2014 in review


I know that it’s late to be sharing a “WordPress annual fireworks” post, but I have good reason to be so late: I was late. Well, and I didn’t want to break up the Ian Shoales Week set of things last week, and I try to post a big original thing on Thursday evening my time, and a Statistics Saturday bit of nonsense on Saturday evening my time, and a video of some kind on Fridays, so this is really the first chance, which is why I’m late: I was late. Anyway, here’s the movie and stuff they made for it.

I’m delighted that I was able to keep up to my goal of posting something daily, so that I have a “longest streak” of 365 posting days. Despite that there’s a single “best day”, Wednesday, with 53 posts on Wednesdays, which is about as well-organized as you could hope for from the Gregorian calendar what with its familiar and well-explained flaws. Anyway, I’ll be back with another one of these after 2015 ends, sometime in early 2016 or extremely late 2014. They used the Sydney Opera House as a reference point for my readership size.

Here's an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,600 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Statistics Saturday for the New Year, or December Anyway


First: I have another batch of mathematics comics to talk about, over on the mathematics blog, because Comic Strip Master Command was really enthusiastic about pushing math topics on unsuspecting readers for the last week of 2014.

Second: It’s a new month! That justifies looking back over December 2014 and reviewing what was popular, so it can be more popular, and what countries sent me a lot of readers, and what ones barely did. Again, I don’t understand, but people like it.

It was another very popular month for the blog: 1,251 page views, as WordPress makes it out, which is not quite the Kinks-inflated 1,389 of October but still up from November’s 1,164. The number of unique visitors was down to 626 (from 676 in November and 895 in October), but I suspect that reflects things getting back to normal after the Kinks excitement. That’s a growth in views per visitor, though, from 1.72 to 2.00, which is probably a statistic of its own of some note.

The countries sending me the most readers were the United States (973), Australia (48), Canada (35), the United Kingdom (27), New Zealand (19), Brazil (14), Slovenia (12), and Spain (11), and I admit Slovenia took me by surprise, although, hi guys. I didn’t have you mixed up with Slovakia. Single-reader countries this time around were Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sweden, and Venezuela. Belgium and Finland were single-reader countries last month (but not before that), although I see that New Zealand was last month and suddenly whoever read me then was joined by eighteen fellow countrymen. Hi, gang. My India readership grew from three to four, so that’s something.

The individual pages that got the most readers, and this is counting only 30 or more because there were thirteen that got 25 or more, and twenty that got 20 or more viewers, were:

  1. Calm Urged As Comic Strip _The Better Half_ Ends, which I guess shows how passionately people feel about a comic strip I always thought was a worn-down copy of The Lockhorns but somehow came first by a decade. I better not cross their fans anymore.
  2. On The Next Thrilling Episode Of Star Trek: The Next Generation, part of that little string I did of captioning a particularly exquisite moment of Next Generation actors in unusually shiny clothes.
  3. Little Nemo in Mathmagicland, in which I prematurely suspected Little Nemo’s caretakers of wishing him ill just because I have an irrational prejudice against volatile organic solvents.
  4. Statistics Saturday: What Average People Think Are Rodents Versus What Biologists Think Are Rodents, and again, I don’t dispute biologists’ conclusion that guinea pigs are rodents, I’m just saying, if we find out this decade that we were mistaken all along I’m not going to be too surprised.
  5. Is That Enough?, some grumbling about Christmas carols and the attempt to make one in the modern era.

There’s no good search term poetry this time around either, although there were a lot of people looking for information on The Better Half (the cartoonist gave it up for his own cartooning projects), as well as these evocative phrases: he gladest was in his fathers. for , unknown to his daughter “conrad” the old baron klugenstein, and alphabet percentages by 8 people workload, as well as mnemonic device for since and sense. For the last, I offer this: stalactites cling from the ceiling, while stalagmites grow from the ground. This won’t help with “since” and “sense”, but at least you’ll have “stalactites” and “stalagmites” worked out, and maybe make some progress on “ceiling” and “ground” too, and that’s something to be proud of as 2015 gets under way.

Finally, general readers might not know this, but WordPress has put in a new statistics page for people who want to study their own sites, and it is awful. Less information, spread out over more space, requiring more clicks: it’s like they read the modern book on redesigning computer stuff so everything about it is noticeably worse.

This Is What I Get For Noticing Stuff (Also, Mathematics Comics)


I don’t want to sound like somebody neurotically obsessed with the exceedingly minor fluctuations in his readership, but, you know, I do blog. And I noticed over the past month that I had been getting pretty consistently more than 20 page views a day, as WordPress makes this out, and I was feeling pretty good about this, since a one-day readership spike is great but people coming back regularly suggests I’m at least amusing some people dependably and 20 is a nice round number bigger than ten. And I figured, well, the daily statistics graph WordPress offers gives thirty days of results and why not see if I can get thirty days in a row of at least 20 readers per day before saying anything and come December 6th I was just all ready to have a petty little celebration and, of course, what happens but the 6th topped out at 19 views. (It’s almost as though an essay about how this forgotten Popeye cartoon was disappointing didn’t appeal to people, or something.)

Oh, I rebounded, sure — in fact, the 7th had more readers than any other of the past thirty days — but yeah, I feel like maybe I shouldn’t have started noticing things in the first place.


