Five years old. I’m somewhat surprised I’ve made it to my fifth birthday. Well anyway, various people have pointed out to me that very few regular ‘weekly plus’ blogs make it to five years, so this is a significant anniversary and a little contemplation and celebration seem in order.
Around about six years ago I somehow tripped across Pencil Revolution, was hooked, and flushed with revolutionary zeal, I started this blog on 30 January 2006.
I once read somewhere that the secret to long term blogging is to “Blog what you love” and I guess that’s worked for me as I have enjoyed publishing this blog. On the technical side, learning the ins and outs of publishing a blog, improving my photography skills, learning a little HTML and so on has kept my interest up. On the pencil side I’ve certainly dramatically increased the size of my collection, which today stands at about 700 mechanical pencils, plus heaps of other things like leads, catalogues and ephemera. It’s fair to say this blog has not helped the focus of my collection, rather the reverse, leading me down all sorts of divergent pencil pathways. Still, I guess that’s part of the fun.
Blogs are inherently designed to be read from the most recent entry to the oldest. If you reversed that and read this blog from the first post to the most recent I think you would see the standard of my reviews improve, my aversion to rubber grips decline and my pencil-photography skills improve. There would also be my battles with PAS (Pencil Acquisition Syndrome), NID (Notebook Inferiority Disorder), boozy-sirens and sundry other problems that folk have to watch out for. Of course you would also see me learn lots of things about mechanical pencils and the companies that manufacture and sell them.
Besides all of that, one of the main things I like about this blog is the interaction with you, the readers. I really do enjoy getting comments and emails from you. At the risk of offending some by omission, I must make mention of several long time fellow pencil bloggers who have communicated with and helped me for a large part of this blogs life, so, in alphabetical order – Lexikaliker, Pencil Talk, Pencils11 and The Uncomfortable Chair. Also of course the aforementioned and recently resurrected Pencil Revolution. Thanks guys. There are of course many other bloggers and correspondents I should mention, but there are too many of you to mention individually, especially Henrik, so I hope you won’t be offended. Thanks to you all.
Perhaps above all though, I have been very pleasantly surprised at the generosity of so many of you out there. People who I have never otherwise met or corresponded with, just contacting me and saying, “Hey, I’ve got a couple of pencils I thought you might like. I’ll send them to you”. I really do appreciate your generosity, and I have tried to keep the cycle going, although I’m sure I’ve ended up receiving more than I have given.
Right then, some numbers would seem to be appropriate, just for posterity. When I was writing this post about a week ago, this blog contained 476 posts with 6,206 comments. Which is my favourite post? Well that’s a tough one, but certainly one of the first that always springs to mind when I think of that sort of thing is The Pencils Of Vice.
I guess though blog readers have a different favourite, because the article that has enticed the most people to actually take the time to comment on it is my review of the classic Pentel Sharp Kerry with 127 comments.
Lead Size and Hardness”. It’s then a long way back to second where my reviews of the Pentel Sharp P205 and the Pentel Sharp Kerry continually battle with each other for the silver and bronze medals.
For the static pages of ‘My Top 5’, ‘Top 10 General’ and ‘Top 10 Drafting’, the most frequently viewed is ‘My Top 5’ with ‘Top 10 General’ a fair way back in second. As for regular readers, well the blog currently has 201 public Blogger Followers, there are about 850 feed subscribers, and 489 people voted on my reader survey although that was way back in March 2010. Not surprisingly most visitors are from the Anglosphere, with the USA accounting for about 56% of all visits, followed by, in order, the UK (9%), Canada (6%), Australia (3%), Germany (2%), Japan (2%), and then Turkey, Brazil, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan and India all at around 1% each. My Flag Counter has 194 flags, thus recording visitors from 194 different countries/territories around the world. The last flag added was that of Rwanda. ClustrMap makes it clear where the home of mechanical pencildom is…at least as measured by visits to this blog. A big Hello then to Los Angeles, you MP nuts! Your northerly cousins up there in San Francisco follow closely behind, then London and New York. Actually, as a source of American visitors, the state of California is so far ahead, that the next two US states added together (New York and Texas) still don’t get near California.
Well, that seems like enough contemplation and other carry on, so I wish you all well, thanks for reading this blog, please carry on reading and commenting, and maybe I’ll see you in another five.
Now, as you know I’ve never really been one for giveaways, but as part of these birthday celebrations there will be a series of giveaways throughout the month of February. The giveaways are mostly items from my collection, but will culminate in what I think is a real whiz-banger, thanks to some generous sponsorship from Cult Pens. That’s the reason for the new headline and sidebar references to Cult Pens. Quid pro quo. So, if you are doing a little writing instrument shopping then I would encourage you to check out their website, and spend your money with them. As a bonus, they are actually nice folk too. Anyway, the first giveaway kicks-off shortly and I hope you will all enter. You gotta be in to win.
So, in closing then, happy pencilling my friends! May your lead stay strong and unbroken.
Ka kite ano.
|Only the severity and duration of the celebratory hangover are in question.|
PS - Just so you know, the month of February will be mostly giveaways, there won't be much in the way of normal postings.