During February 2003 on diamond geezer I kept myself busy by counting things. Ten different counts, to be precise, in a none-too thrilling daily feature called The Count. My 28-day tally chart may have been deathly dull to the rest of you, but I've continued to count those categories again, every Februarysince, just to keep tabs on how my life is changing. Below are my counts for February 2011 (also available in graphical form via Daytum), accompanied by the previous statistics and some deep, meaningful pondering. I know this is a bit premature because the final results won't be confirmed until midnight, so for now the figures are best estimates. But I'll come back and update them later once the final data is known.
Count 1 (Blog visitors): Up 7000 visitors on last year? How did that happen? There's the world convinced that blogging's dying on its feet, yet visitor numbers here are more than 20% up on last year. I'm not doing anything different, honest, so I can't think of an obvious reason why this rise should have taken place (unlike certain previous Februaries it's not due to external linkage). I won't dwell on how RSS feeds make readership data increasingly unrepresentative anyway, but 2011's looking good. Thanks for that. Total number of visits to this webpage in February 2011: 37200 (2003: 2141) (2004: 6917) (2005: 9636) (2006: 42277) (2007: 23082) (2008: 32006) (2009: 26048) (2010: 30264)
Count 2 (Blog comments): I thought blog commenting had peaked, laid low by Twitter, Facebook or whatever community you lot spend all your time in these days. But seemingly not. After a couple of leaner years, responses are back on the up again. Even better, most of these comments are sane, relevant, insightful and kitten-free. I'm delighted, obviously, because a daily conversation beats verbal tumbleweed blowing across everything I have to say. So thanks for that too. Total number of comments on this webpage in February 2011: 558 (2003: 166) (2004: 332) (2005: 463) (2006: 648) (2007: 566) (2008: 504) (2009: 472) (2010: 396)
Count 3 (Blog content): This turns out to be my most prolific February yet, which is pretty much what I said last year. I'm now averaging more than 800 words a day, at which rate it only takes a few months to add up to the length of a short novel. I always mean to keep it succinct, but then there's something extra I want to add and before I know where I am I've written another daily essay. You'd still read this blog if I wrote a bit less, I know, but something keeps driving me to write a bit more. I need to learn to ease off a little. Total number of words in diamond geezer in February 2011: 23120 (2003: 14392) (2004: 16214) (2005: 16016) (2006: 15817) (2007: 17102) (2008: 17606) (2009: 20602) (2010: 21595)
Count 4 (Work/life balance): Daytum provides a fascinating way to visualise my February as a purplish pie chart (reproduced here), and 2011's graph has turned out to be mostly similar to 2009 and 2010. I work about a quarter of the time, which may not sound much but it's still more than I'm contracted to do. I'm pleased it's less than last year - my work/life balance is improving. I sleep an average of six hours a day, which I bet is less than you, but it's still longer than I spend in the office. Only 8% of my time is spent on the move, mainly because my daily commute's mercifully quick. And that leaves nearly half my life for everything else - eating, blogging, socialising, visiting, tellying, slobbing, that sort of thing. Thankfully I'm extremely good at dragging things out to fill the time available, because there's a lot of it, but oh the joys of being footloose and offspring-free. Total number of hours spent doing stuff in February 2011: 672 (=24×28, obviously) 2011 - (work: 158) (rest: 172) (play: 290) (travel: 53) 2010 - (work: 177) (rest: 163) (play: 280) (travel: 52)
Count 5 (Nights out): Ooh, nine. That's my best result since the hedonistic days of 2003. Admittedly two of those nights out were enforced sociability in a Yorkshire hotel and one was a consultation event at a local library, but most of the rest were genuine attempts to be convivial. There were even several cast-iron 'proper' nights out (friends, bars, beer, stumbling home in the early hours, that sort of thing), which suggests I'm not quite so interactively inept as I often fear. The number of nights in February 2011 I went out and was vaguely sociable: 9 (2003: 21) (2004: 7) (2005: 2) (2006: 2) (2007: 3) (2008: 7) (2009: 7) (2010: 4)
Count 6 (Alcohol intake): See, I told you I'd been going out more. Even better, I've been going to places that actually serve my favourite gassy bottled lager and don't force me to fall back on something I like less. Admittedly I did look a complete dullard last Friday night while everybody else was ordering pints of Tanglefoot and Badger, but thank you all so much for not mentioning this to my face. Total number of bottles of Becks I drank in February 2011: 20 (2003: 58) (2004: 17) (2005: 0) (2006: 7) (2007: 1) (2008: 28) (2009: 4) (2010: 3)
Count 7 (Tea intake): Apart from one dodgy year when workplace kettle usage was banned, my tea consumption remains wonderfully consistent. I am, it seems, a four-and-a-half cups a day man. Milk, no sugar, thanks. Total number of cups of tea I drank in February 2011: 135 (2003: 135) (2004: 135) (2005: 81) (2006: 128) (2007: 137) (2008:134) (2009: 129) (2010: 136)
Count 8 (Trains used): I'm back to a two-train commute rather than a one-train commute this year, so my monthly total's reverted to "just over 100" again. If it wasn't for an excess of weekend engineering work requiring me to take rather fewer trains than usual, the figures would no doubt be even higher. Total number of trains I travelled on in February 2011: 109 (2003: 103) (2004: 109) (2005: 117) (2006: 107) (2007:100) (2008: 117) (2009: 103) (2010: 83)
Count 9 (Exercise taken): Unlike the majority of wimpish London travellers, I still attempt to walk up every escalator I ascend. I really don't know how some of you stand there on the right when there's a perfectly good means of exercise to be gained by striding up on the left. Beats paying a fortune to go to a gym, that's what I say. Total number of escalators I walked up in February 2011: 32 (2003: 73) (2004: 72) (2005:38) (2006: 35) (2007: 31) (2008: 33) (2009: 28) (2010: 13)
Count 10 (Mystery count): Sorry to disappoint you all, again, but the legendary diamond geezer Mystery Count continues to be nil. Had I been counting during January that would have been a completely different matter, but no, February 2011 has thrown up yet another big fat mystery zero. Ah well, maybe next year... Total number of times that the mystery event happened in February 2011: 0 (2003: 0) (2004: 0) (2005: 0) (2006: 0) (2007: 0) (2008: 0) (2009: 0) (2010: 0)
What's on this weekend? Spring Into Summer Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 May
40 free guided London walks. Purley Festival Friday 29 - Sunday 5 June
Bunting week, below Croydon. E17 Art Trail Sat 30th May - Sun 14th June
250 arty Walthamstow things.