diamond geezer

 Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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 single February since, purely to keep tabs on how my life is changing. Fourteen years later, I can confirm it's changed quite a lot, yet not changed too. Below are my counts for February 2017 (also available in graphical form via Daytum), accompanied by the previous statistics and some deep, meaningful pondering.
Yes, I know February's not over yet, so all the figures below are based on best estimates for the final 24 hours. But don't worry, I'll come back and update the 2017 data as today plays out, before settling on the finalised figures at the end of the day.

Count 1 (Blog visitors): It's been another good month for people turning up to read what I've written, indeed it's been the busiest February ever, having passed 2016's total yesterday afternoon. I'm averaging comfortably over two thousand visitors a day, which is as good as it's ever got, so I can't complain. It amazes me sometimes that anyone comes back when there's the risk of reading about sightseeing in Devon, footpaths in Thamesmead or another essay on my local bus stop, which is hardly "must read" subject material for the average person in the street. But I try to provide you with a varied diet where possible, rather than endless recycled press releases, because I believe there's still demand out there for original subject matter. It's not all high octane stuff here, not by a long chalk, as a whip round Bromley Library and two bus rides to Barking will have confirmed. But as one of my regular two thousand, I assume you either keep coming back for the variety, or can put up with the personally-irrelevant stuff inbetween.
Total number of visits to this webpage in February 2017: 63770
(2003: 2141) (2004: 6917) (2005: 9636) (2006: 42277) (2007: 23082) (2008: 32006) (2009: 26048) (2010: 30264) (2011: 37200) (2012:40018) (2013: 55369) (2014: 51727) (2015: 58380) (2016: 60609)

Count 2 (Blog comments): There's nothing quite so unpredictable as comments. Some days this blog attracts hardly any, while other days the discussion catches fire and you add dozens. I'm pleased to report that this has been an extra-chatty month, with comment numbers into double figures every day, which has never happened in a February before. Altogether this month you've fired over 750 comments my way, which represents an average of 26 comments per day, which is a fantastic level of engagement. Most blogs have commenting zones resembling tumbleweed, but somehow you lot always seem to carry on talking, nipping in with a pertinent reference, a pedantic query, a nostalgic nod, some schoolboy grandstanding or a bit of insider know-how. Admittedly it doesn't take much to set a few of you off, and a couple of my more obsessive followers average more than one comment a day. But one amazing statistic is that more than 250 different people have commented this month, chipping in when they have something relevant to say, and that variety is truly humbling. Somehow a community has evolved here, where regular and occasional commenters co-exist, and that's not an easy thing to create. Thanks everyone, because it's you that helps to bring this page to life.
Total number of comments on this webpage in February 2017: 752
(2003: 166) (2004: 332) (2005: 463) (2006: 648) (2007: 566) (2008: 504) (2009: 472) (2010: 396) (2011: 558) (2012: 440) (2013: 546) (2014: 477) (2015: 625) (2016: 687)

Count 3 (Blog content): I continue to write too much. 2017 is my most prolific February yet, with my blog output averaging almost 1200 words a day. I always mean to keep things more succinct, but rarely manage. There's usually something extra I want to add, another fact to flesh out, another sentence to squeeze in, and before I know where I am I've written another essay. Twelve hundred words a day is not to be sniffed at - it's the equivalent of writing six novels a year, except I never end up with a book to show for it. And I write relatively slowly too, the words don't usually pour freely, not least because there are facts to check and links to add even after I'm done. I know you'd still read this blog if I wrote less, but something keeps driving me to write a bit more, and then a bit more again, and I haven't learnt my lesson yet. Tl;dr.
Total number of words in diamond geezer in February 2017: 33094
(2003: 14392) (2004: 16214) (2005: 16016) (2006: 15817) (2007: 17102) (2008: 17606) (2009: 20602) (2010: 21595) (2011: 23120) (2012: 25698) (2013: 29410) (2014: 32283) (2015: 30362) (2016: 31192)

Count 4 (Sleep): My bedtime is directly related to how late I stay up writing you stuff, and often this creeps past midnight, I won't say specifically how far, but if I'm going to be publishing something at 7am sharp it is of course crucial that I get to the end of my final paragraph before turning in for the night. So I get by on just over six hours a day, on average, which I suspect may be less than most. And yet I can still bounce through my day sufficiently refreshed without needing buckets of coffee or having to gulp down a Red Bull to kickstart my morning, which is brilliant because less sleep leaves me more time to do everything else in my life. I have managed on average half an hour more in bed each morning than last year, which is undoubtedly a good thing. But if I needed to sleep more, you wouldn't get fresh bloggage in the morning on a regular basis, I can assure you of that.
Total number of hours spent sleeping in February 2017: 188 (28%)
(2011: 172) (2012: 167) (2013: 163) (2014: 165) (2015: 169) (2016:174)

