Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Members and Numbers

Those that have been reading this blog for most of it's five years of life, and there are a surprising number, know that I am not very good at the mechanical parts of Blogger. I have no idea how to track stuff and record stuff and figure out the way the blog works. That I have figured out as many statistics as I have is a tribute to Blogger's ease of use and I dread the forthcoming changes to the format that will be forced down my unwilling throat. Apparently the engineers at Blogger are bored and want to make pages and posts harder to find for stick-in-the-mud writers like me.
I like to take pictures and I like to write about them and in doing that I find relief from the tedium of daily living. It is a form of mindfulness which is important in a world that is moving too fast for my taste and changing too rapidly. Which is to say I meant to note the passing of the 500,000th page view, a number conveniently noted for me by Blogger. I noticed the landmark come and go and I forgot to say anything. As of two days ago we were up to:

Pageviews yesterday 697
Pageviews last month 18,681
Pageviews all time history 536,024

The all time pageview count is only from May 2008, a year after I tentatively started this blog and called it Key West Vespa because I intended to write about my gloriously unreliable Vespa GTS. By the time that machine bit the dust I needed to figure out a new name for the blog and I had already decided I wanted to write about more than riding a scooter. Or a Triumph Bonneville.

I find in summer when the sun and warmth of the Keys have less impact than the cold dark gloom of winter Up North, so readership drops as people go outdoors to enjoy their own sunshine. Nevertheless it astonishes me that there are 20,000 pageviews every month here. I was asked recently if I would keep blogging if people didn't read this page. I expect so was my answer, met with some scepticism. The pleasure I derive from recording the Seinfeld moments of my life are my own response to the chaos of life around me. You the readers want Key West and among the blogs I have found about this town mine is the only one that does what I want a blog to do which is record the daily street views. My blog has never attracted any attention locally which is hardly surprising as locals know the streets better than I do and I do not put myself out in public at parties and events which is how you get noticed in a town fueled by alcohol. But despite my own social limitations I find there is one more number that astonishes me about this blog. Two days ago the number of members hit the 230 mark.

Now I confess I am not completely sure what a "member" actually is but that was a gadget I was told should be on my blog so I dutifully put it there and there it sits today and grows much to my astonishment. I have tried to "send a message" when I see new pictures

appear but my computer tells me I have failed to initiate some obscure program or other and my attempts have been foiled. Consider this a belated welcome. I am not very good at dealing with comments and I read other blogs where the authors, better trained than I in public relations know how to cope with the demands of 21st century media hornswoggling. I have a Facebook page where I publish notes about essays to come but I loathe Facebook with as much passion as I loathe Ayn Rand or corporate marketing. I believe it to be as intrusive as an iPhone and it serves no useful purpose at all. Twitter is demented and in remaining true to my simple blog page I am aware that I am slipping behind in the electronic race to replace print. In a world that does revere cheerful salesmanship Brady of Behind Bars, an excellent writer, gets my vote for the most enthusiastic recipient of comments. I think he gets a gold star and a future in media consulting and salesmanship. I get an F, which is okay because I rather prefer to write my essays than hornswoggle. Brady just happens to be brilliant at both.

In some ways my blog reminds me of my motorcycle. I read motorcycle blogs and forums where people seem to prefer to talk about riding than doing the actual business of being on a motorcycle. I must have a slightly obsessive, slightly I insist, considering I have published an essay a day for five years, often more than one a day, and therefore I suppose my daily desire to ride could also be considered obsessive. So be it. But in a world of blogging where blogs start and stop, come and go apparently at random, I have no intention of stopping. I may get stale from time to time or off track (witness my forthcoming long series of pictures from Louisiana) but sooner or later I will get back on track. Incidentally if I didn't live in Key West, New Orleans would be in the top three choices of places to live. On the plus side we have: good food and music, genuine local culture and color offset by the negatives of boring flat roads to ride outside the potholed city streets and a town rotten with violent crime laced with urban squalor and corruption...tough choice as a place to live! The blogging in the Crescent City on the other hand would be, to coin a modern over worked word, awesome!

In the end though this blog is the product of my inner need to do it, not in pursuit of recognition or a desire to be nominated for anything. I do thank those of you that read it and choose to be members even though I know not what members are or may be,

...and like the man said, tell a friend about this page. Though why your friends would want to share your reading habits I really couldn't say. Honestly I make a terrible salesman. I am going back to taking pictures now, and pondering hurricane season, and wondering how it is that Alexa rates this blog the 644,000th most popular web page in the US.

Statistics Summary.

Conchscooter.blogspot.com has a three-month global Alexa traffic rank of 5,073,048. The site has attained a traffic rank of 643,695 among users in the US, where almost all its audience is located.

Isn't that weird? Or at least surprisingly high.

Signs And Symbols

I like the diving mask on Simonton Street enough that I have photographed it before close up. Here it is in full.

Cup holders on powered two wheelers have always seemed like an iffy proposition to me, especially in a town where alcohol rules. I have carried coffee on a moped in just such a holder but these days I prefer to carry the cup of coffee wedged in
my luggage and I drink the drink in peace on arrival. Certain things need to be savored not slurped (horrid word!).

An abandoned paper baking in the sun. It surprises me how quickly newsprint fades to brown in the sunlight.

Mystery is always attractive in the world of bumper stickers. I don't doubt Cullens are appalling drivers as a group.

"Hullo. I am on vacation from my desk job Up North. Have you lived in Key West all your life? Do you like it? I am looking forward to retiring here..." His wife was ready to move on judging by her body language. The church sexton with the broom was pretty patient. I often have these conversations when people deduce by my dog and not by my camera that I live here. I am very polite but I don't encourage emigration as many relocate but few are chosen.

I ate at Café Marquesa once and the waiter gave such an accurate impression of a bored irritated Frenchman I never went back. In winter wealthy retirees line up out the door to be abused at vast expense. Perhaps the bored Frenchman is suave to the wealthy. Good man, he knows his place.

Here we are, slogans in crayon are much more fun. Wide ranging, global in scope, short on details and unattainable. The joyous expectations of youth. I used to think justice for all was attainable, silly me!

It needs to be said, per the bumper sticker below, that some of us don't have bank accounts in the Caymans though I did once have an account in Switzerland when the Italian Lira was so weak it could barely crawl out of my wallet on motorcycle trips away from my Italian home. I'd stop in Lugano in the Italian speaking part of the Helvetic Republic and withdraw powerful Swiss francs to fund my journeys. In a pinch French shopkeepers accepted Swiss Francs where they wrinkled their noses at Italian Lira. Nevertheless I feel no affinity for the Romney magic underwear millionaire. I prefer seeing the Republican savagery on display caused by having a black man in the white man's house. Obama isn't my idea of a progressive but he certainly brings out the bigotry in his opponents.

A government subsidy to offer health care to the mentally and residentially challenged seems like a less bad idea than the way currently their care is supported by my insured health care costs. My co-pays support indigent care which leads me to wonder what my neighbors are thinking when they oppose the modest reforms of Obamacare.

Unknown flowers drooping over the sidewalk are Nature's bumper stickers.

And fishing floats as ornaments remind us of the tough life of commercial fishermen on the high seas.

I was surprised to see these wines for sale on Eaton Street. The wine is bottled by the son of the former owner of the failed Parrotdise restaurant on Little Torch Key. I had assumed, incorrectly, that with the disappearance of the restaurant the wines were gone too. Not at all the shopkeeper assured me.

Does it make me a snob, like the Marquesa waiter, if I confess I have no desire to drink wine slyly named after my gentleman's sausage?

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