AS THE LEAVES FALL, SERENDIPITY REMEMBERS

Every year, when the leaves fall and the ground is crunchy, I get a rush of nostalgia. Autumn for me is the start of the year. It’s the time of squeaky new leather shoes, of brand new notebooks and pencil cases. Book bags. A new winter coat and new wool skirts because I grew out of last year’s clothing.

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In the spirit of harvest, I thought I’d give you a dozen or so favorite posts from the last year. They aren’t necessarily the most popular posts because popular taste and my taste sometimes differs.

So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite posts. Kind of an author’s potpourri.

THE NANNY TRIAL – A TRUE STORY OF AMERICAN JUSTICE  - Did the young British nanny kill that infant? Even all these years later, no one is sure what really happened.

TERTIARY SOURCES. LIKE ME. – How alarming is it to realize Wikipedia is referencing me? It gives one pause for thought.

HANGING OUT – GREENWICH VILLAGE IN THE 1960s – The way it was. Hanging out. Before cell phones. Before computers. Before cable. How did we survive? We had to (gasp) talk … or (yikes) … read!

YOU MADE THAT YOURSELF? – A humorous look back on why I do not make my own clothing. And why I shouldn’t even try.

DON’T DRINK THE KOOL AID: THE JONESTOWN MASSACRE - The ultimate statement of what happens when the lunatics are running the asylum. Too horrible to think about, too important to forget. This is one of the most-viewed of my nearly 3,000 posts.

I JUST WANT TO FEEL BETTER: A MANIFESTO – Feeling lousy is not a medical condition and wanting to feel better isn’t the goal of medicine. What’s wrong with this picture?

OY VAY! GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER? – When a relative from the Old Country hops through a wormhole and lands in your living room just in time for dinner.

I sort of feel like Garry trying to pick his ten favorite movies. I have nearly 3,000 posts in archives. These are but a sampling of favorites from the past 12 months. There are many more, equally — maybe more — deserving of mention.

So I promise to do another “best of” post. Probably several. According the sages of WordPress, this is a good way to get you guys to go rummaging through the archives. Feel free to rummage. There’s a lot of stuff there.

200,000 VIEWS. THAT’S A LOT, HUH.

When I took a quick peek at my stats this morning, it was obvious I was going make a milestone today. I was going to hit 200,000 views. Golly whizzakers. That is a lot of hits.

Indeed, sometime while Garry and I were speeding down Route 91 from Vermont towards home, Serendipity slipped quietly over the line. When I plugged in my computer a little while ago, there it was.

Welcome home.

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Thing is, you can see this stuff coming. After you’ve been blogging for a few years, you pretty much know — in round numbers — how many hits you are going to get on an average day. I’ve been getting — usually — 300 to 400 hits. Sometimes less, occasionally more.

I only needed 200 to reach 200,000.

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Thank you, all of you, for visiting Serendipity. For liking me. For looking at my pictures, reading my stories. Supporting me when I needed help, sympathizing when I was sick. Even though most of us have never met, you have been wonderful friends. This has been a difficult year in a lot of ways, but my connection to all of you — those I know and those who are hidden — has carried me over the worst of it.

I’m not sure exactly what I did right … but obviously something. I never expected this little blog to be as successful as it has been. I haven’t got a formula or any special advice except to say whatever you are doing, do the best you can. Post the best stories, pictures, art, recipes, whatever. Publicize your stuff on Facebook and Twitter because that makes a difference, no matter what anyone says.

Then, persevere. Because so much of succeeding in the virtual (and real) world is hanging on and not giving up. That, and having good friends who care and are willing to show it.

HOWLING AT THE MOON? ANOTHER ZERO RESPONSE DAILY PROMPT

Howling at the Moon? Today’s Daily Prompt is — again — not working. You’d think with all these apparently stubborn problems, they would give up and use the old coding with which no one ever had a problem, but they are like toddlers who want that particular cookie … even though there are none in the house and Mom doesn’t want to go shopping.

Never mind. Mediocre analogy.


Evil Squirrel of Evil Squirrel’s Nest felt this prompt needed a picture, so he created one for me. I think this little graphic vastly improves the entire post which was previously undistinguished.

Now … it’s ART!

