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It’s New Year y’all: time for clean-ups , clean-outs, decisions and resolutions! So YAY for the Winter 2016 Mini Bloggiesta!!!

Bloggiesta logo

It’s high time I had a good look at Graasland. My blog has been comatose for a long, long time now, with only a sporadic sign of life during (mainly) readathons. It’s not that I don’t like blogging, nor do I lack inspiration. It just takes up so much valuable time. I tried several ways but haven’t been able to get it under control. So I got frustrated. Also, my attention diverged more to 3.0 social media (well, really just Instagram folks ;) and I don’t surf the web nor read as many weblogs as I used to years ago. A big part of the fun is interacting with other bloggers… Oh, and did I mention my return to 1.0 art of letter writing?

Now what do I want???

The past year I’ve been selectively building my Bloglovin‘ list and this is working well for me. I don’t get as easily overwhelmed seeing new posts from different sites in one consecutive stream. Unfortunately I have a lot of trouble commenting on posts from Bloglovin’, but I enjoy following again – and miss the sharing myself! This weekend I am using to decide if and how I’ll revive Gnoe’s Graasland. Realistically.

I’m only able to technically participate on Sunday, so today I’ll do my thinking bit. And some of the tasks I’m able to manage while ‘on the road’. In my Bloggiesta to-do list these are marked with an asterisk (*).

Bloggiesta to-do list

  • ✓ Decide future of Graasland *
  • ✓ Clean up Graasland (i.e. remove irrelevant buttons from sidebar, irrelevant pages)
  • ✓ Post Bloggiesta to-do list
  • ✓ Visit other Bloggiesta participants’ blogs * [done and ongoing]
  • ✓ Write one post (next to this one)
  • Fix back-up procedure main computer!! [in process; turned out a big job]
  • ✓ ETA: fix failing Instagram widget in sidebar
  • ETA: backup after Bloggiesta

Bloggiesta wishlist

  • ✓ Update About-page
  • ✓ Post Books Read in 2015 [drafted and planned]
  • Post Films of 2015
  • Email and post about crowdfunding project donkey sanctuary!!
  • Plan 5 year anniversary ExtraVeganza! (deadline January 27th)
  • Post about snailmail hobby
  • Check for missing images *
  • BuJo mini-challenge
  • Clean up e-mail (mini-challenge) *

Added future tasks

  • ETA: clean up Notes app iPhone *
  • ETA: write bento lunch post for VeggieChallenge newsletter (deadline before April)
  • ETA: claim blog on Bloglovin’ once Bloggiesta post is no longer sticky
  • ETA: check for broken links

Wish me luck! ;)


Yup, it’s that time of year again: curling up on the couch in comfy clothes, with cats (!) a fleece blanket and a pile of books to read. Who cares it’s cold and dreary outside? I don’t – it’s rather perfect for fall 24 hour readathon!

Introduction Survey (mini-challenge #1)

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

  1. Utrecht, the Netherlands (Europe, obviously)
  2. Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell ^_^ It’s actually a present I bought for a dear friend needing a care package but I can’t resist reading it -carefully- first.
  3. Well it can’t be the apple cake I didn’t bake… I guess it’ a cold soy macchiato! And I bought myself a whole load of vegan cookies *grin*
  4. I love animals more than books, especially (my own) cats, donkeys (!) and wildebeests. ‘Gnoe’ is Dutch for gnu and I got this nickname in highschool as it’s rhyme with my real name.
  5. I’m not going to be hard on myself. Just chill and have fun. Change my reading spots and don’t forget to go outside (yay audio books!)

I will mostly be updating on Instagram today!

Are you joining me today?

Pedro Bloggiesta logoJust came home from today’s outing and I wanted to write my final report on the Bloggiesta before I go to bed. Just briefly — I’ll elaborate on things laterrrrrr because I’m dead tired. I got up extra early this morning to finish what I was doing last night when my head crashed down on the keyboard!

I’m really pleased with all the work I got done. As always, everything took much more time than expected; I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much. But I feel very accomplished, especially because I hadn’t planned to participate in the Bloggiesta this weekend!

I tied up some loose ends (as you can read in yesterday’s post) and I got one BIG job done that had been bugging me: writing my part of the Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman buddy review with Elsje. Her side of the story had been put into words ages ago… I really like reading & collaborating with her, so in the interest of possible future projects it was important not to keep her waiting any longer! Let’s see what’s she’s got to say about it all now.