Anyway, Over on my mathematics blog, which has a completely different theme where the search current-favorites stuff and list of tags and stuff is on the right side rather than the left side of the page, I’ve got another article describing stuff that comic strips make me think of. I know that a lot of people get tense at the idea of mathematics, but if it helps, I don’t get into anything that requires more effort than figuring out about how many seconds there are in a year.

Statistics Saturday: A Depressingly Long List Of Countries Where I Am Not Read


I recently reached my 11,000th reader here! And more recently, my 11,111th reader. But that doesn’t mean just anybody is looking at pages here so, based on the WordPress statistics page and a list of nations of the world that I found … somewhere … here’s as best I can figure all the countries that haven’t sent me even a single reader all the time I’ve been here, as of early the 29th of November:

Afghanistan Akrotiri American Samoa Andorra Angola
Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Armenia Aruba
Ashmore and Cartier Islands Azerbaijan The Bahamas Bassas da India Belarus
Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia
Botswana Bouvet Island British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Brunei
Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Cambodia Cameroon
Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad China
Christmas Island Clipperton Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Comoros Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Republic of the Cook Islands Coral Sea Islands Cote d’Ivoire Croatia
Cuba Dhekelia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic
Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia
Ethiopia Europa Island Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) Faroe Islands Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern and Antarctic Lands Gabon
The Gambia Gaza Strip Georgia Gibraltar Glorioso Islands
Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala
Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Honduras Iran Isle of Man Jan Mayen
Jersey Jordan Juan de Nova Island Kenya Kiribati
Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lesotho Liberia
Libya Liechtenstein Luxembourg Macau Madagascar
Malawi Maldives Mali Marshall Islands Martinique
Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Monaco Mongolia
Montserrat Mozambique Namibia Nauru Navassa Island
Nepal Netherlands Antilles New Caledonia Nicaragua Niger
Niue Norfolk Island North Korea Northern Mariana Islands Palau
Panama Papua New Guinea Paracel Islands Paraguay Pitcairn Islands
Reunion Rwanda Saint Helena Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia
Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe
Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Solomon Islands Somalia
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Spratly Islands Sudan Suriname Svalbard
Swaziland Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Timor-Leste
Togo Tokelau Tonga Tromelin Island Turkmenistan
Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Uzbekistan Vanuatu
Vatican City Virgin Islands Wake Island Wallis and Futuna West Bank
Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe

Have to be honest: I’m not surprised about Cuba, North Korea, or Mongolia. And I figure Syria, Sudan, Clipperton Island, and Eritrea have better things to do than deal with me. But Bermuda? That hurts, man, and not having both Luxemburg and Liechtenstein? Well, that’s just not fair.


I’m not sure of the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the same place or not. I have a nagging recollection that they’re completely different places and I should know whether they are, but it’s embarrassing to admit that and I think I’m just going to put them in different table rows and hope nobody notices the listing because who’s actually going to read all those listed countries and see if I made up any of them?

Theme, Parked


I don’t want to brag, but I believe I’m one of the top-notch people for being vaguely dissatisfied with every WordPress theme there is. I can pull up the samples and look over the different ways they have of presenting articles and blog names and all that and almost right away see something that I’d do at least a little bit differently, like, maybe use a color, or perhaps have some recognition for there being a “cite” tag instead of just rendering it as plain text or maybe good grief, you break anything in a “cite” tag to its own separate line of right-aligned text? What kind of mad man designed this? sorry, something or other came up.

The glory of this is it means anytime I want I can scroll through the WordPress themes and find myself dissatisfied with the world at large, which keeps me from writing cranky letters to the editor about the state of things in general. Instead I can try looking up how to make my own WordPress theme, and discover that through the use of a few simple APIs and some basic knowledge of style sheets, it’s impossible to make my own WordPress theme and I should go lie down until the feeling passes. I’m getting better at that, too. When I first started it could take upwards of a half-hour before I decided I couldn’t possibly make my own theme. Now, I can go from dissatisfaction with every theme in the world, to learning how to make my own, to lying down letting the feeling pass in under ten minutes, and I have optimistic thoughts about breaking the eight-minute barrier.

Trouble In The Yard


And now it’s been literally days since our pet rabbit was last out, and so of course things are going wrong. The weed maples have been brutal, scattering all over everywhere and everything, and now some of the hostas came in to complain that some of the little trees have been ganging up and bullying them. I take this seriously, of course, as hostas are really not drama-prone plants and I just know if they’re driven to complain then some plants with lower self-esteem, like the lemon balm, are probably being driven almost out of their xylem with frustration. Don’t tell our rabbit; he’d insist that he told us so, and he didn’t say anything of the sort when we’ve talked about the yard.

PS to whoever at WordPress is in charge of stuff in general: is “xylem” a plant thing? If not pls replace with something that is. Pref not too sticky; have enough of those things that need weird-colored goopy things to clean. Tnx.

Pants Check


Sometimes I even remember to check the “suspect” comments WordPress catches because they can’t figure whether it’s a legitimate comment or not and want me to approve it. Here’s one that delighted me:

they’re already imitation pants

You can see why WordPress’s software wasn’t sure about the comment, since I think we all have at least three people among our friends who’re here to warn us about their being imitation pants already, as opposed to when we had expected on the original time-table for their imitation pants status to be fully completed. And yet I’m sincerely grateful that WordPress didn’t just junk the comment on its own, because … well, goodness, who wouldn’t want to get that warning directly, even if it is just meant to sell me something which I assume to be a device which identifies what people around me are actually imitation pants.