Count 5 (Nights out): After a couple of years with eight February nights out, this year I've slipped back to six, although that's still very much within my typical envelope of social inactivity. The month started really promisingly with two consecutive pub nights, with multiple real people and beer, but that flurry didn't last. The remainder of my tally were all trips to BestMate's sofa, where we watched old episodes of Blake's 7 and put the world to rights, which is rather more par for the course.
The number of nights in February 2017 I went out and was vaguely sociable: 6
(2003: 21) (2004: 7) (2005: 2) (2006: 2) (2007: 3) (2008: 7) (2009: 7) (2010: 4) (2011: 9) (2012: 6) (2013: 4) (2014: 6) (2015: 8) (2016: 8)

Count 6 (Alcohol intake): For the purposes of this long-term count, my definition of alcohol is a specific gassy bottle of German lager. I cling to Becks for familiarity and ease of ordering, plus it doesn't give me hiccups, but it's become increasingly hard to source on a night out. So you can imagine my delight when the first pub I went to in February actually stocked the stuff, and my amazement when the second did too. It means my Becks count is a precise reflection of my public alcohol consumption this month, which may never happen again... and no, is nothing to be over-excited about.
Total number of bottles of Becks I drank in February 2017: 10
(2003: 58) (2004: 17) (2005: 0) (2006: 7) (2007: 1) (2008: 28) (2009: 4) (2010: 3) (2011: 20) (2012: 14) (2013: 2) (2014:4) (2015:0) (2016:1)

Count 7 (Tea intake): Apart from one dodgy year when workplace kettle usage was banned, my tea consumption remains impressively consistent. Every February other than 2005 has fallen within a narrow range of 120-140 teas, despite very different behaviour on weekdays and at weekends. My deskbound days are always brimming, brown-liquid-wise, whereas days out invariably find me rushing around without pausing for refreshment. I am on average, 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 2017: 122
(2003: 135) (2004: 135) (2005: 81) (2006: 128) (2007: 137) (2008:134) (2009: 129) (2010: 136) (2011: 135) (2012: 133) (2013: 127) (2014: 129) (2015: 128) (2016: 133)

Count 8 (Trains used): This count's normally remarkably consistent too... always just over a hundred a month. That's apart from the year when I had a "one train" commute rather than two, when the total dipped a bit, and apart from the year when I upped the total by blogging relentlessly about the Bakerloo line. I'm back in the zone again this year, averaging about four train journeys a day, because we Londoners do swan around in carriages a lot.
Total number of trains I travelled on in February 2017: 108
(2003: 103) (2004: 109) (2005: 117) (2006: 107) (2007:100) (2008: 117) (2009: 103) (2010: 83) (2011: 109) (2012: 118) (2013: 139) (2014: 101) (2015: 124) (2016: 132)

Count 9 (Steps walked): Here's a relatively recent innovation to The Count, introduced four years ago when I got myself a smartphone and uploaded the Moves app to keep track of my daily step count. It's a brilliant app, if no longer free to new users, and a bit of a battery hog. It's also potentially stalky because it records everywhere I go (both when and where), plus how I travelled inbetween. And this has been my fittest February yet, thanks mostly to daytrips to Yorkshire and Devon where I walked over thirty thousand steps each time. My other daily totals may have been somewhat variable, but I'm proud to have walked over 100 miles this month, a total that'll only increase as spring approaches.
Total number of steps I walked in February 2017: 328100
(2013: 273300) (2014: 254600) (2015: 282300) (2016: 238200)

Count 10 (Mystery count): Sorry to disappoint you all, again, but the legendary diamond geezer Mystery Count continues to be nil. I know, I'm as unimpressed about the outcome as you are. But even if 2017 has thrown up yet another big fat mystery zero, there's always a chance next year, surely?
Total number of times that the mystery event happened in February 2017: 0
(2003: 0) (2004: 0) (2005: 0) (2006: 0) (2007: 0) (2008: 0) (2009: 0) (2010: 0) (2011: 0) (2012: 0) (2013: 0) (2014: 0) (2015: 0) (2016: 0)

» The Count 2017

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