In one year and out the other

(Disclaimer: This post is about me and my blog.  I’m not that interesting.  Go here to read about the recent destruction of the gods at Ragnarok.)

(Disclaimer 2: There’s a thank you to my readers at the bottom of this post.  Skip down there if you’re the type that enjoys a good thanking now and again.)

In random factoid news, today is the one year anniversary of A Labor of Like.  In other words, this blog has outlived its expected lifespan by roughly 500%.

As I have mentioned before, I started this blog as a distraction to keep a certain Muse from tricking me into writing a book.  (I will let Toni remain nameless.)  I expected that I would archive my stroke adventures here, maybe write the occasional anecdote, vent a little bit about things that bug/offend me, and eventually get bored and drift off.

Things didn’t quite work out that way.  In fact, this whole experience has been very different from what I expected.  And I learned some things along the way.

(Disclaimer: My personal lessons may not be interesting to you.  Go here to read about intrepid explorers trapped in a hostile environment.)

  1. Somewhere early on, I decided to mostly drop the “wisdom” side of the blog, and focus on the wit.  In my personal life, I have some very strong opinions about the world around us.  And I’ve tried my hand at little essays on issues that interest me.  But I realized that I would rather make people laugh.  Whether it’s talent, skill, or knack, I’m good at making people laugh.  (It’s hard to be self-deluded about being funny — the feedback is right there.)
  2. Somewhere along the line, the bulk of my posts shifted from personal anecdotes and observations to a sort of fake news digest, where I will see a story online and blatantly misrepresent its basic thrust, take quotes out of context, and grant anonymity to made-up sources for any or no reason, just like a real internet news site.  Over time, my blog has become a sort of window on a strange parallel universe, where Egypt is in a Cold War with Wyoming, monkeys and robots vie to see who can apocalypse first, the frontiers of science are policed by Hot and/or Bright Stars like Danica McKellar and Scarlett Johansson, and the cosmos is colored by an imaginary second-grader named Miranda.  (I use the links where possible to maintain some continuity, and to explain the running jokes about cosmic butterflies and how all women look 23, for the people who wander in off the street.)
  3. As I’ve continued blogging, I’ve developed a personal rule: Write the words of a man who’s better than you are.  Then try to keep up.  That’s why you won’t see vulgarity or ranting here.  (Disclaimers: I don’t swear in my personal life, and I reserve the right to rant about the monkey apocalypse.)
  4. The biggest surprise of all is that I really enjoy this.  Two of my closest friends were part of the improv troupe I joined 20+ years ago.  (Disclaimer: I will not use their names, because they go by Mookie and Sparky, and I don’t want to be known as the kind of person whose friends are named Mookie and Sparky.  They both know this and understand.  Also, I’m pretty sure they’re not imaginary.)  They both have talked about the need to perform, and how they missed it when the opportunity wasn’t there.  “Performing” isn’t really my thing, but I’ve come to realize that I need to make people laugh.  The world is a more tolerable place when people are laughing.  And there’s so much out there to laugh about.  I enjoy pointing it out.
  5. I am really long-winded, and have an unnatural fondness for disclaimers.  (Disclaimer: I knew about the long-winded part.  The disclaimer fetish was hitherto unknown to me.)

Now, because I’m a numbers geek, here are some numbers that surprised me.  (Disclaimer: I told you I’m not that interesting.  Go here to read about the dangerous job of being the Sexiest Woman Alive.)

  • 221 posts  That’s roughly one post every day and a half for a year.  And given how verbose I am, that’s well over 100,000 words.
  • 189 followers  When I started this, I told exactly 12 people, all of whom had at one point or another suggested I turn the stroke saga into a book.  While I will put the occasional post on Facebook, and mention it in casual conversation, I make no effort whatsoever to publicize it.  “What did you do this weekend?”  “Oh, wrote on the blog a little bit, went to Barnes & Noble, the usual.”  (Disclaimer: See, still not that interesting.  Go here to read about Depeche Mode and their lack of.)
  • 3773 page views  On an internet the size of, say, the internet, this is trivially small.  It is also surprisingly inaccurate, given that I have seen posts get 3 likes, but no views.  But again, for a remote corner of the internet with no lights outside and no signs pointing this way, I’m stunned.
  • visitors from 85 countries  This is the one that floors me.  Two-thirds of the visits are from the U.S., but according to the (surprisingly inaccurate) stat counters, I have had visitors to my blog from such internet hotspots as:  – Malaysia  – Kazakhstan  – United Arab Emirates  – Bosnia-Herzegovina  – Bangladesh  – Uzbekistan  – Syria  – Botswana  – Moldova  – Every country in Europe except the Czech Republic (Disclaimer: I had to go check that Moldova was a real country.  I could have sworn it was the mythical country where they had the big massacre on Dynasty.)
  • search terms  OK, technically this is not a number, but it’s another of the things I look at to figure out how the Kazakhs and Bosnians got here.  These are a few of the things people searched for, and what they found here:

Seriously, who goes searching for mind control in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?  But the most interesting to me are the poor souls looking for something serious who end up here.  For example:

And my all-time favorite, which took someone to the home page of this blog:

    • “words of wisdom for someone in labor”

I just desperately want to know how that went over in the delivery room.

Finally, as promised, I want to offer a huge Thank You to the people who have taken time over the past year to read the lunatic ravings of this brain-damaged engineer on a quest to make people laugh.  I hope I have succeeded, and God’s willing, I hope to continue from now until the spam-hating inhabitants of Gliese 526 come for their revenge.

Share and enjoy,

John

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