Following the Stats

January 12, 2014 at 8:15 am (Blogging) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The new year has started and I am overly consumed by statistics. Work is ruled by stats as we look at how we performed over the last year and here, at my blog, WordPress has sent out their annual stats report.

I am conflicted about how useful stats are. In university one of the most interesting books I read was a slim tome called How to Lie with Statistics. It was first published in 1954! I’ve looked at the value of statistical reporting differently ever since I read this book. Still, this is the world I live in – a world that wants me to track everything statistically. I most prove my worth with numbers!

In 2013 my blog was viewed about 11,000 times compared to 2012′s 24,000 views. But then in 2013 WordPress changed how they collected this data. They now look at views vs visitors where they use to just count each view. It’s hard to think about 11,000 individuals reading my words over the year. Did they enjoy the words? Did they understand what I am trying to say and to do? Do they like my words? Do they like me? Do I blog to be liked? Should I blog to be liked?

My most popular post is Polytechnique (the movie) for both years. I suspect that this is because of the heart graphic that illustrates the post. The heart graphic is a very popular image search result in Google. My best ever day was June 25, 2012 with 817 views. Most visitors who find me via searching come mostly for the heart border and lily or tiger lily pictures which are common images/pictures that I use on my blog. I love taking pictures of lilies.

In 2012, I had visitors from 145 different countries which dropped to 138 countries in 2013. Which countries stopped reading me I wonder? How many countries are there in the world? Google says around 196 – could I get a reader from every country? Does anyone? Yes, I could get more visitors by publicizing my post, following others or interacting via comments more but is this what I want.

1837

The question becomes “Why do I Blog?”

When I started my goal was to write a blog post a week and I’ve mostly done that. Occasionally, the post is a short “no post this week” and 2013 had a lot more photo meme posts than any of the other years. 2013 was a bad year – I dealt with a lot of major & minor issues this year but I still wanted to be committed to writing a weekly blog post. Photo memes, like this and this, helped me do that. Plus, I found a lot of interesting blogs to read by seeing who else was participating in these memes.

When I started blogging I used more words and less pictures. Now, I use less words and more pictures. I’m proud that in just over 5 years, I’ve written 283 posts and have 137 drafts (mostly just short point form ideas) to draw from.

My goal is not to blog for the stats. My goal is to write a blog post per week as long as the muse entices me too.

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Beginning

January 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm (Blogging) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

To begin.

The possibilities are endless.

To play. To have fun. To enjoy. To play.

Circular definitions.

When did I last laugh?

To begin anew.

To begin.

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Surprise: Fences, Walls and Shadows

January 27, 2013 at 10:13 am (Blogging, Meme) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I go out for my morning walk without my camera because I just plan to walk; it’s too cold to fiddle with a camera and really, how much has the landscape changed anyway!

However, Friday’s photo memes are peculating in my head.

Walls and shadows. Shadows and walls.

Angel Shadow

Shadows are easy. It’s an early morning walk; the sun is just coming up and it’s at my back. I just have to remember not to get my shadow in the picture.

The most interesting things about the picture I don’t even notice until I get home  and start manipulating the image. My focus as I shoot is on the smiley face. I don’t notice the angel shadow to the left and is that Santa’s sleigh still stuck on the roof?

Shadowed House
My Shadow
By Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
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The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.
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He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
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One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
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Wall or Fence
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Walls are trickier. If you go to Ailsa’s post you see that one of her pictures, which she names a stone wall, I would call a stone fence.
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Was the Berlin Wall a wall or a fence? What’s the difference?
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A wall is, according to the dictionary, any of various permanent upright constructions having a length much greater than the thickness and presenting a continuous surface except where pierced by doors, windows, etc. A wall is used for shelter, protection, or privacy,  to fence in an area, etc. A wall encloses, shuts off, divides, protects, borders, etc., example: to wall the yard.
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While, a fence is a barrier enclosing or bordering a field, yard, etc., usually made of posts and wire or wood, used to prevent entrance, to confine, or to mark a boundary.
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I guess it’s just a matter of idioms (see definition number 2 here). What I call a fence, you may call a wall. What you call a wall, I may call a fence.
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Enjoy these shadows and walls from my wintery, always unexpected, morning walk. Remember, surprises are everywhere.

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This Is How I Blog

November 25, 2012 at 8:15 am (Blogging) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I am a meticulous person. I like my life and everything in it ordered and precise. So when I started blogging I developed a  tendency to plan out all my posts well ahead of their post dates. I still like to do this.

Below is a link to my blog plan for part of this year (Jan – Aug):

Blog Plan 2012

I blog (mostly) a post every Sunday. I always blog about Halloween, Remembrance Day and Dec 6th as close to the day as possible. I sometimes post about National Talk Like A Pirate Day (Sept 19th). I sometimes do book reviews. I sometimes, when my other plans are thwarted, do a photo meme or two.

However, I am happiest when I can follow the plan!

A neat corner of my neat desk at my last job…

This week I couldn’t follow the plan.

I planned to do part three of Places I’ve Lived, a once yearly series I’m doing on a semi-regular basis. But! the post would need too much prep – I’d have to do the floor plans and scan them; I’d have to find a picture. And my scanner/printer is not hooked up to my new computer yet! Even though I’ve had the new computer for over a month!

