Thursday, November 3, 2011


It's all your fault I can't count.

I know you're there. I can't see you and I don't know you by name, but numbers don't lie. You're there. And while you're there, you could have pointed out that I had not, in fact, used my 100th post last month to commemorate the death of Steve Jobs.

It was merely my 93rd. But you let me go on like a fool, making a big deal out of it.

Maybe you were sparing my feelings and couldn't figure out a way to keep my dignity intact and explain that if I just bothered to add up all my blogs from 2010 and 2011 (they're tallied on the right column of the page, for pete's sake!), I could have discovered that on my own. In which case, thank you for your kind ways.

This is my 100th blog (I have numerous posts in draft form, and some so lame they wouldn't even make this blog). I know that, and I know you're there, because, the Google online service through which I publish these semipublic rants, tells me so, in more detail than it used to.

(Don't worry: No private information, not even names, just different ways to count how many people read each of my posts.)

Now it's got me all cattywhampus.

For one thing, change: Why?

So much change in my life, most of it for no reason that I can fathom. So often and so fervent, as if change itself is an industry; which is probably true, now that I think of it: People must have figured out a way to monetize change; it's true every time I have to upgrade graphics software, certainly.

But I digress. Someone at got bored, I think, told somebody down the line to tinker with the service, and it was so. Multiple bored people got to do something different for a while, and we have to relearn the ropes. Cha-ching.

It goes on all over the place. facebook is the most infamous. Blowback has died, but when facebook began rolling out changes a month or so ago, a lot of people expressed their hate immediately. The howls will rise again soon, because the rollouts have only just begun. My trouble is, I'm not sure how those changes changed my facebook; it seems like I'm missing stuff, but I don't know what. As a part-time facebook user anyway (for linking to this blog, making the random snarky comment and being a voyeur), I'm not the best person to talk about facebook's changes.

My local Target changed. Since last shopping there about two months ago, everything in it had been moved to the wall opposite where it was, as if a giant had spun the big box overnight. Everything but watches; somehow everything revolved around the watches, which were right where I last shopped for them.

My church has changed. Not a big change — hardly a riffle, really — but considering the years I've heard the change was in the works, you'd think it would be stunning, world changing. When the priest says, "Peace be with you," for one thing, instead of saying, "And also with you," we'll soon say, "And with your spirit also." It's supposed to be more authentic to the original texts — we're going old school!— and it's supposed to cinch the worldwide church together; I'm not sure how awkward semantics will accomplish this, but on we go, with the flow.

Yeah, yeah, I know, change is good for the soul. Change is the only constant in life. Geez, just give me a chance to use something up first, huh?

The other problem with's new metrics: What am I supposed to do with them?

Ignore them, of course. But it's like being told not to think about elephants. Exactly.

Now I'm thinking about who reads this. Time was, this was just a lazy way of writing a journal. I didn't have to buy yet another notebook, didn't have to find it each time I wanted to write in it, didn't have to write it by hand. I just open up a Web tab and start typing. I never really thought anyone would read it.

Just in case, though, I've made it an excuse to attach stuff I drew, for the fun of it. Once in a while, I write about open-water swimming. Rarely, I write about something about which I know nothing.

Those posts get the most readers. If I pay attention to statistics, the message seems to be: Don't write what you know, because no one cares.

A couple of weeks ago, for example, I weighed in on Occupy Wall Street and why I think it's going on. Thousands of pundits, many of them paid for it, have provided their view, and mine has to be the least informed.

But compared to other posts, that one was by far the most popular, getting 50,000 views, compared to my rant on financial planning, which got only 13,000. (Embarrassing, I thought tallied readership in the thousands. So that really is just 50 readers to 13 readers … well, that's a lot, too.)

So do I keep writing stuff where I'm faking my way to the end of sentences, or continue to drone about doodling, or splashing about in inky green lakes — unimportant, intimate stuff?

Should I cater to the 102 people in the United States who have viewed my page, or should I try to figure out what interests the 29 page viewers in Russia, my second highest readership, and skew new posts toward them? Would their interests conflict with the five viewers in Lebanon? Or should I just consider them all cosmopolitan in their tastes, and just resolve that I can't possibly satisfy the readers there and still entertain and enlighten the three each in Brazil, Canada, France and Malaysia? Not to mention two each in Israel and Singapore, and the lone faithful in Australia? Oy! Oy! Oy!

Their passive participation in my posts are highlighted on a world map has provided. The greener the country, the more views emanated from there.

I know from that most by far get my enlightenment via Internet Explorer on Windows Operating Systems, far above Firefox and Mac, the latter of which is how the enlightenment goes out into the world to begin with. Don't know what to do with that information. I'm not impressing the iPad, Blackberry or Android crowd at all, maybe because I'm supposed to format the blog for their viewing pleasure. Not this guy, who yesterday finally figured out where this symbol is: |. So now I can do the cool shawn turner | illustrator | phone number thing on all emails and typed matter. If I just figured that one out, smart phone formatting ain't never gonna happen.

Pie charts help me see this tremendous volume of data at a glance. A graph even shows me the approximate level of traffic per day for my posts, which show up twice a week usually. How to harness that information? It looks like mini-spikes occur at the beginning of most days; do I tweak my posts with some tagline ("What's up, Occupiers? Fight the Power!"), to get people to visit more often?

I don't know. Maybe next post, I'll write about elephants. They've been on my mind lately.

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