About Our Appointment


I appreciate getting an automated reminder that the satellite TV guy was coming. But what I liked more was that its warning of the appointment for today said, in that slightly-overly-paused way that automated reminders get, that it would be “today … March … Tenth … Two thousand seven-teen.” Not just because I appreciate knowing it’s the call for the March 10th 2017 as opposed to the one we had for 2015 or 2022. But also because they had different voices recording the “two thousand” and the “seventeen”. And if you don’t understand why this has had me cheery all day then I can’t offer any explanation because I have no idea either. It just does.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index gained another point today when one of the analysts cleaned out the junk drawer and tossed what she found into the pile.

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Statistics Sunday: February 2017 In Review


OK, and now I should stop wasting time and look over what my readership was for February.

Oh, maybe I don’t want to look at that quite so much. Well, no, it’s all basically fine. Readership was down in February compared to January. But readership was still really high. WordPress tells me there were 1,837 page views from 1,098 distinct visitors in February. In January were there 2,340 page views from 1,361 distinct visitors. And back in December 2016 — remember 2016? — there were a mere 1,396 page views from 818 distinct visitors. In any way you mean to count that, that’s a popular month around here.

And there were 169 likes given around here in February, up from January’s 163 and December’s 137. The number of comments plummeted again, to only 15 from January’s 39, but that was a chatty month. December had 20 comments which is still .. really quite a lot more than February’s, on a percentage basis. I need to get better at writing stuff that invites comments. Or arguments, whatever.

I can come up with excuses for February’s drop. The big one is that February’s a short month. With only 28/31th as many days to get readers, even if I stay as popular, I’ll have fewer readers. But also I suspect that the story strips I reviewed the past month are at fault. Definitely the story strip recaps are the things drawing people in. Of the ten most popular posts in February six were “What’s Going On In” pieces and one of the others was about why Mary Worth looks different. Not part of the series, but kin to it. But the point is that the February strips included things like The Phantom, which is pretty clear about its narrative, or Gasoline Alley, which doesn’t capture people’s ironic and snarky imaginations the way Mary Worth does. Or which hasn’t gotten wildly crazy like Judge Parker or Rex Morgan. Also, these are comic strips that haven’t recently undergone major changes in writing or art or tone or general level of craziness.

This does imply dire things for my readership now that I’ve gone through all the major story strips, but perhaps I’ll just keep it going by going around the circle of story comics again.

For the record the five most popular pieces for February were:

Yes, it drives me crazy that I wasn’t consistent about “What’s Going On In” versus “What’s Going On With” versus, in some essays, “What Is Going On”. Also how is Mark Twain my top author for another month? I don’t know.

It seems likely that this month I’ll record my 50,000th page view around here. That’s neat as this coming week, if I keep to my post-a-day schedule, I’ll record my 1,500th consecutive daily post. WordPress says the most popular day for reading here is Tuesday, with 19 percent of page views. Last month it was also Tuesday but at only 18 percent. It’s always Tuesday for some reason. Midnight’s the most popular hour, but for February it saw 12 percent of page views, rather than the mere eight percent of previous months.

Now the roster of countries and page views, that’s likeable for the reasons:

Country Views
United States 1386
Canada 64
United Kingdom 62
Germany 61
India 55
Australia 32
Philippines 21
France 11
Hong Kong SAR China 9
Italy 8
Norway 8
Singapore 7
Japan 6
Romania 6
Sweden 6
Netherlands 5
South Africa 5
Portugal 4
Spain 4
Brazil 3
Finland 3
Greece 3
Ireland 3
Mexico 3
New Zealand 3
Poland 3
Argentina 2
Bangladesh 2
Belgium 2
Denmark 2
Indonesia 2
Jamaica 2
Kenya 2
Malaysia 2
Moldova 2
Panama 2
Serbia 2
Trinidad & Tobago 2
Ukraine 2
Algeria 1
Barbados 1
Chile 1
Colombia 1
Croatia 1
El Salvador 1
European Union 1(*)
Fiji 1
Hungary 1
Israel 1
Kazakhstan 1
Luxembourg 1
Madagascar 1(*)
Northern Mariana Islands 1
Peru 1
Russia 1(*)
Slovenia 1
South Korea 1
Switzerland 1
Thailand 1
United Arab Emirates 1(**)
Uruguay 1

The European Union, Madagascar, and Russia were single-reader countries last month too. The United Arab Emirates are on a three-month streak. I make out that there were 22 single-reader countries, up from January’s 14 and December’s 18. I also make out that there were 61 countries altogether, so I’m spread out over more of the world than in January (48 countries) and December (42).

