What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Numbers. This blog is my own little catharsis and never really intended as clickbait, but sometimes I really do wonder what sorcery is behind the numbers. My view and visitor numbers have been all over the map for the last few weeks. There’s no seeming rhyme or reason for days that are up or down. Posts that I think should be a hit end up idle and those that I thought fairly bland rack up visits. After fourteen years of doing this, you might be tempted to think I’d have a clue. If you thought that, however, you’d be 100% wrong.

2. Incredulity. The number of times in the last six weeks that I’ve been asked some version of “Aren’t you starting to go stir crazy?” is telling… if only because it reveals how many people don’t really “get” me at all. I’ve got books, critters, ready access to food and liquor, the ability to have almost anything on earth delivered to my front door, and can leave at any time for goods and services that need to be sourced locally. I feel no fear of missing out. Staying home isn’t punishment for me. It’s the life I thought I was going to have to wait another 15 years to have for myself… and after sampling it, I can assure you going stir crazy is the very least of my worries.

3. Persistence. Maggie has been quite a trooper, never so much as attempting to lick or scratch her enormous incision. Keeping a certain white and brown young canine sibling from trying to lick it all the time has been my other full-time job this week. Seven days into healing and he’s mostly stopped – though not before a few full-blown screaming fits on my part. I can sense him still searching for an opportunity. I usually appreciate and even respect that kind if persistence, but in this one case, I’m going to need him to knock it the hell off.

A good month…

With 1,233 visits, an average of 40 visits per day, and a one day record of 148 visits, October was a good month for jeffreytharp.com. The only sure thing I’ve learned from running a blog this long is that you can never expect success. It’s best to go into each post assuming that you’re writing to satisfy an audience of one: yourself. That’s why I’m savoring the high points when they come – especially since the last record setting month was back in May 2011. What that trend tells me is that apparently people like to see ranting about work (May 2011 I was in the final stages of escaping my previous employer) and raging about government ineptitude (This past October saw the latest government shutdown and endless incidents of political asshattery).

As tempting as it is to chase that trend, I don’t think that’s what I want to spend all my time writing about. The reason I’ve never settled into a topical niche is that I tend to be interested in whatever happens to go on around me on any given day. Maybe that’s a character flaw, but it does give me wide latitude when it comes to picking topics. I very much like having latitude.

So with that said, I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing around here for almost four years now. I’ll keep writing, you keep reading, and we’ll see if we can’t set a new record sooner rather than later. And because I don’t do it often enough, let me just say thanks to everyone who’s reading along at home, those who impart a snarky word from time to time, throw me a like, or even just shake your head in amazement that someone would bother to manage this much schlock on the internet. This is definitely the best non-paying job on the internet, but I still have a few surprises up my sleeve for the future so let’s go ahead and plan for the best being yet to come.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Begging. Tonight’s the night when all you parents out there send your children mixed messages by encouraging them off to talk to strangers for candy. Fortunately the houses in my neighborhood are far enough apart that it’s not particularly lucrative bit of ground to cover, so there aren’t typically herds of children wandering around looking for a handout. It’s not so much that I mind the giving away of candy, but like the 4th of July, it’s one of those nights that threatens to send one or both of the dogs over the edge every time they hear the gate close or someone knocking on the door. Then again there’s the unmitigated glee when I open the door so parent and child are faced with a surly looking bald man with two barking dogs at his back… so at least there’s that.

2. Getting Close. Earlier this month it looked like jeffreytharp.com was well on its way to having its best month ever in terms of unique views. WordPress was regularly reporting daily views of 50 or 60 people. On October 3rd, the site posted its biggest single day. Since this past Sunday the number of views per day have plummeted for reasons I haven’t been able to identify just yet. At the rate they’re hitting now, I’ll be lucky to bring in 50 or 60 views this week. Alas, such are the vagaries of the internet. As October draws to a close, I’ll have to content myself with having the 2nd best month in the blog’s short history… and start worrying about how to keep November from ending up recorded as the 2nd worst.

3. Indecision. You can accuse me of a lot of things, but being indecisive is generally not one of them. Right, wrong, or otherwise, when confronted with possible courses of action I’ll pick one based on the best information I have available at the time and move out smartly. I’ll never claim to make the right decision all the time, but I’ll by God make one instead of just sitting around waiting for something to happen. Whether it’s where to have lunch or which program to throw over the side, I wish the populace at large would just stop pussyfooting around and figure out what they want to happen. Walking through life having other people’s bad decisions foist upon you is simply piss poor planning. As far as I’m concerned, any decision made on the spot is better than a great decision made ten minutes too late.

Hits and misses…

One of the most frustrating things about running a blog is that some of the posts I think will go like gangbusters end up falling flat while others that were more offhand seem to spark the most interest. Even when posting about a normally popular topic, there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for why some posts get a large number of views and others languish more or less unseen. Such is the life of a blogger – always chasing after the next “hit.” Come to think of it, that description makes it sound a little like blogging is the nerd equivalent of being a smack addict. Maybe the two aren’t as different as they seem except for the part where a blog only tends to ruin your life by sucking up all your free time and possibly getting you sued for slander or libel.

If I ever find the secret formula that’s probably just the perfect combination of topics and timing, I’ll be sure to let you know. Actually, I won’t. It will become my most closely guarded secret as I let the number of visits reach into the stratosphere. It’s more likely that I’ll continue bumping along at 20-120 views a day indefinitely, because really I’m more interested in writing about whatever catches my interest on any given day than I am writing random crap just for the sake of driving web traffic.

x1000

If you were expecting another post about the harrowing experience of packing everything you own in preparation for dragging it 900 miles across the country, I’m saving that for tomorrow. Tonight is a purely self congratulatory post celebrating the 1000th visitor for the month. Well done May, very impressive. Since half my hits lately seen to come from people looking for information on the now-defunct hiring freeze, it’s only a matter of time before things settle back to the more routine 500 view a month level. It’ll be a good long time before I gin up a topic with that kind of interest again, so I’ll savor the moment. Well, the moment and this frosty Stella Artois. Cheers!

Thanks!

I’d like to thank everyone who visited jeffreytharp.com yesterday for making it the busiest single day on the site since I set up in February. If you like what you’re reading, don’t forget to click on the “share” button on the upper right side of your screen and give jeffreytharp.com some social media love. I appreciate your support!

10,000+

I’ve been giddy with anticipation for this event (Yes, I know I’m a geek, so sue me). I’ve been obsessively checking MySpace all evening and I’m finally ready to announce that tonight my little corner of the internet passed the 10,000 views mark. You people have had nothing better to do than check in on my maniacal ranting 10,000 times. Let’s think about that for a minute, shall we?

So, tonight, I’d like to thank all of you readers who keep coming back day after day for making me a little part of your daily routine. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. And while I won’t promise limitless new and interesting content, I hope that I can at least manage say something interesting or even something insightful from time to time.

So here’s to you Mr. and Ms. MySpace Blog Reader. Let’s try this again at 20,000.