What a Wonderful Year

(This post is not strictly a yearly review, but that is the first part of it. Its basically a post where I’m summing up a lot of stuff I’ve wanted to say since I last wrote.)

People don’t usually do a yearly review 11 days into the New Year. Unless I’m the person in question, of course, since that’s what I’m doing right now. ‘sigh’

Last year was wonderful. In totality, of course. There were times when I puked my stomach out cause #foodpoisoning. So yeah, that wasn’t particularly great. But I did get 3,741 views on my blog last year, more than 4 times what I got in 2014, so yay for that. I won’t go into the details of the views as I did for 2014 since that tends to get boring, so all I’m going to say is that I aim to better that tally in 2016. 177 views in these 11 days isn’t a bad start, I reckon. We’ll see how it goes.

I can now say I haven’t posted on my blog since last year. I’ll tell you why.

My preliminary examinations for Standard XII are going on right now. I took the Hindi examination about two hours ago. For those of you that aren’t aware of it, basically the prelims are like a drill for the real thing, the Board Exams, which begin on the 18th of February for me and run till the 21st of March. The paper pattern and portion for both is identical so if you are completely prepared for the Prelims you get a rough idea of how you’ll do in the Boards. Of course, nobody is ever completely prepared, but man is nothing if not hopeful, right?

For now, I’ve got Psychology up next in the prelims on Wednesday the 13th, so wish me luck.

I’m working on a couple of fiction pieces as well on the side. I wrote a preview to one here, and I came up with the other one just a couple of days back. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to get any of that published before my Boards conclude (on the 21st of March, 2016) because that’s realistically the earliest I’ll get to properly work on it. I may draw up a rough plot or something of that sort before that so you could expect a preview or a prologue to be up before my Boards conclude, but I wouldn’t be too sure of that.

I intend to not go anonymous for the next two months buried under textbooks the way I was for the past month. I’ll keep posting something.

In other news, my gym membership ended so I now have nothing much to do between 3 and 5 every afternoon so I now have to use that time to study. Depressing, I know. And there’s no point renewing right now because I have prelims during that time and I will hardly have time to go there for one month during my Boards. It was good the membership ended before my prelims began though.

Star Wars came out and I still haven’t watched it. Yay. Bloody exams. I’m definitely going when my prelims, end. I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers for that for too damn long. Some idiot gave away what I believe to be the mother of all spoilers, don’t worry I won’t say it, in case any of you guys haven’t watched it yet either, but if that was a true spoiler then I now hate that person for the rest of my life. Not even kidding right now. There’s also ones like Creed and Bridge of Spies which I haven’t watched yet.

On that front though, 2016 is going to be arguably the best year yet. Okay, not arguably, unequivocally the best yet. All these come out/have come out this year:

And there’s a shitload more. Guess I’m going to the cinema a lot this year. Suits, The Flash and Arrow all resume their seasons in the last week of January as well so its definitely a packed year on the entertainment front.


 

BONUS! BONUS! BONUS!

So, after I’d already published this, I got a suggestion that I should have made this post a little longer and maybe written something along the lines of a list of noteworthy stuff I did in 2015. So I came back to edit the post, and therefore, here’s,

THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS OF 2015
(in no particular order)

  1. I watched The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and was left slightly disappointed.
  2. I obtained 75% in my 11th Grade final exams, which isn’t something to exactly write home about, but it is if you think about it since I’m in the Arts stream, and it is even greater considering the amount of time I spent in the 11th, not studying.
  3. Jai Vyas Writes completed a year of existence.
  4. I turned 17.
  5. I joined the gym
  6. But did not manage to reach the goals I set for myself initially (of gaining 10 kilos in 8 months). Maybe I’m just a hard gainer or maybe my goals were unrealistic or maybe I didn’t go to the gym enough or maybe its all of that and maybe even more. I’ll figure it out.
  7. I got hooked on to House of Cards.
  8. I made some great friends in college.
  9. I learned that I’m not photogenic. At all.
  10. I said goodbye to Maggi and then a few months later, welcomed it back with open arms and clean bowls.
  11. I ate eggs for just the second time in my life and puked for a day. Its all good, though.
  12. I finally opened up relatively publicly about the fact that I’m a cancer survivor.
  13. I took part in some amazing writing courses online that taught me a lot about blogging, writing, and myself.
  14. I made a lot of new friends on WordPress and encountered some mind-blowing coincidences while doing so.
  15. I joined Quora, and within six months, became a most viewed writer in multiple categories. #sorryforbrag
  16. I went to see my first live football match in the Indian Super League.
  17. I got rid of my braces.
  18. I had bad days. Lots.
  19. I started listening to blues music and a lot of old-timey music. RIP David Bowie.
  20. I read Mein Kampf. I may not respect that dude for the shit he did, but some of his ideals were understandable, in the very least.
  21. I attended the Times Litfest (Literary Festival) where I attended several talks, intellectual debates, music shows, etc. of several intellectuals, celebrities, etc.
  22. I saw a play called The Jury, at NCPA, Mumbai’s best place to watch a play. Probably one of India’s best for sure. It was probably only the second time I’ve been there. To be honest, I did get free tickets, so…
  23. I experienced an Equal Streets campaign where for a certain number of weeks in the year, a stretch of street was shut down for vehicles and was opened up to the public to use as they like. We used it to cycle, play football and stuff. It was a nice experience. I look forward to it returning.
  24. I painted tiles with my sister.
  25. I realised my laptop is slowly dying.
  26. I went on a photography spree in South Mumbai one day. We clicked photos of the Gateway of India, the local railways, kids playing cricket in Oval Maidan, and a lot of other stuff. You can check it out here.
  27. I started playing Football Manager.
  28. I feel I’ve become more open as a person. My personality has been moulded by the people I’ve met and the situations I’ve been through. If you would have seen me in mid 2014 you would have seen the quintessential reserved nerd. I’m still that guy, but I’m more.
  29. I failed in Math once in the 11th Grade. It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. I did drop Math in the 12th and took up Philosophy instead, though.
  30. The same night I saw The Jury, I ate some life-changing kheema pav. My mom and dad may not completely approve initially, but they’ll come around.