I had in my head, all week, the thought that my next blog post was planned out and suddenly realized last night that it was not.

So, what to do? What would this post be about?

I couldn’t do a photo meme. I had just done a photo meme last week.

I could peruse my too long list of saved drafts. They’re not full drafts. They are idea drafts: lists, questions, memories, quotes, poems and various other sundry ideas that are percolating in my brain on any given day.

Don’t you just wish, some days, that you could switch off your brain? I do.

Out of my 116 drafts, nothing really jumped up at me. None of them waved their arms around going, “me, me, me – write about me!”

My magnets precisely organized on my fridge (and never used)…

Then, out of the blue, Serendipity struck (seized, smote, smited) me.

I read. I read too much (over 200 books so far this year plus ebooks plus magazines plus newspapers plus).

I’m 69 pages into an amazing celebrity dual memoir.

Are you intrigued?

It’s a father/son book. It’s a book written by a father and a son from a contemporary Hollywood dynasty.

I don’t read many memoirs written by men (and even less written by fathers).

Fathers; now that’s a complicated topic!

A meticulous pile of quality chocolate (nom, nom, nom)…

So, here’s my post about blogging and an intriguing book (that would make a good present for a father or a son but not my father – like I said, “it’s complicated”).

I plan to finish the book tonight (Saturday) and this blog post will go live tomorrow (Sunday).

If you ask me in the comments if the book stayed as good as those first 69 pages I’ll answer.

This is how I blog – meticulously, and occasionally, off the cuff.

How do you blog?

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. Along The Way: The Journey of a Father and Son

. by Martin Sheen & Emilio Estevez

. with Hope Edelman

. Toronto, Ont: Free Press, 2012

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Travel Theme: Mystical

November 18, 2012 at 8:15 am (Blogging, Meme) (, , , , , )

Today you get two for the price of one.

Where’s My Backpack does a weekly photo challenge and today is my first time participating. Her theme for this week is Mystical.

I don’t remember where or when I took this picture. I think it was winter. I know it was night. This is one in a series of four colours – the green seemed most mystical to me.

This globe reminds me of a crystal ball and I want to stare deep in its depths and foretell the future (my future or your future – it doesn’t matter which).

WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge this week is green and though they asked for gallery I’m just going to do one picture.

So, there you have it – two for the price (free) of one!

Now go forth and enjoy everyone else’s green and mystical photos.

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Creating Words

June 24, 2012 at 8:15 am (Blogging) (, , , , , , , )

This week, I am posting two photos for two different challenges.

The first challenge is “words” over at Photo Friday.

The second challenge is “create” over at WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge.

Enjoy and I’ll see you next week!

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Photo Friday: Floral

March 11, 2012 at 8:15 am (Blogging) (, , , , , )

I use a point and shoot camera; usually set on automatic with no flash. The first picture is from my trip to Scotland and the second was taken around my neighbourhood.

I am a very amateur photographer.

My advice to the women’s clubs of [the World] is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.
~James McNeill Whistler

Remember to work for equal rights always and not just on International Womens’ Day, March 8th.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

January 29, 2012 at 8:15 am (Blogging) (, , , , , , )

“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

Emily Dickinson

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter

January 1, 2012 at 8:15 am (Blogging, Weather) (, , , , )

Winter; it’s finally here. The snow was too late for the holidays. There was no skiing or sledding then. Even today, there is less than an inch of snow shadowing the sidewalk that my front window overlooks. However, that hasn’t stopped the neighbourhood children from having fun. There are a chorus line of snow angels, made perhaps by a two or three year old child, cavorting down my sidewalk.

Someone is having fun.

I’m sitting here wishing for snow (a blizzard). As I write this it is New Year’s Eve but I am expected no where tonight or tomorrow and wish to be engulfed by a million snowflakes as I sit inside and read.

Winter: Five Windows on the Season is a Canadian book praising our coldest of seasons. Here are a few reviews. I’m not reading this book  now – I’ll save this one to read on a hot summer’s day. Right now, I’m immersed in steamy mysteries.

Happy New Years. Go and enjoy a walk outside where-ever you are.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Possibility

October 16, 2011 at 2:01 pm (Blogging) (, , , , )

Today’s blog post is brought to you via WordPress’ Daily Post feature; it is this week’s photo challenge.

This week’s photo challenge is guest hosted by Jessica Spiegel of the WhyGo Italy travel guide. Read on for more about this week’s theme!

“As far back as I can remember, I have loved taking and looking at photographs of doorways, paths, windows, and roads – these kinds of images have always invited me in and encouraged my mind to wander. What’s beyond that ornate door? Whose window is that? Where would I end up if I continued on that road?

These are what I call ‘pictures of possibility.’

This is my favourite picture from last year’s trip to Scotland.

How can I explain what this image means to me?

Is there possibility here?

What is beyond that gate?

Who is allowed out or in, as the case may be?

I love the way the light falls in this picture.

I love the contrast between light and dark. The picture would work just as well in black and white as it does in colour.

I see possibility here but I also see barriers.

One can not easily travel through this door as the light can.

The photo speaks to me on an intuitive level.

I can not explain why this is my favourite image of Scotland.

It just is.

As I am.

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