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Howl at the Moon — “Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” — Allen GinsbergDo you follow Ginsberg’s advice — in your writing and/or in your everyday life?

If you actually know what this means, I invite you to explain it to me. I always rather liked Ginsburg as a poet, but I never thought he made much sense and I still don’t. I have never literally howled at the moon, though I have participated in a group howl with our dogs. If I howl alone, they will often chime in, each in his or her own key and it can be quite musical, if you like that kind of thing.

But I doubt that’s what this prompt is talking about. I don’t know what it says. That life should contain some madness? It does and I don’t have to do anything to partake. Life is insane without my help. Otherwise? Insane writing? I use (mostly) grammatical English, which isn’t particularly mad. Or crazy.

Inanity as another way of saying creative? Unique? Ginsburg always overstated everything.

Whatever this means, it doesn’t matter because it’s broken anyhow.

Check out Martha Kennedy’s response. I love it.

MORE STATS AND STATS – 5,000 BLOG FOLLOWERS

5000 followersStatistics are a hot topic among bloggers. Some of us obsess over them. I don’t obsess exactly, but I’m aware and interested. I take a daily look. Usually.

Over all, things are looking up at Serendipity. There has been a slow but steady increase in readership over the past 7 months. It’s encouraging — and today I breached a threshold.

FOLLOWERS

I’ve got 5,000 blog followers, the only followers I feel I can (more or less) accurately count.

I have no idea how many Facebook “friends” check out my blog. I suppose a majority of them occasionally check out a post, but most are linked to me because we play (or played) the same game(s). A few hundred more follow me via Twitter and Tumblr. I have no idea how actively they follow. I have no idea how actively anyone follows unless they comment or otherwise make contact.

WHO IS ACTUALLY READING ME?

I’m sure at least half of my 5,000 blog followers are no longer actively following me or were never really following me at all. Some are spammers and con artists, pornographers, trolls and troublemakers. I don’t hear from the real weirdos … and there are a few of them, too. The conspiracy nuts, the ones who are planning to overthrow the government but hopefully lack the skills to do more than rant.

Many followers sign on hoping I’ll do a reciprocal follow. I don’t. Won’t.

For anyone who wants me to follow them, I often check out sites because a comment catches my interest. Don’t send your link if you haven’t read a post or two on my site. I’d just as soon you not send your link at all. If you comment, I’ll have all the information I need to find you. Sending your blog’s link as a comment is rude.

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PAGE VIEWS 

Everybody’s numbers fluctuate. They go up and down without any obvious reason. Unless it’s a multi-week nose dive, I don’t worry about it. Usually, there’s no apparent reason. Or, it can be a seasonal thing. Holidays, the weather, political stuff — all these and dozens of other factors will change what people do online. I used to fret over it, but my recent life has been so stressful, I decided to make blogging a stress-free zone.  I know if things get slow, they will pick up. Eventually. Blogging on the same site for three years has taught me patience.

And, of course, I’m a wild card, maybe the biggest wild card. Because I’m the primary writer. I post every day and have for more than two years, only missing the period when I was too sick to do it.

Even at the best of times, all my posts are not brilliant. I have inspired days and blah days. Sometimes, I think a post is terrific, yet no one agrees. Other time, I think a post is dull, pedestrian — but it gets tons of hits. Go figure. I’m definitely better at gauging my work than I used to be, but that brings me up to maybe 50%. The rest of the time, I think I’ve got it nailed, but I don’t.

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THE COOL KIDS

I keep hearing that there are “cool” bloggers who are hyper popular and garner all kinds of awe and adulation. Everyone (apparently) wants to be one of the cool kids. I don’t actually know who the cool kids are because I avoid extremely popular sites. They are so busy, it’s impossible to have a dialogue with anyone. Or at least, I can’t. I’m not going to line up to be heard.

I think there is a tipping point when a blog becomes an enterprise. It gets too busy, too professional. I’ve seen blogs morph from personal blogs to businesses. I wonder if the bloggers even realized what was happening.

The first symptom? They stop responding to comments … or only respond to a particular group of followers. If I comment but never get a response? I will stop reading and following. I don’t require 100% reciprocity, but I need some acknowledgment. If you are too busy to ever answer my comments, you are too busy for me.

