Friday, August 17, 2012

Gotta Catch 'Em All: A Contest

About a week ago, I tweeted that when I reached 900 Twitter followers, I would celebrate by having a contest on this here blog. On Wednesday, I hit that 900 mark. (It didn't last long…dropped back down to 897 and then hovered at 899 for over a day, like a golden flounder nibbling at the bait. It finally finally grabbed the hook Friday evening.) So here is the promised contest.

In my last nerdtastic post, I showed you how to build a pangram machine in Excel. Not one that will generate pangrams for you, but one that will help you build and streamline your own. If you took the time and effort to create that pangram machine — or if you wussed out and just downloaded the completed spreadsheet — you are all set for this contest, which is this:

Create a New Pangram (and make it awesome)

The rules

Pangram 2
Pangram 2 (Photo credit: chrisinplymouth)
Create an original, interesting pangram (a sentence that uses all 26 letters of the alphabet) of 65 characters or less and submit it to the comments below before noon-ish on Saturday, August 25. The 65-character limit is random. Pangrams are fairly easy if you can just write until you hit all the letters, and 65 sounds like a nice, not too-easy, tweetable length.

You can enter multiple times, but please make each new entry unique. And I mean unique. I will, at the very least, Google the entries. If they show up somewhere else on the Internet, I will flip off the monitor and remove your entry from the running.

And I really mean unique, too. A sentence about doxies jumping over fogs will get you nowhere.

Ella Minnow Pea
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The prize

The winner will receive my personal copy of Mark Dunn's Ella Minnow Pea, a fun little epistolary that anyone who enjoys pangrams will get a great kick out of. If the winner already owns or has read Ella Minnow Pea, I will be happy to substitute either Anne Lamott's bird by bird or Steven Pinker's Words and Rules.

These prizes are actual, physical paperback books. Some of you, I'm sure, have gotten so comfortable with your e-book readers that this actually needed to be stated. So I did.


The judging

I am the sole and final judge of this contest, but I reserve the right to pester friends and nearby strangers for their opinions. I also reserve the right, if your entries are just too damned awesome, to decree the contest a tie and award prizes to multiple entrants. (And I would love to face that dilemma.)

Entries will be judged on originality, wit, and readability. ("Mr. Jock, TV quiz PhD, bags few lynx." wouldn't fly well here.) Puns can earn you bonus points.

Results will be posted here sometime on or probably soon after Monday, August 27, 2012.

The fine-print, cover-my-butt stuff

I am not associated in any way with Mark Dunn, Steven Pinker, or Anne Lamott or with their publishers. The prizes are good books from my own personal shelves. Ella Minnow Pea even has an inscription from my mother in it. And the last page of bird by bird bears a note in my hand that even I don't understand.

By entering this contest, you attest that you made the pangram yourself, and that you aren't the type of unethical, opportunistic dick who would plagiarize someone else's work in hopes of snagging a free paperback. You also agree to let me reprint your entry — whether you win or not — on this blog and (maybe) on Twitter. I will of course give you credit for it.
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