In total I invested… 21 hours! That’s almost double of what I originally aimed for when I stumbled over the starting line :) I’ll check my numbers tomorrow and let you know how many were put into the community (twitter, commenting etc.) and how much I actually spent on working on my posts and blog. I put 5:05 hours into the community (twitter, visiting participants, commenting) and actually spent 15:55 on my blog & writing posts. Olé for Bloggiesta!

Finally I’d like to say that I’ve made the right decision not to participate in any mini-challenges. It helped me stay focussed — something I found difficult last time (as well as during the read-a-thons I participated in). Something to remember for next time! Better mark my calendar for January 2011 ;)

Bloggiesta Finish Line

Pedro, the Bloggiesta logoAnother day has come (I’m always happy when it does ;) and it’s time for some more serious blogging. I won’t be able to participate in the Bloggiesta fiesta tomorrow, so today I’ll need to get my act together and work on reviews. Elsje will be happy to know I’m starting of with my thoughts on Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman so I can send them her way again :)

I’ve crossed off the following tasks in yesterday’s to-do list:

  • finished my posts about The Telepathic CSA Supervisor and Indo Bento #105 (including a recipe for Indonesian corn fritters)
  • added the last of missing annual lists of books read (in 2002) which prompted me to import old (Dutch) review material to link to (the Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugrešić and Schimmenrijk by Rosita Steenbeek). On the background I’m also working on an index page for reviews…
  • I’ve made a back-up of Graasland; such an easy job in! Just go to Extra (or Tools) in your dashboard, choose Export and press the Download Export File button. I’ve never had to re-install my back-up but I hope it’s as simple as this :)
  • I also did a lot of commenting, cheering, tweeting (making even more friends!),
  • and finally gathered all my posts containing a recipe or link to a recipe on another website in the Recipe category.

I still have an important question relating to wordpress categories and trackbacks/pingbacks to my own posts. Maybe someone can help me out?

I do not want links to my own posts to show up as pingbacks. I know how to do that: by leaving out the ‘http://’ before the url i.e.
<a href=””>

.. leads to my Pepsi veggie test post without showing a trackback in the comments. BUT. When you’re in category view like Recipes, these links turn up dead (Error 404)! What to do? Of course I like other people’s pingbacks to show so no way I’ll uncheck the ‘allow’ button ;)

An option would be to use complete links but then I’d need to remove each of my own pingbacks manually… #lazygrrl :( And it would be a HUGE job to fix all the old links! I’d need a Bloggiesta month for that ;)

Well, better not worry about that right now and concentrate on the tasks still on my to-do list for Day 2 of the Bloggiesta.

    Cover Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

  • write 1 book review, preferably David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
  • spend 30 minutes on cleaning up old imported posts (tagged ‘Uncategorized’; 9 left) > actually 11 now because of the new imports relating to Books Read in 2002
  • [work on my buddy review with Elsjelas of Murakami’s Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman]
  • [write my guest post for the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge]
  • [report about David Mitchell’s talk in Haarlem (combining it with my review of ‘The 1000 Autumns‘ will probably turn out too difficult)]
  • [review Shusaku Endo’s Silence (Japanese Literature Book Group read for June & my first book in the 4th Japanese Literature Challenge)]

Shusaku’s book group discussion is not on until the 28th of June, so no need to hurry with that. I’m tempted to start with the easy job of cleaning up uncategorized posts but I won’t procrastinate any longer and start my work on Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman!

Please cheer me on?

Bloggiesta starting line
Yay, the third Bloggiesta has started! I can’t believe I almost missed it… I guess I haven’t been paying attention to twitter nor my feed-reader. My excuse is that I have this annoying cold — which I probably got from David Mitchell when I saw him in Teylers Museum on Saturday, so who’s complaining ;) Of course I should have just marked my calendar for June’s Bloggiesta right after January’s.

Anyway, although my head feels like $%#@&*$#$ and I’ve got other plans for the weekend, I’m going to try and squeeze in some tasks from my Graasland to-do list. Can’t let a Bloggiesta party go by without participating — especially since I really need it at the moment!