There were, it appears, 716 followers by WordPress. Six by e-mail. I’m sure they’re all sending me to the spam bin. It still counts. Interested in being any of them? Go for it: there should be a button to follow the blog on your WordPress device in the upper-right cornere here. There should be one to follow by e-mail just below that, although given that following by e-mail really isn’t a thing maybe I’ll go move that to somewhere less obvious. You can follow on an RSS reader too, if you have one of those, and why don’t we have more of them? RSS is so good at stuff.

So what do you think? Should I go back around to reviewing the story comics and how they’ve updated since I got to them a couple months ago? That might be doable.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index dropped two points as Matthew got a rental car that has one of those key fobs where there’s nothing to put in anywhere to get the car working and he had to spend twenty minutes in the parking lot of the rental place trying to figure out how to get the engine started, and he’s got some harsh words to say to whoever wrote the index to the car’s owner’s manual.

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Statistics Saturday: February 2017 In Review


1: 11. 2: 10. 3: 1. 4: 1. 5: 1. 6: 1. 7: 1. 8: 1. 9: 1.
You don’t want to know how many times I counted this over in my head while working this out in the shower. OK, it’s a number starting with ‘3’.

Source: Time’s Pendulum: The Quest to Capture Time — From Sundials to Atomic Clocks, Jo Ellen Barnett.

1: 3. 2: 3. 3: 3. 4: 3. 5: 3. 6: 3. 7: 3. 8: 3. 9: 2. 0: 2.
You don’t want to know how many times I counted this over in my head while working this out in the shower. OK, it’s a number ending with ‘3’. Don’t think I didn’t keep going back and forth about whether to put ‘0’ at the start or the end.

Source: Advertising and the Transformation of American Society, 1865 – 1920, James D Norris.

Sunday: 4. Monday: 4. Tuesday: 4. Wednesday: 4. Thursday: 4. Friday: 4. Saturday: 4.
You don’t want to know how many times I counted this over in my head while working this out in the shower. OK, it was ‘1’. But I’m still thinking whether I should have redone this to put a border around the plot like I did above and don’t think that isn’t going to bother you from here on in.

Source: Labor and Capital In 19th Century Baseball, Robert P Gelzheiser.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

Two more points up and we’re still attributing this to the new pens even though we lost one somehow between setting it down on the table and then getting out a pad of paper and sitting at the table and how does that even make sense? Well, still. New pens. And we have them.

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From The February 2017 Scraps File


As often happens, free to a good home. Text is not guaranteed to be free of mites because, hey, free mites! You know?

I’m rotten at choosing clothes. You can judge that from the slightly pained but amused look on my love’s face when it becomes obvious that once again I’ve dressed myself. If you can’t see my love’s face, I’m sorry that you’re missing such a fine experience. But instead look at any picture of people from the 70s or 80s and identify the person wearing the most regrettable outfit. I’ve worn that as recently as Tuesday. I don’t care. They’re clothes and I’m happy to wear them. — Cut from something or other I was writing about clothes because I realized it was a topic I’d already done a couple time already recently. Warning: this is really only useful by you if you dressed in spectacularly bad fashion in the 70s and 80s and have overcome it by looking at how much my love winces at you today.

The Wikipedia statement: “The Tasmanian rainforest is considered a Gondwanan relic.” — I know, I’ve put this out before, and taken it back in before too. I keep thinking I could do something with this because it’s got so many nice features. I mean, it even has “Gondwana” right there in a prominent, easy-to-notice spot. But then I try tucking it into the middle of a piece and I realize I’ve got nothing. It’s a shame, I tell you. Please especially let me know if you get something going with this.

I was easy to track anyway because I was watching Land of the Lost. — Cut from some piece or other that was getting all autobiographical because I’m still easy to find and for the same reasons. I’m talking about the 70s show because the 90s show was just embarrassing. I mean, they had a treehouse, cool enough, but the also had a truck? How are you supposed to believe they’re roughing it when they’re stomping around a lost, timeless world in a truck? Ooh, they only have the four CDs that happened to be in the glove compartment to listen to? That’s not roughing it, that’s a Kampgrounds of America weekend. Also there’s one episodes where the Sleestak gain the power to turn the dad of the 90s Show family into a turtle. The family turns him back at the end, but there’s never any explanation why the Sleestak can’t do that again, or why the rest of the show isn’t just a constant tug-of-war between the pro-turtle-dad and anti-turtle-dad forces. Maybe it is. I haven’t watched all the episodes. I just think the power to turn dads into turtles is a universe-breaking possibility. We don’t talk about the movie.

