Miscellaneous thoughts from your correspondent

by Steve

Young man sitting at desk

No great sweeping theme for today’s post. Very little content or insight either. Think of it as an embellished placeholder post. Or some awkward filler. I would be a great salesman, y’know. You just want to read on, don’t you?

Tyranny of Stats

I know I harped on about stats the other week, saying how wonderful they are and all that stuff, but they have a dark side, dear reader. And that dark side in WordPress (and I imagine every other blogging platform) presents itself in checking the stats over and over to see if anyone is reading. Get a spike in numbers and feel the endorphins flood your system. People are reading your work! Hurrah! So, you check again and again, to replicate that feeling, get another rush. Nobody interested? You check just as much – you are always just one heavyweight incoming link or Freshly Pressed listing away from that bar chart looking much healthier.

It is not the most constructive behaviour. But I do think it is probably a good motivator to write more. I know success makes me want to write again, and writing helps stave any tetchiness I might have about having zero views that day.

But it probably shouldn’t be the only motivator, or I’ll end up with linkbait-y rubbish, or needy rubbish, or ill-conceived/planned/executed rubbish like this post. Yes, it has been a slow day, stats-wise.

Gone to Lunch

I remember getting my first job, in my mid-teens, and being a little disappointed that I wouldn’t get paid for my lunch break. Obviously some of this was down to a huge level of naïveté about the working world, but in my defence there was an expectation from the employer that I remain on the premises through said lunch break and generally be on hand. Which seemed like a pretty bum deal for £2.22 an hour. Or £0.00 an hour for my lunch break.

So, I’ve always been a little protective of my lunch hour. I’ve read enough stories of bacteria-infected desks and that the average actual lunchtime taken is 22 minutes or whatever to know that you have to be proactive to keep your free hour free.

It is always good to set a precedent, so from day one in a job I’ll go out for lunch. Then there is no chance of being forced to work through it. Plus, I sit staring at a screen all day. An hour off is probably sensible. And if I do that from the start nobody will act surprised when I put my coat on at 12.30.

Now, heading out is fine during the summer. I can go for a walk. I can sit outside. If it is too busy, I can sit inside somewhere, and there is room, as everyone else is outside enjoying the weather.

However, the winter is more challenging. I’m less inclined to stay out in the cold, driving rain. The indoor-y places are full. But full indoors is probably better than damp, cold outdoors. I’d dive in a pub, but that would ruin the healthy drinking plan. So, I head into a coffee shop. And people are either consuming food and drink not bought on the premises, or are eking out a cup of water/tiny cup of coffee for several hours. And taking up precious space! Space for me! If they can afford a Mac they can surely afford to buy a proper coffee, or buy one more than once every three hours. Anyway, I’ve been on this rant before, so I won’t bore you any further…boy am I repetitive.

Fantasy Baseball Failure

So, it’s not that long at all until the new baseball season. And before the new baseball season comes fantasy baseball league drafts. And every year I try to be ahead of the game, find that breakout star, avoid that surprise bust. And inevitably, obviously, I fail. This year I’m leaning heavily on the Bill James Almanac and the Hardball Times Annual. Fascinating stuff, but I think I’m probably beyond help. I may just pick the players with funny names. Or those that are reported to be in the best shape of their lives. Or who wear their socks up. Any of those systems are likely to be as effective as my study, and much less time-intensive.

Wondering what to write next

As all the above illustrates quite nicely, I’m not feeling too inspired this week. I would ask for suggestions or ideas, but I know I am too unreliable for that – I’ll only ignore/forget them and then write some rambling nonsense about something else entirely, and disappoint you, me and my three other readers.

Image from OSU Special Collections & Archives, via Flickr