Before Monday 8am (GMT+1) I hope to spend 12 hours on the following jobs:

  • backup my blog ✔
  • finish most recent backlog posts about this week’s csa vegetable bag and today’s bento (how convenient that I don’t need to take a break for preparing lunch because it’s already waiting for me!) ✔
  • write 1 book review, preferably David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
  • spend 15 minutes on putting previous posts containing recipes (or links to recipes on other websites) in the Recipe category I created a short while ago ✔
  • add archive post for books read in 2002
  • spend 30 minutes on cleaning up old imported posts (tagged ‘Uncategorized’; 9 left)

Bloggiesta logoI probably can’t do it all in the set amount of time — especially since I plan to visit, comment on, cheer & tweet other participants as well and I really need my sleep these days — but at least you know what my priorities are. I’ll probably leave the mini-challenges for what they are ;)

If possible I’d also like to work on some other posts that have been high on my priority list for quite some time (the ones that are really bugging me):

  • my buddy review with Elsjelas of Murakami’s Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
  • my guest post for the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge
  • report of David Mitchell’s talk in Haarlem (combining it with my review of ‘The 1000 Autumns‘ will probably turn out too difficult)
  • review of Shusaku Endo’s Silence (Japanese Literature Book Group read for June & my first book in the 4th Japanese Literature Challenge)

So much to do, so little time ;) How fortunate that Mr Gnoe is dining out and will be home late today! :))

April’s task for the 2010 Blog Improvement Project consisted of writing as many different styles of posts as possible. Preferably one post each of 14 appointed types… (the link will bring you to the complete list in the BIP website).

I took the challenge and managed to do 6 of these :\ Okay, plus one scheduled to be up in May. So you could say that I got halfway done! These are my entries for the challenge.

Short Post — less than 200 words

Gossip Grrl (198 words)

Climbing Mt. Murakami: bookshelf List Post

Climbing Mount Murakami (Murakami’s books; read & to read)

How-to Make a Japanese Switchback Cut How-To Post

How-to: Make a Japanese Switchback Cut (for your bento or buffet)

Hanami Bento 2010 (#97) Long Post — more than 700 words

Hanami Bento 2010 (900+ words)

Gnoe en route to France 1979 Personal Post

My First Favourite Book

My Sakura Collection Resource Post

My Sakura Collection (where to get treasures like these)

Interview or Guest Post

In May my motivational guest post will be up at the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge weblog! Link will be added afterwards.

(Not counting my short post on the Kookgrrls’ Weblog)

I got more out of the BP-Bingo than I had expected. And it was fun to do! My real problem was not a shortage of ideas (I got plenty), but a lack of time :( Still, our April mission made me look at blogging with different eyes. I think Graasland got more varied in only one month, and I learned it’s okay to just post lists or links. Even better: they are appreciated! That’s my impression from the comments and tweets I got anyway :) It’s interesting to see what kind of posts attract visits and reactions — although that could depend on the topic as well, of course ;)

BIP 2010 buttonThe bingo triggered me to finally publish about some subjects that were on my todo list for ages; like the switchback cut instructible, my Murakami list and the guestpost for the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge. Which resulted in a more diverse blog topic-wise as well, not just in style of post. I hope to keep it up in the future! I think I’ve started well with my May posts, and a planned duo-review of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman with Elsjelas, who buddyread Murakami’s collection of short stories with me.

That brings me to two notable absentees in my posts for the BIP Bingo… I did not write a single review in April, nor did I do a poll. Of course reviews are a regular feature on Graasland, so there’s no need to challenge me on that subject. Although I have a huge backlog… And it would be great to try out different kinds of reviews, to see whether I can find a less time-consuming way of writing :\ I decided against presenting Gossip Grrl as mini movie review because 1) they’re more nano than mini, and 2) I wouldn’t want to count one post for two different post types.

Poll posts I’m familiar with as well: up until now I’ve posted 3 of them on the Kookgrrls’ Weblog. My April contributions to that blog might be considered guest posts, but since it’s sort of a communty blog that I participate in, I decided on a more challenging option and presented an existing idea to the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge hosts. All in all I feel quite accomplished!

The hardest part? You would never have guessed: I struggled immensily to write a post with less than 200 words..! LOL

Stats: 1578 views on 18 March 2010

Such a coincidence. Before I even read about the new Blog Improvement task to promote members of ‘my group’, I had already plugged vvb32reads blog to an online friend via Twitter — deciding she would definitely love it. I’m a “credit where credit’s due” kind-a-grrl so I usually do a lot of linking and recommending anyway. Well, hear this: it’s good for karma!