Literally. — Trimmed from the follow-up to any joke I’ve made in which I describe what actually is in a silly way. I’m coming to accept that it doesn’t make the joke better if I dare people to go check that I did my research and things really are like that. It also doesn’t help if I want to remind them that I did some clever bit of wordplay, like the way I used “fashion” in explaining the first clip up there. See? You maybe were faintly amused without knowing why when you ran across it, and now that I’ve gone and emphasized it, you like me as a person less. Maybe you even like the concept of me less. I should cut this entire paragraph except then I have to put this paragraph back in the scraps file lest I break the rules of blog-scrap-file sharing!

An earnest young woman who starts out by declaring that you’re all lesbians, and did revelation that blow your mind? No? Maybe you didn’t hear it enough. Is your mind blown now? Perhaps if she restates her thesis and supports it with how she and her girlfriends will go to movies. In short, lesbians. — Cut from open-mike night because they had too many people signed up and as she was ready to go on stage someone from the Chinese restaurant next door came over with a basket of eggrolls and passed them out because that’s just the sort of thing that happens, somehow, as if that were perfectly normal? Weird.

Pardon me, please. — Cut from every time this past month I said “pardon me, please” to someone I was trying to get around, apparently, based on how I couldn’t politely get around someone and instead had to plough zamboni-like through them. I don’t know, maybe it was just a bad February or something. Don’t mind me.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose like thirteen percent today and don’t think we aren’t all pleased as punch about that. We mean Fanta Zero Fruit Punch flavor from the Freestyle Coke machine that the person in line ahead of us at Wendy’s took way too long to understand.

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Statistics Tuesday: What January Meant For My Humor Blog


And now, just a little late, I get around to reviewing my readership numbers for these parts (and parts of parts) for January (for 2017). It was a well-read month for Another Blog, Meanwhile. It may have shown me my true blogger-calling.

So in January 2017 there were, WordPress says, soem 2,340 page views from 1,361 distinct visitors. That’s way up from December 2016’s 1,396 views from 818 visitors, and November’s 1,219 views from 708 visitors. It’s my most-read month since the Apartment 3-Gocalypse and that time I got named in The Onion AV Club. (This is the sort of complicated, obscure thing I think is a good joke. The AV Club article didn’t name me, even though the article was written by a guy I knew from Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfic-writing, but I used his offhand description of me to give this blog its name. Now that I have explained this you understand why it is appropriate to be amused.)

That fact, and the list of the five most popular articles this past month — four of which got over a hundred page views each! — tells me something important in what people like from me. January’s most-read articles:

Mark Twain I imagine popped up because it’s a pretty good piece people might have heard about but not known where to find. I’m happy to keep them from learning about archive.org if it’s any good to me. The Popeye pinball reappeared because a thread on pinball site Tilt Forums about awful, awful games referred to it. Popeye has a really crazypants backstory you have to see to believe, and then not believe.

But the rest is all me explaining story strips. Just like my Apartment 3-G narration. All told six of the ten most popular essays were explaining story strips. People want to know what’s happening in the story comics, without actually reading the story comics, for which I can’t blame them. I mean, I enjoy them, but they are a lot of padding and reaction shots and repetitions of what was already established and sometimes you just want to know why everyone is all tense today. I’m glad to discover this need and my ability to fill it. It’s just a shame I figure I’ve got two weeks before I run out of newspaper-syndicated story strips. I don’t figure to move on to web comics. There’s too many of them, for one thing, and nothing in Endtown needs explanation until that point two-thirds of the way into a story when it’s impossible to guess what’s going on or why.

Now to page views per country, so far as WordPress tells me anything:

Country Views
United States 1926
Canada 64
United Kingdom 57
France 35
Germany 35
India 29
Australia 23
Ireland 11
Mexico 11
Hong Kong SAR China 10
New Zealand 10
Philippines 10
Italy 8
Spain 8
Sweden 8
Vietnam 8
Netherlands 7
Singapore 6
Trinidad & Tobago 6
Finland 5
Israel 5
Japan 5
Argentina 3
Austria 3
Bangladesh 3
Cambodia 3
Norway 3
Portugal 3
Brazil 2
Egypt 2
Kuwait 2
Poland 2
South Korea 2
Tunisia 2
Armenia 1
Denmark 1
Ecuador 1
El Salvador 1
European Union 1
Kenya 1
Madagascar 1
Mongolia 1
Pakistan 1 (*)
Puerto Rico 1
Russia 1
Serbia 1
Uganda 1
United Arab Emirates 1 (*)

Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates were single-reader countries in December also. No countries are on a three-month single-reader streak. My “European Union” visitor is back, or replaced. I make this out as readers from 48 countries, with the United States strikingly dominant there. 14 single-reader countries. In December there were 42 countries listed altogether, 18 of them single-reader. So I suppose despite appearances the world is getting a little better, at least by that measure.