TAKING A LONG VIEW

I prefer to take a long view of statistics. I have yet to match, much less exceed, the numbers I made in November 2012. I had a lot of help that month. We had a highly controversial presidential election and a super hurricane which conspired to make the Internet a wild and crazy place.

I’m getting back up there gradually, month by month. Statistically speaking. This time, maybe it won’t be a fluke and it will stick.

Then again, maybe not. I’m sure I won’t post every day forever. I’ll get tired someday. Not soon, but eventually. Nothing is forever. Definitely not me.

A LITMUS TEST FOR FRIENDSHIP?

Litmus, Litmus on the Wall – If you had to come up with one question, the answer to which would determine whether or not you could be friends with a person you’ve just met, what would it be? What would the right answer be?


Does anyone remember for what litmus paper actually tests?

From the ubiquitous source of all knowledge and frequent misinformation — Wikipedia — comes this enlightening but incomplete (please feel free to conduct your own research) definition:

Litmus is a water-soluble mixture of different dyes extracted from lichens, especially Roccella tinctoria. It is often absorbed onto filter paper to produce one of the oldest forms of pH indicator, used to test materials for acidity. Blue litmus paper turns red under acidic conditions and red litmus paper turns blue under basic (alkaline) conditions, with the color change occurring over the pH range 4.5-8.3 at 25 °C. Neutral litmus paper is purple. Litmus can also be prepared as an aqueous solution that functions similarly. Under acidic conditions the solution is red, and under basic conditions the solution is blue.

I’ve yet to determine the “litmus test” for anything other than PH balance. Like in a tropical fish tank. You need to know the PH there or the fish will die. Otherwise, I don’t know anything about tests. I never know which posts will generate the most hits or comments. I have no idea who will turn out to be the person I can turn to in time of trouble. All my best friends became best friends because we liked each other, enjoyed each other’s company. Probably shared similar taste. There was no litmus or any other test. We hung out and couldn’t get rid of each other.

People and life aren’t a formula. There’s no single thing to indicate the potential quality of a friendship, the probably value of a relationship, the likely longevity of two hearts that resonate to each others’ rhythms.

I hade my face because I cannot bear the shame. Oh the horror!

I’m sure I’d never pass anyone’s “friend test.” Probably, assuming I could create one, not even my own. I don’t believe in standardized tests. Not in the schoolroom and certainly not in relationships.

As for standard litmus testing, I’m pretty sure I have a pH. If an actual litmus test were applied, I would definitely pass. Everyone would pass a litmus test because … (drumroll, trumpets) … you can’t fail a litmus test. There’s no correct answer and no passing grade. (Throw that bum out! His pH is way too low!) If my mother was any kind of judge, I’m too acidic, though there are days when I feel distinctly alkaline.

Since surviving my brief fling at youth, I have opinions, but I don’t test. I have standards. I don’t argue with stupid people. I’m referring to folks who combine blissful ignorance with strong opinions. I suppose there are a few other points, political, intellectual and social (don’t chew with your mouth open), but no test. I like people or not. I like what I like and I don’t know why. I don’t want to analyze it. Does that make me a loser? Or, as they say on Facebook, a looser? I’ll bet my problem is when I have nothing to say, I say nothing. That’s gotta be it!

If you want to be my friend, I promise you’ll never have to pass a test of any kind. Not a litmus or any other test. My love and loyalty are test-free, organic, and earth-friendly.

The ‘Internet Slowdown’ Is Coming: Tech Giants to Protest FCC’s Net Neutrality Proposal

 THE FIGHT FOR NET NEUTRALITY IS EVERYONE’S FIGHT

Etsy, Kickstarter are holding a day of action on September 10 as the deadline approaches for public comments on the proposed ‘fast lane’ rules.

Source: www.entrepreneur.com

This is a fight we cannot afford to lose. No matter how little of the technology you understand, we all use it. Cell phones, Netflix and other WiFi television connectors, computers, Kindles. Much of our lives are based on the availability of fast, dependable Internet connections.

If we lose this fight, we will be looking back on these days as those glorious days when we were all equal on the net … because we won’t be any longer.

See on Scoop.itIn and About the News