Yesterday Graasland was talked about in one of Holland’s trendy newspapers: nrc next. The topic was bentos (of course ;) Good thing I got my bento butt kicked last week! Although my latest lunch — the one that everybody is going to see first — was erm… not one I’m really proud of :\ Oh well, these things happen. Hopefully they’ll have a look at my complete Bento category. And I got plans for a great bento stash this weekend: poppy seed scones! So I hope to stun you again with my next bento, #95 :P

I heard that columnist Janneke Vreugdenhil got a tip about my blog from a tweeter (twitter person). How cool is that? And I wouldn’t have known about the column at all if another tweep hadn’t mentioned it to me. Was there ever a life before Twitter? ;)

Thanks to the article, stats went up yesterday to an awesome 1578 views! Aw. #faint

Here are some cute new bento goodies to look at while Gnoe is recovering ;)

An early taste of Easter: bunny marshmallows and cute onigiri makers

Or, you can hop over to Bento Babe who wrote a nice post about my newly acquired fame ;)

I’ve subscribed to this year’s Blog Improvement Project (BIP) since it seemed a nice way to do some regular housekeeping on Graasland. It could be argued that maintenance isn’t really improvement, but I think it is :) And maybe you do too, after you’ve looked at my to do list(s). Tasks are in no specific order.


  • clean up 11 remaining uncategorized (imported) posts
  • check and replace old images (location)
  • clean up tags

Add / Change

  • index page(s) for book and film reviews
  • import (Dutch) book reviews from old museum website
  • add ‘Books read in…’ posts for 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
  • maintenance / werk in uitvoeringtranslate or summarize Dutch book and film reviews in English
  • check glossary and update if necessary
  • finish draft posts ;)


  • make cheat sheet with special characters like ō
  • put together index page cheat sheet

Stuff to think about

  • when to add which tags?
  • claim domain and migrate?
  • or change to more flexible wordpress theme?
  • Gnoe's cat iconpersonalize header pic (if possible)?
  • declutter sidebar?
  • change categories into clearer topics?
  • change gravitar & favicon?
  • add Dutch summary to rss-feed for each post from now on?
  • find blogging buddy?

Oh, and I still want to check out The Bloggie Cult mentoring program and forum! Although that might lead to a longer list of things to do ;)

Well, the Bloggiesta is over and I’ve had FUN. I’m going to repeat the things I achieved at the end of this post, so you don’t have to re-read them all (it’s just for organization purposes). Neither am I going to sum up the things I didn’t get to. My to-do list was HUGE and I’ve hit a dent into it ;) Thanks to the nineteen-and-a-half hours I’ve put into Graasland this weekend. Also, I visited several other participants and cheered them on in the comments. Don’t know how many though ;) This week I hope to work some more on my drafts backlog. I shouldn’t wait until the next Bloggiesta, which will take place in June! If I don’t have any other obligations at that time (like Mr Gnoe’s birthday…) I will definitely join again. Note to self: do not get distracted by mini-challenges ever again. *focusssss*

Thanks to Natasha of Maw Books Blog for hosting the Bloggiesta and all others that have contributed to the fun. Let’s hear three times OLE!

Bloggiesta Finish Line

Want to know what I achieved?

Sunday, actually most of the weekend, was dominated by my first Bloggiesta. And it’s not over yet, so I’m still having fun! Even though I didn’t get as much work done on Graasland as I had hoped. Especially regarding my review backlog… :(

Anyway, following last week’s Sunday Salon about the books I read in 2009 I made some pie charts on:

  • gender,
  • fiction/nonfiction,
  • original language.

I forgot about statistics on authors new to me: 22 of 34!

Yesterday I finally finished reviewing my best read of 2009: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. That is such a relief! Post scheduled for later this week.

I decided to cut back on challenges this year that require me to write reviews. That means I have to stick with the ones I’ve joined until now — and maybe even drop out of the What’s in a name? challenge. Unless I’ll be able to write really short reviews, or even just comments on the challenge blog. Let’s not be too radical at once ;)

During the week I finished reading 2 books, one of which belongs to the What’s in a name? challenge, category ‘title’ (Professor):

Both were VERY good, so I’m off on a good start this year! :)

My Gnoegle map of Bookcrossing releasesThanks to the Bloggiesta I added two challenge pages to Graasland: current and finished. That way I could declutter my sidebar of old challenge buttons. But I replaced them with something new: a Gnoegle map button leading to my Google map of Bookcrossing releases. I completely made it myself! *solliciting compliments*

One of the things you’ll be able to find on the Gnoegle map is team De Boekenleggers’ release in week 10 of Bookcrossing Convention Monopoly. Search for Een echte Lizzie kerst (A Real Lizzie X-Mas) on page 2. It was hung in a real life Christmastree and happened to be the 200th release of the game!

Which reminds me of some other Bookcrossing related activities I participated in last year, that haven’t been mentioned yet on this blog.

Being in the mood for archiving I also added two posts to Graasland about books read in 2005 en 2006. And I have updated my profile on the Bookcrossing bookshelf. Such a lot of maintenance I got done! HOORAY!

So, how was your week???

The Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!


Currently grazing

Challenge logo

Gnoe herding...