What else is there to measure … oh. There were 163 pages liked around here in January, up from December’s 137 and November’s 134. There were 39 comments, which doesn’t sound like many for the number of page reads, but that’s better than December’s 20 or November’s 14. I think the secret is to say wrong stuff about the comics and then people will come in to try fixing it.

February started with the page here having got 47,049 page views from some 25,045 distinct viewers or other. And WordPress claims I’ve got 711 followers on WordPress, plus six by e-mail. For at least the third month running the most popular day around here was Tuesday, which got 18 percent of page views. The most popular hour was midnight, 8 percent of page views, just like the last two months. I don’t know why Tuesday should stand out, but it’s only barely standing out.

Anyway, if you’d like to follow me, you’re probably reading this already. But there should be a ‘Follow This Blog’ link, for WordPress or for e-mail, somewhere around here. Probably on the upper part of the page, if I understand the theme right. We’ll see when someone complains I have it wrong.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose two points today and someone pointed out that could be called a “safety”. No dice. The moment is passed.

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The First Of 2017


I want people not to think I’m starting the year lazy or timid. Not so much as, say, I want people not to think I’m running one of those mail-order scams where you send in some money every week for a year and then finally I send an associate over to spit in your nostrils. Just the idea of that makes me woozy. But starting the year lazy or timid is on the list of things I want people not to think about me. I also don’t want them starting the year trying to copy-edit that sentence. I want it to be a better sentence too, but there’s no doing it. All that even the best copy editor could do with that sentence is drag it across a mile of pavement and shoot it. I’ve tried. You can see where it left a trail of abraded participles down past the Blimpie’s and everything.

It’s a problem I have every new year. A new year offers the best chance for a new start that you can hope for without abandoning your identity completely and setting up shop under a new name in a new city in a new state in possibly a different time zone and using a transparently fake accent. That’s too much work for anybody, especially when they don’t want to lose their whole DVR queue. But you can at least start off the year doing things a little bit different and see if that delays how imminent the doom feels.

Like there’s this thing where it’s good luck to say “rabbit, rabbit” first thing the first day of the month. Probably that’s extra good to say first thing the first day of the year. I guess after waking up the next morning. If you aren’t going to say that then you want to say something that’s going to set the year on a positive tone. For me that ended up “what the heck are the people in the next room doing?” Because they had some low-level rattling noise going from about 8 am and you don’t want to hear someone practicing their small drum in the hotel. If we discount that on the grounds I fell right back asleep then my first words would be something like “the hotel Internet still isn’t working,” which didn’t get the year off on any better footing. It’s enough to make me wonder if I’d be better off starting the year with my mouth taped shut until I’m quite sure I have something worthwhile to say.

It would not, because I’d need lunch. And where to have the first lunch of the New Year? Home? Where’s the fun in that? The bagel place while reading the alt-weekly to see how its crossword puzzle has gone wrong this week? Great except the place is apparently closed for the holiday? Maybe I could wait until later in the week to eat? How about to the Obviously Used To Be An Arthur Treacher’s Fish And Chips That’s Carrying On Without The Arthur Treacher’s Name And Still Looks Like It’s 1989 Inside? That’s tempting but who can be sure they’re open on a holiday, or any other day? The sign out front might be rotating, but we’re pretty sure that’s just because it’s a breezy day. There’s the Kewpie Doll restaurant but we’re pretty sure that’s always closed. Once again, paralysis.

Or there’s just being online. Someone could start the year off right by saying just the right thing in the right social hangout. Here’s a thread arguing how on Star Trek: Voyager it’s just absurdly implausible that a Vulcan could have black skin instead of dark green skin. I check the calendar. No, it does say it’s 2017. Possibly everybody is confused on the point. I would understand, since 2016 gave us all the experience of living in a year whose every book about will be subtitled Twelve Months That Changed The World. But we do have to be going on to 2017. The alternative is taking a gap year between 2016 and 2018. I admit there’s some appeal to that. But it’ll leave us with something like twelve months of our feet dangling loose and we can’t do that either for some reason. Probably having to do with parliamentary procedure. Well, this could be just the right flame war to kick off the 2017 Pointless Online Arguments Season. Oh, the thread’s locked.

So there’s my paralysis. Get the new year off to any decent start? I can’t figure a way to do it. If you have any please write, care of some department. Use the right typeface! Meanwhile I’ll be in here, not doing anything because there’s no starting. Send help, if you can even.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index dropped two points and fears it’ll never get out of the Philadelphia airport. It would like to, and it’s been following signs to the exit, but somehow the signs always end, no longer pointing to anything, without giving any hint how to get out of anything. It’s kind of eerie and suggests that traders are caught in some fairy tale about the futility of trying or something like that.

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