Ebertfest, SIFF, and My Two Year Anniversary

Dusk in Seattle

I know many of you (some of you?) are still waiting for the rest of my blog posts from Ebertfest.  Don’t worry, they’re coming. I’ll also be posting from SIFF, though I’ll be posting a separate entry for each week, instead of for each film.  The main reason for doing it this way is because I’m seeing more movies this time around, which also means I’m volunteering more, which equals less time to write about each film than I did last year.  This week, in particular, is insane.

Today alone, I am watching three movies, and one of them (La Dolce Vita) is three hours long (which I saw this morning with a nice, big crowd).  Through Saturday, I am watching at least one film a day. I get a bit of a breather on Friday (though not from movies) because I don’t work (though I do have afternoon plans).  On Saturday I’m scheduled to volunteer AND see a film, which also isn’t too bad (though I may be administering tests instead of volunteering–I’ll find out about that this week).  On Sunday, I’m volunteering and seeing TWO films.

All of this means that you may not be seeing many posts from SIFF until it’s over, though I’ll try to get impressions from week one up next weekend, if possible.  For more up-to-date news on my exploits during the festival, follow me on Twitter (@litdreamer).  I’m using the hashtag #SIFF2011 on all comments concerning the festival, almost all having to do with the films I’m seeing.

Finally, today marks the second anniversary of this blog.  Though I’ve been on WordPress a little less than a year, I started this blog with a post on Blogger on May 30, 2009 (which you can read on my WordPress blog here–and if you want to buy a poetry book, you can do so here, since the information included in that first entry is no longer correct).  Since then, I’ve grown my readership considerably, from a handful of people to about 40 regular readers.  Of course, when Roger Ebert tweets a link to my blog (as he has done twice), the numbers are a bit higher.  More than the numbers, though, I’m glad that the same people who began following my blog at the beginning continue to follow it now, just as I have done with their blogs.  Don’t know who they are?  Their names are in my one year anniversary post, and I can’t thank them enough for sticking with me, even when my writing was less than great, or my topics concerned subjects that didn’t interest them.

Finally, for those of you celebrating Memorial Day, let’s not just remember the soldiers who fought and died, nor the families who suffered, but everyone who has tried to make this world better than it was then when they came into it.

Including writers.

One Year Ago…

One year ago today, I was living with my parents, in Connecticut, after having come back from Japan the year before.  I was basically unemployed, since my only income came from substitute teaching, and I didn’t substitute teach that often.  I had use of the blue van my parents had bought to bring my sister to college her freshman year, fifteen years before, but had no car of my own.  No health insurance.  No idea of how to move forward.

That day, one year ago, I wrote my first blog post.

Amazing how many things can change in a year.

Now, I am living in a shared house in Seattle, employed at two jobs (though one is temporary, and I need more hours at the other), and am using public transportation.  I still don’t have health insurance, but provided that I can amass more hours in the coming terms at my new job, I will be eligible for benefits after working three full terms there.

As for my blog?  My first follower was my brother.  In the first few weeks of my blog, I added three more followers.  Today, I have fifteen followers (two are hidden), plus countless others who follow me on WordPress or who have bookmarked my blog.

I set up Google Analytics to track my followers on October 1, 2009, shortly after Ebert’s “The Blogs of My Blogs” introduced me to a world of blogging outside my immediate friends, and introduced me to my first follower outside my friends and family: S M Rana (who appears as “Buzz” in my followers section, for some inexplicable reason).  My first follower outside of Ebert’s blog came after I wrote a post on the movies Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.  Her name is Melee, and she recently celebrated a birthday 🙂  As of right now, about half of my followers are people I have never met.

So, from October 1 through yesterday, I have had 2,026 visits and 4,162 pageviews, with an average of 2.05 pages viewed per visit.  People spend an average of 2 minutes 35 seconds on my website.  Also, over half of the visits have been from new followers.  The most visits I’ve had in one day?  28, which occurred on Friday, May 1, 2010.  The least has been 0, but minus an error in which I removed the tracker from my blog, that has only happened once since October 1.  This month, the lowest number of visits has been 7.

The most popular page is my homepage (including whatever my latest posts are), but for individual page visits, this page contains my most popular post.  Over 68% of my Internet traffic comes from referral sites, with only 12.34% coming to my site directly (which is a fancy way of saying that most of the people who read me are following me on their blogs or via their Google accounts).

The most interesting piece of information, however, is that I received hits from 69 different countries/territories.  The most (by far) come from America, at 1,220, with India coming in second, at 313.  Then Canada at 87, Japan at 42, the UK at 38, Uruguay(!) at 32, Australia at 30, the Philippines at 28, France at 25, and Egypt at 18 (which may, in fact, be the work of one man).  I could go on, but those are the top ten, and I think you get the idea.

When I first started writing this blog, my main purpose was to have a place to sell copies of my poetry book, even though it took me half a year to figure out how to add the “Buy Now” button in my sidebar.  And I can’t even claim credit for that idea.  I mean, I did have the idea for selling through a website, but it was my brother who showed me how to set up my blog.  So, thanks dude! 🙂

As I wrote, however, I found that I could use this space to write about things not covered in stories, poems, or novels, things like philosophical musings, opinion pieces, personal essays, criticism, movies, books, music.  This format allowed me to write short pieces that I had been mulling about for a while, and may give me an outlet to try out some short stories in the future.

But no writer can write in a vacuum.  I mean, we can, and I would, but it’s no fun if I can’t share these musings with other people.  So, thank you all for reading, and for sharing your writing talent with me.  Not only have I read some truly wonderful posts from people–which has, in turn, helped my writing become better–I have also met some wonderful people through my blog, who I haven’t had the pleasure of actually meeting yet.  It’s funny how, when there’s no one around to talk to, I come here, to my blog, to Twitter, to hang out with some of the most interesting, creative, and fun-loving people that I know.  And trust me, just by being on the web, you encourage my literary dreams to no end.

Thank you.