There’s obviously a lot more, but I think I’ll save some for my autobiography. It shall be called ‘Tall Tales of a Short Guy’. You can expect it to come out in the spring of probably-never-going-to-happen.


 

I hope all of you had a rip-roaring 2015, and believe that we’ll all have an amazing 2016 as well!

“Listen.

I wish I could tell you it gets better. But, it doesn’t get better.

You get better.

— Joan Rivers

See you guys next time! 🙂

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Stats Galore

Task 4 of Blogging 201 basically revolves around crunching the numbers and using those crunched up numbers to create more numbers to crunch, later on.

So I thoroughly went through my stats from the time I started this blog back in May of last year to today and came up with some interesting facts.

I have received a thoroughly stupendous 1146 views (as of the moment I wrote this) since I started this blog about 9 months ago. A vast majority of those views have come when I took part in Blogging U‘s other courses like Writing 101, 201, Blogging 101 and now 201. That is understandable for a fairly new blog like mine. Recently, however, I’ve been starting to use tags more productively and that has bumped up my views ever so slightly in comparison to the time when I didn’t use them that well.

My most productive month in terms of views so far has been November 2014 when I took part in Blogging 101. I received 358 views in that month. In the productivity list, November 2014 is followed by January 2015 (197), December 2014 (165) and October 2014 (127), all suffering major view drops, again, quite understandably.

Further putting the magnifying glass to the paper, my most productive days so far in terms of views have by far been Wednesdays and the two weekend days of Friday and Saturday. Sunday wasn’t far behind. I am unable to understand why it is that I’m getting so many views on Wednesday, a day smack dab in the middle of the week. That’s probably because people see that they’re in the middle of the ocean and the shore is not closer from any side and it is in this despair that they plunge into the emotionally rewarding world of the Internet and thus end up on my blog. Huh.

Anyways, one man’s loss is another’s gain and I’m going to keep exploiting this human weakness to the mid-week and try and publish more posts around this highly rewarding day.

Coming to views for posts, my most viewed posts/pages were the Home Page and About page by a long distance. They were followed by, again, posts from courses by Blogging U. Stats for likes and comments were similar.

Speaking of referrers, I had a significant number of people arriving via Search Engines, Facebook, The WordPress Reader and Tumblr. A few also came from my Gravatar bio page and from other sites and blogs that contained the link to my blog in posts of their own.

Screenshot_2015-02-05-11-32-27

One of the things that surprised me was the number of views a certain post ‘From Your Sister, With Love‘, received. It was published in early October 2014 and I hardly meant for it to get more views than my About page. It was just another post that I thought wouldn’t score very well. But it ended up doing just that and then some. To add to that surprise, I realised that 7 of the 9 known search terms related to this post and people had been redirected to this post of mine about 10 times by using these search terms. I didn’t expect this particular post to stand out so well, but it feels good that it did.

What confuses me a little after this little bit of stats is that this high-flying post I talked about comes under a category that I would hardly write about on my blog. It was basically a college assignment that I thought I could share here. Turns out people kinda like this sort of stuff, and even I’m not completely sure what I would classify it as but I’m going to try and figure it out.

Not surprisingly, my most popular tags and categories pertained to Blogging U’s courses. Now that I’m taking part in another Blogging U course, I’m bracing for a brief spike in stats that won’t, hopefully, dip as dramatically as it has before.

Coming to the editorial calendar, its something I’m doing for the first time. I’m going to try to stick to the goals I sketched out in Task 1. I’ll continue posting for Awesome Quotes every Friday, which will ensure some of the weekend traffic and I’ll schedule more posts for Tuesdays and Wednesdays to get some of that mid-week traffic I’ve been getting. That does it for the ‘at least two posts per week‘ goal. And hopefully for the ‘get more followers‘ goal as well.