So I’m thinking about doing it again this year, but the problem is that I don’t know if I can come up with enough things to blog about. You’ve probably noticed that my daily blogging has been sporadic and short as of late and that’s largely to do with the writer’s block I’ve been suffering from. If I can’t manage a couple of posts in a day at the point then how the hell am I going to do a couple of posts an hour? With the time limit in effect it’s difficult enough to put up anything of substance and it’s even more difficult when you haven’t had anything of substance to say for awhile.

So I’m wavering on it. I’d like to do it, but I don’t know if I’m in intellectual shape to do it. What do you guys think? Would you be willing to sponsor me if I decide to do 24 hours of semi-intelligent blathering? Let me know in the comments.

Update: It just occurred to me that it might be fun to see if I could do it as either a partial or full video blog or maybe multiple short podcasts where I talk about whatever topics folks send my way. That could be fun. Hmmmmm…..

The 2007 Blogathon is underway.

Just a reminder that Blogathon 2007 is underway and although I’m not participating this year I am checking in with some of the folks who are throughout the day to offer encouragement where I can. I’ve done the 24 hour charity mambo a couple times before so I’ve got some experience with just how much of a challenge it can be. Nothing helps to keep up the morale like a comment from folks dropping by so if any of your favorite blogs are participating be sure to leave a comment or two throughout the day even if you don’t normally leave comments. It always helps to know someone out there is paying attention. Also if you have a couple of bucks to spare consider making a pledge at your favorite blogs. That’s the reason they’re involved in this weird activity to begin with.

You can start with ***Dave Does the Blog and (Parenthetically Speaking), both SEB regulars who are participating this year. I’ve not made it through my entire blogroll yet to see if anyone else I know is participating, but if you are an SEB regular and are joining in on the fun then please leave a comment on this thread saying so with a link to your blog. I’m more than happy to toss some traffic your way if I can.

No Blogathon for me this year.

You’ve probably already figured this out, but I’ve had a couple of people ask so I thought I’d take a moment and confirm that I’m not doing the Blogathon this year. The relatively short notice combined with just how weird life has been lately combined to make me give it a pass this go round. I also have to confess that I’ve been finding myself in a blog-funk lately and struggling to come up with something to write about just as a regular part of blogging so I have no idea how I’d managed 48 entries in 24 hours at this point.

However, SEB regulars ***Dave of ***Dave does the Blog and KPatrickGlover of (Parenthetically Speaking) are doing the Blogathon this year and could use your support. Well, KPG probably has TONS of supporters now that he’s gotten a bump from Neil Gaiman, but you should go check him out just the same. Check them both out. They’re good reads which is why I have them in my blogroll in the first place.